Calls made for a news school for the town

Coun Robert Finnigan
Coun Robert Finnigan

Two councillors are fighting for a new primary school to be built in the area, following proposals to create hundreds of new homes.

Coun Robert Finnigan and Coun Bob Gettings say the developments will put more strain on primary school places and a new school is necessary to meet the demands.

Coun Finnigan said school places would be needed to accommodate more than 100 children, after four sites - Daisy Hill, Owlers Farm, Bruntcliffe Road and Low Moor Farm - were earmarked for the development of nearly 600 homes. The sites are all at various stages in the development process.

The councillors met with Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake last week to put forward their case.

Coun Finnigan said: “The present level of development on greenfield sites across Morley is putting a real strain on primary school places.”

“We are aware that there is a need for an additional 30 primary school places as things are now. By the point the remaining new houses are built, then our projections show a demand for over 100 primary school places on top of this.”

He said the existing primary schools had already been expanded and ruled out the option of placing temporary classrooms on those sites, claiming it was “not an acceptable approach to our children’s education”.

“The only way of coping with this demand is to build a new primary school in Morley,” he added.

Coun Gettings, Morley’s children’s champion, said: “We need to start now to deal with this increasing demand and that requires work to find an appropriate location for a primary school.”

Coun Finnigan said the council were looking into accommodating school place demand.

Coun Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s and families said: “We are absolutely committed to creating good quality learning places for all children in areas across Leeds, including Morley. Given the complexity of this issue, we are working with and listening to the thoughts of local councillors, residents, partners and local schools in order to find innovative appropriate solutions to meet the increased demand in communities.

“One of the real challenges that we face is while local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure there are enough school places, due to current legislation, the council is not allowed to open new community schools. While we do have the option of expanding community schools or working with academies and trusts to enable them to expand, many factors still have to be taken into account, such as planning, housing and highways implications before any work can be given the go-ahead.

“We are continuing to work extremely hard and investing considerable resources to provide extra learning places across the city - an approach which has resulted in the council making available an additional 1328 reception places since 2009.”