Morley schools could be full by 2016

General pic of a school playground through locked/padlocked/obviously closed school gates.
General pic of a school playground through locked/padlocked/obviously closed school gates.

Children in Morley could miss out on places at their local school if plans for more than 7,000 new houses in the area are approved.

Proposals for the new houses around Morley, Churwell, Tingley and East Ardsley have been strongly opposed, and it has now been revealed that education chiefs at Leeds City Council predict that Morley’s schools will be full by 2016.

Coun Robert Finnigan, of Morley Borough Independents, said: “There are no school places post expansion, the places are there to deal with the kids presently in Morley coming up to the start of their education.

“By 2016 the schools will be full of kids already in the system.

“The kids from the new applications will have nowhere to go, and the education chiefs have no solution.”

Plans are currently in place for expansions to Asquith and St Francis primary schools in Morley, as well as East Ardsley primary school. This comes after the council recently granted £9.4 million to expand and rebuild Morley Newlands primary school.

However, Coun Finnigan says there will still not be enough spaces to accommodate an influx of children from any new developments, and some Morley children may be forced to go to school in Beeston or other nearby areas.

He said: “In planning, you should build a primary school first, then housing.

“There isn’t the money in the system to expand the schools any further other than the ones that are already being expanded.

“Whoever is nearest will get the place, so if the new builds are closer to the school, kids already in the system won’t get those places.

“The reality is Morley’s kids will be punished because somebody will lose out who is already in the system.”

Coun Shirley Varley, a former school teacher in Morley, said: “It is clear that these housing development proposals are putting at risk local children’s education.

“We do not want to go back to educating our children in portacabins.

“Local families deserve the best educational experience we can give them and that will be compromised if this level of proposed development comes Morley’s way.”

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said: “Morley is an area we are continuing to evaluate for school places.

“We are working with schools to bring forward proposals, and at the February meeting of LCC Executive Board consultation was approved for two primary school expansions, at Asquith and Morley St Francis.

“Secondary capacity is an issue we are discussing with schools.. The demand is being driven by both increasing birth rates and new housing.”