Following an application by Boston Spa School to become an academy, the council requested Lord Agnew, the academies minister who approves applications, to delay any decision while the views of the community were sought.
Full details of the engagement survey can be found here: https://surveys.leeds.gov.uk/s/QZHQK/
The survey closes on 25 March 2018.
There are currently two secondary schools two miles apart in Wetherby and Boston Spa. Projected pupil numbers indicate only one school in the area is sustainable in the long term. Should Boston Spa’s application to join the Gorse Multi-academy Trust (GMAT) be successful this would impact on the council’s ability to plan school places in the area strategically for the long term as it would move out of local authority control.
Steve Walker, Director for children and families said:
We have a responsibility to plan school places at a city level. To enable us to take a strategic view on the long term implications of Boston Spa’s academy application we asked Lord Agnew for some time to engage with communities who will be affected. We will be feeding back the outcomes of these conversations with Lord Agnew in due course
Our data leads us to believe only one school in the area is viable in the long term. The communities served by the current schools should have an opportunity to input to the planning of provision for decades to come. Wetherby is the largest centre of population in the area and we believe the responsible thing to do is ensure the town retains a secondary school in the future.
Debbie Young of the Save our School Action Group, said:
Our Parent Action Group has always been committed to bringing outstanding education to the 2 schools in our area, giving children the best start in life and offering parents a choice of secondary schooling – that is why we overwhelmingly supported the school’s application to join the GORSE Academies Trust in May 2017. Having been shocked by Leeds City Council’s objection to the school’s plan of raising educational standards in our area what angers us even more is the manner in which LCC have undertaken a survey on this important issue, which was released on 28th February.
A wide range of people, including Alec Shelbrooke our local MP, all share the same view that there are a significant number of inaccuracies and that some of the key data is being presented in a misleading way. Although this is being raised with the relevant authorities, it is upsetting that the standard of our children’s education does not appear to be taken seriously by LCC and that the responses to this survey could affect them for life.
As of October 2017:
- Wetherby School has 547 pupils on role against a capacity of 850 (not including 6th form)
- Boston Spa School has 690 pupils on role against a capacity of 1500 (not including 6th form)
- Boston Spa reduced their published admission number from 300 to 200 in 2016
- Schools are funded on a per pupil basis meaning smaller schools have less funding to spend on curriculum, resources and staffing.
More information is available on the website here: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/children-families-and-carers/schools-and-learning/school-place-planning/current-consultation