Published : 18/10/2012 00:00

Preferred bidders announced for two new schools for Leeds

Senior councillors in Leeds have agreed their preferred bidders to run two new primary schools for the city, which were announced earlier this year.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board yesterday (17 October), members approved the Co-operative Trust as the preferred bidder for a new school at Florence Street in Harehills and The Learning Trust for South Leeds as the preferred bidder for a new school on land at the former South Leeds Sports Centre.

The proposals are part of a city-wide programme which is necessary to meet the increased demand for primary-age places caused by a rising birth rate and an increase in the number of families moving into certain areas of the city. Through this programme the council has already delivered 705 new reception places since 2009.

The new schools would be a 420 place primary school with a 26 place nursery on land at Florence Street in Harehills to open in September 2013 and a 420 place primary school and 26 place nursery on land at the former South Leeds sports centre site to open in 2014.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“These new schools will address the pressures on the city to provide more primary school places. I am pleased we are able to move on to the next stage of the process to create these much needed schools.”

Earlier this year the executive board agreed to start the competition process and invited bids from organisations which wanted to run the new schools. This invitation to bid resulted in six bids for Harehills from: Academies Enterprise Trust; The Co-Operative Trust; Lilac Sky Schools; LEAF Academy Trust; Leeds Muslim College and; Rainbow Schools. The south Leeds invitation to bid, resulted in four bids: Academies Enterprise Trust; Lilac Sky Schools; Rainbow Schools; and the Learning Trust South Leeds. Lilac Sky Schools subsequently withdrew from both competitions.

In July and August members of the public were invited to express their views on the bidders’ proposals. Six written responses were received for Harehills and 114 for south Leeds.

Each bidder was asked to demonstrate core requirements as well as a number of local considerations, which were also included which emerged from the initial consultations. The bidders were required to demonstrate:
• How the buildings and play area would be made available for community use;
• How they would include single sex changing facilities for community use;
• How the school would offer local employment opportunities; and
• How the school would serve the local community through its admissions policy.
South Leeds
• How the site could also provide sports usage;
• How the school would facilitate ongoing community access to the sports pitches; and
• How it would serve the local community through its admissions policy.

All bidders for the Harehills school noted the desire of the local community to be involved with school through employment, use of extended services, use of facilities and external play areas. All suggested they were willing to consult on how this could be delivered.

All bidders for the south Leeds school indicated their willingness to work with the council on delivering sports provision on the site, although none offered financial contributions towards such provision.

The School Organisation Advisory Board was set up by the council to consider the proposals in detail and make recommendations to the executive board. The SOAB recommended the Co-operative as the preferred bidder for Harehills and The Learning Trust South Leeds as the preferred bidder for south Leeds.

In deciding upon the recommendations the SOAB looked at the bidders’ local experience and knowledge, evidence of partnership working in the localities, their accountability, ethos and governance, their experience in providing primary education as well as their management, partnerships and infrastructure capacity to support the new schools.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713