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Consultation will shortly be ending on the proposals of Leeds City Council to build a new free school academy on the Fearnville (King George VI) Playing Fields in East Leeds.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party & East Leeds resident

This would represent a vital loss of recreational space to the community if built in this location, as well as increaisng traffic in an area with already poor air quality at vulnerable to flooding. However, at present the fields are held in a trust which would require the council to get a change in their use, so the current consultation focusses on this issue.

However, with the recent collapse of Wakefield City Academy Trust, then many local parents and residents are apprehensive about a new academy being built in an area with 4 academy secondary schools that are already underperforming. Essentially the proposals mean that the council will fund building the school, then hand this over to an academy chain of which we have no real local community control over.

The council’s consultation document points out there will be a secondary school places shortage in the area in the near future and that the Department for Education’s current guidelines for building a new school require it to be a free school academy.

But that doesn’t mean the council should just accept the diktats of the Tory government which endanger our childrens future education. The council should instead be challenging this, mobilising the community, teachers and trade union movement locally to argue for being allowed to establish a local authority run secondary school at a more suitable location in the area.

At community events some local residents have also put together a petition against this and set up a facebook group. Local Socialist Party members will be adding their weight to the campaign and arguing for a real solution to the school places crisis which doesn’t worsen our environment.

You can register your objection to these proposals via the councils online survey – https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=150669152265