Cockburn School plans will deliver full curriculum to larger school

Cockburn School and Leeds City Council are building strong foundations for the future of 300 Year 7 students so that local children can attend their local school.

In March, South Leeds Life reported that Cockburn School joined local councillors and the council to work closely together to find ways to address the shortfall of places in the area by offering an extra 60 places. When approached by Leeds City Council, and on hearing the concerns from the local community, Cockburn School moved swiftly to realise a way to ensure that more children in the south could be part of the Cockburn community.

Cockburn School was refurbished and rebuilt in 2010 under the Building Schools for the Future scheme to accommodate 1050 students – 210 per year group. Because of the constraints of the site area of the school, the amount of land available for outdoor sports and activities fell short of government requirements for a school of this size. The school has found it extremely challenging to deliver the National Curriculum for Physical Education with the facilities available.

At the request of the local authority, to meet local demand, student numbers at the school have increased year on year and are currently 1250. This is 200 more students than the school was designed for, with every year group having substantially more than the intended year group size. The school had no intention of taking any additional students due to the building and site being beyond full capacity. However, the school agreed to an additional bulge for 60 places from September 2020 to help local children and families within our community.

This will increase student numbers at the school to 300 in Year 7. There are now more students across all years in the school and this equates to a full additional year group. The need for this expansion has, therefore, not been driven by the school but by a large population bulge, together with the concerted action of a number of local councillors, Children’s Services and concerned parents/carers whose children had been allocated schools at the other side of the city because of a shortage of places. The council’s efforts to work with Cockburn School to secure these places was met with great positivity by the parents/carers of students now not having to travel such a great distance.

Leeds City Council asked Cockburn School to submit a detailed needs analysis based on the requirements of the school timetable. The required and planned work to meet the needs of the additional students and their journey from Year 7 to Year 11 involves the provision of a modular classroom block to be built on the school site which is required for September 2020. This additional accommodation will enable the school to deliver the National Curriculum to the increased number of children on the school roll. For example, the school now needs additional classrooms and science laboratories to meet the needs of the timetable. A detailed budget report was produced by the council and not the school as the intended project is being delivered by Leeds City Council.

There is also a need for additional sports facilities including a pitch to allow the school to deliver the National Curriculum to the increased number of students. This would need to be outside of the current school footprint because the existing school site cannot accommodate this. The local authority offered some land that is right next to the school, away from local residents and on the site of the former private South Leeds Golf Club. After exploring all options, this became the only viable solution.

Middleton Park and woods, together with the south Leeds golf course, comprises hundreds of acres of land for community use. The expansion plans from the local authority for Cockburn involve 7.4 acres of what was previously a private fee-paying golf course, and involve improved facilities for the children and community of south Leeds to meet the needs of the school and local community.

Cockburn School has worked hard with the local community to reduce the number of cars parking on Gipsy Lane. An area within the existing site at the rear of the school will be made into a permanent car park that would mean that an additional 47 staff cars would park on the school site rather than on Gipsy Lane. This would have such a positive impact upon reducing the amount of traffic parking on the road and make it safer for residents and students from the school. The school intends to use the existing hard-core access road for this car park. The cobbled part of the public footpath will remain for public use and will not form part of the school site. All this can be seen in the plans below:


This post is based on a press release issued by Cockburn School


10 Replies to “Cockburn School plans will deliver full curriculum to larger school”

  1. All of this seems to make so much sense. Before anyone tries to lay blame or criticise, remember that our young people and families from South Leeds are at the heart of this. The people in our community need to get behind them all. Well done Cockburn for playing your part at such short notice.

  2. Not sure how the cobbled path remains for public use when it is behind the school fence and an electric gate?

    1. Totally agree. That shows the electric fence at one side and joining the old railing at the other. I thought the council had said that the playing field would be for public use as well so surely a separate fence on each side of the path with lockable gates would be the case. Then all they have to do is unlock two gates to use it and if other societies wanted use they could have a key to the sports field. Think they thought nobody would notice till it was a done deal. Norman.. There would be no need if they put the money into rebuilding middleton school properly.

  3. Well done Cockburn for setting the record right. All seems very sensible to me. Local school for the local community. Im glad the once private fee paying golf cousre will be used by many and not the privilege few. Enough land to satisfy everyone needs for both the school and local dog walkers.
    Simple fact more pupils than school places. Well done Cockburn for coming to the rescue.

  4. To those people who think that moles are more important than children, I just have this to say. Carry on objecting to these plans – that are not driven by the school, but by pupil numbers across Leeds – and you will be helping to disadvantage a large number of children in south Leeds. Over 50% of pupils at this school suffer a high level of deprivation, and those people who merely twitter on about bats, grass and the cobbled path need to get a sense of proportion. As Chris says above, there is more than enough land for everyone, and now that it is not the private preserve of a privileged few the community will be able to take much more advantage. Sacrificing 7 acres out of 600 is a small price to pay for our children’s future well being.

    1. Can’t people understand if Middleton school was up and running there would be no need for this and all the kids that get dropped off or have to catch a bus from Middleton would be helping to make South Leeds greener. The car park should not be needed as teachers should be following the councils rules and coming on bus and train and as mentioned there are really good playing fields on the clearings.

  5. I of course accept that more places are needed for kids to be able to go to high school close to where they live. I do think however that there are a number of questions that I’m not sure as yet have been answered. Importantly what were the alternative options looked at by the school and Council to address the shortage of places and what were the reasons for their ultimate rejection in favour of the current scheme? I guess the Scrutiny Board will consider these and other questions, but it would be nice if the school / Council were to be pro active in responding to some of the concerns that people have raised.

    1. It was not the responsibility of the school to sort out places in other schools – that, as I’m sure you well know as you were or possibly still are a school governor, is the responsibility of the council. The main reason for pupils not going to other schools was the action raised by the parents of over 60 year 7 pupils (from this September), objecting to their children having to go to school outside the area and the extra travelling that would have involved. I don’t suppose you would object to their right to do so?
      I don’t think that the scrutiny board will be interested in admissions – they are to scrutinise the level of expenditure involved in the proposed new build. As far as responding to the concerns that have been raised – that is surely why the scheme has been called in to be examined.

    2. More pupils = more litter, more destruction of residents hedges, more spitting on the floor, more cars dropping off and collecting pupils = more engines running, more pollution, more food thrown on the floor to attract more pests like rats as noted by a letter circulated by Southleigh tesidents association. This is to name but a few issues that we as local residents face day in day out during school term. These issues need addressing before any expansion is even thought about.

  6. Phil

    School only open 38 weeks a year. I suggest you ask for the White Rose to be closed or not extended re: the train station. I walk up Gipsy Lane most days and the street are clear of rubbish, and the school is addressing the issue with traffic. Children have to attend school by law. Whats the answer.

Comments are closed.