New Free School for South Leeds

The Cockburn Multi-academy Trust has submitted an application to open a new free school to address the need for more secondary school places in the inner south of Leeds.

Cockburn School copy

Many primary schools in South Leeds have seen expansion in recent years to accommodate the bulge in school age children. Now more secondary places are needed. The new Ruth Gorse Academy in Hunslet, also a Free School, is part of the response.

The application has been supported by the local authority and a host of education leaders from across Leeds. The new school would create a minimum of 900 places when full, offering families living in the inner south of the city another excellent secondary school.

The bid for Laurence Calvert Academy is one of many free school applications which have been submitted across the country.

If the bid is approved by the Department for Education, the free school would open in September 2018. There are no final decisions regarding the location of the new free school at the time of submitting the application.

David Gurney, Headteacher of Cockburn School said:

“This would be fantastic news for south Leeds. Opening this free school would be a major step towards ensuring that there are enough excellent secondary school places in south Leeds.”

Sgt Laurence Calvert
Sgt Laurence Calvert

The Laurence Calvert Academy would be named in memory of the ex-Cockburn School pupil and south Leeds soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in 1918. If approved, the new free school would open 100 years after this in 2018.
David Gurney says he believes the school would attract pupils from across inner south Leeds with many parents and carers being attracted to it because of the success of Cockburn School.

Cockburn School has been recognised by the Department of Education as one of the top performing schools nationally for student progress; and rated by OfSTED as outstanding for Behaviour and Safety.

David Gurney said “the same ethos that has helped deliver the success at Cockburn would be replicated at the new Laurence Calvert Academy.”

He said this success was built on high expectations of all pupils regardless of their background with a vision of ‘Transformation to Excellence’ where pupils, parent and carers and staff work together to continually improve.

The application process for the free school is ongoing and the school are encouraging people to  register their support by going  to: and click the link to register your support.

So far, the support from the local community has been  positive with hundreds of people registering their support from all across south Leeds. The application has also had support from the local authority; Headteachers and governors from a number of local secondary and primary schools/academies, and University teacher training providers.


2 Replies to “New Free School for South Leeds”

  1. A new grammar school to service the south Leeds area along with Morley and the surrounding areas would be a cracking idea.

    1. Really wouldn’t. Comprehensive education not only doesn’t negatively affect bright pupils but their presence improves the results of those who are less bright.

      Grammars were of their time but with modern assessment, setting and different pathways comprehensive education is fine.

      Removing the brighter kids or, more accurately, the kids whose parents have paid for 11+ tuition for the most part, from comprehensive education worsens social mobility.

      There’s a bunch of evidence on this all over the place that can easily be found via Google.

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