Executive Prinicpal John Townsley told a meeting of parents last night (11 March 2014) that the Ruth Gorse Academy will definitely be opening in September this year and encouraged them to apply now for places.
The newly appointed Principal Designate, Rebekah Taylor, was introduced and the school uniform was on display to parents and children considering applying for places. The new school will be run by the trust that operates Morley and Farnley Academies. Those schools’ track record as two of only four high schools in Leeds rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted was stressed throughout the meeting.
Mr Townsley was critical of Leeds City Council who he said had first supported the bid for this Free School when they feared a shortage of secondary school places. Now, he said, families were leaving the city to find good quality high schools and there are surplus places for 2014. The school was said to be having “issues” with the admissions team at Leeds City Council.
The Ruth Gorse Academy is the new high school to be built near the Royal Armouries in Hunslet. As South Leeds Life revealed three weeks ago, the school will be built on the former Yorkshire Chemicals site on Black Bull Street. At £23m the new school will be the biggest investment in a Free School in the country.
Mr Townsley and Ms Taylor went through the details of how the school will start life in temporary accommodation at the Morley and Farnley Academy sites during the two years the new school will take to build. The new school building is envisaged to have four floors, but the site will incorporate indoor and outdoor sports facilities as well as making use of nearby college campus facilities and the John Charles Centre for Sport.
The school uniform has been designed to be practical and durable and includes a red weather-proof jacket rather than a blazer. A uniform will be issued free to all pupils. Free transport will be laid on both during the first two years of the build and later to help children get safely to school from various locations across the city.
The team answered questions from parents about the school day, sports facilities, after school activities and the sixth form arrangements. Parents and children considering applying were also encouraged to visit Morley and Farnley Academy. To date 50 of the 190 places in September have been allocated.
Further information about the Ruth Gorse Academy is available on their website: www.ruthgorseacademy.co.uk, or ring (0113) 289 8413.