Preferred bidder announced for new school on sports centre site

Leeds City Council have announced their preferred bidder to build a new primary school on the site of the closed South Leeds Sports Centre. South Leeds Life has previously reported on this story here and here.

Senior councillors in Leeds have agreed their preferred bidders to run a new primary school in South Leeds, which was announced earlier this year.

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

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 school will be a 420 place primary school and 26 place nursery on land at the former South Leeds sports centre site to open in 2014.

Cllr Judith Blake

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 four bids: Academies Enterprise Trust; Lilac Sky Schools; Rainbow Schools; and the Learning Trust South Leeds. Lilac Sky Schools subsequently withdrew from the competition.

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

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 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 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 Learning Trust South Leeds as the preferred bidder.

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.