With effect from the academic year 2013/14 parents will no longer apply to the Education Authority for a school place, they will apply directly to the school. Pressure on school places is evident from the birth rate and plans are being made to be as flexible as possible to ensure that there are places for all the children in the city. Of great concern to me is that parents may not get a place at the school of their choice and although that happens now the numbers involved are low in comparison to what may be happening in 2 or 3 years. Schools may be given permission to exceed their Admissions numbers but that puts pressure on the teachers and the class sizes and brings with it its own problems. Whilst solving one problem they are creating another. With 70,000 new homes as the target for house building in Leeds by 2026 this will increase the pressure on schools even more.
In my view we need to identify potential sites for new schools so they can be evaluated; and developers, when they are given planning permission, pay realistic amounts to help fund education requirements in the areas they choose to build in.