PLANS to rebuild a Rawdon secondary school and to increase pupil numbers are to go before councillors next week.

Members of Leeds City Council’s Executive Board will be asked to approve a proposal to expand pupil numbers from 1225 to 1500 students by increasing admissions from 245 to 300 from September 2021.

The board will also consider a plan to rebuild Benton Park School at a cost of between £20 million and £25 million. The existing building dates back to the 1950s and has significant issues which need urgent attention.

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Subject to feasibility and planning permission, the rebuild would be funded by Leeds City Council with an approach to be made to the Government for additional support.

Public consultation was held on the expanded pupil numbers last year, with 75 per cent of those responding supportive of the plans and 19 per cent opposed.

Leeds City Council executive member for learning, skills and employment Councillor Jonathan Pryor said: “These plans for Benton Park are focused very much on providing the best possible standard of education and learning for our pupils, while addressing the growing need for places in that area of the city.

“It is no secret that there are significant condition issues with the current Benton Park, it is very near the end of its usable life. A rebuilt school would offer a strong future to the pupils and staff. Ofsted speaks of the good quality of education at Benton Park, and the children there deserve a good building to match.”

A report to the meeting, which takes place on Wednesday, February 13, says: “The existing school building has reached the end of its life and has significant building condition issues requiring urgent attention, with an estimated cost of £2.4m to address only the highest priority works.

“As the building has reached the end of its lifespan, it cannot be fully repaired and restored, just maintained year on year. In comparison, a new build, whilst having a significant initial outlay, would radically reduce the expenditure on remedial works, which only provide temporary solutions as the building continues to deteriorate rapidly, would provide additional new places to meet the higher level of demand for places in the North West, and would reduce the risk of the local authority failing to meet its corporate landlord responsibilities in relation to health and safety.”

Members will be told the number of families with children living in the North West area of the city is growing, with projected demand for secondary school places expected to rise significantly over the next six years.

The report says: “To manage increased demand for secondary places in 2017 and 2018 it was necessary to provide some additional temporary places at several schools in the North West area. It is likely that it will be necessary to do this again over the coming years ahead of permanent expansions which will need to take place. With limited options available to meet the overall need, failure to act now and agree high quality expansion schemes, such as this, is likely to result in the Local Authority failing in its duty to provide sufficient secondary school places.

“As the pressure on places is spread across the wider North West area, the strategy to meet this demand longer term is to expand existing schools in a shared approach to ensure a balance of secondary school places. As options in the area are limited, separate proposals to expand both Benton Park School and Horsforth School stand out as providing excellent opportunities to meet some of this future demand in the correct locations and at good schools.”