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Hunt is on for site to help Liverpool Council tackle school places crisis

ByReport2

Nov 13, 2023

More than 30 sites have been assessed as Liverpool Council seeks to locate a new school to address its placement issues.

When it opens in 2026, Eden Girls’ Leadership Academy will be the city's first Muslim faith-designated school. It is thought the first intake for the school year 2026/27 could take more than 120 pupils at the facility operated by Star Academies.

Education officials have revealed amid the city’s ongoing demand for school places, more than two dozen locations have been assessed to house the new provision.

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Figures released by Liverpool Council have revealed how more than 5,400 people across the city applied for a Year 7 place this year, an increase of 180 on 12 months previous. Officials have also warned that a large demand for places in primary schools years previous could continue through secondary schools until at least 2028.

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Currently, Liverpool Council controls three of the city’s 29 secondary schools – to be reduced to two from January when another site joins a multi-academy trust – but has no powers to make alternative provisions expand to meet demand. King's Leadership Academy in Wavertree is to open a new site on the area’s technology park in September 2024 having initially been earmarked for 2022.

Jonathan Jones, outgoing director of education at the city council, said this was in part due to the future of De La Salle in Croxteth being up in the air. He said while a decision was made on the boys’ school that would go on to become part of the Dixons Academy Trust, the Department for Education “slowed things down.”

It is thought when the school opens next autumn, an initial 210 students aged between 11 and 18 will be on the roll.

Mr Jones told the council’s education, skills and employment scrutiny committee how the new faith school is on track to open in three years time and it was “imperative” it opened on time. He added how amid uncertainty where it will be located, 33 sites had been assessed for their viability.

Linda Coady, senior intelligence manager at School Improvement Liverpool, said the sites were being considered to establish which were “most deliverable” and a shortlist would be confirmed in January next year.

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