‘Significant work’ needed to get delayed Wavertree school open MP claims

A “significant amount of work” is required to get a new school in Wavertree open for pupils according to the area’s MP.

In a bid to meet the demand for school places across the city, it had been proposed that Kings Leadership Academy would open its fifth site in Wavertree this September. With planning permission only being granted for the change of use from office buildings last month, the opening date was pushed back until 2025.

Paula Barker, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree has lobbied the Great Schools Trust – which runs the schools – and Liverpool Council to get the site open on time as soon as possible but has expressed concern at how far away that could prove to be.

The school plans to offer 180 year 7 places initially and said it would be “founded on international research and traditional values, focusing on leadership and academic development”. It will be the fifth of the Great Schools Trust’s academies, joining those already established in Dingle, Bootle, Warrington, and Bolton.

However, a planning application for the site on Wavertree Technology Park was only received by Liverpool Council on 1 February and subsequently approved last month leaving a little more than four months to get it ready to welcome pupils. Earlier this year, the Trust confirmed this would not be possible, suggesting September 2025 would be a more likely commencement date.

The LDRS understands a provisional opening date has not yet been agreed for the site, which had housed PlayStation manufacturer Sony for more than 25 years. Mrs Barker said she met with city and Department for Education (DfE) officials in a “constructive” discussion but said issues remain with the site.

She said, “It was unfortunately clear that there is still a significant amount of work and investment required before the buildings and surrounding site are in a condition to host a school which is, above all else, safe for our young people who attend. These issues mean that the school will not be able to open until September 2025 at the earliest.

“I again raised questions as to why, when it was clear that the project to build the school was at such an early stage, did the DfE authorise Liverpool Council to add the school to the admissions options for September 2024. It’s this which has left parents and children feeling let down and in some cases being sent to a school they did not choose and had never visited.

“The DfE has assured me this will be investigated and I will receive answers.”

Investigations are now going to see if a small year 8 intake can be accommodated alongside a full cohort of year 7 pupils to mitigate the delays. Mrs Barker added, “The situation with secondary school places in Liverpool is not acceptable and particularly felt for children in Liverpool Wavertree.”

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