Like all high performing organisations, The GORSE Academies Trust will never stand still and become complacent. At the same time, however, the board of The GORSE Academies Trust places great emphasis on the need for careful risk assessment and detailed analysis in our considerations of new initiatives.
The Stephen Longfellow Academy
The most advanced of our new projects is our application which was submitted in March 2016 to open a new Alternative Provision free school in the south of the Leeds city region. In late September we were informed that our application has been successful and has now been taken to the pre-opening stage for this exciting project. This will see the development of a 300 student Alternative Provision with 75 places available in each of Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4. Great emphasis will be placed on academic rigour. At the same time all students will benefit from intensive and personalised therapeutic and psychiatric support which is of the highest standard. We know from talking to so many partners in Leeds just how desperately this provision is needed and we are particularly pleased to be placing equal emphasis on the primary as well as the secondary phase of education.
The Stephen Longfellow Academy will be situated at what is currently Elliott Hudson College’s building, Phoenix House. The college will vacate this building fully in June 2017 and the building will then open as The Stephen Longfellow Academy in September 2017. The academy is named in honour of a colleague who died tragically in a climbing accident in 2015 and who made an enormous contribution to the lives of hundreds of vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the city.
This project is being directly led by Sir John Townsley and our Director of Primary Education, Mark Randall. We were delighted to be joined in January 2017 by our new Principal Designate Belinda Logan who has come to us from the Blackburn area. She is an amazing colleague with a wealth of experience in the sector and we are delighted that she has joined us.
South Bank Primary Academy
Working with the full support of Leeds City Council and in partnership with the developer Citu the trust applied in the latest round of free school submissions to open a new two-form entry primary academy in September 2018 which will be immediately adjacent to The Ruth Gorse Academy in inner south Leeds. The developer has approval to build 530 new homes in that area and the academy will facilitate places for children from those homes and from the immediate surrounding areas.
South Bank Primary Academy will be a brand new building, designed in Scandinavia in a manner which is befitting for a company who place great emphasis on the importance of environmental regeneration. The plans for that building will be shared with you soon.
South Bank Primary Academy was given approval to enter the pre-opening stage of development on Wednesday 12 April 2017.
Kirkstall Forge Primary Academy
The trust is also committed to apply for opening in September 2019 Kirkstall Forge Primary Academy. This is a very exciting development for the trust and is linked to the work of the Commercial Estates Group in Kirkstall Forge. As a part of that residential and commercial development the developer will be building a two form entry primary school at its own cost. This will be run by The GORSE Academies Trust and it is our hope that at the end of their primary education students will make the seven minute railway journey from Kirkstall Forge to Leeds city centre in order to attend The Ruth Gorse Academy.
Boston Spa School
All of us at The GORSE Academies Trust are exceptionally excited about an important development in our work. After several months of discussion, the governing body of Boston Spa School has taken the decision to undertake a consultation process with a view to converting to academy status as a part of The GORSE Academies Trust.
Details of the consultation process which ends on 25 May 2017 can be found through Boston Spa School’s website.
This is great news for all involved in the work of TGAT and Boston Spa School as it brings together two strong institutions that share the same values centred around a determination to ensure that all children have access to a brilliant education regardless of their background.