#savecapa campaign as Cathedral Academy closes to performing arts students

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TALENTED youngsters hoping to join a top performing arts college this September have been told to look elsewhere after it closed to new students.

Prospective students who auditioned to go to Cathedral Academy for Performing Arts (CAPA) have received letters saying there will be no intake this year.

Around 50 teenagers would have started studying at the Thornes Road college next term. But they cannot join CAPA because of complications in finding a new premises as part of an expansion of the sixth form.

The college said in a statement it would be unable to provide provision to a new cohort of students in September 2017.

CAPA youngsters have launched an online campaign to save the course under the hashtag #savecapa

David Winder, 64, went to an audition day with his daughter, Kate. He said: “Two weeks ago 200 students and parents came from all over the region bringing their kids to audition for next year’s intake .

“We have just received a letter saying due to circumstances out of our control, there will be no intake of students this year.”

CAPA had joined forces with Enhance Academy Trust to set up a new “free school” in Leeds and a college for up to 500 youngsters.

The existing CAPA site would have taken its normal load of 50 students, acting as a temporary site for the free school while building work was carried out on the Leeds academy, which would have opened in 2018.

But the proposed city centre site, Number One The Embankment, was deemed not to be suitable because of its proximity to the proposed HS2 rail link.

If the HS2 rail project goes ahead, a new railway station would be built close to that building.

Department for Education rules do not allow the formation of a free school on a temporary site if a permanent site is not secured.

Kevin Jones, chief executive of Enhance, said the new academy could still be up and running in 2018 if an alternative building was secured.

He said: “I would stress that we are still working very closely with the Department for Education to find an alternative site.

“I’m very concious that some parents have been very upset about what has happened.”