A desperately needed secondary school is unlikely to be completed until 2026 amid warnings over a lack of school places.

Outwood Riverside faces further delays after it was originally meant to open its doors in September 2023.

Now, Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald and council executive member Cllr Philippa Storey have written to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan to request a meeting.

They want to put pressure on the government to speed up the process as they are concerned that the council could be at risk of not being able to provide enough school places. The local authority supported plans for the 900-place school back in 2018.

Currently, students are attending a temporary site on Russell Street in Middlesbrough, however, it will reach capacity by September 2024. This is the second temporary site after students were originally at Middlesbrough’s Queens Square.

Cllr Storey said the local authority had suggested a number of potential temporary sites to deal with the over-capacity temporary accommodation but none appeared acceptable. One suggestion was to use Middlesbrough House, with the Civic Centre car park as outdoor space, however, there were safety concerns over this.

The letter states: “Middlesbrough children desperately need the new school before 2026. The multiple delays have already left the students and staff working in a repurposed office building, which was only ever a temporary solution, for far longer than expected.

“The current situation is unsustainable, and we need to see spades in the ground on the new site as a matter of supreme urgency for the good of the students and staff who are doing a heroic job in the most difficult of circumstances.

“We also need a suitable second temporary site identifying for the school as quickly as possible, open and ready to welcome students by September 2024. Without this up to 200 students will be unable to secure a secondary school place in the town and forced to travel long distances out of the area.”

Last month, the council did approve an outline planning application for the development of the secondary school on Lower East Street in Middlehaven. In 2020, Outwood Riverside welcomed 100 pupils, in 2021 and 2022 it offered 150 places each year and in 2023 it is expected to offer 120 places.