Anger as new Leeds school plan stalls

SCHOOL APPEAL: The Fair Access group demonstrating at Leeds Civic Hall in 2015; they have threatened to go back to campaigning if progress is not made. PIC: James Hardisty
SCHOOL APPEAL: The Fair Access group demonstrating at Leeds Civic Hall in 2015; they have threatened to go back to campaigning if progress is not made. PIC: James Hardisty
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Parents fighting for a new primary to tackle a school places “black hole” in Roundhay are considering mounting a protest against Leeds City Council and are questioning the viability of the trust set up to run it.

It has emerged the Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA) is handing responsibility over to the authority to move Roundhay Park Primary School forward by asking it to “self-deliver”.

Ministers last year gave a new free school the go-ahead to open this September, but there have been issues with the preferred location and it is now unclear when the school will open. Now, more than two years after the school was first mooted, campaigners are demanding answers following the latest twist in the tale, and claim the organisations involved are “not fighting hard enough”.

The EFSA were supposed to submit a planning application, but it will now be up to the council to do this. Funding could be scaled back as the Government prioritises existing schools. Fair Access member Damian Nicholls, who has arranged to meet Coun Lisa Mulherin of Leeds City Council next week, said: “I want to know what their plan is to get us out of this mess.”

He said the group is now asking whether it would be better for existing academy to take on the project in the hope it would be come to fruition sooner. A council spokeswoman said: “We are talking to the Secretary of State about what happens next.” The Roundhay Park Primary School Trust expressed its “disappointment” over the delays.

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

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