Fresh fears over new Leeds school's future as campaigners launch petition

The Fair Access group demonstrating at Leeds Civic Hall in 2015; they have threatened to go back to campaigning if progress is not made.
The Fair Access group demonstrating at Leeds Civic Hall in 2015; they have threatened to go back to campaigning if progress is not made.
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Parents fighting for a new primary to tackle a places “black hole” in Leeds have vowed to continue their battle amid fresh fears the free school will be scrapped.

Campaigners in North Leeds have revealed they are launching a petition this week, calling on the education secretary Justine Greening to step in and help secure land to allow the long-running project to move forward.

It comes in the month Roundhay Park Primary School was set to open. Ministers gave it the go-ahead last year, but there have been issues with the preferred location.

A spokesperson for the newly-renamed North Leeds Primary School Crisis Action Group said: “Parents whose children are due to start school in 2018 and 2019 have become very agitated and nervous about where their children will be placed.

“A petition from the local community to Justine Greening will be released later this week.”

Last month Coun Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families at Leeds City Council, announced she had asked officers to find an alternative “permanent solution”, with the authority indicating the Government could “wash its hands” of the scheme completely after responsibility was handed back to the council.

And tonight she told The Yorkshire Evening Post that the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the body that had been in charge of the school, was only willing to cover between one third and one quarter of the cost and the authority could not afford to foot the bill.

She said: “As a result, we have had to explore other options for delivering the school places needed in the Roundhay area. These options are now taking shape and we hope to be able to share proposals with the families in Roundhay and all interested parties next month.”

Her comments have prompted new concerns from the pressure group. Member Damian Nicholls said: “It confirms our worst fears that it seems like they are not going to build a new school. We are still going to keep fighting it.”

A Department for Education spokesman said it was continuing to work with the council to find a deliverable site.

Round table event at Bond Dickinson, Whitehall Riverside, Leeds..12th October 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

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