Campaigners who want free school for Leeds ‘places blackhole’ have official interview

Lucy Clement during a Fair access rally. Photo: James Hardisty.
Lucy Clement during a Fair access rally. Photo: James Hardisty.
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CAMPAIGNERS who want to set up a free school to close a “places blackhole” for parents in the North of the city have been interviewed by the Department for Education.

The proposal for a new primary school serving the Roundhay area follows controversy after more than 80 parents missed out on a place for their child at any of their preferred schools.

A Fair Access campaign was set up earlier this year in protest at what parents described as a “places blackhole” affecting parts of Roundhay, Moortown and Alwoodley.

Leeds City Council was able to secure 90 extra places at three schools in the North of the city which provided a solution for the majority of parents this year. However some members of the group are now looking to set up a free school to open in 2017. Parent Lucy Clement teamed up with school governors Mark Rowlinson and Gillian Hayward to develop their bid. And yesterday they had their official interview with the DfE.

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Mrs Clement said: “We think it went well. We were told to expect a decision in the Spring and by April next year at the latest. Mr Rowlinson added: “We were able to answer all of their questions and we hope we will now be in a position to move forward.”

The plan is for a two form entry primary school taking on sixty pupils each year. In its application it has had expressions of interest from 62 parents of children due to start school in 2017 and another 67 for those due to start in 2018.

When the bid was formally submitted Mrs Clement said: “The location is key. We want to make sure that the school is as close as possible to the West Park area of Roundhay so that it closes the blackhole and we finally have a school that prioritizes this community.

“It has been a phenomenal amount of work putting the bid together and now we have submitted it I think we feel proud of what we have achieved. I feel like I have not stopped since National Offer Day.”

Michael Tennant.

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