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Protest in the park: Roundhay parents refuse to give up as battle for school places continues

A number of parents living in the Roundhay area of Leeds gathered in Roundhay Park before taking part in a short march to highlight that children in the area do not have a local primary school available and that a proposed expansion of Moor Allerton High and Allerton Grange will have a negative effect on those schools.
A number of parents living in the Roundhay area of Leeds gathered in Roundhay Park before taking part in a short march to highlight that children in the area do not have a local primary school available and that a proposed expansion of Moor Allerton High and Allerton Grange will have a negative effect on those schools.
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Almost 100 parents and children marched with banners in Roundhay Park today in an effort to raise awareness of the continuing shortage of primary school places in the area.

The lively rally saw campaigners call on Leeds City Council to provide children with a school they can walk to - three years after the saga first began.

A number of parents living in the Roundhay area of Leeds gathered in Roundhay Park before taking part in a short march to highlight that children in the area do not have a local primary school available and that a proposed expansion of Moor Allerton High and Allerton Grange will have a negative effect on those schools.

A number of parents living in the Roundhay area of Leeds gathered in Roundhay Park before taking part in a short march to highlight that children in the area do not have a local primary school available and that a proposed expansion of Moor Allerton High and Allerton Grange will have a negative effect on those schools.

It comes ahead of an executive board meeting on Wednesday, which will see councillors discuss controversial plans to merge Moor Allerton Hall Primary and Allerton Grange School in a bid to tackle the problem.

Roundhay parent Damian Nicholls said: “I think the rally helped to highlight the issue. It’s visible and it shows that the problem has not gone away and there is great depth of feeling about this.

“It sends a message to the council that we will continue to do this until they put some sensible plans on the table.”

The campaigners included a mix of parents of children who are not yet of school age, as well as parents of pupils at the two proposed merger schools.

There were also parents of youngsters that attend schools in the area which have ‘bulged’ to take on children living in the Roundhay area, which has been dubbed a school places “black hole”.

Mr Nicholls said: “They are all angry and frustrated and worried about the planned merger and the effect that’s going to have. They are also concerned about the effect the bulged schools are having on their kids, as well as stretching facilities teaching resources. It can’t carry on.

“We can’t actually believe we are still doing this several years down the line.

“The big thing for us is getting the council to listen to us and actually talk to us.”

Last month the Fair Access Schools Trust, which was set up to run a new primary school in Roundhay, said it had been forced to pull out of the scheme due to a suitable site not being secured.

Steve Walker, the council’s director for children and families, said the authority was bringing forward a solution to provide the additional places needed in the area this year to be discussed at the executive board.