Leader responds to Leeds parents’ plea

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Parents are continuing to apply pressure on Leeds City Council to deliver a new school in the city’s “black hole” area as emails between campaigners and the authority’s leader continue to fly back and forth.

Leeds City Council, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and the school trust met with parents last month to discuss Roundhay Park Primary amid growing fears over its fate.

The authority has agreed to launch a consultation to gather public opinion on the four preferred sites.

However, in a letter to the council’s leader, campaigners, who called for regular progress reports during the process, wrote: “You are planning to feed back by the end of May and we understand that you will need some time to interpret results, but the 2018 parents especially are worried about the timeline.

“We would like to understand how we go from selection of preferred site to children walking through the door at a September 2018 opening.”

The council’s chief executive Tom Riordan has now responded, agreeing to keep parents informed, but stressing that there was no easy way forward.

In a letter to the Fair Access Group, he wrote: The recent public meeting was, in our view, constructive and demonstrated a willingness from all partners to work together to identify the best possible solution.

“However, as you are aware there is no straightforward site solution for the school and, as everyone involved understands, it is important that we carefully work through the challenges we are facing to ensure we deliver the outcome that most effectively meets the needs of local children.”

The Roundhay area, dubbed the “black hole” of primary school places, has long faced a shortage and parents are relying on a new free school to tackle the problem.