Lifeline for Leeds ‘black hole’ area?

BID: Sir John Townsley, CEO of the Gorse Academies Trust.
BID: Sir John Townsley, CEO of the Gorse Academies Trust.
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The leader of a Leeds-based academy chain which has a track record of transforming failing schools has confirmed plans to put forward a free school bid in an effort to tackle a places “black hole”.

Sir John Townsley, CEO of the Gorse Academies Trust, said the trust was keen to explore the possibility of submitting an application in support of “badly let down” parents who have been campaigning for a new school in Roundhay.

It comes after the trust set up to run a new primary school in the area was forced to pull out of the scheme as a result of a suitable site not being secured.

In a statement last month, the Fair Access Schools Trust said it had taken “the very difficult decision to withdraw the free school bid with immediate effect”, adding that “no further public money and resources should be wasted”.

The school in Roundhay was supposed to provide much-needed additional pupil places for children in the north of the city.

Sir John said: “We believe that the parents have, so far, been very badly let down and we are determined to play our part in ensuring that all children in the Roundhay area enjoy the opportunity of attending a great school.

“The parents are a terrific group and all of us have been greatly impressed by their determination and sincerity.”

Leeds City Council did not wish to comment.