“Outraged” parents in a school places “black hole” in Leeds have hit out over an announcement that a £5m free school will be built in the city despite being told it is unlikely their bid for a new primary will now go ahead due to a shortfall in funding.
Earlier this week the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed a new 420-place primary school was being planned for Middleton next year as part of a a wider £50m school building partnership programme between Wellspring Academy Trust and Leeds City Council.
But campaigners who have been battling for a new free school in the Roundhay area for the last three years say they are “confused and angry” at the proposal and are demanding that their children are offered the same opportunity.
In October parents were told that “a lack of clarity around what ‘self-delivery’ means and a significant shortfall in funding” meant that their free school would not be able to open in time for 2018.
Roundhay parent Damian Nicholls, a said: “We are confused and angry at the council, it just doesn’t make sense.
“Where has this money come from?”
Last month the city council unveiled alternative plans in Roundhay to make Moor Allerton Hall Primary School and Allerton Grange School a four-form entry all-through school, which could replace plans for the new free school.
Coun Lisa Mulherin, the council’s executive member for children and families, said: “Wellspring are paying for the building work at a cost of around £5m but council funding from government for school places will be reduced by £5m to reflect this.
“In relation to Roundhay, we have been quite open about the funding shortfall. Our school places budget is already in deficit and if we spend £12m trying to overcome the planning and infrastructure issues associated with the Roundhay free school that money that will not then be available to help provide other places elsewhere.”