Trust sorry for failing Leeds families over school bid

RALLY: Sofia Desaraju takes part in a demonstration in 2015.
RALLY: Sofia Desaraju takes part in a demonstration in 2015.
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The trust set up to run a new primary in Roundhay has apologised to families for failing to deliver the school blaming a barrage of problems that have arisen during the two-and-a-half-year saga.

The Fair Access Schools Trust has withdrawn its free school bid, which was first put forward in 2015, after the Department for Education announced it was unable to proceed after a suitable site failed to be found.

It has blamed delays on acquiring a location, which resulted in the loss of its headteacher and project manager, and says it feels “let down” by Leeds City Council after it was encouraged to pursue a site that was eventually deemed to be undeliverable.

A statement released by the trust said: “We are so sorry we were unable to make this happen.

“Acquiring the right site for the school was always the most urgent and difficult milestone to achieve. All of the land in the right location for the school is in council ownership and this project has relied on the co-operation and will of Leeds City Council to make this school a become a reality.

“We have always felt that the practice ground at Roundhay Golf Club would provide the most ideal location for the school.

“However we were encouraged to pursue the site on Roundhay Park Lane East. We were assured that the council had a ‘very positive feel’ about the site and that ‘heads of terms could be achieved within a matter of weeks’. This was agreed on April 13, 2016 and yet 21 months later the trust finally learns that the site suggested by the council is undeliverable after all. We feel very let down and that local parents have been miss-led to believe that this was a viable option.”

The trust adds that it is “unacceptable” that parents continue to face huge uncertainties about which schools will have room for their children, and how far away those places may be.

It stressed that it does not believe proposals to make Moor Allerton Hall Primary School and the nearby Allerton Grange School an all-through school on one combined site is an acceptable solution.