AN APPEAL by a Yorkshire council for people to take part in Walk to School week has sparked an angry backlash from parents who have been allocated places at primary schools miles from their homes.
Leeds City Council posted a message on Twitter promoting the week which starts from today as part of a campaign to promote the health benefits of walking.
The authority has donated £50 worth of shopping vouchers to 42 schools to help them to promote the event, and there are a series of events planned across Leeds, including themed walks and pedometer competitons measuring the steps taken.
However, the message received short shrift from parents who have missed out on a place at any of their chosen primary schools in Leeds from this September.
A campaign group has been started in North Leeds after about 80 parents missed out at a place any of their preferred schools. The areas affected were Roundhay, Moortown and Alwoodley.
In some cases, parents from Alwoodley were given a place at a free school several miles away in Chapeltown – as it is due to relocate to a permanent site in their neighbourhood, but the move has been delayed. Parents involved in the places row responded to Leeds Council’s Walk to School Week post by highlighting their plight on Twitter.
Carthiga Bell replied: “Not sure it is healthy or safe for my son to walk over two miles to school mostly along the ring road.”
While Kathryn Kimball wrote: “Sadly my children will never be able to take part as we’ve been allocated a school three miles away.”
Oliver Thorne posted: “Give my child a place at a school she can walk to and we will. Thanks for rubbing our noses in it.”
There were also responses from grandparents, with Geoff Fewtrell writing: “My grand-daughter has a song for her by The Proclaimers to get her to her new school. Great planning LCC. Shame on you.”
A rally took place in Millennium Square today as parents submitted their appeals against their school allocations.