New plan to tackle school places black hole in Leeds is a 'flawed solution', say campaigners

A new plan to transform a primary and secondary into an 'all-through' school to address a places 'black hole' in Yorkshire's biggest city has been labelled a 'flawed solution' by campaigners.

The Fair Access group demonstrating at Leeds Civic Hall in 2015
The Fair Access group demonstrating at Leeds Civic Hall in 2015

Today Leeds City Council unveiled its proposal, which would hopefully create an additional 60 new reception places each year from 2018, in a move that would placed plans for a new free school in the Roundhay area.

The authority is launching a consultation on proposals to make Moor Allerton Hall Primary School and the nearby Allerton Grange School an all-through school on one combined site.

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However, parents fighting to build Roundhay Park Primary School, which was approved by Ministers last year but has been hit by a series of delays, say it is a “compromise”.

Damian Nicholls, from the newly-renamed North Leeds Primary School Crisis Action Group, raised concerns over distance from the site for some parents, which means it would not be in walking distance and could create traffic issues.

The proposed four-form entry, which would see 120 pupils start in reception each year, may also be daunting for young children, Mr Nicholls said.

“There has been a mixed response. On one hand it’s a solution and it might work, but it is a compromise,” he said.

“It doesn’t change the fact that for many parents they haven’t got a primary school down the road that they can walk to. That’s a real frustration. We would have had a really good school just where it was needed.

“It’s a flawed solution.”

The announcement comes after the Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency, the body that had been in charge of Roundhay Park Primary School, handed responsibility over to the local authority to move the project forward itself - a move the council said would have ended up costing it in the region of £12m.

The consultation launches today and will end on November 29.