Parents’ alarm over threat to after-school club

Parents are up in arms over a school’s plan to end the lease of a low-cost after-school club, which may signal its closure.

The move will see Little Diamonds’s lease terminated at Christ Church Upper Armley CofE Primary School, in Theaker Lane, on December 31.

The organisers of the club, which has been run out of a school community room for three years, were given six months’ notice to find new premises so that the space can be utilised as a classroom.

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Chris Chilton, whose seven-year-old son has been attending Little Diamonds for three years, believes parents should have been consulted over the closure and is among more than 300 people who have signed petitions to keep it open.

The 38-year-old said: “It will affect families quite drastically, it’s a backward step for the school and the area.”

He said many of the parents can’t afford normal child care.

Sarah Devaney, 28, a working single mother whose son attends the club, said: “I’m really concerned as a parent that such a resource that has such fantastic Ofsted reports and is so highly regarded can be cut without a second thought.”

The club, which pays rent to the school, offers care for up to 20 children from nearby Whingate and Castleton primaries as well as Christ Church Upper Armley through creative activities five days a week.

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Sabba Diwan, who runs the club which employs six people, said she expected the business would close if its lease is not renewed owing to a lack of suitable alternative sites. She said: “We are pleased the parents have come out in support of us but we hope we can renegotiate with the school.”

The decision comes after the school reviewed its space due to increasing pupil numbers.

Headteacher Anne O’Connor said: “Little Diamonds provide a valuable service to their parents, but unfortunately, they cannot continue to lease the room if it will cause the education of our pupils to suffer.”

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