Please support Wigton Moor children who missed out on all their local schools.

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As you will be aware, North Leeds primary schools are in crisis. Despite years of warnings and active campaigning from local parents, 2018 again saw many children failing to secure a place at their nearest schools. These children and their families now face a daunting journey every morning to schools often many miles from their homes.

The most acute problem is faced by two schools in particular - Talbot Primary and Wigton Moor Primary - where nearly half of all children failed to secure a place despite having these schools as their nearest priority.  Thats more than 100 children failing to secure a place at their nearest school! This year has seen children in Wigton Moor particularly affected. 37 children missed out on a place at the school while 23 didn't secure a place at any of their 5 preferences (a figure that would have been worse had it not been for some parents taking emergency action and choosing schools more likely to have capacity in order to avoid auto-allocations to schools they did not want). Owing to the nature of the area, many of these children were sent to schools where it is simply not possible for a 4 year old to walk. Many of these journeys will be over 2 miles and/or require these children to cross dangerous roads with high speed limits and multiple lanes. As a result, the Council is forcing these children into cars adding to already high levels of congestion, deteriorating air quality and harming their health. This is not acceptable.

In addition, 18 children were auto allocated places at the Khalsa Science Academy, a not-close, faith (in all but name) school, judged to be requiring improvement by Ofsted, built some distance from its originally intended location in Chapeltown and with such low numbers (27 this year, 19 of these auto allocated) that its future must surely be in doubt.  Due to these concerns, the Council has previously promised parents that no child would be forced to attend the school, a promise that has been broken in an attempt to cover over a broken school system.

The Council says the numbers in Wigton Moor are a one off but the 2018 numbers were higher than expected and forecasts for 2019 & 2020 are already 75 & 89 respectively (and may yet rise). We need the Council to sort this out. In 2015, The Council created an emergency bulge at the school to provide spaces for those poor children from across North Leeds who'd missed out. This year Wigton Moor catered for 18 out of area siblings, taking priority over local Wigton Moor children. The only other local school, Highfield Primary, is usually oversubscribed and is unable to provide alternative places for Wigton Moor children. Due to its location, when it isn't oversubscribed, it doesn't serve a big part of the Wigton Moor area anyway. The Council should recognise this issue, create a further bulge for local children in 2018 and start planning for a new school/expansion in the real area of need to accomodate children from 2019 onwards. All children deserve a good local school and the Council should not let our children down this way.

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