YORK'S new MP has called on three city schools to pause plans to become an academy trust.

The Labour MP for York Central, Rachael Maskell, said parents are not being given enough time to react to plans to unite South Bank school Millthorpe secondary with two of its feeder primaries, Scarcroft and Knavesmire.

The MP is now calling for the schools to pause their process with immediate effect and then, should the governors decide that this is the way they want to take education forward, to then embark on a new consultation process from September.

One of the questions the parents were asking is why the schools did not proceed with a consultation process following the initial announcement of the proposals in March when they said that they were not allowed to carry out the consultation during the pre-election purdah period.

Edward Timpson, Education Minister, in a written answer to a question from Ms Maskell, stated that this was not the case and the schools 'would not be prohibited from conducting a statutory consultation during it'.

Millthorpe head teacher, Trevor Burton, said this is contrary to the advice the schools received from both the Government and the local authority earlier in the year.

Mr Burton said the six-week consultation which runs until June 19, is already longer than the recommended four weeks and that the original announcement was made in March, giving parents plenty of time to think through the proposals.

The MP's comments come after parents from the three schools have called for more time to consider the plans.

Scarcroft parent Jonny Crawshaw, who lives off Scarcroft Road, said: "We think the process is going too quickly and we need to have more time to consider what's happening. Each school has had hundreds of questions from parents and there won't be enough time for parents to get responses back from those. Also a parent survey is set to be completed by June 19 - the same day that the consultation ends, giving parents no time to respond."

Ms Maskell said: "I have already been overwhelmed by contact from parents who are very concerned about the proposals for these academies.

"There is no need for the schools to rush this. They need to take their time and get it right. I want to ensure that parents get their voices heard."

Mr Burton said: "The important thing is the consultation is open, fair and transparent and it gives parents the opportunity to respond. To call for more time now just doesn't make sense."

Mr Burton said that after the consultation ends there will be governors meetings at each school to allow them to consider parents views and come to their decision.