Schools under pressure over places
May 25, 2010
Primary schools have been asked to find 77 extra places for new pupils following an influx in people moving to the borough and fewer parents paying for private education.
Wokingham Borough Council has asked Hawthorns Primary School in Woosehill, The Colleton School in Twyford and Lambs Lane Primary in Spencers Wood to find room for the extra pupils.
The increase in demand means schools will have to carry out last minute planning to make sure staff can cope with the extra children.
The council had not expected such a high number of applications and admits the problem meant many children would not have been offered a place at a school of their choice.
Rachael Wardell, head of strategy and partnerships in children’s services, said: “Whilst there were sufficient primary school places within the Wokingham Borough to accommodate all those applicants who applied by the deadline, the oversubscription in some areas meant that many applicants would not have been offered a school of their choice.
“The council also received a large number of late applications,” she said.
“This year we had the lowest birth rate cohort in the borough for three years, so we were anticipating no extra pressures on primary schools this year.
“However, because of increased migration into the Wokingham Borough, with more families moving in than out of the borough, and also lower numbers of children going to independent schools owing to the recession, it has had a knock on effect and more children need school places than anticipated,” she added.
“Owing to this exceptional demand for school places, the borough council has decided to admit extra children over the admission number at The Colleton School, Lambs Lane Primary School and Hawthorns Primary School to start either in September 2010 or January 2011, depending on their date of birth.
“By taking this decision, it has enabled the council to allocate school places to the majority of children, either within the designated area of the school, or to those who expressed the school as a preference and satisfied parental preference to a greater degree.
“This means that we have been able to avoid some children being offered a place at a school some distance from their home address,” said Ms Wardell