Report by Charlotte Richardson , chief reporter
Friday, April 27, 2012
PARENTS across Weston say the choices of primary schools their children have been given are ‘ludicrous’ and ‘farcical’.
Outraged mums and dads say they were infuriated when North Somerset Council revealed this week where their youngsters will attend lessons from the next academic year.
Tamsyn Williams, of Pastures Avenue in St Georges, has the same postcode as the village primary school, but her son Gethin will not be able to go there in September.
The 32-year-old who lives a 60-second walk from the school and her friend Danielle, who lives around the corner in Meadow Place, will have to take their children to St Martin’s in Worle instead.
Tamsyn said: “I told the council I have no access to transport.
“My aim was to go back to work once Gethin went to primary school, but that’s just not going to be possible if I have to walk him to school and back every day.It’s farcical.”
Danielle, aged 22, says she will have to pass St Georges Primary School in order to take daughter Keira to school.
North Somerset Council says of the 2,286 children who applied for a place for the next academic year, 86 per cent were granted their first choice.
The Mercury has reported several times over the past year how there is a primary school place ‘crisis’ in North Somerset.
But when Priory Community School offered to start a primary school in its Queensway grounds, not enough parents applied.
The percentage of children granted at least one of their top three choices on their application form was 94 per cent.
Karen Richards and Jeremy Long, who live in Weston Village, say their son Reuben has been denied a reception year place at their nearest school, despite the fact he goes to the preschool there.
They say they were also advised to buy Reuben a uniform for Herons’ Moor Community Primary a year ago in order to help him ‘settle in’.
Karen, who is a reporter for the Mercury’s sister publication, the North Somerset Times, said it should have been ‘an easy transition’ for Reuben to start his official school life at the Highlands Lane school in September by moving across the hall from the nursery to the reception class with the same teacher he has now, in a uniform he already wears and friends he has known all his life.
Instead, Reuben was offered a place at his third nearest school, Mendip Green, in Greenwood Road, Worle. It will take the couple around 40 minutes to walk their from their home in Worle Moor Road.
Photographer Jeremy, aged 43, said: “It is ridiculous that the Government is promoting walking your child to school in preference to driving, but North Somerset Council has said we have to walk miles with Reuben, who will only just be four years old when he starts.”
Karen, aged 42, added: “It is a devastating blow for Reuben to be taken away from the school he has known all his life because his older brother Sean went there.”
Karen says a lot of Reuben’s friends in the village are in a similar situation if not worse.
She added: “It is ludicrous. Some of the children I know have been allocated schools which weren’t even their parents’ preferences and are even further away in Worle.
“I think we should have more right to a place than people who have moved to the area and have no link to the school.
“We have been told that it’s now oversubscribed partly because of the new houses built at West Wick and if people there are getting places before people who live in the same village as the school, it’s not fair.
“The council should stop allowing homes to be built when there is no infrastructure in place to support families who move into them.”
Karen says they are not sure if they have grounds to appeal because the reasons they want Reuben to go to the school were stated on the application.
For September 2012 North Somerset Council has increased the number of school places across reception to year six by 447 places, including 142 additional reception year places.
Places are allocated according to a complex formula which takes into account factors including location, travel options, children’s needs and sibling places.