School links could solve village plight

SOMERSET County Council has taken the first step towards ensuring children in Bleadon have a better chance of getting into their preferred choice of middle and secondary schools. The council's schools admission forum has recommended councillors approve th

SOMERSET County Council has taken the first step towards ensuring children in Bleadon have a better chance of getting into their preferred choice of middle and secondary schools.The council's schools admission forum has recommended councillors approve the linking of infant and junior schools and first, middle and upper schools in the county so that pupils can stay with their friends throughout their education.The news is particularly promising for children from Bleadon who attend Lympsham First School and are hoping to go up to Hugh Sexey Middle School in Blackford.Although Bleadon is in North Somerset, many pupils from the village attend Lympsham First School, which is run by Somerset County Council, due to the competition for places in schools such as Hutton and Uphill. But Bleadon is not in the catchment area for Hugh Sexey School and many children are turned down and have to take the decision to appeal or go to schools in North Somerset.If Somerset County Council's executive, which was due to make a decision as the Weston & Somerset Mercury went to press, approves linking the schools, Bleadon pupils who attend Lympsham will have more of a chance of securing a place at Hugh Sexey School.Tim Pollack, Somerset County Council's school admissions manager, said: "The linking still won't guarantee pupils a place but it will strengthen the position for pupils already attending schools in Somerset and will make it more likely for them to secure a place."If it gets approved we are home and dry, but if it doesn't we're back to square one."Many pupils have faced knock-backs from their preferred schools this year and parents are hoping this proposal will improve the situation for future children, although some are apprehensive.Adele Tyler, moved from Bleadon to Rooksbridge to try to get her son Alex into Hugh Sexey School, but he has been turned down.Alison Brunsdon, aged 40, of Shiplate Road, Bleadon, had to go to appeal for her daughter Isabelle when she did not get into Hugh Sexey School and now she is in the same boat with her son She said: "It's good they've agreed linking schools is a good idea, but it's very late in the day. I don't think linking schools will help much for a few years because the waiting list for the school is so long every year.


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