Fury over school admissions

PUBLISHED: 17:42 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 21:47 31 May 2010

FURIOUS parents whose children have not been accepted at their local school are campaigning for an admissions policy to be overturned. A high demand for places at Great Chesterford Primary School has meant that seven children - three of whom already have

FURIOUS parents whose children have not been accepted at their local school are campaigning for an admissions policy to be overturned.

A high demand for places at Great Chesterford Primary School has meant that seven children - three of whom already have siblings at the school - will miss out.

Mother of three Catherine Higham said: "Its outrageous - I will have three daughters gong to two different schools which are 10 miles apart and they have to be there within 20 minutes of each other.

"The situation has been made worse because we have been refused transport for our children to the next nearest school which is in Rickling."

All of the children who have been refused admission to Great Chesterford Primary are from Littlebury, which is inside the school's catchment area. Only one child from the village was accepted at the school this year.

Littlebury parish councillor Lizzie Sanders said: "I have received communication from our MP Sir Alan Haselhurst saying that funding will be made available to the school to take the extra children, but the governors keep moving the goalposts.

"It's very frustrating because they won't look at this as an opportunity."

When Littlebury's own primary school closed in 1970, proceeds from the sale of the property were given to Great Chesterford Primary to accommodate the extra children.

Chairman of the school's board of governors, John Luke, said: "This is the first time in 40 years that we have had more catchment kids apply than there are places. The school is simply not big enough - 37 children applied and there is only space for 30.

"Historically our criteria has been to give priority to children who live geographically closer rather than those who already have siblings at the school. Unfortunately this means that Littlebury and Littlebury Green have taken the impact.

"When this situation came to light in April we changed the policy so that in the future children with siblings at the school will be given priority, but this cannot be applied retrospectively."

The primary school on School Street, which received an outstanding grade from its most recent Ofsted report, currently has 210 pupils and 36 of them are from Littlebury.

Mr Luke turned down suggestions that the school could add another class to accommodate the extra children saying the school's facilities were already stretched to capacity.

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