Lobbying parents demand action on school places
27 Stokey children have been turned down by all of their preferred primary schools and a group of campaigning parents is demanding action.
Though the Council claim 90 per cent of Hackney families were offered a place in their top three schools, families who had hoped their children would gain a place at William Patten, Grazebrook or Betty Layward who live in N16 face an anxious wait while education chiefs try to figure out where they’ll be schooled.
They’re meeting with MPs and councillors and have launched a Facebook campaign calling for the creation of a ‘bulge class’ in one of the schools.
One local mum described the situation as ‘bonkers’ and added: “We aren’t being offered any local school at all, let alone one of our top six.”
Families living on Kynaston Road, Neville Road, Amhurst Park, Stamford Hill, Watermint Quay, Portland Avenue, Kyverdale Road, Alkham Road and Burma Road are among those affected.
The Council say pupils in N16 would have gained places at Princess May School and Tyssen had they made these as preferences. The nearest schools with current vacancies are St Matthias, Simon Marks Jewish Primary and Harrington Hill in Upper Clapton
According to the Greater London Authority, which provides projections for school places based on birth rates, GP registrations, school roll data, migration and agreed planning permissions, 2845 children in Hackney will need a reception place in 2014/15. The borough has 2940 places available.
Hackney Learning Trust say they’ll only create a bulge class if late primary school applications bring the total number of applications to more or near the total number of places available.
But in order to meet demand in future years, education chiefs are considering whether to add an additional form of entry at Sir Thomas Abney School, which has a large site. Other schools will also be considered.
Councils put the mounting pressure for school places in London down to higher birth rates, greater inward migration and a higher number of parents choosing to stay in the capital after having children.
While the creation of bulge classes has alleviated pressure in other boroughs, for those parents whose children were lucky enough to gain places it brings its share of worry - changing the dynamics of school life, stretching resources and (with siblings given priority for places in subsequent years) having a knock on effect on future reception intakes.
To join the Stokey campaign visit: https://www.facebook.com/InfantPlacesinLocalSchoolSpaces
More info (data provided by Hackney Council):
The cut off distances for the last child offered a place at oversubscribed schools in N16 were: (please note we are querying these figures with the council as some seem a bit weird!)
* Benthal: 0.661 miles
* Betty Layward 0.226 miles
* Grasmere 0.054 miles
* Grazebrook 0.301 miles
* Holmleigh: 0.188 miles
* Jubilee: 0.210 miles
* Princess May: 6.842 miles
* Springfield: 0.353 miles
* Tyssen 3.003 miles
* William Patten: 0.272 miles
The Council claims more vacancies are expected to arise at schools which are currently full - due to withdrawal of places.
In Hackney school places are decided on a set of basic criteria which take the following priority:
1. Looked after children (e.g. adoption or special guardianship
2. Children subject to child protection plan
3. Children with acute medical or social need which justifies a particular school
4. Children with a sibling at the school
5. Children living close to the main entrance (as the crow flies).
If you’re reading this and wondering what your chances are of getting a local school (let alone your preferred local school) check out this link: http://learningtrust.co.uk/schools/primary_schools/docs/HLT14_Primary.pdf and take a look at the map on page 39.