Hitchin children allocated Letchworth primary schools

CHILDREN from Hitchin starting primary school this September will have to travel several miles to Letchworth GC schools, because places nearer to home are oversubscribed.

Herts County Council (HCC) has received a record number of applications this year for primary school places.

It means that several Hitchin youngsters will have to travel miles to Icknield Way School in Letchworth, because local schools are full up.

Three-year-old Isaac Paget, who currently goes to York Road Nursery, is one child who has been offered a place at this school, despite mum Elizabeth having applied for the three nearest schools to their Nine Springs Way Home.

William Ransom, Highbury and Mary Exton schools did not have space for Isaac, despite all being within a one kilometre radius of where he lives.

“We actually moved to the area so we could have access to these schools and now it turns out we have to travel four miles to Letchworth,” said Elizabeth, who also has a two-year-old son Edward.

“Edward starts nursery next Easter, so it’s going to be really difficult with them both in different places.

Most Read

“It wasn’t as if we were silly with our forms. We put our three nearest schools down, which is what you are supposed to do.”

Emi Clare’s son Jack has also been offered a place at Icknield Way School. He too goes to York Road Nursery.

“The placement we have been given is an absolute nightmare,” said Emi, who lives on Tristram Road and applied for three schools in Hitchin.

“I’m just gobsmacked really. Jack has certain needs and requirements. It’s been a fiasco.

“It seems there is no point in applying when we are not given a choice. There’s just no way we can travel to Letchworth each day.”

If the school is more than two miles away from the child’s home, then subsidised taxis will be used to transport children to school.

But this has been met with criticism from some parents, who say that it’s too far to send a reception child unaccompanied.

“To go to the next town when you are that young is so unsettling,” said Jo Marlow, whose son Alfie will travel from their home on Byron Close in Hitchin to Icknield School.

“We have got a two-year-old too who will start at St Andrew’s Nursery, and with them being in two different towns it will just be so difficult.”

Herts County Council said that it had received 900 more primary school applications this year, and had created hundreds of additional primary school places county wide.

A spokesman said: “We always try to accommodate pupils in the community that they live in but in a very small amount of cases this is not always possible.

“We appreciate that this is a difficult time for parents and carers whose child did not get a preferred school place.

“While the majority of parents have received a place at one of their three preferred schools, unfortunately in a few areas this has not been possible.

“All applicants who have not been offered their first preference school will automatically be placed on the continuing interest list for any schools named higher on the application form than the school offered.

“Applicants can also appeal to an independent appeal panel for their preferred schools.

“School places must be accepted by April 26. The deadline to submit an appeal is 4pm on May 13, 2011.”