Primary school places row continues

OVERSUBSCRIBED primary schools in Hertfordshire have left some parents in Comet country with impractical placements for their children.

The Comet reported last week how a number of parents in Hitchin had been allocated Letchworth GC schools and would have to either transport their children the several miles there, or put them in subsidised taxis.

Those in Baldock have also been affected by the system, with some parents with more than one child having to send them to different schools.

Grace Murray, who lives on Beechwood Close, Baldock, is one parent who has been given a placement at two different schools in the town.

Her three-year-old daughter Tilly has been placed at Hartsfield School, despite son Archie going to St John’s School, where Tilly is in the nursery.

“It will end up that we have children at two different schools,” said Mrs Murray.

“St John’s was my first choice and I didn’t think I wouldn’t get it. After all my daughter is at the nursery there and my son is in Year 1 at the school too.

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“I will have one child at one school, and one at another. Hartsfield is a five to 10 minute drive away from St John’s, so I would have to leave my son in the playground in the morning and then pick one of them up late. It’s just not possible.

“I asked to see if Hartsfield had a place for my son so at least they could be in the same place, but it’s full up.

“I’m in the process of appealing. I have no other option, as the current situation is not feasible.”

A spokesman for Herts County Council said: “An increase in the number of applications was expected this year and therefore hundreds of additional primary school places were created across the county.

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

“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.

“Receiving your allocation is only the start of the process and, as the appeal and continuing interest stages get underway, we expect movement within the continuing interest lists.”

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