43 pupils without secondary-shool place of choice

PUBLISHED: 16:08 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

MORE than half the pupils without a place at a ranked secondary school when the allocations were announced in March are still without one. New figures released by Herts County Council show that of the 77 children in the St Albans district without a ranked

MORE than half the pupils without a place at a ranked secondary school when the allocations were announced in March are still without one.

New figures released by Herts County Council show that of the 77 children in the St Albans district without a ranked place initially, 43 are still waiting to find out where they will go.

Most of the appeals are now over but the outcome at some key schools including Sandringham in St Albans and Sir John Lawes and Roundwood Park in Harpenden are not expected until later this month and early July.

The situation is becoming particularly distressing for some children now because Year Six children in primary schools are getting visits from teachers at their new secondary schools.

It is particularly upsetting for 10-year-old Aidan Alexander who is now the only child at Beech Hyde JMI in Wheathampstead not to have a place at a ranked secondary school. He was offered Onslow St Audrey in Hatfield which his parents Andrew and Paulette turned down.

Mr and Mrs Alexander had applied for a place at Sandringham - the closest school geographically to their home in Nurseries Road - Roundwood Park and Sir John Lawes.

Although Aidan is on the continuing interest list for all three schools, his position on the lists has actually fallen.

Mrs Alexander explained this week that the situation could come about for several reasons including someone geographically closer to a school moving into the area or people with a ranked school place either wanting a place at another school or not taking their child's name off the continuing interest lists.

But she said it was proving very upsetting for Aidan who could not understand why he still had not got a place and was moving further down the lists.

She added: "Last week secondary school teachers came into Beech Hyde to speak to the children and he is the only one without a school at the moment."

Mrs Alexander put the problems down to geography although they had put Sandringham as their first choice because it was the nearest school to Nurseries Road. She warned that she would keep Aidan at home rather than sent him outside the area to Hatfield.

District councillor for Wheathampstead, Judy Shardlow, has been in constant touch with County Hall over the secondary transfer problems facing children in the north of the district where 22 are still without places, eight of them in the village.

She said director of children, schools and families John Harris had assured her the situation was kept under close review and had admitted that the admissions process marginalised some of the villages in Herts.

A spokesperson for children, schools and families said there would be no special review of the current situation but councillors would be taking their annual look at the draft rules for future years, this time 2010/11, during the summer.

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