Anger as dozens of St Albans district pupils fail to get any of their chosen schools

PUBLISHED: 10:56 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 May 2010

THE MAJORITY of pupils in the St Albans district who failed to get a place at one of their three chosen secondary schools have been allocated one that is in special measures. Francis Bacon School in Drakes Drive, St Albans, which was placed in special mea

THE MAJORITY of pupils in the St Albans district who failed to get a place at one of their three chosen secondary schools have been allocated one that is in special measures.

Francis Bacon School in Drakes Drive, St Albans, which was placed in special measures by Ofsted last July, has been allocated to 96 of the 118 pupils in the district who did not get any of their three preferred schools. It has been under-subscribed for some years.

Twenty-six children who ranked Francis Bacon were given places there with an additional 111 children in total from both inside and outside the St Albans district.

Among those who did not get a place at a ranked school were 55 pupils in St Albans and 14 in Harpenden together with 11 in Colney Heath, nine in Kimpton, 10 in London Colney and 14 in Wheathampstead.

Cllr Judy Shardlow, who represents Wheathampstead which is always one of the worst affected, said: "For people in St Albans it's obvious parents are upset that they have not been able to get their children into their favoured school. But villagers just want to get their children into a school near home instead of being expected to travel for two hours each day to get to and from school."

In Colney Heath, ward councillor Chris Brazier said he was furious that seven children had been given places at Onslow St Audrey's in Hatfield when it was not on their list of preferences.

Cllr Brazier said: "Out of 30 children, seven didn't even get a school in St Albans and eight that I am aware of didn't get one of their three choices. Villagers are now even worse off than they were 11 years ago when I started helping parents in this process.

"Parents from Colney Heath should not be given Onslow. St Albans is our priority area. There are no transport links with Hatfield. The prospect of an 11-year old child travelling alone by four buses to a school in Hatfield from Colney Heath is a prospect I cannot imagine the county supporting."

Cllr Brazier arranged a meeting at Colney Heath JMI School last night (Wednesday) to give parents a chance to vent their concerns.

Overall in the county 92.8 per cent of children have been allocated a place at one of their three ranked schools - slightly down on last year.

A shake-up in the continuing interest system this year means that parents pursuing a place at a different school from the one they have been allocated automatically forfeits the original allocation if they are successful.

It is to stop parents holding on to more than one place for some time while they make a decision about which they prefer.


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