All St Albans children given school places for September

Parents and children protest the lack of secondary school places in St Albans city centre. Picture:

Parents and children protest the lack of secondary school places in St Albans city centre. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The 189 children left without a school place in St Albans have been allocated school places in continued interest week.

School places were announced across the county on Friday, March 5, and nearly 200 children in St Albans district were not given a place at any of their chosen schools.

Any children who did not get a school place were put on a ‘continued interest’ list for their chosen schools, but were not given priority over pupils who had already been given a school but would prefer a different one.

Parents held a protest in the city centre on Saturday, March 9, fighting for their children to be given priority, but the council was legally bound by Department for Education legislation and could not grant them their request.

The first round of continued interest began on Monday, and 575 children in Hertfordshire have been given new allocations to preference schools.

In St Albans, 212 children have been sent a new offer, while 138 children have been offered a place at a preference school.

Cllr Terry Douris, the county council’s cabinet member for education, libraries and localism, said: “Following our first round of continuing interest I am pleased to say that, as expected, all Hertfordshire children have now been offered a school place.

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“These places have been offered in accordance with our allocations process and the admission arrangements of individual schools and academies. Of the 189 children who have been waiting for a place, 61 per cent have been offered one at their ranked schools.

“We really appreciate the last few weeks have been a worrying time for parents in the St Albans and Harpenden areas and hope that they are now able to accept the places offered by Thursday 28 March.

“170 places at Katherine Warington – a new free school funded and delivered by the Department for Education set to open in September 2019 – have now been allocated.”

The shortfall in places was partially blamed on the ‘parallel process’ for pupils applying to Katherine Warington School (KWS), which meant some children were offered two places - one at KWS and one at another school in St Albans.

Once one of these offers was accepted, duplicate offers were removed and more places became available.