Redbourn parents fight to school kids locally

PUBLISHED: 15:19 21 June 2011

Herts County Council

Herts County Council

Archant

Group lobbies for extra class after “rude awakening” over nursery places

A GROUP of Redbourn parents determined to have their children educated within their village have formed an action group to push for an extra reception class next year.

Julia Merritt, of Redbourn Action Group for Schools, said there was likely to be an extra 30 youngsters needing reception places next year because 2008 was a “boom year” for babies in Redbourn.

The group is lobbying Hertfordshire County Council to plan and provide for what is expected to be a heavily over-subscribed year for the village’s sole school, Redbourn Infants and Nursery.

Julia, a marketing manager, said: “Everybody assumes their child will attend the local nursery school because it’s where their children grow up.”

She explained that local parents had had a “rude awakening with regards to nursery places for 2011” after 20 children missed out in the recent allocation process and consequently there is concern about reception year school places for 2012 in Redbourn.

Julia added: “The biggest problem is that because 2008 was a boom year, there is not the capacity to take the children.”

There are fears that children will be allocated places in schools six or seven miles out of Redbourn.

Julia said: “For someone like me who has to travel to work, I can’t go six miles away to take my daughter to infant school.

“Parents are fighting to stop the fragmentation of the community; it’s such an important time for children’s networks.

“We believe that Redbourn children deserve to go to their local school. It’s not a case of preferences, as in Harpenden, as there is no choice. It just so happens it’s a good school.”

She went on: “We are working with the council, the school places officer and the local councillor, Maxine Crawley. They know that 2008 is a problem year and they are looking at ways of accommodating them.”

The action group has set up a Facebook page and attended several meetings on the issue, one of which was with the school places officer, “who was very supportive.”

A spokesman for council said: “We acknowledge that there is a forecast deficit for Redbourn next year. We have met with local parents to hear their concerns and also with the two local schools. No decisions have yet been taken about additional places, but we are working to ensure appropriate provision is made.”

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