Harpenden school places fight stalls

PUBLISHED: 16:02 04 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 May 2010

Peter Lilley, MP for Harpenden

Peter Lilley, MP for Harpenden

A BID to get the county council to guarantee a local secondary school place for every child in Harpenden has stalled. Hitchin and Harpenden MP Peter Lilley has been campaigning for such an assurance because children in the town who are initially unable to

A BID to get the county council to guarantee a local secondary school place for every child in Harpenden has stalled.

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Peter Lilley has been campaigning for such an assurance because children in the town who are initially unable to get a place at a Harpenden secondary school of their choice, invariably get one before the new school year starts.

He took his argument that if the county council gave such a guarantee it would ease months of worry for parents to education minister Diana Johnson on two occasions.

But he has now been told that such a scheme would not be acceptable to government because the county council might not be able to fulfil such a pledge.

Mr Lilley said: "I would have thought that was a judgement for the county itself to make and not an issue which should involve central government.

"In practice the county has in previous years succeeded in offering a place at a ranked school to all pupils in "greater Harpenden", usually because they have become available through the waiting list process, if not, by increasing school intake."

He pledged to raise the subject again in the House of Commons when Parliament returns after its summer break.

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