No choice for 35 primary pupils

PUBLISHED: 11:58 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

MORE than 35 children have been allocated a place at a primary school for which they didn t apply. Only 17 parents requested a place for their child at Mandeville School in St Albans but 53 places have been allocated for the term starting in September.``

MORE than 35 children have been allocated a place at a primary school for which they didn't apply.

Only 17 parents requested a place for their child at Mandeville School in St Albans but 53 places have been allocated for the term starting in September.``

The school will nearly double its intake along with the over-subscribed Bernards Heath Infant School as Herts County Council attempts to meet a large shortfall in the number of primary school places in the area. They are also consulting on plans to double Mandeville's intake again for the term starting in September 2009.

The primary school application results were released recently and some parents are unhappy that their children have been allocated Mandeville despite not even naming it on their list of three preferred schools.

One mother from St Albans is upset that her daughter has been given Mandeville after applying for a place at her nearest school, Prae Wood in King Harry Lane.

She said that many parents were "very disappointed" with the situation because Mandeville was not one of the best regarded schools in the area and they felt that intake should be increased at a school with a better reputation instead.

The parent, who did not want to be named, also said: "Mandeville is so far away we will have to drive and my daughter will be separated from the friends she has made."

Another parent whose child is at a nursery where many of the children have been given Mandeville is due to enter the primary school application process this year and she is also concerned. She said: "Educational choice does not exist. The idea of 'choosing schools' is a farce if you are forced into the very one you don't want."

A county council spokesperson said that Mandeville School would be undergoing some "internal-remodelling" to facilitate the extra pupils this year.

She added: "Mandeville is the school best placed to take 30 extra children in terms of accommodation and site capacity close to where there is the pressure for school places.

"We are currently looking at admission figures for 2009/10. There will be suitable accommodation provided for the number of children attending the school."

The spokesperson added: "The school has improved significantly over the past three years in terms of pupil progress and is now in the top quartile chart of similar schools in the country."

n There were 124 applicants to Bernards Heath Infant School in Sandridge Road, St Albans, and 87 of them were allocated a place.

An old building on the school site was transformed into additional classrooms after the county terminated the tenancy of the Valmar (Valley Road and Marshalswick) Residents Association Club.

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