Parents unite to demand St Albans city-centre schools

PUBLISHED: 12:41 26 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:03 06 May 2010

CAMPAIGNING parents have secured a meeting with Herts County Council to discuss the lack of St Albans city-centre primary school places. SABLE — St Albans Battle for Local Education — has been formed by the angry parents of more than 30 of the 80 children

CAMPAIGNING parents have secured a meeting with Herts County Council to discuss the lack of St Albans city-centre primary school places.

SABLE - St Albans Battle for Local Education - has been formed by the angry parents of more than 30 of the 80 children denied a place at any of their nearest primary schools in central St Albans. Instead they have been allocated schools outside the city centre.

One of the mothers, Mary Crofts, has written a letter to county councillor Keith Emsall, the executive member for education, on behalf of the campaign group to request a meeting to discuss possible solutions to the situation. He agreed and a meeting was set for last night (Wednesday).

The parents argue that the problem was caused by the county council two years ago when it allowed three city-centre schools - St Peters, Maple and Aboyne Lodge - to take on an additional form of entry in order to meet a large shortfall in places.

But this year all but two places at Aboyne Lodge and the vast majority of the places at the two other schools have been taken up with siblings who get priority over any other local children regardless of the distance they live from the school.

SABLE believes the sibling rule needs changing if families move out of the area and they insist the long-term solution is to build a new city-centre school.

The county has always maintained that city-centre children have been allocated schools within two miles which they deem to be a satisfactory distance. But the parents argue that it's too far to walk, especially if they have younger children with them.

Mrs Crofts said by sticking to the two-mile rule, county was pushing parents into using their cars and adversely affecting efforts to reduce pollution.

She added: "The council really needs to wake up to the fact that the environment is a very real issue with parents, and the wider community. The school allocation system as it stands is not reflective of a county council embracing and encouraging 'green issues'."

Mrs Crofts is still looking for other parents to join forces with the group and anyone interested should contact her on 01727 800198.

For an update on what was said at the meeting visit www.hertsad.co.uk later this week.

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