School answers parents doubts

PUBLISHED: 12:01 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

Pupils give up some of their half term to spread the message

Pupils give up some of their half term to spread the message

STAFF, parents and governors of a primary school earmarked for expansion for the next two summers have rushed to its defence in the wake of concern about a shortfall in demand. Mandeville School in St Albans together with Bernards Heath Infants School wil

STAFF, parents and governors of a primary school earmarked for expansion for the next two summers have rushed to its defence in the wake of concern about a shortfall in demand.

Mandeville School in St Albans together with Bernards Heath Infants School will nearly double its intake this summer and in 2009 in a bid to meet a shortage of primary places in the city.

Fifty-three places have been allocated at Mandeville for the coming autumn term but only 17 parents have requested a place there for their child.

Some parents are unhappy about their children being allocated a place there because it was not named on their list of three preferred schools and would mean a long journey to get there.

Head teacher Amanda Godfrey said this week that the school was saddened to hear that parents were disappointed with their allocation of a place at Mandeville particularly as so few had been willing to visit and make their decision based on first-hand experience.

She added: "Of the parents who received Mandeville as their school who had not requested it, six parents have since visited the school and all were extremely positive about their visit.

"Following their visit, all but one accepted the place offered to them without hesitation. The exception was one family that lived over five miles away."

Ms Godfrey said the school had made huge improvements over the last eight years and was unrecognisable from the Mandeville of 1998 when it was deemed to be a failing school.

She said: "Everyone connected with the current school is immensely proud of what we do. There is a fantastic learning environment to inspire and support children, the staff are excellent, there is a very strong leadership team and most importantly children are happy and successful learners."

She pointed out that the most recent figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families showed Mandeville pupils progressing equal to the 25 per cent best-performing schools in the country. In English, pupils achieved even better with progress among the top 10 per cent nationally.

Ms Godfrey said the achievements confirmed a consistently-rising trend and there was every indication the school would be even more successful next year.

Mandeville is due for another Ofsted inspection before the end of the school year after a gap of nearly six years which makes the 2002 report the most recent parents have to look at.

Ms Godfrey described the 30 additional places the school had been asked to offer as an "exciting opportunity" and urged all families allocated a place at the school to accept an invitation to come and visit it for themselves.

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