Wheathampstead parents win second chance to appeal

PUBLISHED: 13:32 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 06 May 2010

SEVEN sets of parents who went to appeal in a bid to get their children a secondary school of their choice are being given a second opportunity to sway the panel. The Wheathampstead families had all appealed unsuccessfully for places at Harpenden s Sir Jo

SEVEN sets of parents who went to appeal in a bid to get their children a secondary school of their choice are being given a second opportunity to sway the panel.

The Wheathampstead families had all appealed unsuccessfully for places at Harpenden's Sir John Lawes and Roundwood Park Schools.

But the appeal did not address the issue of a dedicated transport services from the village to Francis Bacon School in St Albans where the children were given places.

As the panel was only fully aware of the proposed arrangements for the children concerned on the final day of appeals, the county council has agreed to reconvene the panel so that the families affected are given the opportunity to state their case around that particular issue.

Wheathampstead councillor Judy Shardlow, who has been battling to improve the secondary transfer situation for children in the village, has lodged a complaint to the Local.Government Ombudsman over the handling of the issue as a whole.

As well as the lack of opportunity for parents to put their case over transport, she has complained about the way the panel failed to elicit information from the parents and that they did not actively question the parents.

Cllr Shardlow pointed out that all nine children in Kimpton, two in Whitwell and two in Breachwood Green won their appeals for the two Harpenden schools because of the distance they would have had to travel to Francis Bacon.

But she believes that the county council is determined to ship Wheathampstead children across the district to Francis Bacon which is in Drakes Drive and is in special measures to boost its intake.

* The county council has confirmed to St Albans MP Anne Main that during the summer it will be looking at several issues around secondary transfer including the impact of straight line distance measurements to a preferred school and a two-tier sibling rule for admissions in 2011/12.

A meeting between Mrs Main, John Harris and St Albans council's chief executive Daniel Goodwin with new Under-Secretary of State for Schools and Learners, Diana Johnson over secondary transfer is being held next Wednesday afternoon at the House of Commons.

Mrs Main said: "My point is that we surely must have some way forward through this because it is causing such deep unhappiness.


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