A parent who sent in parents’ questions about the Piggott places allocation has had replies from Wokingham Borough Council children’s services director Carol Cammiss.
The director referred to the increased demand in the area for secondary places.
In the letter, written before the places were offered this week, she said that increased demand this year could mean children in
south Twyford being left without Piggott places, but places at other schools.
She said it was likely the places issue would continue for a number of years. Though there was good evidence “local demand will fall sharply from 2026 onwards, indicating a permanent increase in capacity may be inappropriate,” she said.
The council had found places for all children using available space, in accessible schools. “These may not be parents’ preferred schools, but they are good schools, where we can be confident children will thrive,” she added.
Parents asked about travel to school.
One said: “There is no safe walking route to Waingels from here.”
Walking down an unlit road in the dark was unacceptable for an adult, let alone a child.
Carol Cammiss said children would be given transport to their closest available school and if it was more than three miles away by a safe route.
Roads used did not have to be lit.
Each child’s case would be considered individually. Parts of Twyford were within walking distance of Waingels, so children from there would not be eligible for transport. Twyford was served by a range of buses.
Parents asked if The Piggott had been offered enough funding to accommodate extra pupils.
The director said the school had proposed an additional number of places which was twice that suggested by the council.
There was a risk that numbers would have ended up so that the council would had to make additional payments to the school and more accommodation would
be needed. These would have been challenging for the council to provide.
Parents complained they were not consulted about giving 15 Crazies Hill children the right to Piggott places.
The director said the parents should ask the Piggott about this as the school had run the consultation.
A parent said the admissions policy was changed after parents had applied. “Is this fair or right?” they asked. The director said the school had a legal duty to comply with the School Adjudicator’s decision.
The parents’ spokesperson said: “We did not feel the answers to the parents’ questions cared. They were dismissive. These children are expected to walk 2.7 miles down unlit roads.” One route involved a road flooded by the River Loddon in winter.
“We are curious to know what the Piggott offered. They did propose to solve the [places] problem in some way. The council should plan and provide for additional need in the area. Our children shouldn’t be disadvantaged.”
And the spokesperson added: “Twyford’s buses are not regular at all.” Parents had been completely blindsided by the reduction in Piggott places caused by allowing 15 automatic places for Crazies Hill children.”
The spokesperson praised the council’s admissions department for their help.