Parents battling for places at their local secondary school had surprise good news this week – 25 children have been offered spaces there.
Wokingham Borough Council yesterday revealed 19 extra places have been created at the school. In addition, six other places have been offered to other children on the waiting list.
It means though that there are still lots of children, many living in the school’s catchment area, still on the list.
Of 159 children on the original waiting list for the Piggott School at Twyford, 58 lived in the catchment area but had no sibling at the school.
Twyford parents battling for places had worked out that 25 places had been offered earlier this week. Their spokesperson said: “From our perspective this is great news and we are pleased that Piggott and the council have worked together to find a resolution for us as we always felt we were the innocent victims of wider policy decisions that did not support the local communities.
“We hope that the Piggott will be given additional funding to support this additional number of students and we thanks them for doing this.
“This issue has raised many questions and concerns as to the planning for secondary places and we hope a review will take place so that parents next year and in future years won’t be in the same awful situation as us.”
This week’s offers were a sudden surprise to parents. The spokesman said: “It’s really odd, I’d been told it was a really long process.
“There are worries now that no more places will be offered. But some parents now feel they are near the top of the new list.”
The spokesperson reminded parents about the March 31 deadline for appeals for places.
They added: “As a group of parents we are working together to help the other parents with children still on the waiting list to get places.”
Cllr UllaKarin Clark, executive member for children’s services, said yesterday: “The published admissions number for The Piggott School is 206 but 225 children have now been allocated to the school.
“After ongoing discussions with the school, the headteacher and its academy trust, they have agreed to take an additional 19 pupils this year. These places have been filled by those at the top of the wait list and families were contacted earlier this week.”
The School Admission Code 2014 allowed admission authorities to admit above their admission number during the admissions process to meet parental demand.
“We have also had several families which were offered places but have subsequently refused their place in order to go elsewhere.
“Therefore, we have been able to offer some additional places to those on the wait list. Any further places which become available will be because an applicant has now refused the place they were initially offered at The Piggott School.”
Last week area MP Theresa May said she was taking up the issue of secondary school places locally with the council again. Yesterday morning she was waiting to hear from them. The Piggott School headteacher Derren Gray and Governors Chair Richard Thiele had not replied to Wokingham.Today requests for comment before we went to press.
Councillor Lindsay Ferris (Twyford Lib Dem) said: “We can’t have this situation [about school allocations] happening again. If there is a change of administration in May’s elections and Lib Dems are in control we would want to have a much clearer, more open approach to what happens.”
He added: “The Piggott needs to think through its position regarding its two traditional feeder schools, Polehampton and Colleton.”