Council attitude to Midhurst Primary School entrants criticised

MUMS have slammed the county council for its ‘perverse’ attitude to new primary school entrants.

A campaign was launched last week for more reception places at Midhurst Primary School, after a number of children failed to get places in the class of 30 pupils for September 2013.

This week, one of the mums, Kim Eeles, wrote a letter to Peter Griffiths, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for education and schools, to express concern about how the county council had dealt with the situation.

In the letter, she said: “Given the high number of applicants (48), it seems perverse that the local authority have not permitted Midhurst CofE Primary School to accept more than 30 children as they have in previous years (2011 being the most recent) to be organised in two reception classes.

“Instead we have the situation where parents have to drive past the school they wanted to attend, adding to the existing traffic issues around the allocated schools.”

The letter is on behalf of those who have children within the Midhurst catchment area and selected the primary as their ‘first choice’.

She said they had instead been offered places at Easebourne and Stedham schools, which were both ‘in need of improvement’.

She added: “Currently Midhurst is the only good school from those that are being offered.

“This is apparent by the fact that even families outside the catchment area have requested Midhurst CofE Primary as their first choice for their children’s education. I would suggest that if our primary school is not supported in taking the families, this is a broken promise and doesn’t match the promise from central government.”

She also queried why Easebourne Primary School was being moved into a bigger site when she claimed it was getting smaller each year as families chose to send their children to Midhurst instead.

Mrs Eeles said she understood it was planned for Midhurst primary to become an academy next year and it was likely all the children would be accepted then.

“It seems ludicrous that it is only the local children for the 2013 intake who are to be restricted,” she said. “A two form intake, as in prior (and it seems) future years, seems the logical solution.”

Mrs Eeles will now wait for a response to her letter.

As the story broke in last week’s Observer, the county council said allocations were carried out according to oversubscription criteria, which could be found on its website.