Liberal Democrats councillors have expressed fears that the crisis over a shortage of reception places for schoolchildren in Alexandra ward is now widening out to adjacent areas.
Of the 136 children (nearly double the number in 2006) who did not receive any of their parents’ four preferences for a reception place in September, 25 came from Alexandra ward, 17 from neighbouring Muswell Hill and 14 from next-door Bounds Green ward. Together, they make up over 40% of the total, whilst the cut-off distances around popular local schools such as Rhodes Avenue and Bounds Green continue to shrink.
Liberal Democrats say that action must be taken to deal with the worsening shortfall. Cllr Gail Engert, spokesperson for children, schools and families, has been pressing Haringey Council since the summer to undertake a feasibility study on expanding Rhodes Avenue to three-form entry, which could provide an extra 30 places to allow local children a choice of a local school.
Cllr Engert comments:
“This situation is going from bad to worse, while Haringey Council just turns a blind eye. Expansion may have taken place at Tetherdown, Coleridge and Coldfall primaries, but this is now history and these schools are full. The Labour Council needs to act now to make sure that increasing numbers of parents around Alexandra are not let down.”
Local MP Lynne Featherstone adds:
“It is heartbreaking having to deal with local families who can’t get a place at a much loved local schools for their child.Haringey seems paralysed by inaction when it comes to dealing with the problem in this part of the Muswell Hill. It’s time Haringey Council took up the Liberal Democrat plan for three-form entry at Rhodes Avenue.”