Survey shows residents concerned about school place shortage

The results of a survey by local MP Lynne Featherstone released this week reveals the level of concern amongst local residents about school places in Haringey.

Survey returns from over four-hundred homes in Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Fortis Green wards show that nearly half of those who responded felt that more school places are needed in their area. Places at primary schools were considered as the top priority.

Liberal Democrats have called on Haringey Council to take concerted efforts to do all they can to increase the supply of school places, including backing the campaign against Islington Council’s plans to turn the former Ashmount school site into a housing development.

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green, comments:

“Haringey Council needs to listen to local residents and look to see where there is the highest pressure for places.

“The Government has given Haringey an additional £1.7million this year to relieve the pressure on school places on top of their share of £800million nationally.”

Councillor Sophie Erskine (Fortis Green) adds:

“In the first round of applications this year 130 children in Haringey did not receive a place at any primary school. The Council must do all it can to ensure our families have access to good local schools.

“It is about time that the Council backed the campaign to keep the Ashmount school site for educational use.”

Primary school places

Lynne was recently contacted by a number of local residents experiencing trouble with their child’s primary school place. A number of children seem to have been allocated no school place at all, which has understandably caused a great deal of worry for the parents concerned.

It’s crucially important that these problems are sorted out urgently. Lynne has written to the Chief Executive of Haringey Council expressing her concerns, and you can find a copy of the letter which Lynne has sent below. Lynne will be sure to keep residents updated on the situation.

Letter from Lynne to Haringey Council Chief Executive, Kevin Crompton:

Dear Kevin,

RE:  Primary School Places 2012

I am writing with regards to the recent allocation of primary school places to children who are due to begin their education in the 2012/13 academic year.

I have been contacted by a large number of parents, and have been informed that many children have been offered places which are simply not practical. Of greater concern are the number of children (particularly in the Muswell Hill area) who have not been offered any school place at all. Many of these parents live in very close proximity (in some cases, less than 0.1 miles) to a number of primary schools, such as Muswell Hill Primary, Tetherdown, Rhodes and Coldfall.

I will of course be making enquiries on behalf of individual children and parents through the members’ enquiry system. There are, however, more general concerns and queries which I would like to raise with you.

I am keen to know exactly how many children who applied for a primary school place for the 2012/13 academic year have not been offered a place. I would also like to know how many have been offered a place that wasn’t in their ‘top 6’ choices. On confirmation of these figures, I would be grateful if you could let me know what the Council will do to ensure that these children will be given a place by the time term starts.

I would also be grateful if you could outline the policy used this year when allocating school places. For instance, were the places determined by distance to the school, or other criteria?

I would be most grateful if you could address the specific points that have been raised. Thank you for your kind attention in this regard and I look forward to your response.

Kind regards,