Parents’ fears over secondary places

May 29 2015

PARENTS have voiced their concerns about the council's predictions that there will be very limited secondary school places in two year's time.

PARENTS have voiced their concerns about the council's predictions that there will be very limited secondary school places in two year's time.

According to Ian Bell, place planning manager at Bristol City Council, the spike in birth rates in Bristol around seven or eight years ago has meant that secondary schools will be tightly squeezed when it comes to accepting children who are looking to attend in 2017/18.

Parents with children heading to secondary school in this year, also felt the pinch when it came to applying for primary school places in 2012.

A strategy is therefore being put together by the council which will address how many secondary school places are required and what options are available.

The report is set to be released in September or October this year.

Mr Bell says that the role of the council has changed “significantly” over the past few years, and with schools becoming academies, it has given local authorities less control over what areas the academies take their pupils from.

Over three-quarters of Bristol's secondary schools are now academies.

Mr Bell said: “We are aware that there is a problem, and we're looking at what we can do to solve it.

“It will be difficult, but we will do our best to target our resources and allow majority of people to get into the school they want.”

He suggested that there could be developments to secondary schools similar to the Brunel Field extension in Ashley Down.

The report will be available on the council website's admissions page. There will be at least a six-week consultation to discuss plans with the general public.

One parent, who prefers to remain anonymous, says now the catchment area around Redland Green School has decreased, their daughter – who will be attending secondary school in 2017 – will no longer be able to get in.

They said: “I was originally living in the catchment area for Redland Green, but we won't get in now because the catchment area has changed – I've watched it decrease over the years.

“We were caught up in the whole primary school debacle, and now I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach that we won't be able to get my daughter in the secondary school of our choice. It's a very difficult situation.”

Melanie Ventham, a mother of two, said: “I moved from Bedminster to make sure that I could get my child into Bishop Road Primary. We now don't want to move every three years just to make sure our child gets into the right secondary school. Families need to be able to plan ahead.”