PLACES have been offered for the new Waverley Junior Academy — only the second school to be built in Rotherham in a quarter of a century.
Allocating the first intake of youngsters marks another milestone in the development of the new community, which will eventually have 4,000 properties.
And the academy has been described as crucial for helping to reduce the pressure on neighbouring primaries.
The Highfield Lane school — being funded by landowners Harworth — will eventually create 60 jobs and have 540 pupil places.
Ten of these places will be within a specialist centre for young people with autism, housed in a separate building on the site.
The plans won unanimous support from Rotherham Council’s planning board a year ago. Concerns about parking have been raised but the authority says the 50 vehicle spaces should be enough, with most youngsters expected to live within walking distance.
Across the borough, almost 94 per cent of children have been offered a place at their first choice primary for the next school year.
The council said this was despite a rise in demand, with the number of places being allocated increasing by 200 to more than 3,100.
And 98.3 per cent of the youngsters will be starting lessons at one of their family’s top three preference schools.
Of the 611 pupils moving from infants to juniors, 99.2 per cent have been offered their first choice.
RMBC deputy leader Cllr Gordon Watson, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I know as a parent myself how daunting it can be for children when they are starting school for the first time, and how desperate you are to get your child your preferred school.
“Our aim as a council is to get every child the best start in life and giving them access to good quality education on their doorstep is integral to that.
“Demand for school places, locally and nationally, remains high, which makes school place planning challenging.
“Once again though, we have risen to the challenge and done extremely well for both first choice and top three preferences. I am proud that we have been above the national average for the last ten years and am confident Rotherham will remain among the highest performing authorities in the region.”
He added: “This year, I would like to pay special tribute to the hard work of our school admissions team, who have performed outstandingly to produce this work while the coronavirus crisis is ongoing.”
Parents have the right to appeal their allocation and the council maintains a waiting list until December 31.
The Waverley school will be the second to open in Rotherham in 25 years, after Eastwood Village Primary in 2015.