Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford launches petition over school places fiasco

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford launches petition over school places fiasco

By Michael Upton | 12/05/2022

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford launches petition over school places fiasco

 

AN MP has launched a petition to be sent to Parliament highlighting the school places fiasco that has left children on a new housing estate squeezed out, branding the situation “unacceptable”.

The Advertiser told last month how Waverley Junior Academy is massively oversubscribed for new starters next year, causing heartache for parents who had moved on to the estate specially and now face long round-trips to Catcliffe, Treeton, Brinsworth or Handsworth.

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford’s petition calls on RMBC and developer Harworth to work together to provide more places, with some parents suggesting temporary classrooms on the school grounds.

It follows a public meeting attended by parents of 25 children, who had all missed out on places despite living less than half a mile away, including some only 200 metres from the school.

“The idea of temporary classrooms being instituted was welcomed across the board as an interim measure to bridge the gap for this raft of families while school provision was extended for the village,” said Mr Stafford.

The petition calls on Waverley Junior Academy to accommodate the 39 children whose applications for a place were rejected, including 21 living on the Waverley estate itself.

Mr Stafford added: “I am calling on the council to increase provision at Waverley Junior Academy for children affected this year, in the interim by instituting temporary classrooms whilst working with Harworth, the developer at Waverley, in the longer term to ensure that there are enough school places for children in the village and that this situation is not repeated in future years.

“It is not enough for developers to come along and build houses without investing in community infrastructure.”

The blueprint for the Waverley development, which is due to grow to more than 3,000 homes, earmarks locations for two primary schools, only one of which has been built.

A report published by developer Harworth last summer stated “it is evident that two primary schools, as described in the outline development description, are not required and both RMBC education team and Aston Education Community Trust would like to see a third form built on the plot of primary school 1 as and when required.”

The report said: “Depending on the number of dwellings provided, the second school can be provided as necessary but based on detailed master planning work, this is unlikely, based on the consented and proposed densities across the site.”

Parents have told the Advertiser they expect the shortage of places for new starters to continue in future years, with large numbers of couples with young children having moved onto the estate.