Parents and carers of children across Warwickshire are being encouraged to share their views on the way primary school places are allocated in urban areas.
As part of its efforts to improve the admissions process, Warwickshire County Council is exploring the impact of reviewing catchment areas in some of Warwickshire’s towns.
An initial consultation has been launched for a proposed ‘Super Priority Area’ for Warwick primary schools in time for September 2015.
The aim of the scheme is to improve the admissions arrangements in urban catchment areas where demand for places is high and where there are more than five schools in a two mile radius. Under the current system, first allocation is given to those families living within each school’s priority area over those living elsewhere, even if they already have a sibling at the school.
Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Children and Schools, said: “The move to merging primary school priority areas in the county’s towns is a significant step and we are consulting with local families, communities and schools so that we can have a true picture of local issues.”
Under the proposed scheme school’s would share priority areas and be given wider boundaries to try and accommodate siblings at the same school while not prejudicing local children’s access to local schools.
If the plans go ahead the scheme could be rolled out to other areas of the county including Leamington Spa, Bedworth, Nuneaton, Rugby and Stratford-upon-Avon.
Consultation in these areas would be for school admissions in 2016.
Cllr Heather Timms said: “Every year we accommodate the vast majority of families’ preferences. Understandably we are challenged when things do not work out but we continually strive to achieve an admissions process which is fair to all families.”
Over 100 primary schools are in localities that might be suitable for Super Priority Areas. Due to the large numbers involved and the scale, the council is proposing the phased roll out of any agreed change.
Warwick has been selected first because concerns have been highlighted in this area and it offers a clearly defined area with a manageable number of schools.
You can share your views and find out more about the Super Priority Area for Warwick schools at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/admissionscriteriaconsultations
Details on public meetings to be held in Warwick and Leamington will be released shortly.
The eight week consultation closes on 1 March 2014 and a report will be taken to the County Council’s cabinet to make a decision on 10 April 2014.