New priority areas for primary schoolchildren in parts of Rugby

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WARWICKSHIRE County Council’s cabinet has approved a new super-priority area for primary schoolchildren in West Rugby, ensuring that all will have access to a school in the locality from September 2012.

West Rugby is served by six primary schools; Bawnmore Infant, Bilton Infant, Bilton C of E Junior, Cawston Grange Primary, Henry Hinde Infant and Henry Hinde Junior School.

Each of these schools has a priority area, defined by the admission authority, meaning that, if a school is oversubscribed, precedence goes to children in that area.

The pupil population of West Rugby has changed significantly, largely due to the development of the Cawston Grange estate since the late 1990s. This has more children living there than originally anticipated and the development has similarly increased in size by nearly 50 per cent.

In September 2010, the primary school built on the estate, Cawston Grange Primary, could not accommodate all of the children. Other schools in the locality could not offer a place as, according to distance criterion, children living outside the locality might still live closer to Bilton or Bawnsmore Infant Schools than the children on the Cawston Grange estate. These were then left with an unreasonable distance to travel to school.

The proposal, endorsed by cabinet yesterday (Thursday), is to create a super-priority area which would greatly enhance the likelihood of obtaining a place at a local school.

It followed discussions between county council officers and the six schools in west Rugby as well as consultation with all parents and carers, as well as prospective parents and carers, the borough council, parish councils, the local MP, other schools in Rugby and neighbouring local authorities.

Feedback has widely supported the proposals. The only concern was the effect it might have on admissions in other schools but this was addressed by the commitment to maximise existing capacity.

Cllr Heather Timms, portfolio holder for children, young people and families, said: “This is an excellent outcome for the children and their families of West Rugby. It was unfortunate that some were not allocated a school place locally in September owing to the exceptional circumstances in Cawston Grange.

“But the county council has moved swiftly working with the schools and the community. We have shown great flexibility in bringing into place a process that will ensure fairer priority areas in this area and ensure that children in and around West Rugby have a place in a primary school that is, at the very least, within a reasonable distance and within their locality.”