Parents in East Reading are “livid” at the news some children from the borough may not be able to go to Maiden Erlegh School in the future.
Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) is reviewing its catchment areas following the closure of Ryeish Green School and a recommendation by an independent adjudi-cator states the present catchment areas are no longer “fit for purpose”.
As a result the council will be carrying out a consultation on new catchment boundaries in September and October.
Although the consultation document has not been published yet it appears one proposal is likely to affect children from Alfred Sutton Primary School in Wokingham Road, East Reading, many of whom will no longer fall in the Maiden Erlegh catchment area.
Reading’s only Green councillor Rob White has set up a Facebook group called No To Maiden Erlegh Catchment Area Changes.
He said: “The set up of schools as they are at the moment with Reading children going to Wokingham secondary schools dates back to when Berkshire County Council looked after education. I think it is massively unfair for Wokingham council to use its control of these schools to disadvantage Reading children who have as much right to go there.
“I will fight the corner of Reading parents and children.”
Rachael Wardell, head of strategy and partnerships in children’s services at WBC, said it was “absolutely not the case” that there were any proposals to exclude Reading borough children or children from Alfred Sutton from Wokingham schools.
She said the review of catchments included all kinds of factors including the size of the school, distance from the school and whether the children would have to cross major roads.
While children with siblings at a particular school would have preference, she acknowledged the review would result in changes to the Maiden Erlegh catchment boundary and might affect some children at Alfred Sutton.
She said Maiden Erlegh was an oversubscribed school which had expanded as far as was possible, adding parents were entitled to put any school as their first preference even if they did not live in the catchment area.
She said the matter was being discussed with Reading Borough Council officers and added: “We know that there is going to be a continuing significant need for secondary places for children from Reading borough in Wokingham borough and are well aware that we will be continuing to take children from across the Reading borough boundary.”
She said the consultation would be conducted on both sides of the boundary and would be followed by a statutory consultation based on the decisions made in November.
Labour Ex Cllr Richard McKenzie has started a petition here. He doesnt mention that he was part of the ruling group in Reading for years that failed to provide enough schools so that we have to rely on neighbouring Wokingham. Knocking on doors in Park Ward thats an issue that often comes up as a concern for parents.
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