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Delay for school area merger bid.

Byline: Lucy Lynch Education reporter

PLANS to merge six Warwick primary school catchment areas into one have been delayed after just 48 of 2,900 questionnaires asking for parents' views were filled in.

Members of Warwickshire County Council's cabinet voted to make the proposal for a 'super priority area' part of consultations about school admissions for the school year beginning September 2016.

A consultation launched in January had named September 2015 as a possible start date.

The delay comes after just 48 of the 2,900 questionnaires sent to parents by council staff were filled in and returned.

Some parents who did return questionnaires considered it a fantastic idea. Others were concerned about children missing out on their nearest school because the place had gone to a younger brother or sister of a child living much further away.

The Warwickshire Teacher Representative Panel - made up of heads and trade union representatives - called for the problem to be solved by leaving catchment areas unchanged and giving younger brothers and sisters priority in all Warwickshire schools.

The cabinet decided not to make a commitment to merging catchment areas in all Warwickshire towns by 2016.

Instead a task and finish group will be set up to investigate the issue.

Merging catchment areas of the six Warwick primary schools had been suggested by council officers as a solution to a growing problem of brothers and sisters not being able to get places at the same school.

It came after some families had successfully applied for a place for their older child at a school out of their catchment area but within the proposed super priority area - but because of a subsequent squeeze on places found they could not get their second child into the same school, making drop-offs and pickups a logistical nightmare. Pressure group Siblings at the Same School had called for council staff to find a solution to the problem.

Hayley Hindle, a campaigner from Siblings at the Same School, said: "It has been delayed again. This is very disappointing."

The proposal is to merge the priority area for Coten End Primary School in Coten End; Emscote Infant School, All Saints Road; All Saints Infant School, All Saints Road; Newburgh Primary School, Kipling Avenue; Westgate Primary School, Bowling Green Street; and Woodloes Primary School, Deansway.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 11, 2014
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