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Surrey plan signals no new places

Foundation status 'will not change admissions policy'


September 29, 2009: Surrey County Council has more bad news in store for Bookham's schoolchildren. Its organisation plan 2010 (click here to download a 172kb PDF) predicts an increase in the shortage of places at the Howard of Effingham School. It predicts that a projected increase in primary pupils numbers in Fetcham and Bookham area "will apply pressure on secondary places in Effingham."

According to the Don't Drive Our Children Away campaign group formed to allow Bookham children easier admission to the Howard, there are too few places available at the school. The local population is increasing and in recession more parents are transferring to good state schools from the private sector.

Unless the number of places rises or the catchment rules are changed:
[] Even though children in Bookham and Fetcham could walk or cycle to school, they will continue to have a lower priority than those in the west of the catchment who tend to come by car.

[] More children will make longer car or coach journeys, adding to the carbon footprint of those already being driven to the school from the west of the catchment. "If the Leatherhead schools are full," says DDOCA, "then the carbon footprint would increase further as would the council’s transport costs. Where would the children go? Certainly they would need to travel further than those in the Guildford end of the catchment would have to travel to attend their next nearest school."


DDOCA says some parents have commented that they feel children from Bookham and Fetcham are not wanted by the school, which they believe is responsible for criteria that favour those to the west of the catchment. "We wish to emphasise that the admissions criteria is set by SCC and not by the school."

Meanwhile, the Howard has just launched a consultation about coming a Trust (Foundation) School in 2010. This would entitle the school to set its own admission arrangements.

However the Howard's Governing Body says it "has no desire to depart from the existing admissions process which is administered by Surrey County Council. It has no plans to select students or change admissions policy in any way unless Surrey County Council advises the school otherwise.”

More information from this part of the Howard's website.

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