Letter from Patricia Bamford on school placements

Patricia Bamford replies to Daniel Goodger claims.

Sir,

Last week Daniel Goodger claimed that: “Poor council management and calculations missed the shortage of places at primary schools, leaving parents concerned if their child would have a school placement.”

This is plain wrong. Kingston, like most London authorities uses population projections provided by the Greater London Authority – which we had no reason to doubt as they had proved extremely accurate in the past.

However in 2008, it was revealed that the GLA’s predictions had failed to anticipate the unprecedented rise in the local birth rate (23% increase from 2002/3 to 2007/8), the effects of the recession on the number of households opting out of private education for their children, and the numbers of new families moving into the borough attracted by the reputation of local school services.

As soon as we realised their error, we intervened to build temporary classrooms across the borough so that every four year old needing a place in a local school has been offered one, and this year 96% of all applicants receive a place in one of their top three preferred schools.

Contrary to Mr Goodger’s accusation of “Poor council management”, strong planning and lobbying of Government has attracted £300million worth of funding into the borough so we can build new classrooms and brand new schools to meet the increased demand on a permanent basis.

I sincerely regret that the information provided to the Council was inaccurate and any subsequent anxiety felt by parents and guardians about getting their children into local schools. However, I can assure residents and Mr Goodger that Kingston Council is working hard to ensure that every young person needing a place in our local, excellent schools receives one.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Tricia Bamford
Executive Member for Schools and Young People’s Services
Kingston Council

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