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Catchment changes plan to beat schools’ crisis
4:44pm Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
A MASSIVE shake-up of primary and secondary school catchment areas in Winchester is planned to cope with the pressure on places.
education chiefs are expected to go out to public consultation on proposed boundary changes this month.
No details are yet available but it is understood the review will involve all primaries in Winchester city and the three secondaries.
Children living in a school catchment area are given priority for places under the council’s admission policy.
The revised primary catchments will come into force in September 2014 when a new primary at The Westgate opens its doors to reception pupils – and becomes the first county-run school for children aged four to 16.
One in ten reception children in Hampshire this week started at schools which were not their parents’ first choice although no child is without a place.
Winchester has among the biggest squeeze on places with 17 per cent allocated second or third-choice schools.
Dozens of primary school pupils in Winchester city – and hundreds across the county – will be taught in temporary classrooms as council bosses had to resort to emergency measures to provide enough places for all pupils entitled to one, as they are legally bound to do.
Mum-of-three Siobhan Hand, whose children attend Owslebury Primary, said: “My son is due to start at Westgate in 2013 but will my daughter be able to follow him there two years later and will there be a free bus service, which is important if you live in a village?
“It is all up in the air. It is inevitable there will be changes but like many parents I would like my children to attend the same school.”
Hampshire’s education boss Councillor Roy Perry said the council was investing £10m in creating hundreds of extra school places in Winchester, including the new two-form entry primary at The Westgate.
Winchester city councillor Dominic Hiscock, chairman of governors at over-subscribed St Bede, warned redrawing catchment areas would not create extra places.
The Liberal Democrat councillor said: “The new Westgate primary will deal with the existing situation, for example building on Chilbolton Avenue, but more than 2,000 new homes are planned in the city and there are no plans for how we will accommodate these children which is why I am campaigning for a second new primary school.”
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