I don't know if the change in starting dates for reception have affected the problem of getting a place in September or not. But I can update you a bit on the current situation for September. I wasn't at the meeting with Mr Appleyard last week so don't really know how the dicussion went. But Bucks have made it very clear that it is up to Chestnut Lane to offer to put on a bulge class. Although the County could force them to do it, they do not want to. Bucks have said that they would provide funding and support if Chestnut Lane would put on a bulge class. The parents want the bulge class, the county will support it, but the school is saying no.
There are around 27 children on the waiting list for Chestnut Lane at the moment. All bar 1 are catchment children who didn;t get a place. Some of those children did get a place at a school in Amersham. But around 17 reception children have still not been offered a place in Amersham. (We remain at Holmer Green) as few places have come available in Amersham.
Since Chestnut Lane are refusing to put on a bulge class (and they have sited a number of reasons for this - the key one being that they do not want it to be an annual event, although the County are now proposing measures to reduce the pressure on the school by changing the catchment for Chesham Bois and, possibly, other schools in Amersham - for information this year Chesham Bois only had 7 children in catchment apply for a place in reception - the remaining 23 children who were allocated a place were out of catchment - some at least from Chesham), the County are offering an extra 15 places at St Georges (who have been very open to taking extra children). But it will not cover all the affected children and places will be allocated on distance from the school. Bell Lane was full after the first allocation round. However some children have since been offered places at higher preference schools or have made alternative arrangements (according to the County). Therefore there are officially 5 places now available at Bell Lane. But as it usual entry number is only 25, it is possible to push that up by another 5 to take it to 30. So potentially there are up to 10 places available there. Though I am not clear if any provision has been made to manage the extra children (above the 25 which the school normally caters for). The problem for many affected families is that they live over in the Chesham Bois part of Amersham and Bell Lane is still not that easy to reach. In my specific case, both my other children (hurray) now have places at Chesham Bois.
Previous posters have asked why parents are so set ona bulge class at Chestnut Lane. The basic reason is that it is the catchment school and therefore:
- it allows children to be part of their immediate local community;
- it allows them to walk to school;
- it improves the chances of having continuity of education when the children need to move from Y2 to Y3; (In the case of St George's for instance - non-catchment children will be last to be allocated places at Woodside and are unlikely to get a place at Elangeni as they did not attend the linked infant school so families could find them having to go through this all over again at the end of Y2)
- for families with more than one child, it significantly increases the chances of subsequent children being able to attend the same school. (For most of the families involved, this is their first child going to school. So this is a serious problem. They could end up with the situation we have found oursleves in with children at different schools some distance apart. We and one other family, as far as I know, are the only ones with siblings already in schools).
- a number of the children have attended the nursery in Chestnut Lane and so are very familiar with the school.
We also need to keep in mind the fact that we are talking about families who in many cases live only 0.3 miles from the school which is nothing. It is very galling for them not to be able to get their children into a school right on their doorstep.
Personally I could accept St George's (though I am not hopeful of being offered a place), but clearly with 2 children in Chesham Bois, Chestnut Lane would be better (and Chesham Bois better still!).
I hope this gives a bit more clarity to the issue.
If anyone wants to support us, then please add your name to the petition to Bucks. Link below:http://www.buckscc.g...lay.aspx?ID=505