Oldfield parents at disadvantage for secondary school selection, says governor

A parent governor at a primary school has highlighted how the allocation of secondary school places across the Oldfield ward leaves parents at a disadvantage.

Amy Hewitt from Chauntry Road has a son and daughter in years three and four at Oldfield Primary School but has concerns that the system is not fair and equal for all residents.

She feels so strongly about the issue that she has written to the Prime Minister, council leader Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) and Royal Borough managing director Alison Alexander.

She said: “While 80 per cent of Royal Borough children got their first choice secondary school, only 58 per cent of Oldfield pupils got their first choice, and only 40 per cent of Oldfield girls got their first choice secondary school.

“Since changes made to the designated catchment area of Maidenhead’s secondary schools in 2009, residents in the ward are disadvantaged because of the locations of the borough’s secondary schools all being to the west or north of the town.”

In his response Cllr Dudley said he would ask council officers to provide him with a ‘briefing note’ into the potential expansion of Newlands Girls’ School and pointed to the development of a new primary and secondary school at the Maidenhead Golf Club site.

“But that doesn’t address the problem in the short term”, said Amy.

The mother-of-two said she would like to see the selection criteria of feeder schools to be given more prevalence in the short term, and pointed to a how a similar problem was overcome in Cookham in 2010 by assigning the three Cookham primary schools priority linked status with Furze Platt Senior School.

She added: “Oldfield however has not yet been fortunate enough to have this disadvantage addressed by the borough.”

Oldfield ward Cllr Asghar Majeed (Ind Con) said he had been made aware of the issue by a number of other parents and that him and the other ward councillors were planning to table a question at the next meeting of full council.

Amy is also planning to meet Kevin McDaniel, director of children's services after the Easter break to raise her concerns directly.


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