Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Tudor Grange: admission fears "groundless"

ALL children who live within the catchment of Tudor Grange Academy will be able to get a place up to 2019 despite controversial admission changes, its leaders have said.

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The school said fears over its plan to give priority to children from two primary schools over catchment area children are “groundless”.

It said of the 250 places available in coming years, 50 are expected to come from the two primaries, St James’ and St Alphege schools that do not live in the catchment.

A further 169 to 187 are expected to come from the catchment area, meaning there will be enough room for both groups, it said.

The plans have led to concerns – backed by a petition – that children will be denied places when favour is given to the two faith primary schools.

In a statement, the principal and governors said: “We are concerned that recent press articles have alarmed parents who wish their children to enter the academy over the coming years.

“This alarm centres on an incorrect impression that proposed admission changes would mean that children who live in the catchment area could be denied a place as a result of the changes.

“Data provided by SMBC [Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council] make it clear that this fear is groundless.

“The present admission quota is 250, this is not filled from the catchment area by a large margin, a margin that is predicted to widen up to and including 2019, which is the last year for which reliable demographic data exists.

“Within the time frame data, again from SMBC, this indicates that the Academy can comfortably accommodate every catchment area child plus the additional numbers who might choose to come from St James and St Alphege Junior Schools.”

The children who get priority under the new plans will be, in order: looked after children; children from the two primaries; catchment area children; those with an older sibling at the academy and then those living closest in a straight line.

The school will prioritise catchment area children with older siblings and then those who live closest if it is oversubscribed.

But it did not make clear how the changes would affect these children.

Tudor Grange – which took over St James’ in January - can make the changes as it is now free of council control since becoming an academy.

It said it has been approached by the council to increase its intake to 270 to “cope” with planned new housing.

It pointed out it had taken over St James’ with Church of England backing amidst “no adverse comments” from parents.

The primary – which the statement said was “threatened with closure” - is now named Tudor Grange Primary Academy St James.

But it said: “There are no plans to change the present designation of Tudor Grange Academy.”
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