Families in Priory Vale who bought into the dream of a village-like community have been devastated to be offered primary school places miles from home.
Rebekka McGhee of Oakhurst has set up a petition to the Prime Minister calling for a temporary infant class to be added to Red Oaks and for a school to be built at Oakhurst as originally planned. Her daughter Cailin had been looking forward to joining the reception class at Red Oaks which she saw being built only a mile from her home.
Pictured, Rebekka and Cailin
Rebekka was distraught to be offered a place at Cheney Manor Primary, which would mean a three and a half mile trek across town, having also missed out on a place at Orchid Vale and Bridlewood, two schools much closer to her home. "This isn’t just about our daughter; it’s affecting lots of other families. I feel every parent in Priory Vale deserves a place at our local school.
"It baffles me how they didn’t know how many children there’d be. It’s been a complete nightmare. I’ve been worrying about how I’m going to drive her to school and get myself to work on time. We want to be able to talk about school and get her excited about it but with the uncertainty, we can’t."
Despite an extra 52 reception class places being created in January, 46 North Swindon families were not offered their first choice of school. Among them were 30 children who had chosen Red Oaks, 9 failed to get into Orchid Vale and others missed out on places at Bridlewood, Catherine Wayte and Haydonleigh.
"The number of primary school pupils has not increased; what we seem to be seeing is that children are moving from West to North Swindon," explained Councillor for Haydon Wick, David Renard. "With people moving around the country quickly and in such large numbers, planning is very difficult. As a parent and as a councillor I’m very keen for people to get their first choices.
"My concern is that this problem isn’t going to go away. My personal view is that we do now need the Oakhurst School."
On 4th May, Cllr Renard announced on his website that 26 new reception places have been created at Haydonleigh. There were 21 children on the waiting list in April and they will be offered the places first, leaving only 5 places for other families to apply for.
At April’s Cabinet meeting, councillors considered several options and decided to explore the possibility of providing more places at Red Oaks. Authority was delegated to Cllr Perkins to allow a decision to be made as quickly as possible once the Heads and Governors at Red Oaks and Isambard Community School have been consulted.
The petition deadline is 24th May. Add your signature at :