Primary school place shortage spreading’

Lib Dem councillors have expressed concern that a shortage of primary school places in Alexandra ward is now spreading to adjacent areas

Charlotte Newton

Lib Dem councillors have expressed concern that a shortage of primary school places in Alexandra ward is now spreading to adjacent areas.

This comes after figures show that almost twice as many children in Muswell Hill and Bounds Green did not get a place at any of their preferred four schools in 2007 - compared to 2006.

In 2006, 25 children in Alexandra did not get a place at any of their four choices - nor did nine children in Muswell Hill and six in Bounds Green.

But in 2007, 17 children in Muswell Hill and 14 in Bounds Green were not offered a place at any of the four primary schools of their parents' choice. In Alexandra, 25 children did not get any of their top four choices.

Lib Dems have this week called for action to deal with the worsening shortfall.

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Spokeswoman for children, schools and families, Cllr Gail Engert, has been pressing the council since the summer to undertake a feasibility study on expanding Rhodes Avenue School in the Alexandra ward to three-form entry.

This could provide an extra 30 places to allow children a choice of a local school.

Cllr Engert said: "This situation is going from bad to worse, while the council just turns a blind eye. Expansion may have taken place at Tetherdown, Coleridge and Coldfall primaries, but this is now history and these schools are full.

"The Labour council needs to act now to make sure that increasing numbers of parents around Alexandra are not let down."

MP Lynne Featherstone MP said: "It is heartbreaking having to deal with local families who can't get a place at a much-loved local schools for their child. Haringey seems paralysed by inaction when it comes to dealing with the problem in this part of Muswell Hill. It's time the council took up the Lib Dem plan for three-form entry at Rhodes Avenue."

But Haringey's children's services boss, Cllr Liz Santry said: "We announced 12 months ago that we would be reviewing demand in this area taking account of the latest data on birth, demographic projections etc.

"The review will be reported to the council in July.

"Any plans to expand a school must always be subject to careful consideration and consultation.

"However, data taken at this time of year, when places have just been offered, is not the best indicator of demand.

"There is much movement between now and September, with more children being offered places at their preferred schools as families move home or take up other offers.

Alexandra 25

Muswell Hill 17

Bounds Green 14

Noel Park 11

White Hart Lane 9

Woodside 9

Northumberland Park 8

Stroud Green 7

Highgate 6

Fortis Green 5

Bruce Grove 4

Hornsey 4

Crouch End 3

Tottenham Hale 3

West Green 3

Harringay 2

Seven Sisters 2

St Ann's 2

Tottenham Green 2

Total 136

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