Children in their final year at St Peter’s in Ruddington are celebrating this week after it was confirmed they will be able to stay with their friends in September.
Tuesday was ‘National Offer Day’ – when the parents and guardians of all current Year 6 pupils attending our village junior school were informed whether or not they had been successful in getting their son or daughter a place at their chosen secondary school. In Ruddington this has traditionally been Rushcliffe School in West Bridgford – now known as Rushcliffe Spencer Academy. To their great relief, it appears every child in its catchment area who wanted a place there has been offered one.
RUDDINGTON.info had already reported in January that Damian Painton, the Principal of the Academy, confirmed sufficient places for September 2022 had been made available there for all Ruddington’s current Year 6 pupils. However, his promise was thrown into some doubt when Nottinghamshire County Councillor Reg Adair warned parents that “…applications for school places must be processed in line with the School Admissions Code and it is not possible to give any guarantee that an application will be successful. National Offer Day’ is 1st March 2022 and it is therefore legally impossible to provide any information or assurances at this time”.
Thankfully, the rather more reassuring words of Mr Painton turned out to be correct – and no village youngsters will need to head elsewhere this year unless they chose to do so. This is in sharp contrast to ‘National Offer Day’ last year when eleven Ruddington families were shocked to learn their son or daughter would need to journey twelve miles to South Wolds Academy in Keyworth and back every day, rather than the expected six mile round trip to Rushcliffe School. This was blamed on a shortage of school places caused by the catchment area’s sharply rising population.
The uproar that followed prompted Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) to agree plans to expand Rushcliffe School as well as building a brand new secondary school in Gamston. However, the former is unlikely to be ready until 2023 and the latter until 2025.
Across Nottinghamshire as a whole, NCC reveals that 89% of Year 6 pupils were offered their first preference for 2022/2023 – despite 400 more applications than last year.
Councillor Tracey Taylor, Chair of the county council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, says: “We are delighted that so many parents have secured places for their children at one of their preferred schools. Schools have gone above and beyond to accommodate the demand for extra places, and we cannot thank them enough.”
Those who are happy with the place they have been offered should accept it – and the school will then be in touch with them to arrange the transition.
Whilst welcoming Tuesday’s news, Ruddington mum Rebecca Collison warns: “We had to fight to get this outcome for Year 6 children in Ruddington but the situation for future year groups will continue to be tight, especially as the number of pupils attending Rosecliffe Primary School in Edwalton increases.”
Mrs Collison, who already has one child at Rushcliffe Spencer Academy and another in the final year at St Peter’s Junior School, continues: “Don’t assume it will be okay. Spades haven’t yet hit the ground on the expansion work at Rushcliffe Spencer Academy!”
Village mum, Janet Whittaker, adds: “Although my son is happy with South Wolds, and that was our 4th choice, it’s a shame that this wasn’t sorted last year. It caused a lot of stress for a lot of parents. Too little, too late!!!”