Further School Places Disappointment for Village Families

Once again a significant number of Ruddington children have learned they will be separated from their life-long friends – as the shortage of school places for our village continues.

Following this year’s ‘National Offer Day’ for Year 6 Pupils (which is at the start of March) Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) has confirmed that nine St Peter’s Junior School children who put Rushcliffe Spencer Academy (Ruddington’s traditional ‘feeder’ school in West Bridgford) as their first choice, and live in the catchment, had to be offered an alternative Secondary School place elsewhere. Most of these disappointed youngsters are likely to end up at South Wolds Academy in Keyworth instead, which is also double the distance from Ruddington.

Statistics requested by RUDDINGTON.info specifically for our village show that, currently, 91 Year Six pupils are resident in Ruddington, 79 of whom attend St Peter’s Junior School, plus another 10 children at St Peter’s who do not live in Ruddington.

The table below shows the preference breakdown:

This further, unhappy news follows the recent bombshell for village parents that NCC intends to make the expansion of Rosecliffe Spencer Academy in Edwalton the focus of its efforts to accommodate Ruddington’s younger children, rather than create more school places here at James Peacock Infants School and St Peter’s Junior School.

Councillor Sam Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, at Nottinghamshire County Council, says: “It is fantastic that that the vast majority of children are getting a place at one of their preferred schools and that this continues to increase despite the challenges. A lot of work goes into the admissions process and the aim is to offer a preferred school wherever possible.”

Cllr Sam Smith

He continues: “To meet local need, many schools across the county have offered additional places, over their published admission numbers and I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved. The council’s admissions team has continued to work incredibly hard to deliver even better results this year.”

Cllr Smith adds: “We are committed to providing sufficient high quality school places to meet the increasing demand for places as more families choose to live and work here in Nottinghamshire. I hope those about to move up to secondary school can now enjoy their last few months at primary and junior school before they begin the next phase of their education journey.”

These words are likely to be of little comfort to the Ruddington families who have been disappointed again this year. One of those was Sarah Slide, who told Ruddington Mums: “Willow didn’t get her first choice. She got South Wolds so will be split up from her friend, who’s gutted too.”

Helen Wilkinson comments: “We were in the same position in 2021 despite being in catchment, a feeder school and having a sibling (albeit in sixth form). If you are looking to appeal then please try not to get your hopes up. Unless they have applied the criteria incorrectly it is highly unlikely you will be successful: They don’t actually give two hoots about the effect on the children!”

However, Helen adds: “My daughter is happy at South Wolds and, given the recent feedback on Rushcliffe, in hindsight I think she is in the best environment. The feeder schools into South Wolds are much smaller and they tend to mix the classes up more than in Rushcliffe so, in our experience, making friends and getting to know people hasn’t been an issue.”

Mr Bradley

St Peter’s Junior School Head Teacher, Michael Bradley, has written to parents to reassure them that things will soon get better for Ruddington’s Secondary School children.

He says: “Although it will provide little consolation for those families who were not offered their first place this year, my hope is that the multi-million pound expansion of Rushcliffe Academy, that is currently well underway and will see an additional 560 secondary school places created, will mean that the school will be able to meet the demand for school places in future years.”

Meantime, now parents and carers this year have received their offer, NCC advises they have a number of options:

  1. Accept the school place – by 15th March 2024.
  2. If their child has been refused a place at a preferred school, they will already be on the school’s waiting list.
  3. If they are not satisfied with the offer they have received, they are advised to contact the school for which they have a preference for information about how to lodge an appeal.

However, NCC is advising parents to accept their child’s offer by March 15th, even if they would prefer a different school and plan to appeal, until they have confirmed alternative plans for their child’s education.

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