Concern for children and families in Oxfordshire


Liberal Democrat County Councillor Alison Rooke expresses her concern about the provision of school places.

At the Oxfordshire County Council meeting on 14th July, Liberal Democrat Cllr Alison Rooke asked the Cabinet Member for Education and Families:

"Would the cabinet member agree with me that, given the acknowledged importance of the Early Intervention service, the current criteria for school admissions of only looking at the needs of the child should be amended to include family considerations as failure to place children in their local school or siblings to be placed in the same school is leading to great distress in families which could, potentially, ultimately lead to failing families thus greatly affecting the children involved?"

Cllr. Rooke said, "I was a little dismayed by the cabinet member's response that this year was 'a blip' and there were 4,000 more school place applications than expected, but heartened by the promise that she would look at the idea of additional criteria to include family circumstances when allocating school placements. This is an extremely serious matter that has affected many families causing great worry and anguish.

I am pleased that, after Lib Dem councillor Neil Fawcett asked for clarification, Cllr Tilley explained that by 'blip' she meant "there was a problem this year and we must make sure it does not continue into next year".

Clearly, the county council were aware of the increase of new primary school age children in 2015 some four years ago, and I will be following the availability of local school places in the north and east of Abingdon very closely next year to see if, indeed, the problem has not continued into 2016."


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