PLACES: No clear plan for our schools

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The council’s response to our findings with respect to school place availability in Morpeth simply highlights its own failings even further, (Morpeth Herald, November 17).

It suggests that the number of non-catchment children in the schools will come to their rescue. Yet, the forecasting model provided to us did not draw any distinction between catchment and non-catchment children.

It is surely safe to assume that the council is not proposing that the middle schools and high school start removing non-catchment children from their schools from next year onwards.

Presumably, it is also aware that current admission policies favour “continuity of education” over catchment area. Hence, new children entering the catchment area rank behind children already in feeder schools when considering new admissions.

That said, when its model makes such basic errors as not moving children up from one year group to the next, perhaps it is not safe to make any assumptions.

When we submitted our Freedom of Information request to the council we asked for its plan to deal with any identified shortfall. Its model did predict a shortfall, albeit one much smaller than it should have, but it remained silent on the plan to deal with it.

It is clear now that the council has not done its sums and has no plan.

Morpeth and the rest of Northumberland deserve better from the council. Let us hope that there is a change at County Hall come the elections next May.

Richard Wearmouth

Conservative candidate for Kirkhill