Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hertfordshire secondary school places: Parents in 'no place' protest

Protesters at school
Image caption Campaigning parents want those without a place to be prioritised on a "continued interest" list

Parents have been protesting in St Albans after nearly 200 pupils in Hertfordshire were left without a secondary school place in September.

The county council has been unable to offer a place to 189 children who will now go on a "continued interest" list with those who have a place but not at their preferred school.

Campaigning parents want those without a place to be prioritised on that list.

The council said it was "confident" all children will get a place eventually.

Hertfordshire County Council said a "bulge year" for births in 2007-08 means it had 460 more applications this year than last year.

Image caption Parents said they wanted to "raise awareness of the incompetence of the county council to let this happen"

Parents have said they want to "raise awareness of the incompetence of the county council to let this happen".

St Albans parent Josie Madoc, whose daughter Seren, 10, is affected, said the campaigners' "primary objective" was to "change the prioritisation system on the continuing interest list".

"[We want] people with no school allocation at all prioritised over people who say, have their second, third or fourth choice and may be prioritised over me to get higher up on their list," she said.

"This makes no sense to me, surely we need to be at the top of the list now."

Image copyright Josie Madoc
Image caption Protest organiser Josie Madoc's daughter Seren was not given any school place in the first stage of allocations

Terry Douris, Conservative cabinet member for education, said the council understood why parents felt they should have priority but "this is not possible" as it was "legally bound" by the School Admissions Code set by the Department For Education.

"All places must be allocated in line with the published admission criteria for the relevant schools," he said.

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