Claygate catchment areas could be changed to help local school place shortage

This Is Local London: More please: Places at local schools are in high demand More please: Places at local schools are in high demand

Catchment areas of two high schools in the borough could be changed to help children living in Claygate gain places at their preferred schools.

A consultation has been launched on plans to amend the catchment areas for Esher Church of England High School and Hinchley Wood School to include the whole of Claygate.

Currently, both schools have half of the village within their boundaries, but pupils have still missed out on receiving a school place in the borough due to oversubscription.

Last year, Hinchley Wood School put in an application to the Department of Education for an in-year variation of its admissions criteria for the September 2014 intake, but were turned down.

To try to resolve the issue permanently, the school has launched plans to change their admission policy from September 2015.

If successful, children who attend Claygate Primary School, Hinchley Wood Primary School, Long Ditton St Mary’s C of E Junior School and Thames Ditton Junior School, and whose home address is within the revised catchment area, would stand a greater chance of securing a place at the Claygate Lane school.

Esher C of E High School has also launched a bid to change their catchment area to include the whole of Claygate, along with increasing their intake by 30 places, in September 2015.

Claire Denton-Statham, chairman of the Claygate Class Action campaign group, said the consultations were good news for families in Claygate.

She said: “Both proposals need to show sufficient local support to be approved so we need as many people as possible to support them both.

“Without these amendments to the admission criteria, Claygate, in particular those living in the current Hinchley Wood catchment area, will continue to face a future of very little choice of a local secondary school place for our children.”

Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton, said: “These changes are part of the council’s wider planning to update the catchment areas to ensure access to a good local school.

“Claygate has been a problem for several years, so it's important to address the understandable concerns of local parents, and at the same time avoid negative knock on effects elsewhere.

“I have also been campaigning for fairer funding from central government, and we have just been allocated an increase in capital funding for the next three years, which will help us address the pressure on local school places.”

The two schools are holding separate consultations and both will need to receive enough support for further action.

Visit surreysays.co.uk before February 5 and hinchleywoodschool.co.uk before February 21.

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