Hinchley Wood School admissions changes leave one mile catchment area

School places: Hinchley Wood School consulted for 10 weeks

School places: Hinchley Wood School consulted for 10 weeks

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Parents have been left outraged after plans to change Hinchley Wood School’s admissions criteria were approved, leaving some living nearby a slim chance of gaining a place.

After a 10-week consultation earlier this year, which received more than 2,500 responses, the school’s governing body approved the proposed changes for September 2015, meaning the school will adopt an amended catchment area.

The new catchment area, the east side of Hampton Court Road, includes Thames Ditton, Long Ditton, Hinchley Wood and the whole of Claygate.

The Claygate Lane school will also have four feeder schools; Claygate Primary, Hinchley Wood Primary, Long Ditton St Mary’s and Thames Ditton Junior schools, meaning children who live within the catchment area and attend one of these schools will have priority.

Claygate Lane resident Tim Holman, whose children attend St Paul’s Primary School, said Hinchley Wood School had not assessed the needs of nearby residents.

Mr Holman said: “Pupils from the four new feeder schools will simply outnumber the available places at Hinchley Wood School, and force local residents out of the community into whatever schools Surrey County Council has places in.

“This decision has left my children outside of any school catchment area, and at the mercy of some archaic computer programme that SCC will use to determine where my children will get a place.”

Gabrielle Marigold, who lives in Rushett Close, Thames Ditton, was disappointed to find out her son not attending a feeder school would put him at a disadvantage.

She said: “It seems to me that they have spent a lot of time and effort replacing one unfair system with another that is deeply unfair.

“I absolutely intend to take this to the schools adjudicator and I’m certain local families will continue to protest each year until this is overturned.”

The changes mean children with siblings already attending and those attending feeder schools and living within the catchment area have priority over those living nearest to the school.

Ben Bartlett, headteacher of Hinchley Wood School, said the school had tried to reach a decision which was “fair and impartial”.

He said: “I am pleased that we are now in a position to move forward with greater clarity for local families and to further develop the links that we have established with the Hinchley Wood Partnership schools for more than a decade.

“Based on our analysis of data for the past three years, it is expected that offers in September 2015 will extend to approximately one mile from the school gates for those living in catchment but not attending linked feeder schools.”

Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton, said: “Overall, these changes will mean significantly more Elmbridge children getting into Hinchley Wood and Esher High than before. That is important.

“But we also need to make sure children from non-feeder schools are properly catered for. I have already taken this up with Surrey County Council.”

Full admissions criteria for September 2015 are available at hinchleywoodschool.co.uk

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:44pm Fri 4 Apr 14

louisemcdonagh says...

It is a shame we did not benefit from the support of Mr Holman, Ms Marigold and all the Dittons and Hinchley Wood parents over the last year in our efforts to solve the issue of the rapidly declining secondary school options for all in-catchment children. We were particularly aware of their lack of support when we launched the Surrey County Council petitions for a Thames Ditton Secondary School and an earlier one for a secondary school for the Moleseys. If either of these petitions been granted, they would have solved the immediate and future problems of all The Dittons, The Moleseys, Claygate, Hinchley Wood and Esher. However, the Molesey petition only achieved 443 signatures, and the Thames Ditton one, a mere 205 signatures, despite their Surrey-wide reach. To put these poor responses into perspective, a petition appealing against on street parking bays in Surrey attracted over 26,000 signatories! Where were these people when we really needed them?

In spite of their lack of support and other more recent destructive comments, however, the Thames Ditton Secondary School Action Group have succeeded, over the past months, in working with SCC and other bodies to get all the Embridge schools to work together to address the problems for ALL children in Thames Ditton, Long Ditton, the Moleseys, Claygate and Hinchley Wood in a coordinated manner. If we had not done this, then ALL the children living outside the 1 mile radius of Hinchley Wood, not just the non-feeder school children, would increasingly have been allotted schools such as Epsom & Ewell (7 miles away from us & outside Elmbridge) or Rydens (5 miles distant). We are now awaiting the response to our request to SCC to extend the Esher High catchment area to include the North Western perimeter of Thames Ditton. If this is positive, then those children who do not get into Hinchley Wood, for whatever reason, will be within catchment for Esher High. If Ms Marigold and Mr Holman do not take time to reconsider a rash, destructive and unpopular decision to appeal to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, and the Adjudicator then deems it fit to overrule Hinchley Wood's decision or come up with something even more unpopular, then they are at risk of upsetting, not just the Claygate and Thames Ditton parents, but every affected parent across Elmbridge.
It is a shame we did not benefit from the support of Mr Holman, Ms Marigold and all the Dittons and Hinchley Wood parents over the last year in our efforts to solve the issue of the rapidly declining secondary school options for all in-catchment children. We were particularly aware of their lack of support when we launched the Surrey County Council petitions for a Thames Ditton Secondary School and an earlier one for a secondary school for the Moleseys. If either of these petitions been granted, they would have solved the immediate and future problems of all The Dittons, The Moleseys, Claygate, Hinchley Wood and Esher. However, the Molesey petition only achieved 443 signatures, and the Thames Ditton one, a mere 205 signatures, despite their Surrey-wide reach. To put these poor responses into perspective, a petition appealing against on street parking bays in Surrey attracted over 26,000 signatories! Where were these people when we really needed them? In spite of their lack of support and other more recent destructive comments, however, the Thames Ditton Secondary School Action Group have succeeded, over the past months, in working with SCC and other bodies to get all the Embridge schools to work together to address the problems for ALL children in Thames Ditton, Long Ditton, the Moleseys, Claygate and Hinchley Wood in a coordinated manner. If we had not done this, then ALL the children living outside the 1 mile radius of Hinchley Wood, not just the non-feeder school children, would increasingly have been allotted schools such as Epsom & Ewell (7 miles away from us & outside Elmbridge) or Rydens (5 miles distant). We are now awaiting the response to our request to SCC to extend the Esher High catchment area to include the North Western perimeter of Thames Ditton. If this is positive, then those children who do not get into Hinchley Wood, for whatever reason, will be within catchment for Esher High. If Ms Marigold and Mr Holman do not take time to reconsider a rash, destructive and unpopular decision to appeal to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, and the Adjudicator then deems it fit to overrule Hinchley Wood's decision or come up with something even more unpopular, then they are at risk of upsetting, not just the Claygate and Thames Ditton parents, but every affected parent across Elmbridge. louisemcdonagh
  • Score: 28

5:56pm Fri 4 Apr 14

ClaireOfThamesDitton says...

As a parent of a child attending Thames Ditton Juniors and living in north Thames Ditton, I for one am delighted at the changes, which will give my son the opportunity to attend our local school instead of being allocated one 5 or 7 miles away.
Mr Holman sends his children to St Pauls, our nearest school, but one which puts my boy to the back of the queue on the grounds of religion. Is there a difference between being placed ahead in the queue for a school because you went to the right church, and being placed ahead because you went to the right primary school?
Mrs Marigold lives nearer Subition, and as such has a choice of local schools available to her child. Children in north Thames Ditton currently have no real choice, and until this admissions change, had no local school offered at all. If Esher High change their catchment to overlap with Hinchley Wood to the east of the Hampton Court Way, there may even be a choice!
Of course, the real problem stems from a growing population in this area and a lack of local school places. We cannot go on expanding the local schools indefinitely. The only real solution is a new school.
As a parent of a child attending Thames Ditton Juniors and living in north Thames Ditton, I for one am delighted at the changes, which will give my son the opportunity to attend our local school instead of being allocated one 5 or 7 miles away. Mr Holman sends his children to St Pauls, our nearest school, but one which puts my boy to the back of the queue on the grounds of religion. Is there a difference between being placed ahead in the queue for a school because you went to the right church, and being placed ahead because you went to the right primary school? Mrs Marigold lives nearer Subition, and as such has a choice of local schools available to her child. Children in north Thames Ditton currently have no real choice, and until this admissions change, had no local school offered at all. If Esher High change their catchment to overlap with Hinchley Wood to the east of the Hampton Court Way, there may even be a choice! Of course, the real problem stems from a growing population in this area and a lack of local school places. We cannot go on expanding the local schools indefinitely. The only real solution is a new school. ClaireOfThamesDitton
  • Score: 23

7:58pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Milliput says...

Elmbridge is responsible for building houses, Surrey is responsible for giving the people that move into them school places. Therein lies the problem. Until infrastructure is in line with house building and some joined up thinking is applied the schooling problem will keep getting worse.
Elmbridge is responsible for building houses, Surrey is responsible for giving the people that move into them school places. Therein lies the problem. Until infrastructure is in line with house building and some joined up thinking is applied the schooling problem will keep getting worse. Milliput
  • Score: 14

12:30pm Sat 5 Apr 14

AClaygateMum says...

I am a parent of a year 6 child living in Claygate. We are currently in the predicament which has faced Claygate families for as long as I can remember. We have been given Epsom & Ewell High School. A school which our son cannot get to within an acceptable amount of time using public transport. It is therefore not a viable option. Claygate families have faced this issue year on year and not only with secondary school places. My son was not given a place at a local primary school either. We put down a church school as one of our preferences but were completely dismissed on grounds of religion. At no point have the church schools put themselves out to increase their intake when there has been a need for primary school places for local children. Also when one particular church school Head was approached by a parent a number of years ago on campaigning for secondary school places, this particular Head didn't feel it necessary on the basis that most of the pupils went on to attend private schools. Claygate Class Action has worked tirelessly over the last 5 years alongside the parents, staff & governors of Claygate Primary School to get local school places for Claygate children. They have worked in partnership with Hinchley Wood School and taken to the streets to get support for the consultation. All this hardwork has now paid off. Any anger that people feel should be directed at their own school for not doing more to get involved. As for parents at St Paul's, you chose a selective Catholic school which has a Catholic feeder school, 'Salesians' for which you are provided with direct transport and therefore you have an option. This is about giving places to families who have no option. We need to put this into perspective.
I am a parent of a year 6 child living in Claygate. We are currently in the predicament which has faced Claygate families for as long as I can remember. We have been given Epsom & Ewell High School. A school which our son cannot get to within an acceptable amount of time using public transport. It is therefore not a viable option. Claygate families have faced this issue year on year and not only with secondary school places. My son was not given a place at a local primary school either. We put down a church school as one of our preferences but were completely dismissed on grounds of religion. At no point have the church schools put themselves out to increase their intake when there has been a need for primary school places for local children. Also when one particular church school Head was approached by a parent a number of years ago on campaigning for secondary school places, this particular Head didn't feel it necessary on the basis that most of the pupils went on to attend private schools. Claygate Class Action has worked tirelessly over the last 5 years alongside the parents, staff & governors of Claygate Primary School to get local school places for Claygate children. They have worked in partnership with Hinchley Wood School and taken to the streets to get support for the consultation. All this hardwork has now paid off. Any anger that people feel should be directed at their own school for not doing more to get involved. As for parents at St Paul's, you chose a selective Catholic school which has a Catholic feeder school, 'Salesians' for which you are provided with direct transport and therefore you have an option. This is about giving places to families who have no option. We need to put this into perspective. AClaygateMum
  • Score: 3

4:22pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Christine Elmer says...

Excellent responses from Louise and other Thames Ditton & Claygate parents. this is a real problem for these families, they were falling between two stools literally and no options but to go far out borough in some cases. It can't be right if you live in Thames Ditton and Claygate to be be offered Epsom & Ewell schools for 11 year olds.With little public transport they would need to be driven and what if you have younger children in other schools. They are right we simply need more places, hopefully Rydens will go through and also the new Cobham Free school. SCC has to find a way round this, and building more homes is not necessarily going to help as that as our MP has said will simply suck up the new places. Christine Elmer
Excellent responses from Louise and other Thames Ditton & Claygate parents. this is a real problem for these families, they were falling between two stools literally and no options but to go far out borough in some cases. It can't be right if you live in Thames Ditton and Claygate to be be offered Epsom & Ewell schools for 11 year olds.With little public transport they would need to be driven and what if you have younger children in other schools. They are right we simply need more places, hopefully Rydens will go through and also the new Cobham Free school. SCC has to find a way round this, and building more homes is not necessarily going to help as that as our MP has said will simply suck up the new places. Christine Elmer Christine Elmer
  • Score: 9

5:19pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Nabokov says...

The catchment has only been a mile for years because it is so heavily oversubscribed, mainly because children from areas that are already served by other schools choose to go the HW while other children with no closer alternative have to be shipped away.

I would like to see a case by case examination of who is unhappy and what alternatives they have. I think the new policy is reasonable.
The catchment has only been a mile for years because it is so heavily oversubscribed, mainly because children from areas that are already served by other schools choose to go the HW while other children with no closer alternative have to be shipped away. I would like to see a case by case examination of who is unhappy and what alternatives they have. I think the new policy is reasonable. Nabokov
  • Score: 0

5:23pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Nabokov says...

Tim Holman should send his children to the local primary school, there is no point sending to a church school unless that church school performs better than the local school. He can always apply to the nearest secondary catholic school....after all it meant so much to him for primary education. If people want a religious education they should do that after normal school in evenings and weekends.
Tim Holman should send his children to the local primary school, there is no point sending to a church school unless that church school performs better than the local school. He can always apply to the nearest secondary catholic school....after all it meant so much to him for primary education. If people want a religious education they should do that after normal school in evenings and weekends. Nabokov
  • Score: 0

5:34pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Nabokov says...

Why isn't Ms Marigold getting into the school, she is easily in catchment?
Is she another St Pauls Parent?

I would like to see what her actual situation was and is....Maybe she will explain clearly here what her primary school choice was and what her secondary alternatives are. Its bad luck for her but good news for far more people without a choice.
Why isn't Ms Marigold getting into the school, she is easily in catchment? Is she another St Pauls Parent? I would like to see what her actual situation was and is....Maybe she will explain clearly here what her primary school choice was and what her secondary alternatives are. Its bad luck for her but good news for far more people without a choice. Nabokov
  • Score: -2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree