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