Surplus school places in Royston cause concern

EDUCATION bosses are not ruling out radical changes to schools in Crow Country to combat a projected 35 per cent surplus in school places. Representatives of the Childrens, Schools, and Families department of Hertfordshire County Council have held high le

EDUCATION bosses are not ruling out radical changes to schools in Crow Country to combat a projected 35 per cent surplus in school places.

Representatives of the Childrens, Schools, and Families department of Hertfordshire County Council have held high level meetings with headteachers and governors of schools in Royston in recent weeks as they bid to come up with ways to resolve the problem.

This has led to fears that schools in the town may be closed, or that the three-tier education system currently employed could be changed to a two-tier model.

Justin Donovan, chief education officer at the county council, told The Crow: "At the moment we're looking at a 35 per cent surplus of school places in the area by the 2014/15 academic year. Ideally we like a 10 per cent surplus to allow a bit of pupil choice and movement, so the situation in Royston needs looking at.


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"In other areas such as Hemel Hempstead we have closed schools when faced with similar problems, but we don't want to do that here."

"I would never rule anything out, but we have no plans to close schools or change the system that is in place at the moment."

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A further meeting is set to take place between Dr Michael Firth, head teacher at The Meridian School, and Susan Kennedy and Peter Fielden, the heads at Greneway and Roysia middle schools respectively.

Mr Donovan said: "The schools in Royston get on very well, which isn't always the case in other areas, so the heads of the upper and middle schools are going to get together and try and look at ways they can get around this by sharing resources.

"The last thing we want to do is change a good system which we feel works very well, so hopefully the schools will be able to sort out a solution between them and we won't need to intervene."

Roysia school head teacher Mr Fielden said: "The heads meet all the time to discuss all aspects of schooling in Royston, but a surplus of places has become more of an issue recently.

"I know there is almost universal support for the current three-tier system and would certainly not like to see it change," he added.

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