New estate’s primary school already massively over-subscribed

Berryfields Primary School
Berryfields Primary School
  • School serving Berryfields can’t cope with demand
  • Meeting being held tonight (Wednesday) to discuss issue
  • A new primary school for the estate should be open by 2017

Berryfields children who live as little as five minutes walk away from their local primary school may have to travel further afield because there is already a shortage of places.

The new estate, which will eventually comprise of 3,000 homes, is served by Berryfields Church of England Primary School.

All of the people here are lovely, but at the moment there are only 60 school places for 3,000 homes.

Angry mum

However, for this year’s intake the school received 132 applications for 60 places, meaning that some parents and children were left disappointed.

One mum says she will now have to travel past the primary school to take her eldest son to Thomas Hickman, the family’s fourth choice.

A second school is due to be built by 2017, but as the development expands even further many parents fear that they will still be left disappointed.

The mum, who we agreed not to name, said: “Berryfields is a lovely place to live and we moved here because of the community.

“All of the people here are lovely, but at the moment there are only 60 school places for 3,000 homes.

“If you go to any of the sales offices here you will see that many of the homes they sell are three and four bedrooms; families are going to want to move here and they are going to need school places.”

She added: “This has happened before on other developments in Aylesbury, I think that the planners should have learned from those other situations.”

Tonight (Wednesday) an open community meeting will be held from 7.30pm at the Aylesbury Vale Academy Main Hall to discuss how to take a campaign forward.

Headteacher Jonathan Walker said: “I understand that those parents who have not been allocated a place at the school will be very disappointed and will be anxious about what they should do next and I will do whatever I can to support them as they plan their next steps.”

A spokesman for Bucks County Council, which is responsible for school places, said: “We recognise that it’s very difficult to predict population on new housing estates, and there can sometimes be peaks in the early stages of development.

“In planning for this, the catchment area of the neighbouring Thomas Hickman School was widened to cover Berryfields to provide an alternative catchment school.

“It’s important to note that the national admissions code doesn’t allow admissions authorities to guarantee a school place to parents in the local catchment area in case this can’t be met because of changes in parental preference or shifts in population.

“We’ll continue to monitor the population on Berryfields and across the wider area, and make sure there’s sufficient capacity as required.”