Solutions for Belleville extension?

Author: Cyril Richert

This is our fifth article (0f six) of our series on primary schools in the Clapham Junction area.

What immediate solution?

For 2010, there is nothing to do as anyway the site is not ready to welcome anyone and Belleville’s additional children will be squeezed into the existing site. However, a solution will have anyway to be found for September 2011, where reception will admit pupils directly into the Vines site.

Therefore we now need to concentrate on the wording of the future (promised) consultation.

We may keep in mind several possibilities:

A) An oval shape for the catchment area, including both sites.

Moving the Belleville catchement is seen as highly unpopular (around Northcote, for obvious reasons) and thus could be very difficult to achieve.

However, when considering all three catchments of Belleville, Honeywell and Alderbrook (with a possible Alderbrook extension to welcome more pupils from the Northcote area), it could be considered.

The “announced-consultation” is said to potentially include the 3 schools of Belleville, Honeywell and Alderbrook, therefore opening some possibilities for this solution to be explored.

B) Geographical Priority Areas

The council does use Geographical Priority Areas at some other schools in the Borough. These are a fixed catchment areas i.e. specific shaped area not just distance and one school Beatrix Potter has a first and second priority area with admission priority following that (Children living in the first priority area are given priority over those living in the second priority area. However, living in either priority area does not guarantee a place at the school. This will depend on the demand for places from people living in the priority areas in a particular year.)

The Biggest effect of GPAs however is on sibling admission. Siblings only get priority admission if they STILL live in the GPA and Councillor Kathy Tracey would like the possible change to include Belleville, Honeywell, Alderbrook and Wix.

However it means a drastic change on the criteria of admission affecting plenty of parents (and voters!)

C) Belleville admission, but with a small proportion of places open for local children

The idea was suggested during the Committee meeting in July by Councillor Kathy Tracey who mentioned a CofE school in the Borough which largely has a faith-based admission, but keeps a small proportion of places (used to be 10 out of 45, now is 20 out of 60 i.e. one third) of open for local children i.e. distance from the site in a small priority area (not faith based).

Next week: Choice of school and the need in the Wix area

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