Councillor says plans needed to handle expected 'bulge' in pupils at Piggott School

Will Taylor

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Will Taylor

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Councillor says plans needed to handle expected 'bulge' in pupils at Piggott School

A ‘bulge’ in pupils hoping to join the Piggott School after they finish primary will prove difficult to deal with if plans for the coming years are not put in to place soon, a councillor has warned.

With two new primary schools in the area, Twyford’s Lib Dem representative in the borough raised concerns that more pupils than ever will look to join the secondary.

This could potentially cause more pupils to lose out on places or classes to expand, and the concerns come in the same week that national attention was drawn to the number of children who missed out on their preferred primary school.

Councillor Lindsay Ferris said: “We have a bulge in primary schools throughout the borough.

“That will hit the secondaries in a few years’ time.

“We now need to start planning so that when the bulge hits the secondary schools there is enough capacity.”

A new secondary, Arborfield, opened in the borough and will take its first students in September 2016.

The Piggott also expanded its class size in 2014, which came after 535 children expressed a preference for the school but only 180 places were available.

Despite expanding the number of places available to 203, 483 expressed a preference in 2016.

Cllr Ferris explained: “There might have to be expansions at some schools to make sure there is enough capacity – new buildings.”

However, he stated that as far as he is aware, there are no plans in the council to prepare for the anticipated bulge.

Councillor Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for children’s services at Wokingham Borough Council, said the council was refreshing its secondary school strategy ‘in due course’ and that the council has ‘invested greatly’ in adding to its number of school places available as part of its current plan.

She added: “The success of this strategy has seen families in this admissions round receive over 99 per cent of their first to third choice of places expressed on their application form. “Some of our neighbouring boroughs too have opened new provision which will give our parents more choice locally.”

The Piggott has been contacted for comment.

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