Changes that will give Dorset families higher priority in securing a place at their catchment junior school have been agreed by a national adjudicator.
The Office of the Schools’ Adjudicator has given Dorset County Council the go-ahead to amend its over-subscription criteria, giving priority to children living within a junior school’s catchment area who attend the recognised feeder infant school.
Due to increasing birth-rates and people moving into the county, catchment children at the infant schools are not always able to transfer directly to the associated junior school.
Parents complained to the county council, as they felt it was unfair that although they lived in the catchment area and their child attended the infant school, they lost out on a junior school place to those who lived nearer.
The Schools’ Adjudicator looked at admissions for children moving between infant and junior schools in September 2015 for:
- Christchurch Infant and Junior
- Mudeford Infant and Junior
- Upton Infant and Junior
- Wyke Regis Infant and Junior
Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for education Toni Coombs said: “It’s great that the adjudicator has supported both our, and local parents’, view that the criteria should be changed. Families can feel confident that children who are in catchment for a junior school, and attend the feeder infant school, will have a higher priority than catchment children who do not have a sibling or feeder school link.”
Cllr Margaret Phipps, member for the Commons division in Christchurch, has been supporting a number of families in her ward who had been affected by this issue. She said:
“I’m delighted with the adjudicator’s decision. Parents in my division managed to gather a 500-strong petition asking for those already in Christchurch Infant School to be given priority when places for Christchurch Junior are allocated. I’m very pleased that common sense has prevailed, and this is very good news.”