Councillor Amanda Taylor

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New primary school for South Cambridge?

by Amanda Taylor on 7 December, 2009

There are not enough primary school places for children in Cambridge. Parents of young children will already know that many schools in the city are oversubscribed, in practice often restricting choice of school to the catchment school. If the current growth in population carries on — and it’s likely to, with the city growing and with lots of new homes — the situation will get worse.

I declare a personal interest here, as my own son started school just over a year ago, and it was clear then that there were not enough school places to go round in the Queen Edith’s ward. We have two excellent primary schools, Morley Memorial and Queen Edith’s, but there were enough children on the waiting lists last year for at least one more year group.

It is disappointing the County Council did not foresee this demographic timebomb – after all, Shire Hall is the place where we register births, so one would think that the County Council would have been in a good position to spot changes in the population!

The County Council is proposing expansions to schools in the south of the city, as well as a new school at the end of Gunhild Way, when the Netherhall Lower School joins Netherhall Upper School on one site, planned for 2011. Other changes involve an extra year group at Queen Edith’s  and expansions at other schools in the Abbey and Cherry Hinton wards. Children will be taught in portakabins until new buildings are ready to receive them, presumably studying on building sites too.

There is an accelerated consultation with parents, staff and governors over the next two weeks and the Conservative Cabinet of the County Council will take decisions in February.

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