PRESS RELEASE FROM THE RT HON PETER LILLEY MP
Monday July 13th 2009
LILLEY WELCOMES EXTRA SCHOOL PLACES BUT WANTS END TO ANNUAL UNCERTAINTY
Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has welcomed the news that extra secondary school places have been made available so that every pupil in Harpenden, Wheathampstead and surrounding villages has received a place at one of their chosen schools.
He said: “Once again, I am relieved that virtually every pupil in Harpenden, Wheathampstead and the villages in the area has been offered a place in one of their ranked secondary schools.
“I am particularly grateful to Roundwood Park and Sir John Lawes for responding to requests from Herts County Council and the Appeals Panel to increase their intake to help accommodate the outstanding number of pupils without a place.
“Even though this is a relief for parents and pupils, I still find it unacceptable that so many families are put through months of anguish before receiving the news they have so desperately been hoping for.
“As in previous year, just about every pupil in and around Harpenden has ended up with a school of their choice but for many it has been a bruising and emotional experience.
“I met the Education Minister, Diana Johnson, recently. I am still trying to extract a response from her about whether national rules could be changed to enable the County education authorities to give a guarantee at the beginning the allocation process that every child will be offered a place at a ranked school to end this annual anguish.
“Given that in the real world we do invariably find places for all local children, I can see no reason why we cannot give a guarantee to that effect to avoid putting families through this prolonged period of fearing otherwise.
Further information from John Allen