‘Sorry we’re full up’ says top school
An ‘outstanding’ school is having to turn away children from within the village as it attracts two applications for every available space.
For lots of parents the recent letter from Suffolk County Council came with good news, announcing their child had been accepted to their first choice school.
For those living in Lavenham, however, there was a good chance the letter would be met with disappointment as the primary school is full to capacity, unable to even accept all children from within the village.
Parents from neighbouring communities which would like to send their children to the school rated as outstanding by government inspectors Ofsted have little or no hope.
“We want everybody who wants their child to come here to get a place but we are not in a position to do that,” said headteacher Jan Foster. “It’s always difficult to turn people away, it’s never nice.”
Some parents from within the village have gone to appeal but there is simply no space with twice the number of applicants compared to spaces at the 212 pupil school.
Mrs Foster explained they were looking at ways to open new spaces, however, being landlocked with no playing field, space is very much at a premium.
“We are looking at what we’ve got to see if we can make any additional space,” she said. “We’ve outgrown the school really. The school and village is obviously going to attract people.”
Mrs Foster said she would not be able to comment on the possibility of the school moving, stating this would be a decision for Suffolk County Council.
A spokesperson for the council, said: “Council officers have met with a local community group to discuss the Lavenham Neighbourhood Development Plan, which looks at all the key issues impacting on the village, including education.
“We will continue to work with the school and the local community to explore opportunities for school expansion.”
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge recently visited and said it was important a solution was sought.
“I can quite understand that parents living in the village who failed to obtain a place for their children must have been extremely disappointed,” he said.
“I can see that the option to walk one’s children to the local school must seem the natural way forward and to lose that opportunity must be a blow.
“My priority is to take this up with the education department at Suffolk County Council to see what realistic options are available for either expanding the current school or looking at new sites.”