Finger Pointing Was At Education, Not School

PUBLISHED: 16:23 09 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 04 May 2010

CLLR Sue Austen s comments on the lack of primary school places in Ely have apparently caused anger among parents and governors of Spring Meadow School. She did not criticize Spring Meadow School, far from it, but she pointed a finger at the education a

CLLR Sue Austen's comments on the lack of primary school places in Ely have apparently caused anger among parents and governors of Spring Meadow School. She did not criticize Spring Meadow School, far from it, but she pointed a finger at the education authority, whose sums were so badly wrong that temporary classrooms were needed. East Cambridgeshire has been among the fastest growing areas in Europe for some time and primary school places have been under pressure across the district - have they not noticed in Shire Hall? It is Ely parents who should question the authority.

Two years ago my daughter, who was living in Ely, emigrated, because the schooling needs of her family could not be met.

Her first son was at St John's School, where he made friends, was happy and making good progress. He attended the breakfast club before school started. However her second son, despite an appeal, was directed to Spring Meadow School. He settled in happily there, and my daughter was very pleased with the school, but there was no pre-school facility. The two younger boys had to be delivered to a child minder for breakfast on the three days that my daughter drove to Norfolk to teach. Where would the third boy be placed - The Lantern School? It is extremely difficult for parents to manage with children at different primary schools; top priority should surely be given to siblings to attend the same school.

The strain on the family was intolerable, so they left the country. So the County was immediately given two unexpected extra primary school places, with one more to follow, but they still got their sums wrong. Too often bureaucrats overlook, or ignore, the needs of those they are supposed to serve.

JEREMY FRIEND-SMITH

District Councillor, Ely South.

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