Feb 18 2013
A PACKED meeting at Widney Junior School saw a host of anxious parents demand answers from Tudor Grange Academy over changes to the admission policy that they say could deny local children a place.
The school is pushing forward with plans to give priority to children attending two local faith schools – St Alphege and St James – over those living in the catchment area.
At least 40 cars were turned away from last Thursday’s meeting which was attended by worried mums, dads and carers of youngsters who were concerned that the plans by the top-performing school would impact on their children’s future education.
Chaired by Solihull MP Lorely Burt, with presentations by the organisers of the growing Facebook campaign against the plans, tempers flared as parents of children who attended schools including Hockley Heath, Sharmans Cross and Widney itself, demanded assurances that they would not lose out.
There was not a representative from Tudor Grange Academy at the meeting.
Stuart Jameson and Jenny Woodruff from the Facebook campaign said Solihull Council’s estimate of the number of places that would be available for catchment area children was incorrect.
“We don’t have any confidence in their numbers,” said Mr Jameson, a father-of-two.
“There’s no good reason to link the schools. It’s clear that this will up numbers at St James and there will be an increase in travel to school.”
He added that giving preference to the faith schools could see children land a place at Tudor Grange who lived up to 11 miles away.
Hockley Heath mum Debbie Lavendar added that her young son was already worrying where he might go to secondary school.
“His words to me were – ‘gosh, what will happen to me and my future?’ ”
Donna Roddy – a mum-of-three, from Brentford Road – said: “When I signed the agreement for Tudor Grange to go ahead as an academy, I agreed based on the information given then. Now it seems I have shot myself in the foot.”
And an angry grandad said: “Unless this is nipped in the bud this will have a sweeping effect on the whole of the Solihull area.
“It will be like having a brick and chucking it into a pool – there will be a rippling effect.”
People have until February 28 to submit their reviews on the consultation.