Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Is it time to persue legal action?

Cllr Wazir's letter welcoming WBC's prosals
I have just sent the below letter to all original petitioners, who had signed the first petition against the Wokingham's plans to stop Park's children attending Maiden Erlegh school.

Many of you will have already been informed of Wokingham Borough Council’s decision regarding the Maiden Erlegh catchment are, however I have been asked by a number of parents to send an email to the original petition list to ensure that as many people as possible know what is going on.

On Thursday last week Wokingham Borough Council’s Executive came to its final decision on the Maiden Erlegh catchment area.

I am sad to say that they decided to support the distance from Bulmershe minus distance from Maiden Erlegh plan that effectively ensures that children from Park will not be able to attend Maiden Erlegh, unless they have a brother or sister at the school already. They have made one compromise of a 600m inner catchment area. This will include houses in Silverdale Road which were going to be excluded by the proposal but will not bring Park Ward in to the catchment area.

This decision is very disappointing and effectively splits the Earley community and favours children from Lower Earley over Park children who will be excluded from Maiden Erlegh from 2012.

These are substantially the same proposals, which were described as “sensible” and “equitable” by Councillor Hussain in his letter to Park residents in November last year. ( For full details click here)

The full details of the catchment area are as follows:

1. Park Ward, Lower Earley, western Woodley and the Maiden Erlegh estate become part of a joint Bulmershe/Maiden Erlegh catchment area. The school which your child will attend will be decided on the basis of your house’s distance, as the crow flies from Bulmershe School, minus distance from Maiden Erlegh, as the crow flies. It is assumed in the plan that Maiden Erlegh will fill from the Shinfield end of Lower Erlegh. There will be an inner catchment area around Maiden Erlegh of 600m from the school, however this will not include any of Park Ward.

2. Siblings of children currently studying at Maiden Erlegh will be able to enter Maiden Erlegh until 2018 as long as the older child is still at Maiden Erlegh. If the sibling is in the Sixth Form this will count as attending the school.

Way forward

The Parents’ Group is considering options around legal action, I am campaigning with Councillor Jon Hartley to make sure that my Party commits itself to persuing legal action against Wokingham Borough Council in its manifesto for the May elections if Labour takes control of Reading Council in May.

Many of you will have read about the proposal for a University Technical School somewhere in East Reading. Many parents have expressed their concerns about the school, they are uncertain and the information released so far is vague and very unclear. Currently there is no information as to the exact opening date, curriculum or even where it will be based. What is clear is that the situation remains unclear.

Wokingham is determined to exclude Park’s children from Maiden Erlegh, I will keep working to ensure that you are fully informed as the issue develops and as the various legal actions come to fruition.