Concern over shortage of county school places

Head of Harington School John Harrison, head of Catmose Primary Kelly Jackson and head of Catmose College and executive principal of the federation Stuart Williams
Head of Harington School John Harrison, head of Catmose Primary Kelly Jackson and head of Catmose College and executive principal of the federation Stuart Williams
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Leaders of the three schools in Oakham that make up the Rutland and District Schools’ Federation have expressed concern about a shortage of spaces for pupils.

The collective aim of the federation, which is made up of Catmose College, Catmose Primary and Harington School, is to ensure that the children of Rutland have a high quality school to attend, whatever their age. But the leaders are concerned about the increasing demand for school place as Rutland grows.

Stuart Williams, executive principal of the federation, said: “The increased demand for school places, particularly in Oakham, is a key priority for trustees.

“The trust has prioritised local families for admission to its schools for a number of years and the schools have the highest proportion of families who live local to Rutland of any in the county.

“However, Catmose College has been oversubscribed for many years, with the pressure on places increasing each year. This, combined with severely overstretched facilities on the Catmose College campus, means that sadly around 70 Rutland-based children stand to be refused a place this year if the situation continues.”

Mr Williams said the most cost-effective solution was to make use of the space available, which was why his team at Catmose College are working with Rutland County Council to relocate the Visions Children’s Centre, currently based at the campus.

The council hopes to relocate the centre to the library and the plans were discussed on Tuesday night (see page 11 for more).

Headteacher at Catmose Primary Kelly Jackson said her school was also oversubscribed and was declining applications from families on a daily basis.

She said: “That is why the trust, in partnership with Rutland County Council, has agreed to submit an application for a new primary school which, if successful, will be called Barleythorpe Primary and will serve families in the new housing on the north side of Oakham. Barleythorpe Primary School will also prioritise local families from Rutland who need a good school for their child.”

Harington School is a free school sponsored by Catmose College in partnership with Oakham School and Uppingham Community College.

It was built to ensure that local families have access to a high quality academic sixth form without the need to travel significant distances. Its admissions policy prioritises academic students from Oakham and Uppingham.

John Harrison, head of school, said: “Harington has already experienced a significant increase in demand, to the extent that I am already concerned that further expansion of the school will be necessary within just a few 
years.”

The reason for voicing their concern is to ensure the community are aware of the pressure on school places.