SCORES of parents in Three Rivers have been left bitterly disappointed after their children were denied a place at their preferred secondary school.
Figures released by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) yesterday revealed that 59 per cent (109 out of 186) applicants in the Rickmansworth and Maple Cross area won their top-ranked choice, down from 64 per cent last year.
Just under nine per cent – 23 children in total – failed to achieve any of their top three choices.
In Croxley Green, about 78 per cent of 176 children achieved their first choice school, up from 70 per cent last year.
Across Three Rivers, 70 per cent of children were given their preferred school, up from 64 per cent last year.
About 93 per cent across the district won a place at their top three ranked schools.
Reacting to the news, Carolyn Venn, vice chairman of the WD3 School Action Group, which has been campaigning for a new school in Three Rivers, said: "This just goes to demonstrate the need for a new secondary school in the area, but also to extend our existing schools.
"We will now have to wait until 2016 for a new school – but what are parents going to do for the next five years? That's nearly a whole generation of children without a place in their local area."
Mrs Venn, a mother-of-three from Mount View, Rickmansworth, added: "As a parent, I'm extremely concerned, particularly as one of my children, who is now five, will be attending secondary school in six years.
"HCC says it can't extend local schools such as Rickmansworth and Clement Danes but it could build upwards, like lots of inner city schools, or have temporary classrooms on site.
"The problem is made worse by the fact children in Hertfordshire only have three school choices, while those in neighbouring Hillingdon and Harrow have six."
The Gazette reported how a survey organised by HCC and Three Rivers District Council showed residents were in favour of two sites in the Maple Cross / Mill End area, with little support for three Croxley Green sites.
HCC responded by saying it would be 'prudent' to reserve one site from each respective area.
Across the county, 95.68 per cent of 11,859 children were allocated one of their three chosen schools, a 0.2 per cent increased compared to 2010.
Executive member for education and skills at HCC, Richard Thake, said: "I do appreciate that some parents may be disappointed with the school they have been allocated, but would encourage them to visit the school and speak to the headteacher before dismissing the offered place. They may be pleasantly surprised by what they see."
School places must be accepted by March 16. The deadline to submit an appeal is 4pm on March 18, 2011.
More information can be found at www.hertsdirect.org/admissions
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