SCORES of children in Three Rivers have been left disappointed after being denied their first choice of secondary school.
Out of 182 applicants in the Rickmansworth and Maple Cross area, 46 per cent (83) missed out on their preferred school, with 30 per cent of pupils (47 out of 157) in the Croxley Green area failing to secure their top school, after Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) allocated places last week.
Overall, 64 per cent of children in Three Rivers achieved their first ranked place.
County councillor Richard Thake, executive member for education and skills, said: "I appreciate some parents may be disappointed 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.
"In the long term, we are seeking to increase capacity in South West Hertfordshire so that more children get a place at a preferred local school."
Reacting to the news, Carolyn Venn, vice-chairman of the WD3 Action Group, which is calling for a new secondary school in the area, said:
"The admission figures are better than last year but they will be the same next year, according to HCC's forecast, and this reiterates the need for a new school."
Mrs Venn also revealed the group had been contacted about additional places available at Northwood School in Potter Street, Northwood.
Associate principal Kim Rowe said: "While it might only be a small crumb of comfort for parents in the WD3 postcode, it is worth noting that we already receive students from the area."
But Mrs Venn dismissed this as 'a short-term solution': "Parents in Hertfordshire are not given enough information on how to apply for out of county schools but this will not solve the problem long-term.
"Haydon is already massively oversubscribed and it won't be long before Northwood School is full. A new school is the only solution."
The Gazette reported last week that eight potential sites for a new school have been identified by Three Rivers District Council (TRDC), which deals with planning applications, after £82.5million funding was approved by HCC to deal with shortfalls in spaces.
But in order for the proposed sites to be considered, HCC must first confirm the need for a new school by this Friday (March 12), as well as state the sites it believes are feasible.
This would pave the way for a public consultation, with Councillor Ann Shaw, leader of TRDC, last week suggesting this could take place in June.
Across the county, more than 95 per cent of students were allocated a place at one of their three preferred schools.
Parents have until next Tuesday (March 16) to accept their child's school place. The deadline to submit an appeal is 4pm on March 22.
For more information, visit www.hertsdirect.org/admissions .