St Peter’s parents’ safety fears

A THIRD action group has formed in Portishead in the wake of the school places crisis.

Parents of children at St Peter’s Primary School have formed St Peter’s Action Group (SPAG) after North Somerset Council confirmed it would be looking into expanding the Halletts Way school for September 2014.

The authority is recommending dropping plans to expand High Down infant and junior schools in Down Road after analysing the response to a public consultation.

The concerns of SPAG are heavily weighted around the safety aspect of any proposed expansion.

Group member Sarah Andrews said: “St Peter’s school is a land-locked site which is already heavily congested at both pick-up and drop-off times and parents believe increasing the number of children will only add to the problem and cause serious safety issues.”

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “We acknowledge we need to do more work around a potential solution at St Peter’s Primary School. We know there are concerns around local traffic and parking near the school and we are looking at ways of reducing this.”

Many also believe the council has yet to get its projected school place predictions right and should not be putting any proposals forward until they are certain their plans will provide a long term solution.

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Mum Luci Woodyatt said: “We urge the council to revisit their figures. The results of an independent study of the need for school places in Portishead over the next five years differ hugely from the council’s projected figures.

“We feel very strongly that the proposals being put forward will not solve the shortage of places in the long-term.”

Consultation on the 2014 St Peter’s expansion is expected to begin in January and a solution for the shortfall of places in September 2013 is now being sought.

A temporary classroom is expected to be installed at one primary school to provide the additional number of reception places required.

The Bristol Primary School has expressed an interest in opening a 420-place free school in Portishead in September 2014 to help solve the crisis and is expected to hold a public meeting in the town in the coming weeks.

*School admission forms for children starting school in September 2013 must be submitted to North Somerset Council by midnight on January 15.

Portishead councillor Reyna Knight says it is extremely important that parents put down three separate school choices and do not put the same school down three times. She said: “Should the first choice school be full, if there is not a second or third choice in place, the application will be dealt with at the end of the admissions process which has in the past been why some pupils were allocated a school outside their area.”

Parents who have already submitted their forms opting for High Down 1 and High Down 2 will be given the opportunity to change their application.