Rotherham Council rejects Waverley Junior Academy temporary classroom call as other schools would lose cash

Officials are refusing to install temporary classrooms to solve a school places shortage at Waverley, near Sheffield – because other schools would lose money.

Monday, 23rd May 2022, 7:51 pm

Residents were left furious after dozens of children were told they could not attend Waverley Junior Academy because of a shortage of places, after many bought homes on the new Waverley estate because of the new local school being built.

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And Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford has now handed in a 2,000 name petition to parliament calling on Rotherham Council to extend the school through mobile buildings to fit in those who have been turned away.

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Officials are refusing to install temporary classrooms to solve a school places shortage at Waverley Academy, near Sheffield – because other schools would lose money. Pictured is Waverley Junior Academy. Picture Scott Merrylees

But a Rotherham Council spokesperson has now said: “We understand the frustration of families who’ve not received their first-choice place.

“It’s 21 children from Waverley, plus 18 from further afield who have not been given their first-choice places at the new school. All those children have secured places at other nearby schools.

“Because of that, government funding cannot be used to support temporary classrooms, and would mean substantial cuts to other school budgets in the locality in the immediate area.

“The Council has reached out to Mr Stafford seeking his assistance in approaching the Department for Education in relation to this matter.”

Petition handed in to Parliament

Measures called for in the petition presented to parliament include temporary classrooms to be implemented in time for September admission whilst a more permanent solution can be found.

The petition reached almost 2,000 signatures from across Rother Valley, with some families turned away despite living less than half a mile away

Mr Stafford previously convened a public meeting for affected and concerned families and is calling on Rotherham Council to act now so that a solution can be implemented in time for September.

He said families had welcomed the suggestion of temporary classrooms being installed as an interim measure whilst a more permanent solution could be found between Howarth, the developer at Waverley, and the Aston Community Education Trust, who are responsible for Waverley Junior Academy.

He wants Parliament to apply pressure on authorities to sort the problem, and says he is also in contact with Rotherham Council’s chief executive, Aston Education Community Trust’s chief executive, and the and developer behind the Waverley estate, Harworth Group, with whom he is in the process of arranging a meeting.

Alexander Stafford

Mr Alexander said: “The fact that 39 families have been told that they are unable to send their children to their local school is unacceptable and represents a failure of Rotherham Council to make an adequate assessment of the local need.

“This has resulted in significant stress and disruption for local families at a time when this is just not needed.

“It is disappointing because the Waverley development was a real step forward for the council in terms of developing brownfield land and attempting to build communities rather than just houses, but once again they have fallen short.

“The council now needs to ensure they exert pressure on the developers to meet their obligations this year, so that families’ minds can be put at rest.”