Waverley school places: Developer Harworth Group 'regret' over school places shortage on estate near Sheffield

The developer who built the Waverley estate, near Sheffield, says it is in talks with Rotherham Council to deal with a shortage of school places.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 1:39 pm

Harworth Estates Group says it regrets the problems experienced by families on the housing development, between Handsworth and Catcliffe, in finding school places at the estate’s schools, which was heavily oversubscribed this year, and is working on solutions with Rotherham Council.

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The firm said in a statement: “We have been following the situation at Waverley Junior Academy closely and would like to express our regret to the families that have been impacted. As a responsible, long-term developer, Harworth has met its obligations to deliver school places in Waverley, but we are engaged in constructive discussions with the council to identify ways in which the exceptionally high demand for places at the school can be addressed.”

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Waverley estate developer Harworth Group has told of 'regret' over the school places shortage on the estate

It comes as MP Alexander Stafford says he is calling on Harworth to 'revisit its obligation to make school provision in the area, and for the council to put pressure on it to do so’.

MP Alexander Stafford

Rother Valley MP Mr Stafford called a public open meeting for 25 families whose children were denied place at local school, despite living within half a mile of the school

He also launched a petition calling on Rotherham Council to extend provision for children this year by creating temporary classrooms.

He said families would like temporary classrooms put on the site as an interim measure to bridge the gap for this raft of families while school provision was extended for the village.

He said: “It is unacceptable that children are being denied a place at their local school, and it comes down to the fact that Rotherham Council have failed to adequately predict need and make provision accordingly.

Temporary classrooms

“I am calling on Rotherham Council to increase provision at Waverley Junior Academy for children affected this year, in the interim by instituting temporary classrooms whilst working with Harworth, the developer at Waverley in the longer term to ensure that there are enough school places for children in the village and that this situation is not repeated in future years.

“It is not enough for developers to come along and build houses without investing in community infrastructure. I have said this time and again across Rother Valley and Waverley is no exception.”

Rotherham Council blames the problem on the large number of young children on the estate. They used a national formula to decide places.

Nathan Heath, Rotherham Council’s assistant director for education and inclusion, said previously: “The developer met their obligation to open Waverley Junior Academy to accommodate 60 children but, in light of this problem, we are speaking to the developer about the potential to bring forward plans to create additional places sooner than was originally agreed.

“Unfortunately any additional places that can be provided won’t be in place for the new school year in September.

“It’s in all our interests to ensure children have access to a good school close to home and we’re sorry that, due to exceptional circumstances, some Waverley parents have not been offered their first preference school.”