Girl, three, victim of Sutton school place crisis
A girl has fallen victim to Sutton’s primary school space crisis, after not being offered a place.
Chloe Newell, three, who is due to start school in September, has missed out on all six of her choices of primary school in the borough.
It is feared her indictment is symbolic of the ever-increasing squeeze on school places in the borough, soon expected to begin to impact on secondary provision.
She lives with her parents in Downs Road, Belmont, just 629m from her preferred choice of Avenue Primary School, which, with a catchment area of 865m in 2011, meant she would then have secured a place.
But this year only pupils living within 582m of the school, and those with siblings already there, were offered one of 90 places.
Sutton, with one of the highest birth rates in London, has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families applying for primary school places in recent years.
It has meant rapid expansion of schools, but there are concerns the crisis may be reaching tipping point.
In October 2011, 13,927 pupils attended primary schools in Sutton, with the figure expected to rise to 15,906 by September 2014, and 16,996 by September 2016.
Plans are under way to expand five schools in preparation for a surge in applications next September.
Chole's parents are urging the council to accept more pupils at Avenue Primary in September 2012, ahead of its planned expansion for entry in 2013.
Her dad Andrew, said: "We have spoken to many people in the Belmont area, including those in primary school and pre-school teaching, and they have all said that they had never heard of a child not being offered a place at any school at all."
"We understand that there are several other people in a similar position to ourselves this year."
Councillor Kirsty Jerome, the council’s executive member for education and schools, said: "This year has seen unprecedented demand for primary school places in all London boroughs.
"Sutton received 2524 applications, and 90 per cent received one of their top three choices.
"A number of children have yet to be placed, which isn’t unusual for this time of year, and they will all receive a place in the second round of offers, which will take place within the next couple of weeks."