05:48PM, Thursday 19 November 2020
Fears have been raised over the freedom of choice for Windsor secondary school pupils after Holyport College proposed changes to its admissions.
The free school for children aged 11–19 is looking to cease accepting new classes of year 9 day school pupils, starting from September 2022.
For the last several years, the college took 26 students into year 9 each year. Instead, the school is planning to double its intake of year 7 students, from 26 to 52.
This has led to concerns about the impact on Windsor pupils due to the three tier system, with students attending primary, middle and secondary schools.
If Holyport College changes its policy, Windsor teens looking to attend could only stay in middle school for a single year before they would have to transfer.
Cllr Helen Price (TBF, Clewer and Dedworth East) said: “As a parent, are you really going to leave your child in a school for one year?
“It’s disruptive for the child, it’s not good for stability,”.
In response, Ben McCarey, headmaster of Holyport College said: “At our inception, we promised to be all things to all people. As well as being a local school for local children, we also tried to be a co-educational option for the Windsor students. The reality of that is that we were failing in both of those.”
He said that in an average year, the college has only been accepting between four and eight local children. As a small school, it was also not serving ‘the overwhelming majority’ of residents from Windsor either.
Mr McCarey added that Holyport is ‘an educational black spot’ with no transport links to any of the Maidenhead schools – thus, the college needs to make itself more available to Holyport residents.
A formal consultation is needed before the official admission number can be changed.
Holyport College has invited residents to share their views. To respond to the consultation, visit tinyurl.com/y6jvu6sw
The changes could see Colnbrook with Poyle, Langley Kedermister and Foxborough wards moved from Slough to the Windsor parliamentary constituency.