10:00AM, Tuesday 14 July 2015
The council backed down on a claim that Holyport College was 'numerically' the most popular school in the Royal Borough after being berated by 'fair school funding' campaigners last night.
Alison Alexander, director for children’s services at the Royal Borough, told an audience of 18 that she would change wording to ‘statistically’ most preferred school in the borough.
Ms Alexander was joined by David Scott, head of education, and Ben Wright, education planning officer, at the public meeting in the Desborough Suite at Maidenhead Town Hall, to answer questions on how the council came to the decision to award £480,000 worth of Section 106 money to Holyport College.
The change came after a member of the public pointed out Furze Platt was numerically the most preferred school with 262 first preferences compared with Holyport College’s 142.
The Royal Borough’s equation which landed Holyport College as the elected school to receive almost half a million pounds of Section 106 money – developer funding – came through the total of first preferences as a percentage of the schools’ Published Admission Number (PAN).
For Holyport, this percentage was 323 as its PAN is for 44 students, whereas Furze Platt’s PAN for students is 193, resulting in the percentage being 136 – and the Royal Borough ranking it as second in the list of preferences.
Ms Alexander also told campaigners that her office had issued a reminder to the headteacher at Holyport College to apply for the developer funding.
She said: “They (Holyport College) said they wanted to be considered and that is how things work.
“The issue is Holyport had said ‘we want to’, and therefore we reminded them.”
The audience, made up largely by members of the Fair Funding for Borough Schools campaign, reacted angrily to this.
One member of the public said the school in Ascot Road was built for 500 pupils but can accommodate 600.
He asked: “Why not give it to those other schools who could do with it?
“You never gave those schools the opportunity to do that and that is unfair.”
Ms Alexander agreed to arrange another public meeting to continue discussions.
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