Apply for Peterborough primary school place or miss out on first choice

St Botolph's C Of E Primary School in Oundle Road where Mr Lewis recently visited
St Botolph's C Of E Primary School in Oundle Road where Mr Lewis recently visited
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Calling all parents and guardians! You can now submit applications for primary school places on our website, writes Peterborough City Council service director for education Jonathan Lewis.

You’ve got a bit of time to do this, as the deadline isn’t until January 15. But as I know there’s two significant events on the horizon which might take up a bit of your attention over the coming weeks, I thought I’d highlight it now – yes, I’m talking about Christmas and a festive general election.

From my own experiences as a parent, I find it always best to do important tasks like school admissions sooner rather than later.

In just a few weeks’ time, the whole country will be caught up in a festive mania and it’s things like this that can be easily forgotten when we move into a new year.

Plus, missing the deadline can mean you won’t get your chosen local school and this can be hugely disruptive to children.

At the start of this school year in September, we were able to provide the vast majority of children their first place school – 90.4 per cent for primary applications, with 97 per cent offered one of their three preferred schools.

We’re able to achieve this success because of careful planning by our school admissions team, and of course the investment we have made in schools in recent years – and continue to make – to increase the number of places. It’s incredible to think that we are admitting nearly 1,000 extra children into Peterborough schools at age four than from my first admissions round in 2008 – that’s nearly 50 per cent more. Our schools have done brilliantly to cope with this change.

Work has now started on a new primary school at Hampton Lakes and we’ve also extended Oakdale Primary in Stanground and Woodston Primary. Applications can be made online now at www.peterborough.gov.uk

While out and about in city classrooms this month, I’ve immersed myself in ancient Egypt, met new headteachers and learnt a bit about pupils hopes and fears for the future.

n October 11, I had the pleasure to meet Helen Rouse, who is the new headteacher at St Botolph’s Church of England School in Orton Longueville. I was pleased to see her settling in so well and when we took a tour of the building you could see she had a really good rapport with all the pupils already.

Stanground Academy was another date in the diary this month, this time accompanied by our cabinet member for education, Councillor Lynne Ayres. The school has been through some turbulent times, but we were both very impressed with both the school and its new leadership team, led by Gary Carlisle.

We also met with pupils who shared their aspirations for the future with us and gave us a bit of an education in terms of their global hopes and fears for the next 20 years. The climate change, artificial intelligence and global leaders were just a handful of the topics that were discussed and one of the sixth formers showed us the research he had completed on the benefits of exercise on learning.

It never ceases to amaze me just how considered, bright and innovative young people in our city are when you take the time to ask them about their dreams for the future – I feel my time when I’m an old man will be safe in their hands. I tried hard to persuade them that a future in teaching was for them – I’d encourage readers to go to www.teacheast.co.uk, be trained locally and become a teacher!

Finally this month, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to take part in a public consultation launched by the Roman Catholic Diocese, which is planning to build a new faith school in Hampton. Residents were able to make their views known either online or via the three drop-in consultation events that were held by the diocese in the Hampton area.

The results of the consultation will be made available on the diocese website shortly. If the diocese decides to move to the next stage of the process, they will publish a statutory notice formally proposing that Peterborough City Council agrees to the establishment of a new Roman Catholic diocese primary school at Hampton Waters. The Roman Catholic Diocese indicated that if they move to statutory notice stage, they would publish this on November 21.

The statutory notice will trigger a four week representation period when any person or organisation can submit their comments on the proposal to Peterborough City Council. We will then consider the proposals to open the new school in mid January.