8 March 2009

Poor choice for Kingston's schools

Kingston Council keeps reminding those of us who work in Education that they are officially rated as "outstanding" by Ofsted and their attitude is never less than smug. But the customers of their services know that this is nonsense and there is a lot wrong with schooling in Kingston.

We learnt this week that Kingston's secondary school place choice is among London's worst with only half the applicants for secondary school places in September getting a place at the first choice school. About 125 children are being asked to settle for their fourth, fifth or sixth choice place and 25 have nowhere to go at all.

The situation in the primary sector is not much better and next September up to 300 children will start their school lives in new temporary classrooms. This is in addition to the temporary classrooms that had to be built last year when Kingston Council got its planning seriously wrong.

Getting a place for their children at a school of their choice is the main thing that parents want from their council and Kingston is failing in this in both the primary and secondary sectors. Something has to change. A new council administration next year might be sufficient but it may require the government to give more power to citizens, as they keep saying they plan to do.

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