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Waverley Junior Academy

Volume 720: debated on Tuesday 18 October 2022

The petition of residents of the constituency of Rother Valley,

Declares that provision of school places at Waverley Junior Academy must be extended for applicants this September via temporary classrooms; further that it is unacceptable that 39 children from the village, some living less than 200 metres from the school, have failed to get a place because Rotherham Council failed to adequately predict the level of need for places; and further that developers must follow through on their commitment to adequately build the infrastructure needed to support communities.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to implore Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to implement a temporary solution to this problem, in the form of temporary classrooms, to enable local children to attend their local school.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Alexander Stafford, Official Report, 19 May 2022; Vol. 714, c. 946 .]

[P002731]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Education, (Baroness Barran):

Waverley Junior Academy opened in September 2020 in response to the increase of residents in the area as a result of the Waverley Housing Development. Currently there have been 2,000 houses built out of a proposed 3,200 houses. Future expansion of Waverley Junior Academy will be considered, and further funding released, only in relation to the development of the second phase of housing development, which still requires planning permission. The decision to expand the school will also be subject to approval by Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Director, and a key consideration will be whether or not there is a need for places in the local planning area.

It is not a viable option for a local authority to expand a school when there are already sufficient places within the local community. Three of the neighbouring schools have already seen significantly reduced pupil numbers since the opening of Waverley Junior Academy, and further expansion could destabilise the wider school system in the area, affecting the viability of these schools. In the worst-case scenario this could lead to school closure.

There are four alternative schools within the planning area at which the LA have advised us that pupils who did not secure a place at Waverley Junior Academy this year have been offered places. Treeton Church of England Primary School, Brinsworth Howarth Primary School, Catcliffe Primary School and Brinsworth Whitehill Primary School are all between one and two miles of Waverley Junior Academy.