Round House Capacity Campaign: April Update
Firstly thank you to everyone who has shown support for our campaign to increase capacity at The Round House Primary Academy – the Round House Capacity Campaign. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received and it’s really shown what a truly wonderful community Love’s Farm is. We’ve been so encouraged to know this is an issue many people feel strongly about and has made us even more determined to fight for our children’s right to attend the local school.
I’m hoping that by now we will have either spoken to you directly or you will have heard about what we’re trying to achieve, but if not, we are campaigning for Cambridgeshire County Council to increase the capacity of The Round House Academy primary school in time for September 2017. 18 children living on Love’s Farm have recently been told they cannot have a place at The Round House when they start school in September, with more expected to be disappointed during the second round of applications.
We don’t think this is acceptable and the school should be expanded so all children living on Love’s Farm are given the same opportunity to attend their local community school.
Update on Progress
The campaign is going from strength to strength with good progress being made, although we still have a way to go with Cambridgeshire County Council preferring to focus on the challenges rather than solutions. However we really believe we have a good chance of winning and as we find out more information it’s making our case even stronger.
To give you an overview our main arguments are:
This is the third year in a row the school has been over-subscribed with the problem continuing to get worse.
The ‘real’ catchment area of the school is getting smaller each year and is now at just over 400 metres, based on the size of the school this is the smallest across the whole of Cambridgeshire.
The geography of the estate means that the majority of children who have been denied a space will have to be literally driven past The Round House, to travel to an alternative school, in most cases Priory Park Infants, over 2 miles away (2.2 mile drive, 1.5 mile walk).
Almost a third of children on Love’s Farm did not get their first choice of primary school compared with one in ten countywide.
The lack of adequate capacity at The Round House is something that should have been foreseen; mistakes have been made by Cambridgeshire County Council and planners.
This is a long term issue which will continue to get worse as the Love's Farm population grows.
The whole community is effected with house prices impacted by potential buyers not being able to get their children into the the local school, and more cars on the road causing environmental, traffic and health problems.
These are four-year old children who are being denied the opportunity to go to their local community school, with their friends, neighbours, and other children in their pre-school classes.
We're doing all we can to back up our arguments with facts. We’ve submitted several Freedom of Information requests, we’ve had meetings with Mrs Tracy Bryden, the headteacher of the school, Keith Grimwade, The Director of Learning Services at Cambridgeshire County Council and Council planners. We’re also talking to County, District, and Town Councillors, Gallagher, the Love’s Farm developers, and the Huntingdonshire MP.
In addition to putting the case together, over the next few weeks we will continue to put pressure on the Council to make delivering a solution a priority. The campaign has already received wide coverage in the media including Look East, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire as well as a Facebook video created by the BBC which currently has had over 68k views. This media coverage is great at highlighting the issue and helping to hold the Council to account and we’ll continue to look for further opportunities to do this. We are also working with Design Portfolio, a corporate communications business, who are kindly helping us design a leaflet and poster, and are also very generously printing 1000 copies free of charge.
For our campaign to be successful it is really important that we demonstrate that we have community support so we’ll also be continuing to build on this. Love’s Farm Community Association are fully backing the campaign and have sent an email to over 1,000 residents. The school, Town, District and local County Councillors are also in support and we have been overwhelmed by the support from other parents, residents, and the wider community. We also have a campaign group on Facebook with over 170 members, and a petition with over 220 signatures.
Invitation to you
On Wednesday 3 May we are holding an informal drop-in session which we would very much like to welcome you to. This is designed as an opportunity to find out a bit more about the issue and campaign, understand how it might impact you, and to show support. Everyone is welcome!
The details are as follows:
Date: Wednesday 3rd May
Time: 20:00 - 21:30
Venue: Love’s Farm House, 17 Kester Way, Saint Neots PE19 6SL
We have also created a website which includes all the details about the campaign. Please have a look and get in touch if you have any questions or would like to get involved in any way.