New school passes test – it’s full from the start

SHEFFIELD’S newest secondary school is set to be full when it opens in September, with over 30 pupils having been turned away.

Forge Valley School in Stannington is on a new campus following the merger of Myers Grove and Wisewood schools, which was bitterly opposed for years by campaign groups.

But parents in the area have chosen to send their youngsters there, with all 210 Year 7 places filled and 36 pupils unable to get in.

Education chiefs believe the appeal of a new school plus the fact it will have a sixth form attracted applications from outside its catchment.

More than 5,000 families have been allocated school places over the last few days, with 94% of pupils granted entry to their first choice secondary – up from 90 per cent last year.

And 98% of 11-year-olds will get a place at one of their three chosen preferences, a figure that is up from 96% in 2010.

Pressure on the secondary system has been eased slightly this year with the creation of 60 new places at Fir Vale School, to cater for a growing population in the area.

In the past the former Earl Marshal School has been heavily oversubscribed but this year just seven pupils have failed to gain places.

And every school has succeeded in finding places for children living in their official catchment areas, which has not been the case in previous years.

Sheffield’s south-western sixth form schools remain the most popular among parents, with 73 on the waiting list at Tapton, 61 at King Ecgbert and Silverdale, 48 at King Edward VII and 45 at High Storrs.

Westfield, Bradfield, Birley, Yewlands, City, Ecclesfield, Handsworth Grange and Meadowhead are also full, or nearly full.

Schools with plenty of places available include Firth Park, Chaucer, Newfield, Stocksbridge and Hinde House.

Previously the city’s academies have filled most of their available places but this year Parkwood had 24 vacancies and Springs has 11 while Park, still in special measures, has 83.

Education chiefs are still to receive applications from 69 families, and work will now begin to track them down, with the help of attendance officers if necessary.

Appeals from parents still hoping to get their child a place at their first-choice school will begin next month and will continue into the summer.

Coun Colin Ross, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is obviously an anxious time for many parents and we understand their concerns.

“Getting your child into a school which meets your expectations is of course a key priority of any parent but the figures show we have shown our commitment to achieving parent satisfaction.”