Following a concerted campaign by local parents and pressure from Conservative Group Education Spokesman – Cllr. Andrew Wealls – the Green Administration of Brighton & Hove City Council has performed a major u-turn that will lead to more children being able to attend their local school.
The u-turn will now mean that children living in the Tivoli and wider Port Hall area to the east of Dyke Road will, from September 2013, be able to more easily get a place at nearby Dorothy Stringer or Varndean schools. Under the previous Green plans, this would not have happened until 2014 at the earliest, and these children would have been forced to travel further across the city to either Hove Park or Blatchington Mill schools. 320 parents signed a petition against the delay on the grounds that it would create greater congestion and air pollution and would restrict children from attending many after school clubs and activities.
Cllr. Wealls has also severely criticised the flawed public consultation that took place on the school catchment area changes.
Cllr. Wealls said: “It makes much more sense from so many perspectives to have children going to more local schools. However, this whole farce was completely avoidable and we are seeing an increasing trend of poorly designed and ignored consultations from the Greens. This is especially concerning regarding education which is one of the most important issues faced by families right across the City. If I were issuing them a school report it would say “really must do better”.
Ward councillors for the affected area – Ann and Ken Norman – added: “Many anxious parents in our ward that have made contact with us on this issue will be delighted that we have been able to force the Greens into this u-turn. We would like to see further consultation in the very near future on other areas of Withdean and Westdene where similar issues continue to exist over the availability of local secondary school places.”