Oversubscribed school in Lavenham having to turn away children from the village

Mark Westley Photography'Lavenham community primary school ANL-150906-221702009
Mark Westley Photography'Lavenham community primary school ANL-150906-221702009
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An ‘outstanding’ school is having to turn away children from within the village as it attracts two applications for every available space.

For lots of parents the recent letter from Suffolk County Council came with good news, announcing their child had been accepted to their first choice school.

For those living in Lavenham, however, there was a good chance the letter would be met with disappointment as the primary school, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, is full to capacity, unable to even accept all children from within the village.

“We want everybody who wants their child to come here to get a place but we are not in a position to do that,” said headteacher Jan Foster. “It’s always difficult to turn people away, it’s never nice.”

Some parents in the village have appealed but there is no space with twice the number of applicants compared to spaces at the 212 pupil school.

Mrs Foster explained they were looking at ways to open new spaces, however, being landlocked with no playing field, space is very much at a premium. “We are looking at what we’ve got to see if we can make any additional space,” she said. “We’ve outgrown the school really. The school and village is obviously going to attract people.”

Mrs Foster said she would not be able to comment on the possibility of the school moving, stating this would be a decision for Suffolk County Council.

A council spokesman said: “Council officers have met with a local community group to discuss the Lavenham Neighbourhood Development Plan, which looks at all the key issues impacting on the village, including education. We will continue to work with the school and the local community to explore opportunities for school expansion.”

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said it was important a solution was sought.

He added: “My priority is to take this up with the education department at Suffolk County Council to see what realistic options are available for either expanding the current school or looking at new sites.”