Bromley school places shortage: Has the situation become 'desperate'?

Mum Kirsty O'Brien and daughter three-year-old Milly

Jo Higgs with five-year-old Charlie

Keston Village Residents' Association chairman David Clapham with other members outside Keston school

Executive Member for Education Councillor Stephen Wells

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

PARENTS and teachers have revealed the ‘desperate’ lack of space which means some children have failed to make any of their six chosen schools whilst others are being taught in break-out areas due to lack of space.

Four out of five parents got their first choice of school in London while 92 per cent got one of their top three choices therefore Kirsty O’ Brien was surprised to discover her three-year-old daughter failed to get into any of her six chosen schools and was instead assigned to a junior school.

She had assumed she would get into one of the schools they had selected given some were less than ten minutes walk away and one was on, Kent House Road, where they have lived for 36 years.

Instead the 40-year-old was told Milly will be being sent to Worsley Bridge Junior School, in Brackley Road, Beckenham, which is 20 minutes away and is being converted into an infant school due to lack of space.

Ms O’Brien said:  “I do not feel it is the best place for Milly meanwhile many of her friends have got into the schools we selected.

“I’m unhappy because I don’t think it has been properly thought through and I’m worried it will be rushed and it’s not as good academically as the other ones.

“When you look at the figures, it does not make sense. I did think she might not get into our first choice but I thought she would at least get into one of the six. That is what upsets more than anything.”

“Will they teach four year olds in portacabins? It is a big part of their life and they need stability.”

Executive Member for Education Councillor Stephen Wells said: “There are across London, including Bromley, very major pressures on primary school places this year.

“Council Officers are currently seeking to address these issues where they can in collaboration with parents and schools and some readjustment of allocated places can take place over the next few months.”

Meanwhile another mother has revealed the “crazy” situation where her five-year-old son is being taught in a break-out area in Keston Church of England School, in Lakes Road, because the over-subscribed school he attends was refused permission to expand due to concerns from the nearby Residents’ Association.

 News Shopper: Jo Higgs with five-year-old Charlie

Jo Higgs, of Poulters Wood Road, Keston, said: “It is crazy. Charlie is being taught in a room which is used for meetings and after-school clubs because there is no space.

“The Residents’ Association treats the kids like they are an inconvenience but these are children’s lives we’re talking about.

“There is nowhere else to put them.

“It is ridiculous - this school has been there longer than the association has.

“There are fewer kids them there were five years ago - it does not make any sense.”

The 32-year-old added: “Now the extra children are there, what difference does it make to other people if they are taught in a permanent or temporary structure?”

Head teacher Julia Evison revealed staff were getting “desperate”.

Chair of Governors Robin Allis said: "It is highly unsatisfactory that as a result of the co-ordinated actions of residents and ward councillors, there will be children within Keston village and the school’s normal catchment who will not be able to attend their local school.”

However chairman of Keston Village Residents' Association David Clapham said the expansion proposals “do not take account of the unsuitable infrastructure, dangerous junctions and significant lack of alternative modes of transport to the car.”

News Shopper: Keston Village Residents' Association David Clapham Chairman with other members outside Keston school

Comments (6)

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8:49am Wed 24 Apr 13

mr2wheels100 says...

I just love the News Shopper classic photo of everyone with their arms crossed!
I just love the News Shopper classic photo of everyone with their arms crossed! mr2wheels100
  • Score: 0

10:19am Wed 24 Apr 13

fedup76 says...

where will that woman with the buggy want to send her kid when it grows up??? moaning about it now but when she wants a place for her kid in the school, bet she'll change sides!
where will that woman with the buggy want to send her kid when it grows up??? moaning about it now but when she wants a place for her kid in the school, bet she'll change sides! fedup76
  • Score: 0

2:34pm Wed 24 Apr 13

muffin1980 says...

How can those residents stand there and moan about being annoyed about traffic when so many kids don't have a place at a local school? I hope that woman ends up having to drive her kid 5 miles up the road because she can't get a space at her local primary school!!
How can those residents stand there and moan about being annoyed about traffic when so many kids don't have a place at a local school? I hope that woman ends up having to drive her kid 5 miles up the road because she can't get a space at her local primary school!! muffin1980
  • Score: 0

6:27pm Wed 24 Apr 13

Ian Sider says...

That is not beyond the realms of possibility. Only four non-siblings got a place at Keston this year. That's going to be a catchment area measured in yards, not miles!
That is not beyond the realms of possibility. Only four non-siblings got a place at Keston this year. That's going to be a catchment area measured in yards, not miles! Ian Sider
  • Score: 0

7:57pm Wed 24 Apr 13

muffin1980 says...

That's because the residents kicked up such a fuss about them building a classroom and the school had to refuse the additional 30 children it was going to take. Disgraceful.
That's because the residents kicked up such a fuss about them building a classroom and the school had to refuse the additional 30 children it was going to take. Disgraceful. muffin1980
  • Score: 0

9:55am Thu 25 Apr 13

the wall says...

This is a 1st world problem of no life threatening significance.
This is a 1st world problem of no life threatening significance. the wall
  • Score: 0

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