I have been contacted by a number of parents living in the Dengie Peninsula who have been told that their children have been allocated places at Secondary Schools outside the District, including as far as Brightlingsea. I fully understand their concern and agree that it is wholly unrealistic to expect children to travel such distances on a daily basis.
I have today met with Cllr Ray Gooding, Cabinet Member for Education, and Clare Kershaw, Director for Education, at Essex County Council. This was a productive meeting and I am pleased that they agree that these allocations are impractical as well as costly. The Dengie is served by two secondary schools, Ormiston Rivers and William de Ferrers. While both are full, officials are urgently exploring with the schools ways of increasing capacity to allow a bigger intake this year. I am confident that on this basis parents will not be expected to send their children out of area. The County Council has promised to be in contact early next week with further information for all those parents affected and I am grateful to them for acting so swiftly to correct what is clearly a mistake.