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Wisbech parents share concerns after 40 Year 6 pupils given place at Vista Academy in Littleport

A group of Wisbech parents have been left in a predicament as their children face travelling an extra 25 miles to get to a secondary school in September.

More than 40 Year 6 children are thought to be missing out on a place at a nearby secondary school – which could mean that pupils could face an hour of travelling each way.

Cambridgeshire County Council says school place requirements have gone down this year and they have offered 7,220 places compared to 7,413 last year.

40 pupils in the Wisbech area may have to go to Vista Academy in Littleport. Picture: iStock
40 pupils in the Wisbech area may have to go to Vista Academy in Littleport. Picture: iStock

The council has also said that there has been a rise in students going to their first-choice secondary school in September, with 87.9% gaining a place.

However, 40 Wisbech-area children are still left without a place and could be facing a 25 mile bus trip to Vista Academy in Littleport.

Some parents have taken to social media to express their concerns, stating it is “totally disgusting” that their child is left without a place.

Hayley Belsham said on Wisbech Discussion Forum that her daughter had been declined a place from all three of their choices – she was instead offered a place at Littleport.

Hayley said: “My daughter will be heartbroken when she finds out.

“There is no way we can send her to Littleport, so if we lose appeals she is now without a school, and has to deal with months of uncertainty and a lack of transition support.”

Another parent, Tracey Blake, said: “My son is affected by this, I’m absolutely heartbroken and so angry.

“We have emailed The MP and the Department for Education about this. Seven kids from my son’s school were not accepted.”

In a Facebook post, Fenland District Councillor Samantha Hoy, who represents Wisbech South, has said the lack of nearby school spaces is as a result of Cambridgeshire County Council removing building a new secondary school from their spending plans.

Cllr Hoy said: “Due to this delay, today on National Offer Day, around 40 local children have been offered spaces at a school in Littleport.

“This is over an hour away when Welney is closed (because of the regular flooding).”

A new school will be ready to open on the Thomas Clarkson Academy site in 2026.

Cllr Hoy said that she has made MP Steve Barclay aware of the issue, and that he had written to the Secretary of State to urge the Department for Education to place mobile classrooms at the school to ensure more students can get a place there.

Cambridge County Council has said the proportion offered a place at their first, second or third preference school has also risen – from 95.4% in 2023 to 95.8% this year.

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “Our admissions team and place planning team work tirelessly to make sure places are allocated in time for September and once again have done an excellent job.

“I am delighted that the vast majority will attend one of their top three choices, which will ensure the transition from primary to secondary school will be as seamless as possible.”

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