One in three students opt to leave town for their education

Sponne School, just one of the places that children in Daventry are going to.
Sponne School, just one of the places that children in Daventry are going to.
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New figures reveal almost one in three eligible primary school children did not choose either of Daventry’s secondary schools for the current academic year.

A breakdown of the choices of all 417 year six pupils from the primary feeder schools for Parker E-Act Academy and Danetre and Southbrook Learning Village (DSLV) show 133 youngsters applied for – and were allocated – places at schools not in Daventry.

Southam College was the greatest beneficiary of the secondary school exodus, with 56 pupils opting for a daily trip to Warwickshire rather than an education in their closest secondary schools.

Other alternative choices included Campion in Bugbrooke, with 14 students choosing it ahead of the Daventry options. Guilsborough School Academy Trust welcomed 11 students from DSLV and Parker E-Act feeder schools, as did Ashlawn School in Rugby.

Further destinations included various Rugby schools, Magdalen College School in Brackley, Chenderit School in Middleton Cheney near Banbury, and Sponne School in Towcester.

The Northamptonshire County Council figures for 2014 secondary school admissions were handed to the Daventry Express by Abigail Campbell, Labour councillor at Daventry District Council (DDC).

She said DDC should play a more active role in supporting the head teachers in the town, adding:“If the district council doesn’t step up, we are at risk of losing what secondary education we have.”

Cllr Campbell said she feared the district was sleepwalking into a ‘two-tiered’ education system, with parents who can afford transport costs travelling elsewhere, while other families remain at the Daventry schools.

She added: “I think we have been short-changed in Daventry’s education system. We want to do everything possible to make sure secondary education is the best it can be. But if we really want to see education thrive we have to get behind it as a council.”

Cllr Wendy Randall, leader of the Labour group, added: “We have always had people who have decided to leave the town for education, but it was never anything near what it is now. I would like to see both schools at full capacity.”

The figures follow a report in last week’s Daventry Express in which leading figures in the town called for a “new start” to stop the flow of children away from DSLV and Parker E-ACT. This week the principals of both schools reacted with disappointment to the admissions figures, but said they were committed to improving links with local primaries through a number of ongoing projects.

Parker head Andew Mackereth said: “It is right our schools must do everything we can to improve our standards, but it is also the obligation of councillors, the council and the academy chain to help us show we are a compelling choice to the young people who are leaving Daventry .”

DSLV head Angie Lakey added: “The figures are very disappointing but it is clear many of the children from schools in the town are still coming to us.

“It is the smaller primary schools in the nearby villages that are more affected.”

For the full figures, visit www.daventryexpress.co.uk.