Potters Bar MP may push for new primary school in town

Potters Bar's MP Oliver Dowden

Potters Bar's MP Oliver Dowden - Credit: Archant

Potters Bar’s MP has said he will push for a new primary school in the area if demand for places continues to soar.

The town was highlighted last week as the county’s worst area for ranked primary school allocations, with 85.77 per cent of 246 families not getting a preferred choice.

Across Hertfordshire the overall figure was 96 per cent, which caused numerous parents to question why there was such a disparity in Potters Bar.

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden said that after contacting county council officials, he understands the issue was caused by an “unexpected 30 per cent jump” in the number of pupils needing a place since last year.

He added: “It is crucial that as our community grows we make sure we have the right local infrastructure to support it.

“I am pleased the county council will be taking steps to understand why there has been a surge, and to make sure next year more pupils are able to go to the schools of their choice.

“I have written formally to Cllr David Williams, the county council Cabinet member for education, to request more detail on this.

“If this increase in demand proves to be sustained, we will need a new school and I will do all I can as your MP to secure it, as I achieved in Borehamwood.”

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However, a council spokesman attributed a low ranked allocation rate to parental preference – not inadequate capacity – claiming large numbers picked the same few schools and avoided others.

He added: “The county council’s forecast analysis of actual applications received were correct, with Potters Bar primary schools offering 255 reception places, and receiving 246 applications from children living within Potters Bar.

“The issue is reflective of parental preference and not school place capacity, which meets the demand.”