Click for the Cookham News Front Page

Furze Platt for Cookham Children

(17 March 2010)

click on photo for larger image

Maidenhead Advertiser 18 March 2010 video

Moor Hall had been booked for one hundred people so parents of Year 6 children could ask the Royal Borough why their children could not get into Furze Platt school for the first time since it was opened to Cookham children in 1963. The Chartered Institute of Marketing had very kindly offered the Berkshire suite for no charge for the meeting, but it was a surprise to everyone when over double the number expected turned up. 

Only Standng Room Left

It got to the point where people were unable to get into the room. This was helped a bit by people not only standing round the edges but sitting on the floor as well.

Ah Somewhere to Sit

The meeting was opened by Julia Cox, a Cookham Rise parent, who welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked for calm with no heckling! She read out a statement from Theresa May MP saying that she hoped that the situation could be sorted out and also from Council Leader Cllr David Burbage who was hoping to come along later to the meeting. She then introduced the panel from the Royal Borough. Cllr Eileen Quick, Chairman of Children's Services, ho had been involved in the catchment area change. Rhidian Jones who is the Principal Education Officer at the Royal Borough, Cllr James Evans who is Chairman of Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel. The Scrutiny Panel had recommended the changes should be put back a year so there was more time to look at them. Mike Miller, the new President of the Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce, was to be Julia's co-chairman. Mike looked very grand with his chain of office. Julia had also coerced her neighbour, Gayle Hall, into taking the minutes.

The Panel

Penny Bysshe and Education Consultant who lives in Cookham then gave a short presentation explaining the old system and the catchment areas and then showing the new system and the impact it would have on Cookham schools. As Penny pointed out there were enough places for every child in Maidenhead to get a place, but the Cookham children would get the places no one else wanted. 

The Old Catchment Areas

Tabled questions were then asked of the panel asking why the changes had been made without ensuring the system worked properly. Councillor Quick attempted to answer as best she could but intimated that she had some good news and changes which should make people feel a lot happier.

meetin20.jpg (30019 bytes)

Cllr Eillen Quick Fields the Questions

Councillor Quick then explained the changes that the council were planning. In discussion with Furze Platt a new building would be built to house forty extra children in Year 7 in 2010 and another 40 in 2011. She explained that there may be a large amount of funding in the Building for Schools programmes in the future but the two year contingency would come in before it was known what sort of funding would or would not be available. It was felt that this would allow the Cookham children on the waiting list for Furze Platt should now get places. For the future, the admissions criteria will be changed, that after statemented and special cases children with siblings, living in the catchment area would be next in line for Furze Platt followed by the three Cookham schools which are feeder schools and then others living in the catchment area until the school is filled up.

This met with massive approval and the rest of the meeting was spent in people understanding the implications and plans for these changes. Everyone left a lot happier than when they arrived. While some of the organising team retreated to the bar for a celebration drink.

Julia Cox and Penny Bysshe Enjoy a Well Earned Drink

Click for the Cookham News Front Page

home    top of page You may need to click more than onceback    any suggestions