Wokingham Borough Council is responding to criticism of its decision-making and consultation process over recent changes to its secondary school admissions arrangements for September 2012.
In full support of the process, which involved two rounds of consultation, the last of which attracted more than 2,000 responses, in addition to petitions with some 2,795 signatures between them, Cllr Rob Stanton, Wokingham Borough Council’s executive member for education services, said: "We are very disappointed with the approach that Reading Borough Council is taking on this issue. They have been engaged at every stage of this decision-making process and are aware that the final decision was a change to the original proposals, in direct response to consultation. The proposals adopted retain within the Maiden Erlegh designated area all those parts of Reading Borough that have long been part of that school's designated area.
"We took the decision to amend admission arrangements to our community secondary schools only after detailed and extensive consultation with communities in both Wokingham and Reading boroughs. We were conscious of the need to address long-standing issues, recognised not only by us but by the communities these schools serve, as well as by the schools adjudicator whose finding against our previous admissions arrangements was one of the motivations for the review.
"The decision took into account the views of parents, the wider school communities and the School Admissions Forum. We are very grateful for everyone’s contribution. We are confident that the approach we took was robust and that the outcome addresses the problems we faced and takes into consideration appropriately the views expressed in the consultation.
"Although we know that we cannot hope to satisfy everyone, we think the new arrangements provide a better solution for most people in the local community.
"Of course, we await the decision of the Office of the Schools Adjudicator with interest."