The recent publication of figures on school places in Shrewsbury has revealed that every secondary school in the town is now at or over capacity for 2023.
Meole Brace came in at 16 over their Published Admissions Number (PAN), with both Priory and Belvidere 12 over. Shrewsbury Academy is exactly at capacity.
The outcome means that a very high proportion of Shrewsbury pupils will have failed to get into the school they wanted to, or even the most nearby school. Of the 883 student intake this year, 224 were not allocated their first preference pick - over 25% of pupils across Shrewsbury, one in four.
Some Shrewsbury parents in the north and west of town will have felt forced to apply to the Corbet in Baschurch and Thomas Adams in Wem, both of which are also over capacity.
77 pupils were allocated to Shrewsbury Academy who had not ranked it as a first, second, or third preference. This number has more than doubled compared to the 34 pupils in the same position in the 2022 intake.
Shrewsbury Lib Dem councillor Alex Wagner has been an active campaigner on the school places issue, petitioning residents in 2021 and 2022. Alex said:
“Every school in Shrewsbury is now at or over capacity. That is a precarious situation to be in for a town with a huge scale of development, especially given how concentrated the issue is in the already well over capacity western and southern suburbs.
“Cash-strapped Shropshire Council will now be obliged to spend money it doesn’t have on bussing children to the other side of town to make up for this lack of futureproofing.
“There must be a serious discussion at some point in the near future about the idea that local Liberal Democrats have championed for years, which is a serious expansion of secondary provision. This would have to come in the form of a new school, or expanded provision at over capacity schools.
“Sadly, there are real human consequences to a lack of choice for parents and children alike. I have already had several cases of very upsetting situations. It can’t continue like this and there must be a policy shift for how we deal with a growing town.”