Storytellers pick up their prizes for tales of Christmas
BUDDING little authors took part in an annual story writing competition.
The Rotary Clubs of Amersham, Chesham and Great Missenden organise a Christmas story competition each year for all the first, combined and junior schools in their catchment areas.
The prize giving ceremony was held last month in Great Missenden, because Great Missenden Rotary Club is the lead club for this event.
Some 139 stories were submitted from 11 local schools, with seven schools having winning entries.
All 16 of the winners were present on the evening, with relatives and teachers, to receive their prizes of a certificate, book token and a free gold ticket entry to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre.
Each story was read by Nick Gallant, a wellknown local man who is a professional trombonist in West End shows.
He has played with the BBC Big Band, Shirley Bassey and Jools Holland to mention a few.
He is also in full-time ministry as a children and youth worker, has his own graphic designer business and also helps to run Pelegos, a retreat organisation, with his wife.
The prizes presented by presidents the local clubs.
A council spokesman said that while initial applications had exceeded the number of places available, those figures included children from outside of the county.
This meant it was not a shortfall as all Bucks children were able to get a secondary school place.
Figures published on National Offer Day (March 1) revealed 76.95% of youngsters were allocated their first choice secondary school, up nearly three per cent on last year’s figures.
In all, there were 5,895 applications from residents for places, compared with 5,813 the year before.
A small number were not allocated a preferred school at this stage, but the council’s admissions and transport team will continue to work closely with those families affected.
The news came on the day some papers reported a 1,983 school place shortfall in the county.
According to figures, obtained by specialist law firm Simpson Millar under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, BCC received 8,030 applications for a secondary school place but had only 6,047 school places available.
But the FOI request did not make it clear how many of these failed applicants were from outside of the county or how many affected children were from Bucks.
Cabinet member for education and skills Zahir Mohammed said he was very concerned about the publication of incorrect data, but said 1,361 out-ofarea applications were refused in the first round.
He said: “These figures result from a misinterpretation of data provided to an FOI request.
“We have in excess of 6,000 secondary school places available in the county this year and fewer than 5,900 residents seeking a place. We actually accommodated more than 790 nonBuckinghamshire children whilst 563 Buckinghamshire children successfully applied for schools outside the county.
“As decisions from parents are received, any places that are refused will be re-offered to children on the waiting lists in later allocation rounds.
“Applications from out of county hopefuls did increase by about 570, such is the attraction of a Bucks education.
“We had to refuse 1,361 out-of-area applications in the first round but would hope over time more can be offered.
“However, we would, of course, expect their own borough or county council to find a place for those children if this does not happen.
“Overall, this is fantastic news.
“Not only has the first choice school preference offers increased, but crucially we also have the places available for all our own children.”
The winners of the Christmas story competition 2015 with Nick Gallant