Child refused school place for living on wrong side of road

July 13, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

The parents of a four-year-old boy were outraged yesterday after he was refused a place at his local school – because he lives on the WRONG side of the road.

Fuming Louise Cooper, 39, and Andrew, 44, applied for son Charlie to attend the primary school which is just 300 yards from their home.

But council chiefs told them he fell out of the catchment area – which ends in the middle of the street – less than 10ft from the family’s front door.

Charlie, who is the only child on his street not to get a place at the primary school, has been told he must attend one which is almost two miles away in the opposite direction.

Louise, a housewife, said: ”We’re absolutely gobsmacked that the council could reject a little boy who lives so close to the school.

”All his friends from the nursery are going there, as well as other kids in the street.

”We thought that an appeal would clear up the process but it hasn’t. It’s ridiculous, it’s bureaucracy gone mad.

”We will be the only family on the street not going to the school.

”It will be embarrassing and cruel for us to be walking in the opposite direction to them every morning.”

The couple had sent Charlie to the nursery at Montrose Primary School which is 300 yards (900ft) from their home in Aylestone, Leics.

They live in a cul-de-sac with the school at the end of the road and it takes Louise less than a minute to walk there.

The couple, who have another son George, aged two, were delighted with how many friends Charlie had and believed that he would start school with them.

But when they applied for a place in March they were stunned when Charlie was refused a place because of the boundary rules.

An appeal was launched but Leicester City Council rejected the application arguing the school was full.

Instead, Charlie must attend the Marriott Primary School which is 1.5 miles away.

Charlie would need to cross 28 busy roads each day on the 35-minute walk to the school.

Dad Andrew, an AA patrol man, is the only parent with a car and he uses it for work before they set off for school.

He said: ”The council didn’t even seem to understand their own schools admissions policy.

”They treated us with total contempt and didn’t even ask us any questions. They were arrogant and bullying.

”It just seems that there’s no common sense at work here. It would be easier for Charlie to go to the primary school which is closest.”

The couple have complained to the Local Government Ombudsman but Leicester City Council defended the decision of the appeal.

A spokesman said: ”This family lives just beyond the boundary of the priority area for their preferred school and we can understand their disappointment.

”However, all 60 available places at the school were already allocated to children who live within the priority area or who have siblings already at this school.

”The family’s appeal was heard by an independent panel. The panel found in favour of the authority’s decision and concluded that the allocation process had been applied correctly.”

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