Fight for a school place

Girl is forced to stay at nursery as all primary schools are full

Mark Blunden 7 Oct 2011

A four-year-old girl is being forced to stay at nursery instead of going to school because every primary in her borough is full. Seren Davies’s parents were told they should educate her at home after Haringey Councilfailed to find her a single classroom place.Read the full article
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More about us

We are a goup of Mums fighting to get places for our children in reception classes. Our children have now been out of school for FIVE weeks, and should have started with their peers in September 2011.

‘You must home-school your daughter’, Haringey Council tells Crouch End family  by David Hardiman of the Haringey Independent (6 October 2011)

A CROUCH End family have been told they must home-school their daughter after Haringey Councilsaid there was no primary school place for  her.

Christine and Ben Phillips were told in June by the council that they stood no chance of getting four-year-old Seren into any primary school school in the borough – and have failed to respond to  the couple’s repeated complaints since then.

Read the full story here

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Making an appeal for a school place

If you are appealing against a decision made by an admissions authority, do visit this charity’s website where you can find a very helpful guide to writing an appeal, telling you which information to include.

You can read more about our plight on the Local Schools Network website:

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Shortage of places in London

London Councils has been lobbying on this issue since 2009. They predicted a shortage of 5,000 reception places in 2011, and more than 18,000 in 2014. Is anyone in government listening?

Are you in the same position?

Get in touch. We are all taking our complaints to the LGO, the local press and elected politicians to get our children into education.

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Mrs AG’s story

I have lived in Brent in London for 15 years, and applied for a school place this year for my four-year-old daughter along with everyone else. Brent hasn’t offered her a place at a single school and I don’t know where to turn. I am a full-time working mum and my daughter has been in nursery since she was 15months old. The LEA advised that I should keep her at home – but this is neither possible or realistic. She turns five in January 2012, and I understand the council has a legal obligation to give her a school place by then, but that is three months away yet. I am worried we will be offered a place in a school miles away that I simply won’t be able to get to, which makes the whole situation feel even worse. All my daughter’s friends from nursery have started this term and it is heart-breaking for all of us.

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Grace’s story

A mother has described the heartbreak of telling her daughter that she cannot start school this week. Grace Gauthereau, of Temple Road, Cricklewood, is one of 70 four-year-olds and 102 five-year-old children who will not have a school place when the new term starts. Her mother, Sylvia, says she may have to quit her job to look after the four-year-old until she finds a place. She said: “Our life is on hold. In the worst case scenario either my husband or I will have to quit our jobs because we will not be able to afford full-time child care. It is heartbreaking to tell Grace she might not go to school when all her friends have a place.”

Brent Council has to find £52 million to deal with the borough’s shortage of primary school places. There could be a shortfall of up to 700 places over the next three years. Mrs Gauthereau said: “We are now on a waiting list for four schools in the surrounding area. The situation is so bad we would consider moving to New Zealand, where my husband is from, and where every child goes to their local school.”

The council has been criticised for allowing Preston Manor High School to become an ‘all-through’ school for pupils between the ages of four and 18, like Ark Academy, because they are both in the north of the borough.

Martin Francis, a former head teacher and chair of governors at two Brent schools, said: “Residents will choose all-through schools at four because it guarantees a place in the secondary school. This would impact on children from the south as they would lose out on the distance criteria.”

But a council spokesman said: “Fifty per cent of pupils admitted to Ark Academy live in the south. There will still be 194 places available for Year Seven admission at Preston Manor and 120 at Ark even when the current primary children move through to the secondary phases of the schools.’

For more on this click on the blogroll link

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Tell us about your fight to find a school place

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