Parents’ fury as children lose out on places at Grantham schools

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Parents in Grantham have vented their fury after many of them failed to get their first choice of primary school for their children, and in some cases failed to get their second or even third choices.

They have been further angered by a statement from Lincolnshire County Council which said the vast majority of parents, 93 per cent, had been successful in getting their children into their first-choice school.

It smacks of them trying to fill up Isaac Newton

Michelle England

It said that only 140 children in the county (1.8 per cent) had been offered a school that was not chosen as any of their three preferences.

Many parents in Grantham have contacted the Journal to say they are furious they have not been given the school of their choice and in some cases they have been given a school they did not choose at all.

Michelle England, who lives off Goodliff Road, Grantham, said her daughter Darcey had been allocated Isaac Newton Primary School which was not one of her choices, even though the schools she chose all lie within two miles of her home.

Mrs England said: “It’s just awful. It smacks of them trying to fill up Isaac Newton. I know about 20 parents in the same situation who have been offered Isaac Newton. I know another parent whose house overlooks Huntingtower, which they chose, and they were given St John’s.”

Mrs England said Darcey, 4, is on a waiting list for Harlaxton Primary School. She said she would not send her daughter to Isaac Newton, adding: “Darcey was in tears because she cannot work out why she has no school to go to.”

She added: “The county council are refusing to give out any information. They are asking people to put in FOI 
requests. I have put one in to see how many of those 140 children live in Grantham.”

Another mum, called Kate, has a child with special needs. She said she was ‘furious’ and ‘frustrated’ she had not got her first or second choice of school.

She said: “I chose Huntingtower and we live only five minutes away. I don’t think this has been taken into account. I feel they are not going along with their admissions policy.”

Kate said she chose Huntingtower Community Primary Academy with the advice of specialists, but she has been given Little Gonerby Infant School which is about 45 minutes’ walk away.

Kate, who is expecting her second child, said: “It is a very stressful time having to appeal for all these different things.”

Another mother, who did not wish to be named, said she was given her third choice of Belton Lane Primary School after Huntingtower and Barrowby. It is more than two miles away from her home off Dysart Road but when she applied for free transport she was turned down because she had put the school down as one of her choices.

She said she could be faced with taking her son to school in a taxi at a cost of £20 and she could not always rely on family to help out, while her husband works nights.

John McBride, of Wilks Road, who has a four-year-old son, says he was not offered any of his three choices and now he is going into a second round of applications which means he will not hear if he is successful until the end of the summer term. Mr McBride said it was an “absolute disgrace”. He said “I am feeling a bit angry and upset for my son as much as anyone. If you are given three choices you expect to get one of them. We would like to be visiting the school he is going into now, but he hasn’t got a school.”

Steve Gamble, county council school admissions manager, said: “Our school admissions team is aware that a number of parents in the Grantham area have unfortunately not received an offer of a place at any of their preferred schools. We know this is not because of a shortage of school places, as there are still several schools in the area that have not yet filled.

“We have posted details of which schools still have places on our website. Some schools were very popular and received around one-and-a-half times more first preference applications than the number of places on offer.

“Parents who have received refusals of places have the right of appeal to an independent school admission appeals panel and we will hear these appeals by the end of the summer term, provided parents submit them by the deadline of noon on May 15. Parents can also submit revised preferences if they wish – call 01522 782030 for the necessary form and return it to us by noon on May 22.”

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