Six per cent of primary pupils miss out on preferred places

Six per cent of primary pupils miss out on preferred places

Hailey Munt with her son Charlie Berry

Joanne Busson with her son Alfie

First published in Education Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

HUNDREDS of children in Oxfordshire have not been allocated places at any of the primary schools they hoped to go to.

Six per cent of county youngsters – 473 children – failed to get in at one of their top three schools.

The proportion has risen from 2011/2012 when four per cent of children were affected.

Some 85 per cent, or 6,585 children, were offered their first choice this year, six per cent (473) their second preference, and 2.5 per cent (193) their third choice.

There were 7,724 applications for September 2012, an increase of more than 500 from last year.

Oxfordshire County Council schools improvement cabinet member Melinda Tilley said the increase had been predicted and feared it would continue.

She said: “We have been preparing for it but it’s not always convenient to put extra classes where everybody wants them.

“It’s been a massive rise and I believe a lot of it comes from people moving into the area.”

Hailey Munt, of Fletcher Road, Cowley, applied for her son Charlie Berry, three, to go to St Francis, St Christopher’s or Our Lady’s in Cowley but has been offered a place at Wheatley Primary – 4.2 miles away. The 20-year-old said: “I have not got the money to drive and I have another young child who is almost one.

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“There is no way of me getting to Wheatley every morning.

“I was told to put down three preferences so I would at least get a chance of one, but I have not got any of them. What was the point of putting three down?”

She has appealed the decision.

Gemma Nash, mum to Cole, put down the three closest schools to her home in Hedgemead Avenue, Abingdon.

But her offer was for Thameside, four miles away.

She said: “We purposefully moved here thinking we would be in the catchment area.”

Miss Nash said if an appeal was unsuccessful, she would have no choice but to educate her son at home.

Council spokesman Gemma Watts said both Thameside and St Edmund’s primaries in Abingdon had agreed to take extra children in September to deal with the increase in demand for places.

She also pointed out that Dunmore Primary school took additional children in 2011, and Carswell would do the same in September 2013.

She described it as “unfortunate” six parents in 100 did not get one of their choices, but said this could be down to forms not being completed on time, less than three preferences being listed, or applying for out-of-catchment or over-subscribed schools.

Appeals to community schools can be made to Oxfordshire County Council by May 21 and will be heard between June 18 and July 23.

For voluntary-aided schools, families need to contact the school directly.

In neighbouring Gloucestershire, 97 per cent of the 6,560 pupils applying have been given a place at one of their four preferred schools, with 91 per cent getting their first choice.

Vicky Keyte, 24, of Cogges in Witney, applied for her son Daniel, four, to attend nearby Madley Brook School.

Daniel has cystic fibrosis and Mrs Keyte hoped he could attend a school nearer to their home, but instead he has been offered a place at Tower Hill Primary School, on the other side of town.

Mrs Keyte said: “Daniel has cystic fibrosis and the walk across town would affect him health wise. I do not drive and we would have to walk, whether it was snowing, raining or whatever.

“As soon as the weather gets cold he gets colds and coughs and if it is not treated with antibiotics it can turn into an infection, and that can mean two weeks in hospital.”

Mrs Keyte has appealed the decision.

Joanne and Martin Busson have rejected the place they were offered at Thameside Primary School for their son Alfie – and called on other parents in their position to do the same.

The school is just under three miles away, while the three schools they applied for, Thomas Reade, Dunmore and Radley are much closer, with first choice Thomas Reade just 0.6miles from their home in Radley Road.

Mr Busson said: “The authority would rather force a group of four year olds to walk for an hour to school than provide appropriate primary school places nearer to the place they live.

“We are disadvantaged just by the fact we live in an area where the schools are popular. We would have to drive past every other primary school in town to get to the one they have offered us.

“We are well within the boundaries of the school catchment area and I find it difficult to believe all places have been allocated to those closer to the school.”

The couple did not apply to nearby over-subscribed Rush Common School after being advised it would be difficult to secure a place.

Mrs Busson said: “We feel let down by the system.”

Comments (10)

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9:52am Wed 25 Apr 12

wizardofox2 says...

What these idiots (and that's what they are) don't realise is that their click of the mouse/press of a button made decisions have a massive effect on family life, it's totally unreasonable to have children from the same family allocated to different primary schools, in most cases it's physically impossible for a parent to deliver their children (and pick them up) from two seperate locations.
The first priority must be to school children from the same family together? ok, it may be that its not at the closest school, but surely its the best option?
What these idiots (and that's what they are) don't realise is that their click of the mouse/press of a button made decisions have a massive effect on family life, it's totally unreasonable to have children from the same family allocated to different primary schools, in most cases it's physically impossible for a parent to deliver their children (and pick them up) from two seperate locations. The first priority must be to school children from the same family together? ok, it may be that its not at the closest school, but surely its the best option? wizardofox2
  • Score: 0

10:08am Wed 25 Apr 12

snert says...

What doesn't help are those that put their children in one school by falsifying their address. I know of a person that lives in Brackley but everyday brings their child to the local school in my village, some 15 miles away because she went there when she was a child. She uses her parents address as her home address.
What doesn't help are those that put their children in one school by falsifying their address. I know of a person that lives in Brackley but everyday brings their child to the local school in my village, some 15 miles away because she went there when she was a child. She uses her parents address as her home address. snert
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Wed 25 Apr 12

nannylyn says...

I quite agree with all the above comments. These people who decide which school children go to have no idea of the problems they cause.
Daniel Keyte is my grandson and I know how ill this little boy can get, he only has to be close to someone with a cold to catch it. His parents live 0.6 miles from his preferred school and 1.5 miles from his allocated school. He will have to walk through rain, snow, ice and traffic fumes to get to school. Which will be very detrimental to his health. More time in Hospital, less time at school. Not really good for his education
at all. Daniel has needs that have to be met several times per day, medication, physiotherapy, special enyzemes every time he eats, is his allocated school set up for this his preferred school is next to a special school should he need it. Daniel would also be seconds away from a family member if he was to fall ill.
Absolutely ludicrous to send him so far away from help
I quite agree with all the above comments. These people who decide which school children go to have no idea of the problems they cause. Daniel Keyte is my grandson and I know how ill this little boy can get, he only has to be close to someone with a cold to catch it. His parents live 0.6 miles from his preferred school and 1.5 miles from his allocated school. He will have to walk through rain, snow, ice and traffic fumes to get to school. Which will be very detrimental to his health. More time in Hospital, less time at school. Not really good for his education at all. Daniel has needs that have to be met several times per day, medication, physiotherapy, special enyzemes every time he eats, is his allocated school set up for this his preferred school is next to a special school should he need it. Daniel would also be seconds away from a family member if he was to fall ill. Absolutely ludicrous to send him so far away from help nannylyn
  • Score: 0

4:48pm Wed 25 Apr 12

L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG says...

500 new applications and 473 missed out on favoured places. I would say that they council done well in having provided 27 new places at preferred schools. Anyway 20 minutes walk to school will do the kids a world of good judging by all the fat kids I see waddling to their local school a couple of minutes down the road.
500 new applications and 473 missed out on favoured places. I would say that they council done well in having provided 27 new places at preferred schools. Anyway 20 minutes walk to school will do the kids a world of good judging by all the fat kids I see waddling to their local school a couple of minutes down the road. L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG
  • Score: 0

6:51pm Wed 25 Apr 12

aet123 says...

LORD PETER MCVEY you comments never cease to amaze me. Do you have children, indeed, do you have a life! Jog On!
LORD PETER MCVEY you comments never cease to amaze me. Do you have children, indeed, do you have a life! Jog On! aet123
  • Score: 0

7:42pm Wed 25 Apr 12

nannylyn says...

Lord peter mcvey,
do you really have to show the whole of oxfordshire how silly you are one child has cystic fibrosis which means infected lungs, walking in cold weather is not good for his health. its a life long chronic illness, not over weight.
Lord peter mcvey, do you really have to show the whole of oxfordshire how silly you are one child has cystic fibrosis which means infected lungs, walking in cold weather is not good for his health. its a life long chronic illness, not over weight. nannylyn
  • Score: 0

7:42pm Wed 25 Apr 12

nannylyn says...

Lord peter mcvey,
do you really have to show the whole of oxfordshire how silly you are one child has cystic fibrosis which means infected lungs, walking in cold weather is not good for his health. its a life long chronic illness, not over weight.
Lord peter mcvey, do you really have to show the whole of oxfordshire how silly you are one child has cystic fibrosis which means infected lungs, walking in cold weather is not good for his health. its a life long chronic illness, not over weight. nannylyn
  • Score: 0

8:13pm Wed 25 Apr 12

wizardofox2 says...

Lord Peter this has nothing to do with getting children to excerise nor waddling children a couple of minutes down the road (which i'm sure most of these parents would jump at the chance of having a school that close) it highlights yet again the pure incompetence of those (probably on £100k plus) making fundemental decisions of which they have either no compassion or consideration for
Lord Peter this has nothing to do with getting children to excerise nor waddling children a couple of minutes down the road (which i'm sure most of these parents would jump at the chance of having a school that close) it highlights yet again the pure incompetence of those (probably on £100k plus) making fundemental decisions of which they have either no compassion or consideration for wizardofox2
  • Score: 0

10:29am Thu 26 Apr 12

eatmygoal says...

Regarding McVey. He is a troll. Ignore him.

The issue that really gets me is the cruel cynical way OCC make their punitive decisions, put the message out there and then turn their phones off on the day of their decisions going public (a Friday), leaving worried, desperate parents powerless.

How about ONLY making their decisions known on a Monday and guaranteeing parents a person to discuss this with?

No? Of course not. That would be putting the people who pay their wages at the heart of the 'service' they provide. It would never happen.
Regarding McVey. He is a troll. Ignore him. The issue that really gets me is the cruel cynical way OCC make their punitive decisions, put the message out there and then turn their phones off on the day of their decisions going public (a Friday), leaving worried, desperate parents powerless. How about ONLY making their decisions known on a Monday and guaranteeing parents a person to discuss this with? No? Of course not. That would be putting the people who pay their wages at the heart of the 'service' they provide. It would never happen. eatmygoal
  • Score: 0

11:55pm Thu 26 Apr 12

orangefoot says...

Gemma Nash

Home Education is not a terrible last resort: it could be the best choice you ever make.

The home educating community in Oxfordshire is huge and very welcoming so if you choose this route to prepare your son for the real world please do come and meet other home educating families who can offer you support. Find us through ohed.org.uk
Gemma Nash Home Education is not a terrible last resort: it could be the best choice you ever make. The home educating community in Oxfordshire is huge and very welcoming so if you choose this route to prepare your son for the real world please do come and meet other home educating families who can offer you support. Find us through ohed.org.uk orangefoot
  • Score: 0

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