Hundreds miss out on first choice school
HUNDREDS of parents in Suffolk are being refused places for their children at the school they want.Nearly 800 pupils in the county missed out on being taught at their first choice school in the last academic year, with fears this number will increase in the future.
HUNDREDS of parents in Suffolk are being refused places for their children at the school they want.
Nearly 800 pupils in the county missed out on being taught at their first choice school in the last academic year, with fears this number will increase in the future.
With parents having to send their children to other schools, the number of appeals to the local education authority has risen from 344 to 485 in the space of just 12 months.
Earlier this week The Evening Star highlighted the plight of Ipswich five-year-old Tiffany Evripidou.
She has to travel all the way across town to Whitehouse Infants School after being refused a place at Clifford Road Primary, the school round the corner from her home.
Education officials blame the problem on the controversial Rotherham Judgement and they now want to see the Government give them more flexibility in filling school places.
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The judgement prevents authorities from holding spaces for children who may move into a school catchment area in the months after any admissions deadline.
David Peachey, Suffolk's director of education, said: "The preferred policy of the county would always be to admit all pupils living in their catchment area, irrespective of when they arrived. But because of the Rotherham Judgement we can't."
In 2000-01, about 770 of the 21,488 pupils who applied for places in Suffolk were sent to schools other than their preferred choice.
Despite calls for change a Department for Education spokesman said: "We do not intend to change the law to allow schools to keep places open for children who may, or may not, move into an area later, by denying the parental preference of people who already live locally."