It's a long trip to school for Tiffany
A FIVE-YEAR-OLD Ipswich girl is missing up to five hours of lessons each week – because she has been refused a place at the school round the corner.Instead, little Tiffany Evripidou, from Melville Road, has to travel all the way across town every day to Whitehouse Infants School, near her family's former home.
By Judy Rimmer
A FIVE-YEAR-OLD Ipswich girl is missing up to five hours of lessons each week – because she has been refused a place at the school round the corner.
Instead, little Tiffany Evripidou, from Melville Road, has to travel all the way across town every day to Whitehouse Infants School, near her family's former home.
The youngster would love to join big sister Natalia, aged eight, at nearby Clifford Road Primary, their catchment school.
But the family has been told there is no room – so mum Gail, 34, is having to make an hour-long round trip twice a day to get both girls to school.
The girls' father, Lazaros, 33, works long hours as a supervisor for Ipswich Buses, so he is not able to help with the daily school run.
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"I can't leave Natalia at Clifford Road until 8.45, which is the earliest time a teacher comes on duty in the playground," said Mrs Evripidou, who is a part-time retail assistant at Asda.
"I'd really like to wait until she goes into school, but I have to go straight off to take Tiffany in the car to Whitehouse, and obviously it's at rush hour."
Tiffany is really supposed to be at school by 8.55am, but it's impossible for her mum to get her there that early.
"Some days I do manage to get her there by 9.10, but if the traffic is bad then it might not be until 9.30," said Mrs Evripidou.
"Then in the afternoon I have to pick her up at 2.45, when she should really be getting out of school at 3.20, because I have to be sure to be back in time to pick up Natalia. Tiffany is missing so much education."
The family moved from the Whitehouse area to Melville Road in July last year. "I applied for the girls to go to Clifford Road in April, as soon as I knew we would be moving here, but the cut-off date for applying was in March," said the mum.
"Tiffany has no friends because she is not at our local school," said Mr Evripidou. "We get children coming round to play with Natalia, but nobody for Tiffany."
His wife said the youngster was getting tired from all the travelling and the family was receiving no help with the cost of the petrol.
"We have appealed twice but were turned down, and we even wrote to our MP, Chris Mole, but he couldn't help. We have tried everything. This has been going on for nearly a year and nobody seems to care."
Mrs Evripidou said they had been offered a place for both youngsters at Murrayfield Primary, but refused because they felt it was too far away.
Later, after their second appeal, it was suggested they could move both girls to another school, Cliff Lane. "But that would mean moving Natalia when she has just settled in at Clifford Road – we just can't do that to her," said her mum.
Moira Jackson, Suffolk's education communications manager, said: "We do sympathise with the parents concerned, but we have clear procedures to follow on admissions.
"Unfortunately when people move into a particular area after the date for applications we cannot guarantee a place in the local school. We understand the frustrations that this can cause parents, but we have to make sure children are taught in safe environments that aren't overcrowded."