Mum's fury at lack of school places

PUBLISHED: 14:31 21 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010

ANOTHER angry mother has hit out after her daughter missed out on a place at her catchment area school.


Education Reporter

ANOTHER angry mother today hit out after her daughter missed out on a place at her catchment area school.

Clare Wilson said: "I would probably never have moved to Ipswich in the first place if I had realised how difficult it would be to get a place at a local school."

The Evening Star has contacted Education Secretary Estelle Morris and also been in touch with Ofsted about the problems faced by families who are finding there is no room at the local school.

Mrs Wilson moved from Bury St Edmunds to Coronation Road, Ipswich, in March.

There was no problem in getting a place for 11-year-old daughter Elizabeth at Clifford Road Primary – but it was a different story when it came to applying for her to transfer to Copleston High School.

"We were turned down and told that Elizabeth will have to go to Holywells High School," said Mrs Wilson.

"I am not at all happy about it. I will be able to take her there in the morning but I work full-time as a receptionist for Eastern Electricity, so I won't be able to fetch her in the afternoon.

"I am going to have to see if I can change my working hours and work round it, because I don't like the idea of her getting a bus at her age."

Mrs Wilson's husband, Alan, is a US serviceman, and currently stationed in America, although he is in Britain visiting his family at the moment.

"We decided it would be good for us to move to Ipswich because I have family here and I went to Copleston myself," said the mum. "I wanted to be around people I knew.

"I had no idea there would be a problem getting Elizabeth a place in the catchment area school."

Mrs Wilson appealed against the refusal of a place, but was turned down, and said today: "I felt it was a waste of time – there was no way we stood a chance."

Although Elizabeth is preparing to start Holywells in September, her mother said she will continue trying to get a transfer to Copleston.

Altogether, 47 parents appealed against the refusal of a place at Copleston.

Moira Jackson, spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council's Education Department, said: "We understand that parents may feel frustrated if their child cannot go to their first choice of school, but it is important that children are taught in safe environments that are not overcrowded.

"Wherever possible we try to ensure that a parent's preference for a school place is met, and indeed we have a good record of doing so. But this is not always possible, particularly when there are large numbers of people moving into certain parts of the county, such as Ipswich.

"The number of appeals for Copleston High School this year is not unusual for a popular school."

n Have you had a problem getting your child into the local school? Call the Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 282257.

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