Midhurst sisters lose out on primary school place

  • Parents find out what primary schools their children have places at
  • Nikki Healy’s daughters have places at different schools
  • Number of first choice reception class prices up on last year
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A FRUSTRATED mother was left disappointed when her youngest daughter lost out on her first choice of primary school.

Anxious parents across the area turned to social media in the early hours of Thursday last week following what was, for many, a sleepless night.

I would like the government to explain to me how as a full time working, single parent, is it possible to accommodate dropping two children at two different schools at the same time.

Two daughters from a Midhurst family will now have to be separated at school. Nikki Healy’s daughter Tallulah Edser, five, is in reception at Midhurst Primary but her sister Mabel,three, will have to go to Stedham Primary, which she says was not on her list of preferences.

She said: “In what should be a positive time for my children, a summer of building excitement, of being grown up enough to start big school, I am left trying to hide my stress and upset from two bright and inquisitive daughters and enter the minefield of the school appeal process, a summer of battles and uncertainty.”

An unprecedented growth in pupils numbers led to the county council creating hundreds of additional school places for youngsters this year.

Despite this, some have still missed out on their preferred places.

Nikki added: “My first daughter is currently in reception at Midhurst Primary, and by email I am told my second daughter has been allocated a place at Stedham Primary, this was not on my list of school preferences.

“I would like the government to explain to me how as a full time working, single parent, is it possible to accommodate dropping two children at two different schools at the same time.

“There is no justification from the council about how I am supposed to do this.

“I know of other parents who have missed out on their first preference.

“Tallulah is very happy at Midhurst so I don’t want to move her.”

According to West Sussex County Council (WSCC), more parents across the county received one of their preferred primary school places for their child this year compared to last year.

A total of 11,571 parents (97.5 per cent) have been offered one of their top three preferences of schools compared to 10,867 last year, while 10,528 parents received their first preference.

Jeremy Hunt, WSCC cabinet member for education and skills said: “Finding out about your child’s school is always an anxious time for parents.

“This year we received a substantial increase in the number of applications made to us and this presents huge challenges.

“I know there will be some parents who are disappointed and unhappy with their allocated places.

“Our team will work with parents where this is the case.”

The number of first choice reception class places offered was up on last year with 8,251 parents receiving their top preference compared to 8,043 last year.