Anger over ‘slow’ school appeals

Fight for more places at Midhurst Primary School continues

Kim Eeles and Kirsty Latham launched a campaign for more places after a number of children living close to the school failed to get places.

Now they have been told their appeal will not take place until July 9 or 10.

“We have had no explanation why this delay has occurred. We have been told we will not receive a decision until up to five working days afterwards. This will be around three months from when we were initially informed that our applications to Midhurst Primary school were not successful.

“Our children have therefore had three months of uncertainly at a time we, as parents, should be preparing them for a smooth and happy transition to school. It is difficult to explain to a four year old why they are not allowed to attend the local school which they are familiar with, with their friends from nursery.”

The children of both parents have been offered places at Stedham: “We do not have anything against Stedham Primary School. We just need our children to be able to attend our catchment school that we can walk to. We are also conscious the uncertainty over the outcome of these appeals must place the schools in a difficult position.”

They are also angry that there will be no direct representation from Midhurst Primary school at their appeals.

“We understood as part of the appeals process the head would be attending, giving information about his school. We have received clear indications the school believes there is space for our children.”

“We understood it was usual for the school to be asked to provide evidence at admission appeals, but in this instance it appears West Sussex County Council has decided it is not appropriate.

“How can the admissions panel reach a balanced view as to whether children can be admitted to a school without hearing from the school itself?”

In a reply to the mums from new portfolio holder Peter Evans he said: “I am aware the dates have been set for the Midhurst Primary appeals and these dates are within the legally required time for appeals made.”

He added: “The county council is the admission authority and a representative will be presenting the appeal and I would like to make it clear the School Admissions Appeals Code states appeals panels must not allow representatives of schools to support individual appeals for places at their school at the hearing, or by providing letters of support.”