Parents urged to get in early to change school places policy
FAMILIES are determined to battle on for a change in the primary school admissions policy which does not guarantee a place for a brother or sister following an older sibling.
And they have called on parents with children as young as 18 months to lobby for a change.
Campaigners have called on parents to write or email their concerns to Cllr Heather Timms, the county councillor responsible for school admissions.
One of the campaigners is Ellie Costello, of Leamington, whose son, aged seven, attends St Paul’s CE School, but whose daughter aged four was offered a place at Lillington.
Mrs Costello said because St Paul’s is a voluntary-aided Anglican school it was able to expand its admissions and her daughter was eventually able to get in.
She said: “The stresses on families are unimaginable and young children can’t understand why they can’t go to the same school.”
Last week campaigners presented a petition with 368 signatures and spoke to the county cabinet calling for a change of policy.
Mrs Costello said: “Siblings should have the right to go to the same school.
“But successful schools attract more applicants and people specifically move into the catchment area which can deny a sibling a place.”
She said consultation over school admissions is not widely known and families can miss it when it runs from November to January.
“One of the things which shocked us was that the consultation about where a child goes starts two years before they start school.
“Parents should be checking this and lobbying for a change in policy when their children are 18 months old.
“Parents should email or write now to let councillors know of their concerns.
“We don’t think a full and proper review and analysis of the policy has taken place.”
She said there is a template letter/email on the campaign’s facebook page siblingsatthesameschool.
A statement by the council said: “In schools controlled by Warwickshire County Council, admission arrangements are consulted on each year with parents, schools and any other party free to comment.
“Warwickshire’s arrangements give priority to children living close to a school, and in particular, to children living in the school’s priority (catchment) area.
“Warwickshire’s admission arrangements also take into account whether or not a brother or sister attends the school in question.
“The system of priority areas is well established in Warwickshire and similar arrangements operate in numerous local authorities including Coventry, Solihull, Leicestershire and Oxfordshire.
“While parents are free to apply for a place at any school there can be no guarantee that a place will be offered at their preferred school –regardless of the admission arrangements in place.
“This is especially the case when applications are made from outside of a school’s priority area.
“Under Warwickshire’s arrangements only 26 children were not offered a place at a primary school with their sibling for September 2012 – none of these were applying for a place at their local school. This compares to 1,153 children that were offered a place at the school their brother or sister attends.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Leamington
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 14 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 15 C to 25 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east