Dismay for some in Chichester school places race

Karen Powell from Yapton with sons Finlay, ten, and Dylan, three, who will have to go to different primary schools SUS-150421-155136001
Karen Powell from Yapton with sons Finlay, ten, and Dylan, three, who will have to go to different primary schools SUS-150421-155136001

EDUCATION chiefs avoided a repeat of last year’s chaos over primary school places, though some disappointed parents still missed out.

Despite a huge growth in pupil numbers, more than 97 per cent of parents received one of their top three options.

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

Jeremy Hunt, WSCC cabinet member for education and skills

The Parklands Community Primary School in Chichester is back up to two reception classes from September, which prevented a repeat of the problems seen the year before when it was reduced to one class.

Headteacher Alesa Henham said: “We have been given 60 places this year so of course with the problems last year when some siblings didn’t get places, the majority of them did get in this time around.

“It’s been positive for us because last time there was a situation where some parents were unhappy.

“I can’t speak for other schools (about places) but this year the local authority were in contact with head teachers so the communication was much better.”

The school is consulting over having two reception classes permanently.

Still some parents were left unhappy.

Two daughters from a Lavant family will have to be separated.

Mum Nikki Healy has a daughter in reception at Midhurst Primary but her sister will instead go to Stedham Primary, which she says was not on her list of preferences.

Nikki has writted to Chichester parliamentary candidate Andrew Tyrie to ask for an explanation.

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.”

This year, 10,528 parents, or 89 per cent, received their first preference compared to 10,063 last year, or 88 per cent, according to West Sussex County Council.

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

“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.”