West Sussex school-split twins offered places at same school - but still miss out on all three choices

West Sussex twins have been offered places at the same secondary school after initially being told they would be split up.

Monday, 4th March 2019, 4:25 pm
Updated Monday, 4th March 2019, 4:35 pm
Jacqueline Brookes with her children Tiggy (left) and Leon, both 10. Pic: Eddie Mitchell

Jacqueline Brookes, 40, of Barrington Road in Worthing, said she was 'devastated' after her children Leon and Tiggy, both ten, missed out on their chosen schools and were told they would be sent to opposite ends of the town.

Now the twins have both been offered places at The Angmering School, but Jacqueline is still frustrated that they missed out on their three preferences - Durrington High School, Chatsmore Catholic High School and Bohunt High.

Jacqueline Brookes with her children Tiggy (left) and Leon, both 10. Pic: Eddie Mitchell

The pair face commutes of up to half an hour, which Jacqueline said was unsafe for two children who will only turn 11 in June. As a full-time carer for her son, who has special needs, she is unable to do the school run herself.

"We live in Goring within walking distance of two comprehensive schools, ten minutes away," said the mother-of-four.

"I will not let two very young 11-year-olds risk travel this far, especially in the dark. I'll pull them out of school if I have to."

Jacqueline admitted the original letter did say 'a place may be available' for Leon at The Angmering School, if she requested so in writing - but that she failed to notice it having had heart surgery the day before to combat an irregular heartbeat.

Regardless, she said, her point still stood that West Sussex County Council's preferred option was to split the twins up and The Angmering School still presented an unacceptable alternative to her chosen schools.

"Why weren't they allocated there in the first place?" she said.

"At the end of the day they still sent my twins to opposite ends of Worthing so they have decided that's where they'll go and if I didn't fight that would still stand.

"I can't get my head round them being happy about two 11-year-olds travelling alone all that way - they just couldn't cope."

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A spokesman for the council confirmed Leon had now been given a formal offer of a place at The Angmering School with his sister and that council policy was always to keep twins together where possible.

The spokesman said: “A letter was sent to Leon and Teagan’s parents on March 1 offering places at their nearest schools with space, in line with the admissions code and over-subscription criteria. We were not able to offer the children a place at one of their three preferred schools.

"This letter was clear that if the parents want the twins to go to the same secondary school, they should contact the Admissions Team as this could be offered at The Angmering School. We always give the option for parents with twins or multiples to go to the same school where possible, as in this case.

“The vast majority of West Sussex applicants (96.5 percent) were offered a place at one of their three preferred schools, with 84.2 percent given their first preference. A small number were not able to be offered one of their preferences. This could be for a number of reasons and we do appreciate how disappointing this can be for these families.”

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