Girl is barred from school next door

Matthew Lovelady and Emma Shepherd with their children Ellie-Mae aged four and Riley aged 20 months.
Matthew Lovelady and Emma Shepherd with their children Ellie-Mae aged four and Riley aged 20 months.

FURIOUS parents have blasted a Halifax school for refusing to take their four-year-old daughter – despite it being just 300 yards from their home. Ellie-Mae Lovelady wanted to go to Ash Green Communty Primary School, just a short walk from her home in High Lees Road, Mixenden.

But school chiefs have said there is no space in her class for more pupils - a decision upheld when her dumb-founded parents Matthew Lovelady, 29, and Emma Shepherd, 25 appealed.

Matthew Lovelady and Emma Shepherd with their children Ellie-Mae aged four and Riley aged 20 months.

Matthew Lovelady and Emma Shepherd with their children Ellie-Mae aged four and Riley aged 20 months.

This week Ellie-Mae started at Lee Mount Primary School in Halifax - almost three MILES away - but Mr Lovelady has spoken of his frustration and appealed for sense.

Lee Mount is an hour’s walk - something Ellie-Mae will struggle with as she is severely asthmatic.

Mr Lovelady said: “We live next door to Ash Green. You could throw a stone into the playground from our house.

“But Ash Green said no.

“My daughter has asthma and is on steriod tablets. She can’t walk to the end of our path without coughing.”

The family had moved from Ovenden where Ellie-Mae was in Moorside Primary School.

They had tried to keep her in the school after moving but the bus fares proved too expensive.

Mr Lovelady, who works in a warehouse, said: “We tried our best to keep her in that school, but it was causing money problems. We just couldn’t get her there.

“Now, Emma has to take our two-year-old-son over two miles to Lee Mount too.

“It would be probably a minute’s walk to Ash Green. It would be ideal if she could go there.”

Headteacher Mungo Shepphard apologised to Ellie-Mae’s family for the situation but said the school is full in four of its seven year groups, including reception.

“We are sorry that Ellie-Mae can’t get in but we have a capacity limit which we can’t go over. It’s really sad and unfortunate.

“We would love every child in Mixenden to come to Ash Green but there are more children than there are places.”

He said he has raised with Calderdale Council the issue of new residents to Mixenden being warned of the school’s position.

“Quite often families move into the social housing in Mixenden and don’t realise there are no places for their child in the school.

“We have a waiting list and as soon as a place becomes available, we will liaise with the local authority so it goes to the right person.

“But beyond that there’s very little we can do. We can’t go over the agreed class sizes,” he said.