School admissions drama unfolds

Group of parents complaining over children not getting their primary school places. Pictured are Vivek and Pooja Sha, Alan and Jude Williams, Kerry Watson, Laura Shaw, Samreen Mahmood and Paul Mooney.
Group of parents complaining over children not getting their primary school places. Pictured are Vivek and Pooja Sha, Alan and Jude Williams, Kerry Watson, Laura Shaw, Samreen Mahmood and Paul Mooney.
7
Have your say

A school admissions report which came as the result of an intense battle had by ‘Halifax Parents’ was discussed at a meeting of Calderdale Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel.

Questions were raised in connection to the problem – which has seen some parents left without even their fifth choice of preferred primary school for their children.

Explaining the outcome of the report was school organisation officer, Richard Morse.

He said: “I think we’ve got all the information that parents have asked for. We do well as an authority, there’s a lot of information there.”

Yet councillors raised their concerns over some of the findings – including the fact that 121 of the district’s primary school places were allocated to pupils living outside Calderdale, despite some 120 local students not getting one of their five preferences.

Mr Morse said: “You can’t discriminate against a child that lives over an artificial barrier, it works both ways.”

Director of Children’s Services, Stuart Smith, agreed. He said: “When we take in extra district pupils it’s a very positive thing.”

Meanwhile Coun Stephen Baines (Con. Northowram and Shelf) said the reported shortage of primary school places in central Halifax for the next academic year was “catastrophic”. He said: “We’re 142 places short, that’s catastrophic and totally not acceptable.”

Mr Smith explained that the government supplies ‘basic need’ money to local authorities which can be used to expand certain schools – an option that’s being looked into.

But Coun Baines made reference to the parents who had suffered. He said: “It’s too late for them. Why wasn’t something done sooner to alleviate the problem?”

The council is continuing to look into the issue.