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Parent’s anger as all three school choices are refused
MORE than 230 children have failed to get a place at any of their chosen primary schools.
Oxfordshire County Council last week told parents which schools they had allocated for their children, saying 89.09 per cent had won places at their first choice option.
Yesterday it told the Oxford Mail that 3.11 per cent of the 7,545 applications – 235 – had failed to be placed in any of the three choices given.
That is up on the 2.63 per cent of children from last year who missed out.
However, there were an extra 361 children overall seeking places this year, so while the number of children missing out rose by 46, the number who did win a place at a school of their choice also rose by 315.
Tracy Simpson’s son Luke did not get any of his three choices near their home in Risinghurst, including his catchment area school Sandhills.
Instead he has been placed at a free school, Tyndale, two-and-a-half miles away in Cowley.
Ms Simpson, 36, a nurse at the John Radcliffe Hospital, will now have to get Luke to school before going to work each day.
She said: “I got my application in on time, I even rang in advance to check everything was in order.
“To get my child to school in Cowley then get to work on time is just impossible.
“I’m not happy that it’s a free school either – Cowley isn’t even my community.”
Although the family do not live in its catchment, they went for Windmill Primary as the first choice. Sandhills was the second choice, but the council said its 30 places were oversubscribed with 53 people putting it down as their first choice.
Council spokesman Owen Morton said because of this it had limited successful applicants to those living just 0.37s miles away. The Simpsons lived 0.72 miles, he said.
Windmill primary saw 108 first choice preferences competing for its 90 places, and St Andrews, Ms Simpson’s third preference, saw 55 first preferences compete for its 30 places.
Cabinet member for education, Melinda Tilley, said the council is tackling demand for primary school places.
Mark Cooper wanted his daughter Summer, three, to go to the same school as her big sister Poppy – St James CofE, near their home in Blackbird Leys.
Instead, she has been given a place at Our Lady’s Catholic Primary – his second choice – more than half an hour’s walk away in Cowley.
Mr Cooper, 37, a full-time dad, said: “We thought she would be in the same school as Poppy.
“My partner Tansy works from 9am, and I can’t be in two places at once.
The council is creating new places at 20 schools in the county. Mr Morton said: “Where schools receive more applications than they have places available, this sometimes means not all children applying from within the catchment area can be offered a place.
“When this happens priority is given to those children with an older sibling already at the school and then to those living closest to the school.
“The majority of families got they news they were hoping for and that hasn’t been the case in many other parts of the country.”
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