School admissions upset for little Joshua

Claire Fletcher with her children Joshua, Jacob and Samuel outside Norristhorpe Junior and Infant School, where her older boys attend, but Joshua, 4, can't - even though they live next door.
Claire Fletcher with her children Joshua, Jacob and Samuel outside Norristhorpe Junior and Infant School, where her older boys attend, but Joshua, 4, can't - even though they live next door.

A-four-year old boy has been left heartbroken after being told he wont’ be attending the same school as his two older brothers this September - even though he lives next door to the school.

Mum Claire Fletcher, of Norristhorpe Lane, Liversedge, said she hoped youngest son, Joshua, would be attending Norristhorpe Junior and Infant School this September, along with his brothers, Samuel, eight and Jacob, six.

But because Claire and husband Stuart were three days late sending Joshua’s preference form, due to them being out of the country, the four-year-old has been told he will have to attend Crossley Field Junior and Infant School, two miles away in Mirfield.

Claire said: ““It was an error on my behalf and it’s Joshua that will have to suffer because of it.

“I believed that the application had to be sent in the January after the his third birthday - I didn’t realise there was an actual deadline date. I’ve been told there were posters at the doctors surgery and at school - but I’m so busy getting the children and rushing off, I don’t have time to stop and read the board!

“I pretty much begged for him a place at the appeal, but there was no give. I’ve been told there are hundreds of cases similar to mine - which must go to show the system is all wrong. Living where we do, next door to the school, it’s common sense!”

Claire, who works full-time at an accountants office, is now worried she will have to give up work to make sure all three boys make it to school on time.

“My husband and I bought our house because it was right next door to the school we wanted our children to go to.

“Joshua is so upset - not only because it’s where his brothers are, but there is nobody he knows who is going to Crossley Fields. There’s nobody to help me get all three boys to the two different schools. I start work at 8.30am and Stuart is a long-distance lorry driver and is away a lot, so he can’t help. It was awful sitting Joshua down and telling him.

“I just don’t know where to turn.”

Claire has spoken to Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox about her situation.
Mrs Cox said: “I have been contacted by dozens of parents in the last few weeks about issues and problems relating to school places. It is a desperately upsetting and frustrating situation for many local parents and children.

“I will be raising my concerns about these issues with Kirklees Council and hope to have discussions with officers and councillors soon. I will also be raising the issue with ministers, because these problems are compounded by government policy.

“The cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future investment programme, which would have created the new school places Kirklees needed, was one of the Conservatives’ first acts when they took office in 2010. This shortsighted decision is now coming home to roost for hundreds of children in the district.”

A council spokesperson said: “ The council admissions procedure means that places are allocated (in line with the school’s admission criteria) to on time applications before we consider any late applications.

“Unfortunately Mrs Fletcher made a late application for a school place in the reception class for her child this September.

“This means that we have not been able to offer her child a place at her preferred school – Norristhorpe Junior and Infant - as it is currently oversubscribed. “Mrs Fletcher’s child is currently first on the waiting list for her preferred school.

“We understand that the impact of this situation is really difficult, especially where the family has older siblings already at the school.

“Our Pupil Admissions team will continue to offer advice to the family about all the options that are available to them.”