From his back garden, four-year old Hal Watson could hear and see children playing in the primary school next door. And like any little boy eager to start school, he dreamed of the day he would be big enough to join them.
Yet despite living just yards from St Peter's Church of England School in Heysham, Lancashire, Hal has been refused a place, and endures a three mile round trip to another primary instead.
His mother, Karen, is outraged at the school's admissions policy:
'The admissions policies are a joke – farcical. I was told location was an important factor in school admissions but it appears not.'
Education officials, however, think differently – as a Church of England school, there are two influential entry factors: baptised children who go to the local Sunday school.
When Hal's application was made, he was yet to be baptised.
'We have been up front and honest and done what was asked for but have still be turned down because we did not meet the criteria,' Karen said, adding that Hal has since been baptised, and would have been in time for the start of the school year.
'We were told that in 2007 a law was passed saying that schools should admit a percentage on location. Green issues are a high profile now. We are very upset - we could not live closer. There is a gap in our garden wall which goes straight in to the school. Now we have to join the commuter run and drive.'
Richard Sanderson, the school's headmaster issued a statement saying: 'At the time the admission committee met Hal Watson only met one criteria - the last one: Other Children.
'All the other children accepted by the school fulfilled the first four criteria
'No prior commitment for places is ever given. The education authority thinks this is a fair process.'
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