17/04/2015 13:37 BST | Updated 17/06/2015 06:12 BST

Four-Year-Old Denied Place At Primary School Attended By Her Three Brothers


A four-year-old girl was refused a place at the primary school attended by her three brothers because she wasn't a high enough priority.

Mum Joanne Whitehouse's three sons - Joel, nine, Harri, seven, and Ollie, six – all go to St John Fisher's RC Primary School in Middleton, Greater Manchester, so she thought there would be 'no issue' with their little sister Alice getting a place.

As a result, she listed the school has her only choice.

But when primary school offers were revealed on Thursday, the mum was left devastated when she was told Alice would instead have to attend Middleton Parish C of E Primary School, which is a 20 minute walk away.

The mother-of-eight was told there were 82 applications for just 30 places at the school this year.
She's planning to appeal Rochdale Council's decision.

She told the Manchester Evening News: "I can't split myself in half and be at both schools at the same time.

"Alice's brothers go to the school. So it just makes sense for Alice and Olivia to go there as well. I just don't know what I'm going to do." Rochdale Council, which had 2,851 applications this year compared with 2,749 in 2014, said 88.9 per cent of children in the borough were offered their first school preference.

It said 110 children - 3.8 per cent - were not offered any of their first three preferences, compared with 1.8 per cent last year.

A council spokesman said: "Places at St John Fisher are allocated in strict accordance with the published admission criteria for the school. There were a total of 82 preferences for 30 places.

"The school's governing body ranked all 82 applications according to the published criteria, but the children concerned did not fall into the highest priorities, and so were not offered a place.

"Only one preference was listed on the application form, and so because that preference could not be met, a place was offered at the school nearest to the home address with places.

"The parents have the right of appeal to an independent appeal panel."

Joanne's frustration comes as it was revealed that in one London borough – Wandsworth - siblings will no longer be given priority for school places.

The council has announced that it is set to remove the rule giving an automatic place to a pupil's brothers and sisters even if the family has moved out of the catchment area.

This comes after it was revealed that 80,000 children face missing out on their preferred primary school, with more than 20,000 at risk of being denied any of their preferred choices.

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