Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Youngster Forced To Switch Schools After Brother Refused Place

Candie And Molly Furber Join Belinda Brooks-Gordon
Who Supported Them Through The Appeals Process
Youngster, Molly Furber is forced to switch schools after just two years because education officials have refused to give her brother a place.

Molly, six, had settled at Girton Glebe Primary School and made friends but there is no room for her brother, Dylan, four.

So Molly has said goodbye to her classmates and will start the new term at Bar Hill Primary School where Dylan is registered for the reception class.

Her parents Candie and Mike, who moved from Girton to Hillcrest, Bar Hill at the end of last year, have been left disillusioned and disgusted with the appeal process which they described was “shambolic”.

And they claim there has been no support for their plight or care from staff at Girton Glebe Primary School.

With the backing of former Liberal Democrat county councillor, Belinda Brooks-Gordon, whose daughter was in Molly’s class, Candie and Mike took their case to Cambridgeshire County Council’s appeals panel.

But the appeal and further representation to the Ombudsman failed leaving them with no option but to move their daughter or face having their two children in different schools four miles apart.

Candie said: “Molly settled well at Girton Glebe and had made friends and we wanted Dylan to go with his sister. It is not unusual for schools to admit children out of catchment with siblings at the school.

“The two reception classes at Girton Glebe have 27 children each and we were the only family appealing with a child at the school. Although we were out of catchment we didn't think this would be a problem.

“The appeal process started after the end of the summer term leaving Molly not knowing if she would return. We waited through the whole summer for a decision leaving us little time to make alternative arrangements for Molly and were finally told there wasn’t a place for Dylan.

“The appeals process was shambolic. The panel meeting started 40 minutes late and it was clear members had not read the written representation I sent.

“We asked the head at Girton Glebe Primary School to send documents so that we could further our appeal and he failed to respond. We haven’t been given any support from the school and they haven’t shown any concern for Molly’s welfare; they have, at best been disinterested.”

And her husband Mike added: “There is little realistic chance of changing the appeal panel’s decision because it seems to be above any kind of scrutiny. I am disgusted by the panel’s lack of concern.”

Belinda said: “No family should be treated like this. Having a sibling at the school was always a criterion that was taken into account for school admissions.

"Why have the panel chosen, and it was their choice, to ignore this important fact? It defies logic especially when there are only 27 children in a class at Girton Glebe compared to many schools which have up to 30.”