'Croydon schools lottery may deny our daughter learning support', say Kenley parents
CROYDON Council's schools admissions policy was this week branded a "lottery" by a family whose daughter needs special support.
The Ashton family, from Kenley, are among a quarter of families across the borough whose first choice of primary school has been refused by the authority.
But for their three-year-old daughter Molly the stakes on securing a first-choice school are much higher than for some other families.
Molly, who lives with mother Stephanie and father Joe in Godstone Road, needs special support with her speech and at present receives two sessions of therapy a week at Roke Nursery.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
But 22-year-old Stephanie and Joe now fear for the worst after Molly was refused a place at Roke Primary [which follows on from the nursery] after being given their fifth choice – Kenley Primary School – which does not employ a specialist therapist like Roke.
Stephanie said: "The reason we wanted her to go to Roke is that she would get that extra support and we are worried she will fall behind if she doesn't go there and continue to get the support she is getting now."
The family say that their nextdoor neighbour, Lisa Reid, getting a place for her son at Roke in September last year has added insult to injury.
Kenley Primary School is also a mile's distance further from the family home than Roke.
The Ashtons are not alone. For this September, 25 per cent of families in Croydon did not get their first choice of primary school – the fifth-worst percentage of all 33 London boroughs.
Croydon also ranks below the London-wide average for the percentage of families who get their first-choice secondary school.
In September, 63 per cent of children will start at their first choice – the eleventh-worst London-wide.
Stephanie, who also has a six-month-old baby with Joe, said no option was provided on the council form to list Molly as a child who requires speech therapy.
She added: "There is an option if your child receives therapy outside school, but if they receive it in school there is no option to list that.
There should be because we are talking about children's futures."
At present parents are required to list six schools in order of preference.
Neighbour Lisa, whose five-year-old son started at Roke in September, said: "It just shows how ridiculous it is. Going by how the crow flies their house is actually closer."
A council spokesman said: "We have an absolute duty to provide sufficient places for our growing school population, and the council is having to find substantial sums of money from local taxpayers' funds to meet the projected increasing demand.
"In the five years to 2015 our various school expansion projects are costing some £217 million, although it seems clear that not all of this is going to be covered by central government grants."