Mum’s anger after little girl denied Burnley school place with siblings

Connor (7), Missy (6), Andrew, Callum (2) and Amber Haslam (5). A130911/3a
Connor (7), Missy (6), Andrew, Callum (2) and Amber Haslam (5). A130911/3a

A BURNLEY mum said she has been left with no choice but to move her two eldest children to a new school after her youngest daughter failed to secure a place at their current primary.

Erica Smith (29), of Wycoller Avenue, Brunshaw, said it was unfair that Amber (5) was denied a place despite older siblings Missy (6) and Connor (7) being pupils at St Mary’s RC Primary in Holcombe Drive.

Amber has also attended the nursery school at St Mary’s for the last two years but an appeal by the family was rejected.

Unwilling to send her children to different schools, Miss Smith and the children’s dad Mr Andrew Haslam decided to send them to Rosewood Primary School, a non-faith school, where there were still places available.

Miss Smith, who is also mum to two-year-old Callum, said the family go to church regularly and the couple wanted to bring all of their children up as Catholics.

“Amber’s birthday is September 10th and so last year she just missed out on going to school. She was looking forward to going to school with her brother and sister and we told her that when she was five she could go with them.

“We wanted to bring them up with our religion but I’m not prepared to break my children up. They have a very close bond. They are having to leave all their friends behind. It’s heartbreaking.”

Paul Bainbridge, admissions officer for Lancashire County Council, said: “School admissions can be an emotional time for parents and we understand this. However, in Lancashire, more than 90% of parents gain a place for their child at their first preference school.

“By law we have to follow government guidance on school admissions.

“Church schools have their own criteria, and all schools’ admissions criteria are publicly available.

“Naturally some schools are more popular than others and when a school is oversubscribed, it is inevitable some parents will be disappointed, especially if they have applied late, their circumstances have changed, they do not fit the school’s admission criteria, or they have had an unsuccessful appeal for a preferred school.”