School places

PUBLISHED: 10:25 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

SIR, — I was gratified to read (Herts Advertiser, January 8) of the changes Herts County Council have made this year, in advance of the completion of their consultation, to the school admissions procedure. By not allowing parents to hold onto more than on

SIR, - I was gratified to read (Herts Advertiser, January 8) of the changes Herts County Council have made this year, in advance of the completion of their consultation, to the school admissions procedure. By not allowing parents to hold onto more than one school when the continuing interest list comes out, school places will be freed up so that other parents can be put out of their misery. There are more good ideas in the consultation which will improve matters further in later years.

However, as a mum who went through the trauma of receiving no allocated place for my son last March, my heart goes out to those parents who will face the same thing this year. Living on the western edge of Redbourn I knew there was a possibility of it happening but I pushed the thought to the back of my head and stayed positive. I thought that if the worst happened I would face it with logic and put my councillor, clear-thinking hat on as I do when helping residents, but the reality is that as mums we cannot be unemotional when we feel that our child could be separated from their friends and sent in the opposite direction to a school we and they aren't happy with for the next five to seven years. So, of course, I sat at the computer and wailed: "Why us?"

The trouble is, it's hard to then wade through all of the instructions for continuing interest and appeals when you're feeling so upset. I was lucky with the officer I spoke to that day because she calmly dealt with my tears and led me through the process from beginning to end and ultimately my son did get a place at an allocated school where he is very happy. I also found the county councillors to be very helpful and sympathetic.

So I would like to say to Year 6 parents, particularly in the villages, if you can get to grips with the whole process now it will be easier to face the fall-out if your child isn't allocated one of their chosen schools right away. Having gone through it last year I would be very happy to talk to any parents who are worried about the process and share my experiences. I am glad that county are listening to parents and are responsive to the need for change.

CLLR MAXINE CRAWLEY,

St Albans District Councillor.


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