Mutual support

SIR, — For many years the annual problem for local children getting school places has in the main affected village children and secondary schools. However in recent years the problem has spread to St Albans and primary schools. I was in this situation two

SIR, - For many years the annual problem for local children getting school places has in the main affected village children and secondary schools. However in recent years the problem has spread to St Albans and primary schools. I was in this situation two years ago and I am sure the situation is just as stressful whether your child is aged five or 11.

At the time local St Albans District Councillors Judy Shardlow and Chris Oxley set up meetings for parents where we were able to meet others in the same situation, set up a support group and keep in touch via the website which was really beneficial and made the situation much easier.

Judy in particular was a great support to me. I asked her to attend my daughter's appeal with me so that she would have the experience of what parents have to endure to get a place at a local school. While waiting for the result of the appeal my daughter got a place at her nearest school on the continuing interest list. I contacted Herts County Council to hear the result of the appeal as I had spent many hours and sleepless nights over it and they refused to tell me the result as she now had a place at a ranked school so they felt it was of no consequence.

This was the final straw for me as during the past three months I had made dozens of phone calls to them and been passed from pillar to post. I discovered mistakes with the information sent to me, wrote letters to the head of education, I was interviewed on the TV and local radio, I had followed their ridiculous system to the letter and I am still furious about it now, two years down the line.


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I would like to thank Judy and Chris because without people like them the situation would be even worse than it already is.

In addition I would like to thank The Herts Advertiser for their continual coverage on the subject - otherwise the whole problem would be brushed aside.

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My advice to parents whose children have no ranked school would be to support each other because Herts County Council won't.

JANE GWILLIM,

The Hill, Wheathampstead.

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