System abused

SIR — I am a parent from the Cross Farm Estate in South Harpenden. My son is one of the seven children without a local school place. We all requested our nearest local school but received Francis Bacon in St Albans. The families affected have been reside

SIR - I am a parent from the Cross Farm Estate in South Harpenden. My son is one of the seven children without a local school place. We all requested our nearest local school but received Francis Bacon in St Albans.

The families affected have been residents of Harpenden for many years, attending local schools. My family have lived, worked and supported Harpenden for over 70 years and still do.

As everybody knows, the current allocation system has been abused and manipulated for years. The system allows people to effectively "fast track" themselves a school place by renting or buying as close to the schools as possible. The system gives their siblings priority and leaves long-term residents' children without a place.

It is appalling that longevity and commitment to ones community has no bearing in Harpenden. Must we all live in the centre of town to ensure a school place? The allocation system needs immediate revision to stop this inexcusable and undeserved treatment of its long-term residents. After all, we are the reason that Harpenden is such a good place to live.


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Ironically, if we had moved to Markyate or Redbourn, we would have got a Harpenden school! How can this system be fair?

Perhaps a new rule three, Minimum Residency, would challenge those people taking places unfairly and offer long-term residents the choices they deserve. Surely, those families who have paid their taxes and rates for generations have earned their child a place.

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JACKIE BAINES,

Sandhurst Court, Harpenden.

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