No school places for 30 Harpenden children

The Grove junior school and the Grove infant and nursery school

The Grove junior school and the Grove infant and nursery school - Credit: Archant

A young boy with a spinal condition may have to travel more than an hour to school every day after missing out on a local primary school place.

He is one of about 30 Harpenden children who were not given a place at a nearby school following the allocation on Thursday.

Samantha Nunn, 42, from Southdown, lives just 500 yards away from her first choice, The Grove, and chose the school due to its close proximity.

Her son Logan suffers with early onset scoliosis and will require surgery in the near future, making the closeness of his school paramount.

But Samantha has currently been given a selection of possibilities elsewhere in Hertfordshire, including Bishop’s Stortford.

She said: “His needs aren’t considered in the application. I’ve essentially been told he’s not ‘disabled enough’ for them to consider it in the selection process.

“I’ll have to defer him a year [if he isn’t given a place in a Harpenden school]. I work so there’s no way I would be able to drive him and there’s the child care costs too. He would have no life outside of school.”

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An extra 30 places have been added to Wood End Primary School in Yeomans Avenue, Harpenden, but this also presents some parents with an extended journey.

Leah Duffy, 27, also of Southdown, lives just over half a mile away from her first choice, The Grove, and 0.9 miles away from her second, Crabtree School.

She was hoping that she would be able to walk her daughter to school, as they can’t afford to keep on their car, which they currently use to take their daughter to her nursery in Batford.

She said: “I’m just really annoyed because the exact same thing happened when we were applying for nurseries. How can it happen to us twice? Why do we need to go through the application process? There’s no point!”

The family were also given possibilities outside of Harpenden.

“We’re on a low wage and in a council house, we can’t afford it. People like us can’t even afford to fund a car, let alone travel that far to go to school everyday,” she added.

Thomas Parrott, vice chairman of the Harpenden Parents’ Group, believes that the over subscription to Southdown schools is down to ‘bulge’ classes added in previous years.

He said: “Parents who live near aren’t going to be able to get their children into The Grove because all the children who have been moved there from the north of the town have their siblings who want to go to the same school.”

Despite the concerns raised by parents, he is keen to assure them that now is not the time to worry.

He said: “The Parents’ Group is fairly positive this time. There are always going to be people who are disappointed but this time with the addition of Wood End it will all be resolved.

“They’ve been saying that they could allocate places outside Harpenden since 2010 but it doesn’t actually happen, it’s just they have to allocate them somewhere.

“Lots of parents go through this process as a back up plan; they either move away or send their child to an independent school. It’s better to wait until the next stage before you panic.”

Herts County Council announced that 95 per cent of the county’s children were given one of their top school places.

Parents will find out what schools their children have been allocated on May 11, when they’ll be able to appeal any decisions made.

Harpenden Parents’ Group is running an information evening for worried parents tonight (Thursday) at 8pm at the Quaker Meeting House in Southdown Road.