St Albans school places row escalates

A MOTHER whose son has been denied a secondary school place of choice is appealing for other parents in the same situation to come together and form a home tutor group. Helen Mair, of The Park, St Albans, says she has been left with no other choice than t

A MOTHER whose son has been denied a secondary school place of choice is appealing for other parents in the same situation to come together and form a home tutor group.

Helen Mair, of The Park, St Albans, says she has been left with no other choice than to tutor her 11-year-old son Daniel at home after he was allocated a school which is currently in special measures and outside of his local community.

Like the majority of the 118 pupils in the St Albans district denied any of their three preferred schools, Daniel has been allocated Francis Bacon.

He had applied for his two nearest schools which are Sandringham and Beaumont, along with St George's in Harpenden.


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Mrs Mair said her only option was to consider home tutoring and she is looking for other parents thinking about the same route. She said: "It's not something I've chosen to do. It's something I've been forced to do because the admissions system has failed us."

Mrs Mair, who has four other younger children, said that Daniel was the only child in his class at Skyswood Primary School who had been denied a place at any preferred school.

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She said: "Daniel is normally a very happy and outgoing boy but this has had a mammoth effect on him. He is having sleepless nights and he is the only child in his school who didn't get one of his three choices. His friends in the community are all going to local schools. He feels completely isolated and devastated."

Mrs Mair also said that she had been depressed since the allocations were announced and was terrified that she would need to go through the same trauma with all of her children. Her 10-year-old daughter is also anxious about what school she will be going to next year.

Mrs Mair currently walks all her children to the same primary school every day but she said that would be impossible if she had to get Daniel to and from Francis Bacon.

Like around 60 other parents, Mrs Mair attended a meeting to discuss the situation at the Alban Arena on Monday evening but she said it was nothing more than a chance for the parents to vent their anger.

At the meeting, St Albans MP Anne Main told the distressed parents there was the option to home tutor and funds were available for it.

Mrs Main said she did not necessarily advocate the move but felt that parents needed to be given more of a choice, especially since they were being asked to send their children to a school which has been classified by Ofsted as failing. Mrs Mair has asked any parents interested in pursuing the home tutoring route to contact her on helenmair@hotmail.co.uk

She added: "I'm looking for people everywhere who are as incensed as I am and are not going to send their child to a school they didn't choose.

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