Godmanchester families face 10-mile hike for school
TWO families who live metres away from a Huntingdonshire school have been refused a place for their children because they are outside the catchment area.
Godmanchester mum Leigh Ward was flabbergasted when she received a letter last week informing her her four-year-old daughter Phoebe had been refused her first-choice place at St Anne’s Church of England Primary School, and instead been given a place at Thongsley Field Primary School in Huntingdon.
It means Phoebe will not be able to join her older brother Harvey, six, at the school in September, and the family face an eight-mile round journey twice a day without a car.
The family were also knocked back for their second choice Godmanchester County Primary School, though Mrs Ward, 23, hopes to appeal the decision and is considering keeping Phoebe back a year.
She said: “Phoebe is now sixth on a reserve list for St Anne’s, but if six people have not dropped out by December, then there is even less of a chance my daughter will get in.
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“My husband has to walk to work in Huntingdon everyday, because neither of us drive. We live just two minutes from St Anne’s, but because we are not in the new housing estate, we are not in the catchment area.
“I do not have to send my daughter to school until next year, but that will mean keeping her back a year, and she will not go to school with any of her friends.”
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Another Stokes Drive mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, was refused a place for her four-year-old daughter at St Anne’s Primary School and was given a place at Thongsley Field Primary School instead.
She was also told she had been refused a placement because she was outside the catchment area.
She said: “I did not put a second choice down because I thought she would in. The county council said the teacher could have no more than 30 children and Godmanchester and St Anne’s have both got 30 children at the moment.
“Thongsley is in the middle of the Oxmoor and I do not know how they are expecting me to walk five miles there, and then walk back.”
A spokesman for CCC said: “Phoebe was ranked under criteria for children living outside the catchment area with a sibling attending the school. A place was offered at the nearest school with a place available.
“School catchment areas are available on the county council website under Find my Nearest, but also are published within the local authority’s admission’s guide which this year was called First Steps, Admissions to Primary school; a guide for parents 2011/2012.
“We recommend all parents read this guide before making their application. Published in this guide are also the oversubscription criteria for every Cambridgeshire primary school. This is so parents can understand how places are allocated at their preferred school.”