Huntingdonshire school catchment areas separating siblings

Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridgeshire County Council - Credit: Archant

THE parents of a four-year-old boy have been told that when he starts school this September, it will not be with his brother and sister.

Ian Godley, 33, said places at Godmanchester Community School had instead been given to families whose first choice had been for their child to go to the town’s other primary school, St Anne’s, and to families living across the river in Huntingdon.

Mr Godley wanted Ewan to follow 10-year-old Aaliyah, nine-year-old Elana and five-year-old Ryan to the community school, but was instead given St Anne’s. While the family now live in the St Anne’s catchment area, Ryan was given a place at the community school last year.

But Mr Godley and wife Debbie, 34, have been told they will need to fight to get Ewan in to their first choice school.

“We moved to Crowhill in 2008 and were living here when Ryan applied to the school,” Mr Godley told The Hunts Post.

“The situation is laughable. We wanted to have the three children (Aaliyah will start Hinchingbrooke in September) in the same school and give them the best possible future. If the children are at different schools it will make it very difficult for them to take part in after school clubs and could also have financial implications.

“Because the schools finish at the same time, my wife will have to pick up Ewan and then walk to the community school where we may have to pay for the children to go to the kids’ club for half an hour.”

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Dropping off the three children in the morning will have similar headaches – Mr Godley said he was unlikely to be at work on time if he took his children to school.

The decision has also upset Ewan who has been to the community school many times for events and to help pick up his brother and sisters.

And he added: “I can see no reason for families in Huntingdon to have children at schools in Godmanchester when Huntingdon schools are under-subscribed.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “The Godley family live outside the catchment area of Godmanchester Community Primary School. Ewan’s application was therefore considered under criterion 4 of the oversubscription criteria – children living outside the catchment area who have siblings at the school.

“The final place was offered to a child who lived nearer the school than the Godleys.”

He explained that it was possible for a child whose first preference was St Anne’s to have been offered a place at the community school “because their application was considered under higher criteria than those applications that were refused”.

“The Godleys are welcome to appeal against the decision and have been given information on how to do this,” he said.

But with some parents wanting St Anne’s and being offered the community school, and others in the exact opposite situation, surely it’s time to rethink the process, Mr Godley said.

“If there are people who are clearly not happy with the place they have been offered, then it could make sense to offer a trade.

“There would have to be some rules to govern this but it would save having to go through an appeal.”