Hartlepool parents’ joy after council u-turn over school places

Joanne McCrae with her children Maisie and Dexter McCrae.
Joanne McCrae with her children Maisie and Dexter McCrae.

TWO mums who thought their lives would be thrown into chaos when their children were offered school places across the other side of town have shared their good news.

Danielle Kane and Joanne Macrae are delighted to have been offered places at the schools that they originally chose for their children.

Danielle Kane with her sons Harry (left) and Jack McCaffrey.

Danielle Kane with her sons Harry (left) and Jack McCaffrey.

The Mail previously reported how the mums’ three school choices had been overlooked by council education chiefs.

Danielle’s son Jack McCaffery, 4, was given a place at Stranton Primary School, in Southburn Terrace, four miles from their home in Joyce Road, West View, while her younger son Harry McCaffery was given a place at Barnard Grove nursery.

And radiographer Joanne was devastated when her daughter Maisie Macrae, 4, was given a place at St Joseph’s Primary School, across town from their home in Bishop Cuthbert.

But today, Danielle announced that she was contacted by the council offering Jack a place at her first choice school of Barnard Grove Primary School, with Joanne receiving a similar phone call to say Maisie could have a place at her initial choice of Throston Primary School.

We have been celebrating because we are so happy about it. School places has such a massive effect on people’s lives.

Mum Joanne Macrae

A spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council said Danielle and Joanne are just two parents that they have been able to help.

Forty-five children did not get their first, second or third choice of schools - but now 18 of those have now been offered a place in their top three.

Overall, out of the 1,186 applications received, 1,159 have been offered a school place in their top three schools.

Councillor Chris Simmons, Chair of the Council’s Children’s Services Committee, said: “The Council gave a commitment that it would do everything possible to see if there was scope to increase capacity at some of the primary schools in the north of the town where there is a particular pressure this year.”

Danielle Kane with her son Jack McCaffrey. Picture by FRANK REID

Danielle Kane with her son Jack McCaffrey. Picture by FRANK REID

He added: “Those who have not been offered either a first, second or third preference place have our full sympathy and have the right of appeal. The recent announcement that the Council is to receive funding from housing developer Leebell to provide extra school places in the north west of the town in the future should ease the situation in the years ahead.”

Danielle said she was overjoyed at the news of Jack’s school place.

She said: “We’re so happy, it’s such a massive relief.”

Married Joanne, also mum to Dexter Macrae, echoed Danielle’s delight, saying: “It was like a weight had been lifted. It means we have been able to take our house off the market. We have been celebrating because we are so happy about it. School places has such a massive effect on people’s lives.”