Mum’s tears over school place four miles from home

TEARS: Joanne MaCrae with her children Maisie and Dexter.
TEARS: Joanne MaCrae with her children Maisie and Dexter.

A MUM has told how she cried all night after her four-year-old daughter was allocated a school place four miles from home.

Joanne Macrae, 36, a radiographer, and husband Andy, 36, a design administrator, of Bishop Cuthbert, are parents to Maisie, four, and Dexter, 13 months.

The money it is going to cost the council to transport potentially 45 children to the schools they have been told they must go, every day, for seven years, is going to be extortionate.

Joanne Macrae

The family moved to Hartlepool from Ingleby Barwick four years ago with the hope that the children would attend Throston Primary School, which is their catchment school.

But they have not been given any of their three choices either.

Joanne put down West Park Primary as her second choice, and Clavering Primary as her third - but like Nola Green, Maisie has been allocated a place St Joseph’s Primary, across town from where they live.

“I cried all night when I found out,” said Joanne, who held back tears as she spoke to the Mail. “And I haven’t really stopped crying since to be honest.

“There were six children who didn’t get into Throston, however the other five were given local schools.

“Maisie is the only child on Bishop Cuthbert who hasn’t been given one of her three choices.”

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Joanne says the decision will have a huge impact on her family, as she works in Darlington and her husband must set off for work at 7.50am.

They rely on grandparents to help with the current nursery runs, and future school runs, but expecting them to drop off and collect Maisie from St Joseph’s when they don’t have cars is “out of the question”.

Joanne says the council’s education staff have told her the local authority would provide transport for Maisie to get to and from school, as she lives a certain distance from St Joseph’s.

“There are 45 children who didn’t get into any of their top three,” said Joanne. “And even though we get none of our choices, we still don’t get to select a place from the schools that are left.

“The whole system is flawed and unfair.

“And the money it is going to cost the council to transport potentially 45 children to the schools they have been told they must go, every day, for seven years, is going to be extortionate.

“It would make more sense to look at creating extra provision over this side of the town.

“It’s a complete lack of planning on the council’s behalf. They have known for four years how many children there are in each area of the town, and how many school places there are.

“They have completely underestimated the amount of children who were going to be surplus this year, and now it’s the children who are suffering.

“It was a massive shock to us and we’re absolutely devastated.”

Joanne says it would have been a 20-minute walk for Maisie to get to Throston Primary, or 15 minutes to Clavering.

Maisie’s grandmother’s house is near to West Park Primary, so she could have easily walked her to school from there.

She added: “The council’s own policy states that walking to school makes children more alert, so for the next seven years my child can’t do that now.”