Hartlepool family upset after education chiefs place young son in school across town

(Left to right) Marie, Jason, Peter and Lara McIntosh.
(Left to right) Marie, Jason, Peter and Lara McIntosh.
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A DAD says family life will prove “difficult” after education chiefs have placed his four-year-old son in a school across town.

Wheelchair-bound Peter McIntosh, 52, and his wife Marie McIntosh, 38, applied for their son Jason to go to Barnard Grove Primary School, in Barnard Grove, Hartlepool.

(Left to right) Marie, Jason, and Peter McIntosh. Picture by FRANK REID

(Left to right) Marie, Jason, and Peter McIntosh. Picture by FRANK REID

The pair say the school is just a 10-minute walk away from where they live in a specially-adapted bungalow in Willington Drive, opposite St Hild’s School, where their eldest daughter Lara McIntosh, 13, is a pupil.

Their second and third choices of school for Jason were West View Primary School, and Clavering Primary School, which are also relatively close to where they live.

But the family were shocked when they discovered that Hartlepool Borough Council had placed the youngster in Stranton Primary School, Southburn Terrace – 3.7 miles away from their house.

It comes after the Mail reported how a petition, which has already collected 700 signatures, has been launched after several parents were told their children will not go to one of their three favoured schools.

It would be much easier for us if he went to a school up here. There will be too much stress getting him there.

Peter McIntosh, Hartlepool dad

The council says it is looking at ways to help with arrangements for pupils that were not placed in the top three options and will keep parents informed.

Peter says it will add extra pressure on the family, as Peter claims that he cannot be left alone without his wife, who is a full-time carer for him.

He says that his wife would have to drive Jason to and from school every day, and Peter would have to go with them.

If Jason went to a school nearby then the family could walk him there, with Peter in his wheelchair, and that is their preferred option.

Marie, and Peter McIntosh with their son Jason. Picture by FRANK REID

Marie, and Peter McIntosh with their son Jason. Picture by FRANK REID

Peter, who contracted polio in 1963, which saw his health deteriorate, said: “My wife is a full-time carer for me and she couldn’t leave me while she took Jason to school.

“I can’t use my left arm and I’m in a wheelchair, so I have trouble.

“It would be much easier for us if he went to a school up here.

“There will be too much stress getting him there.”

Peter McIntosh. Picture by FRANK REID

Peter McIntosh. Picture by FRANK REID

A spokesman for the council said: “Almost 92 per cent of parents have been allocated their first preference for a primary school place for the September 2015 intake, which is one of the highest levels in the country.

“For 2015 there is a particular high demand for school places across the country, and in Hartlepool we have seen particular pressure in the north of the town.

“As we emphasised last week, we fully sympathise with the small percentage of parents who have not been offered their first, second or third preferences and we are exploring every possible avenue to try and meet parents’ needs.

“This includes examining whether there is scope to increase the capacity at some primary schools so that we are able to offer either a first, second or third preference to some of the 45 parents that we have so far been unable to do so.

“Parents can be assured that we are working extremely hard to try to assist parents where we can and they will be kept informed every step of the way.”