47 appeals by parents

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EDUCATION chiefs will listen to 47 appeals from parents who failed to get a place in their preferred choice of primary school for their youngsters.

Parents of pre-school children were sent packs from Hartlepool Borough Council at the end of last year asking them to name their three choices of primary school for their youngsters to start in September.

A total of 1,122 applications were submitted to the council’s admissions team by the January deadline and 1,026 children were given a place in their first choice.

Second choices were given to 56 children, with 10 getting the third option.

The parents of 30 children who did not meet the criteria for any of their three choices have been offered places in the nearest available school.

Factors included in the criteria for school selection included the distance from a home address to the school and whether or not the youngster had any siblings already in the school they were applying for.

The council has received 47 appeals from parents who were not happy with the decisions and they will be heard in June before a final decision is taken ahead of the new school year.

That figure for admission to the 30 primary schools across Hartlepool is less than in previous years and the local authority is satisfied with the way the 2011 new starter process worked.

All applications were checked and verified by the admissions team prior to confirmation letters being sent out as there have been occasions in previous years where false information has been used on forms in an attempt by parents to secure a place in their first choice.

Peter McIntosh, of Hartlepool Council, said: “We have now processed all the applications for primary school places from September 2011 and are pleased to report that 91.44 per cent have gained their first preference.

“A further five per cent gained their second preference and 0.9 per cent got their third preference.

“Only 2.67 per cent of children did not gain any of their preferences, but parents have been offered a place in the nearest available school.”

Mr McIntosh was also pleased that half of the applications for school places had been done online.

Meanwhile, all of Hartlepool’s primary schools are this week taking part in tests that were boycotted last year.

All of the 30 primary schools in Hartlepool refused to take part in SATs tests last year following a national campaign.

But a spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council said: “Key Stage 2 SATs tests for Year 6 children in all the town primary schools are being carried out this week.

“The tests are an important part of the assessment for individual children preparing to move into their secondary education.”

l Have you been refused a chosen school place for your child? Contact the Mail newsdesk on (01429) 239380.