Ben can go to same school as his sister after U-turn

Emma Fawcett with her children Alithea and Ben
Emma Fawcett with her children Alithea and Ben

A MUM who faced a daily five-mile trek to drop off and collect her children from school after her son was denied a place at the same primary school as his sister has expressed her delight after he was finally handed a place where she wanted.

Emma Fawcett says she is hugely relieved after her three-year-old son Ben was allocated a spot at Throston Primary School, in Flint Walk, Hartlepool, just weeks after being told the youngster - who already goes to the nursery at the school - had lost out on a place.

The family home, in Howbeck Lane, Hartlepool, is outside of the catchment area for Throston Primary School and Hartlepool Borough Council revealed there were 123 applications for just 60 new starter places in September.

Emma, a full-time mum who doesn’t have access to a car, was facing up to the impossible task of getting her daughter Alithea, six, to Throston and then walking Ben round to Jesmond Gardens Primary School.

The distance would have added up to a two-and-a-half mile trek twice a day, and Emma said the only way round it would have been to drop one of her children off half an hour late on a morning and pick them back up half an hour early.

Emma had appealed against the decision, but didn’t expect to hear anything more of it.

But she was jumping for joy this week when she received a phone call to say Ben has now been given a spot at Throston.

“It’s fantastic,” said Emma, who lives with her husband, Neil, 32, a graphic designer, and their children.

“We had actually sat Ben down and explained to him that he wasn’t going to be able to go to the same school as his sister, so he was so happy when we told him this week that he would be able to now.”

Emma said Ben suffers with asthma which has worsened recently so the prospect of walking five miles every day was a major concern.

A Hartlepool Council spokesman said: “Ben’s original application for a place at the school was rejected because there were other children who met higher admission criteria.

“His family was advised of their right to appeal and that they could put Ben on the school’s waiting list. They did this and Ben’s name was in fact at the top of the waiting list.

“A vacancy subsequently occurred at the school when a child who had previously accepted a place decided not to take up the offer.

“As Ben’s name was at the top of the waiting list he was offered this place.

“Such a situation is not uncommon in the period immediately after offers of admission have been made, as families do sometimes re-consider their options and change their minds.”