Family’s shock at school decision

Four-year old Casey-Beth Kitson
Four-year old Casey-Beth Kitson

A FOUR-year old girl has been left heartbroken after being refused a place in the same school as her brothers and sisters.

Casey-Beth Kitson has been going to nursery at Throston Primary School, in Flint Walk, Hartlepool, for the last two years and was excited to start full time in September.

However the excitement turned to tears when Casey-Beth was refused a spot in the school due to the fact the family live outside the catchment area.

That refusal came even though her older brother, Jayden, five, and sisters Jessica, eight, and Rebecka, nine, already go to Throston Primary.

Education bosses say the school was “heavily oversubscribed” ahead of the new term, and added that the fact the youngster had been to the school’s nursery did not guarantee her a place in the reception class.

So while Jayden, Jessica and Rebecka troop off to Throston each day, parents Yvonne, 35, and Steven, 40, are now faced with a second school run to Jesmond Gardens Primary School to ensure Casey-Beth gets into class on time.

Steven and Yvonne, who are both unemployed and live in Challoner Square, in Hartlepool, acknowledge Casey-Beth’s new school is actually nearer to their home than Throston but say they are “gobsmacked” by the decision to deny her a place with her siblings.

After finding out about the decision earlier this year they quickly lodged an appeal, but that was rejected.

“We were told it was because we live outside the catchment area, but we have always lived here,” said Yvonne.

“My son, Jayden, only started at Throston last year and there were no problems then with catchment areas.

“Casey-Beth has been going to nursery there since she was three, she has all her friends there.

“She can’t understand why she can’t go to school with her older brothers and sisters. She thinks it’s something she has done wrong.

“We’re just gobsmacked by it all.”

Yvonne takes Casey-Beth to Jesmond Gardens each day while Steven ferries the other youngsters to Throston.

And it’s a similar story at the end of the school day, with the Kitsons forced to do two school runs.

Yvonne added: “Rebecka, Jessica and Jayden are even saying they want to move school now, they don’t want to see Casey-Beth on her own.

“How do I explain to a four-year-old what is going on here?

“She just keeps saying to me that she has been good and she wants to go back to her old school. She was in tears the night before her first day at school, we’re all really upset by it.

“We have nothing against Jesmond Gardens, it’s a good school, it’s just the fact that she isn’t with her brothers and sisters and that she’s been at nursery at Throston for the last two years.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “Although Casey-Beth attended the nursery at Throston Primary School for over a year, this did not guarantee her a place at the school under admissions rules.

“Throston Primary School, Mrs Kitson’s first preference despite her living outside of the admission zone, was heavily oversubscribed with 125 equal preferences for 60 places.

“Mrs Kitson was, therefore, offered a place for Casey-Beth at her second preference of Jesmond Gardens Primary School, the family’s zone school.”