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School place despair
A MOTHER broke down in tears after discovering her daughter had failed to get a place at any of the three schools she applied to.
Susan Walsh and her husband Andrew spent hours carefully considering where to send Molly when she starts school in September, but they were dismayed when they were informed by Hampshire County Council that she did not gain a place at any of their chosen schools.
Mrs Walsh, from Park Prewett Road, Limes Park, Basingstoke, said she would “never” send her four-year-old daughter to Winklebury Infant School, in Willoughby Way, where she was given a place, even though it is within the catchment area for where she lives.
She added: “We have been given a school we definitely don’t want our daughter to go to. The schools we picked are outstanding. We checked the way they teach and they suited her needs and personality.”
Mrs Walsh, who also has a two-year-old daughter, chose Castle Hill Infant School, in Winklebury, as her first choice, which is also within the catchment area, along with Oakridge Infant School, in Oakridge Road, as her second choice, followed by Oakley Infant School, in Oakley Lane.
She said: “There’s no provision for any school in Limes Park but we were given the catchment of Castle Hill and Winklebury. We chose three schools, hoping she would go to the first, but were told if we put down three, our daughter would be likely to get one of them.
“Every step of the way we have done as we were asked but we have been given a school that we would never have considered.”
Molly has hearing problems which affect her speech, and Mr and Mrs Walsh chose schools they believed will support her with that.
Mrs Walsh added: “For some people, I’m sure the school (Winklebury) is fine academically. But it’s not a school for our child. Molly is quite advanced for her age and she needs to be stimulated.”
The family have appealed against the decision, and could defer Molly starting school until May next year, but Mrs Walsh said: “We have been advised against that because the reception year is important. And if she doesn’t get into the school by then, we will still have to find her a place elsewhere.”