Duckmanton mum says her daughter is ‘heartbroken’ after missing out on preferred school place

Springwell Community College, Staveley.
Springwell Community College, Staveley.

A Duckmanton mum says her daughter is ‘heartbroken’ after missing out on a place at her preferred secondary school where all her friends will be going.

Emma Breen, 37, applied for her 11-year-old daughter Kasi to go to Springwell Community College in Staveley.

Ms Breen mistakenly only listed Springwell on the application form because her two older sons went there and she wanted Kasi to go there as well.

However, Ms Breen is no longer living in the catchment area for Springwell as she moved to Duckmanton two years ago

She accepts she made a mistake and should have listed other schools on the application form.

She has appealed the decision but it has been rejected twice.

At the moment, Kasi is on the waiting list for Springwell and The Bolsover School.

But Ms Breen is worried that Kasi will be forced to go to Whittington Green School, in Old Whittington, Chesterfield, which she says is six miles away from their home and will involve Kasi getting two buses on her own.

As it stands, Ms Breen feels like she has been ‘backed into a corner’ by Derbyshire County Council and that she will have to keep her daughter at home instead until the situation is resolved.

Ms Breen said her daughter has received a letter from her primary school, St Joseph’s in Staveley, saying she is a ‘star pupil’ and that she would be a ‘credit’ to any school.

Ms Breen also said that Kasi has always attended school and she has been left ‘heartbroken’ because she is the only one in her class who has not got into Springwell.

“I feel let down by the whole system really,” Ms Breen said.

“They (Derbyshire County Council) have backed me into a corner.

“Kasi is really upset. She is down in herself. She is heartbroken.”

A Derbyshire County Council spokeswoman said: “Our admissions policy is very clear and there’s loads of information available on our website for parents who are applying for their child’s secondary school place.

“When applying we always advise parents to list the three schools they would most like their child to go to, including their normal area school. Unfortunately this did not happen in this case.

“Only one school was listed as a preference but this was over-subscribed so a place was allocated at the next nearest school with capacity in line with our published admissions arrangements. The parent appealed but it was refused by an independent appeal panel.

“An application was then made three months after the National Offer Day to the normal area school but places had already been allocated and the school was over-subscribed. Again an appeal was refused by an independent appeal panel.

“Parents can choose how to educate their children but if they do not register with the Elective Home Education Department and a pupil does not attend school they may be liable to prosecution.

“In relation to school transport, it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure their child can get to school. The council would only help with transport where a parent has applied on time for their normal area school and the child could not be offered a place.”