September 29th, 2016

Council urged to act over ‘lack of places’ in Bromsgrove

Council urged to act over ‘lack of places’ in Bromsgrove Council urged to act over ‘lack of places’ in Bromsgrove

A MUM who claims there are a lack of middle school places in Bromsgrove is calling on the county council to put the situation right.

Lorraine Weinans, 43, said she had to go to appeal twice before her son got into his first choice school and, due to the lengthy process, she added her son even missed his induction day and meeting his new teacher and school friends.

Mrs Weinans, of Cooper Close, said she was ready to home-school her eldest son when, after also missing out on his second choice school, he was given a place at a school more than four miles away.

Had he gone there, she said she would have had drives of anything up to an hour in rush hour traffic. And she added, she would have had no chance of doing that and dropping her other child at nursery on time, as it was on the other side of Bromsgrove.

“It is nothing about the schools or the area, it is just the logistics are unrealistic. “It has been horrible and I do not want others to go through this experience.”

Mrs Weinans needed a 12-month letter of faith to get into St John’s and, although she had five letters proving 35 years of her faith from various ministers, they were rejected.

Mrs Weimans said while she went to the church every week to pray, health problems and undergoing four major operations meant she had been unable to attend many Sunday services in the two years prior to her son’s enrolment.

She added her minister leaving in 2014 and a new one not being appointed until March this year, meant she had no one to vouch for her.

Despite arguing this at two appeal hearings she was still rejected until she met with the school’s headteacher who decided there was more than enough proof of her faith and her son was admitted.

Mrs Weinans said she knew of other parents in Bromsgrove who said they had been forced to home-school their children because of a lack of middle school places.

Her claims have been refuted by Worcestershire County Council which said for the 2015 year five intake to middle schools in Bromsgrove, there were 638 applications for 660 places.

And the authority claimed 95 per cent of parents in the district got their first choice place, while three per cent were given their second and the remaining two per cent received their third selection or an alternative.

Coun John Campion, responsible for children and families, said the council had made a significant investment to expand schools to cater for the growing number of schoolchildren across the county, including in Bromsgrove.

He added the authority’s statutory duty of offering every child in the county a place and that data showed a high percentage of last year’s parents and carers were offered a place at one of their preferred schools.