Bullied schoolgirl’s hopes dashed

Danielle Newton with her six year old daughter Selina who has been told she does not have a place at Blackfell Primary School, Washington.
Danielle Newton with her six year old daughter Selina who has been told she does not have a place at Blackfell Primary School, Washington.
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SIX-year-old Selina Newton was supposed to be looking forward to life at a new school today away from the bullies her family claims are making her life a misery.

Mum Danielle had bought a new uniform for Blackfell Primary School, in Washington, and Selina even had an induction day where she was introduced to what she believed would be her new classmates.

Blackfell Primary School, Washington.

Blackfell Primary School, Washington.

But just hours after returning home the youngster’s hopes were shattered after council bosses said they made an admin blunder – and told her there is no place available after all.

“She just cried her heart out,” said Danielle, 27.

“We filled in all the forms, spent £65 on a new uniform, and went along to the induction day.

“Selina was shown around the school, went into her new classroom and met all the other children. She has quite low self-esteem at the minute and this was a massive boost for her.

“She was all ready to start at Blackfell today. But a few hours after we arrived home, we got a call from the school admissions people telling us that Selina wouldn’t be able to start.

“In fact the available place was for someone else and there had been a mistake.”

Mum-of-three Danielle then had to break the news to her daughter.

“We wanted to change schools in the first place because she was being bullied,” said Danielle.

“I couldn’t believe what they were telling me.

“We’d gone through a whole induction day and she was just two days away from starting and, suddenly, they tell us there’s no place after all.

“I’m foaming about it all to be honest and Selina has been left so upset.”

Danielle, who is married to Christopher, 32, is in the process of contacting her local MP, Sharon Hodgson to raise Selina’s case.

Danielle, also mum to twins Owen and Connor, eight, added: “It wouldn’t be so hard if she hadn’t already been into the school and introduced to her new friends.”

Councillor Pat Smith, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “We have apologised to the family and explained in letters and by telephone how this unfortunate error occurred.

“Every school has a strict admissions criteria, and the vacancy at Blackfell had to be offered to a child who already had a sibling within the school.

“We share the family’s disappointment that we had to withdraw the offer of a place to Selina, when we became aware that there was another child on the waiting list.

“Selina already had a place at another school, and the other child met more of the admissions criteria through the sibling link and had priority.

“Our officers will continue to work hard with the family and school staff to make sure Selina is happy at school until a vacancy arises again with an admissions appeal already in place.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho