Let my girl go to school, pleads Sunderland mum

Nicole Burton with her four-year-old daughter Leona who has been kept in the nursery at Diamond Hall School because there is not a place for her in the Infant School.
Nicole Burton with her four-year-old daughter Leona who has been kept in the nursery at Diamond Hall School because there is not a place for her in the Infant School.
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A MUM says she has been forced to put her child back into nursery because a school has no place for her.

Nicole Burton, 37, says her four-year-old daughter Leona Thompson is missing out on her reception year because Diamond Hall Infant School doesn’t have a space for her.

Nicole, who lives in Penshaw Street, Millfield, says she wants Leona to go to Diamond Hall Infants, because her sister Alicia went there and is now a pupil at neighbouring Diamond Hall Junior School.

She said Sunderland City Council says she can apply for places at other primary schools, but she has decided to put Leona back into Millfield Nursery in the hope a place at Diamond Hall Infants, where she is on the waiting list, will come up.

She said: “It is really upsetting for Leona having to go back to nursery with the younger children.

“She can’t understand why her friends are going to school and she is missing out on a year of education.

“I can’t be in two places at once, dropping Alicia off at Diamond Hall Juniors and taking Leona somewhere else. Alicia is really settled, so it wouldn’t be fair to move her to another school.”

Nicole said she suffers from fibromyalgia, which causes pain and fatigue and both she and Leona have asthma, so getting her to a school further away would be difficult.

Beverley Scanlon, the city council’s head of commissioning and change management, said the application for a place for Leona was received after the deadline date, the school reception was full and Ms Burton lost her appeal.

She said: “It is always regrettable when parents cannot be offered a place at their preferred school, but the chances of being able to do so at a popular school are very much reduced when applications are submitted beyond the deadline date.

“We have been in regular contact with Leona’s mother to let her know which schools have vacancies and have sent application forms for her to complete, but to date Ms Burton has not made an application for any other school, so we have not been in a position to offer a place for Leona elsewhere.

“We have also advised Ms Burton that if she delays applying for a place for Leona until next year, there would be no guarantee of a place in what will then be Year 1.

“We will continue to work closely with Ms Burton to explore options for a reception place for Leona.”

Twitter: @sunechoschools