Sunderland boy’s school wrangle solved

no go: Lennox Milner, five, with his mum Marie outside St Joseph's RC Primary School in Millfield, Sunderland, which he was unable to attend.
no go: Lennox Milner, five, with his mum Marie outside St Joseph's RC Primary School in Millfield, Sunderland, which he was unable to attend.
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LITTLE Lennox Milner is finally back at school after a wrangle over his place was resolved.

The Sunderland five-year-old missed out on his first days in reception class because his mum, Marie Milner, couldn’t be in two places at once.

Marie, 27, said Lennox was turned down for a place at St Joseph’s RC Primary School, where his sister, Keasha, seven, is a pupil, because, despite being a practising Catholic, he hadn’t been baptised at the time of application. He was instead offered a place at South Hylton Primary School, which is more than two miles away.

The Pallion mum explained that because Keasha was a pupil at St Joseph’s, she automatically applied for Lennox to go there and because she thought he would get a place due to sibling link, she didn’t put the nearby Diamond Hall Infants down as a second choice.

However, by the time the family had lost the appeal over Lennox not getting a place at the Catholic school, nearby Diamond Hall was already full, so Marie was offered a place for Lennox at South Hylton Primary, which was the next-closest school.

Door supervisor Marie said: “Lennox couldn’t take up the place because I am a single parent and I don’t drive. I’m not Superwoman and I couldn’t be at South Hylton dropping him off and at St Joseph’s dropping Keasha off at the same time.

“It was really upsetting for him and for me, watching all the other children going off to school.”

However, after a few weeks of telephone calls, Sunderland City Council had managed to clinch the youngster a place at Diamond Hall.

Marie, who lives in Brady Street, said: “This is a huge weight off my mind. At least I can get the two children to school on a morning and Lennox seemed to enjoy his first day and there are a lot of friends from his old nursery.”

Lennox said: “It was good. They have a lot of things and I did a picture for my mam.”

Sunderland City Council head of commissioning and change management, Beverley Scanlon, said: “We are pleased that it has now been possible to find Lennox a place at Diamond Hall Infants.

“The school was full, but a place became available at short notice and Lennox was first on the waiting list.

“More than 95 per cent of parents secure a place at their first preference school and we work hard with families to identify other options if waiting lists or admissions criteria mean their first preference is not available.

“To ensure we can help parents who do not get their first preference, we ask all parents to list their second and third preferences clearly on the admissions form and submit these forms on time.”

Twitter: @sunechoschools