‘What planet are they on?’: Mum hits out at council chiefs after school chaos

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A mum in a booming South Tyneside village says council education bosses are letting residents down after being faced with the prospect of having her four children based at three different schools miles apart.

The woman, who moved to the Whitburn area earlier this year, says South Tyneside Council are not geared up to provide the school places required by all the new homes being built there.

Marsden Primary School

Marsden Primary School

The woman, who does not wish to be named thought schooling her children would be relatively easy as 42 homes take the place of the old Whitburn Army camp in Mill Lane.

In September, two of her children were accepted into Marsden Primary School, in Mill Lane, but her eldest daughter was denied a place at Whitburn Academy.

She was eventually offered a place at Boldon School, on New Road - over four miles away - and turned to Sunderland Council, who helped get her into Monkwearmouth Academy.

Her youngest daughter, meanwhile, was left without a school after being rejected for a place at Marsden.

It’s disgusting, and I don’t know which planet they’re on expecting me to be able to have my children in three different schools based so far apart

Mum

After being unable to secure a place for her children at the same school in South Tyneside, the mum again got in touch with Sunderland Council, who managed to help get her youngest three into Redby Primary Academy, on Fulwell Road, Sunderland.

The mum has blasted South Tyneside Council for their ‘lack of help’, and has questioned where those moving into the new housing development will be able to send their children.

South Tyneside Council say it has plans to increase primary school places to accommodate projected increases in pupil numbers by adding new, permanent classrooms to one school by 2018, and up to four schools by 2025.

The woman said: “There is a big new housing development in Whitburn, and the schools don’t seem to have places available for children coming into the area.

Whitburn Academy

Whitburn Academy

“It has been a nightmare situation, and South Tyneside Council haven’t been able to get my three youngest children into the same school.

“That left me with the prospect of having my four children in three different schools, which would have been a nightmare logistically, particularly as I don’t drive.

“After speaking to Sunderland Council, within two days my youngest three were put in a school together there.

“I find it ridiculous that they were able to help me so much, but South Tyneside couldn’t.”

Boldon School

Boldon School

The mum now expects to have to move to Sunderland to save on travel costs.

She added: “I just want to warn some of the parents who may be moving to the new development at Whitburn as to the potential lack of spaces in schools. Where will all of the children go to school?

“We’re probably going to have to move from Whitburn now, which I’m really upset about.

“The amount of money we’re having to spend on transport doesn’t make it viable in the long-term, so we will probably have to move to Sunderland.

‘Plans to increase places’

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We make every effort to offer children a place at their parents’ first choice school, but this depends on the number of places that are available in each year group. The first choice secondary school was Whitburn CE Academy. However, the year group was full and the request was refused by the school’s admissions authority which is the governing body. The mother was advised of her right to appeal but did not take up this right.

Monkwearmouth Academy

Monkwearmouth Academy

“South Tyneside Council’s school admissions team has supported the family in looking at alternative school places within South Tyneside and Sunderland and provided information on home schooling.

“The Local Authority has plans to increase primary school places to accommodate projected increases in pupil numbers by adding new, permanent classrooms to one school by 2018, and up to four schools by 2025. The exact numbers and locations of these additional classrooms are yet to be decided and are subject to schools’ organisational processes.

“There are sufficient places available in the secondary school sector to accommodate all pupils until at least 2020.”

Redby Primary School, Fulwell

Redby Primary School, Fulwell