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Father ‘gutted’ over primary school choice

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 19, 2014

  • 17/04/14 Parent not getting any of top three school choices Christopher Phillips disappointed his daughter Ruby didn't get any of their top three primary school choices..Kylie Wareing, Ruby and Chris Phillips

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A DISAPPOINTED father has hit out after his daughter was snubbed on all three primary school choices – despite her already attending pre-school at one.

Father of two Christopher Phillips said he was ‘gutted’ to learn his three-year-old daughter, Ruby, had instead been allocated a place at Tower View Primary School, in Vancouver Drive, in Winshill.

The 30-year-old property maintenance worker, High Bank Road, and his 25-year-old partner Kylie Wareing (pictured) had hoped Ruby could continue her education at Holy Rosary Primary School, where she already attends and has made friends.

Mr Phillips said: “What surprised us more is that Holy Rosary is a five minute walk away because we live in the road just off it.

“At the last meeting we had their with the teachers we were told Ruby was advanced for her age.

“They could not praise her enough, so it would help if there was some kind of reasoning behind the decision.

“I don’t believe there isn’t another child who lives slightly further away who would have got into the school.”

The couple’s application was just one of 193 from almost 9,000 in Staffordshire which were not granted a school in their top three choices.

Earlier this week the Mail revealed 92 per cent of parents in the county had received their preferred school, while 97 per cent had been granted one of their top three.

Mr Phillips said he held reservations about his daughter attending Tower View Primary School after reading the school had been rated as 'requiring improvement' in its latest Ofsted visit.

He said: “We are just disappointed that we have not got any of our choices.

“Of all the families which applied, the vast majority got one of their choices.

“If we had wanted Tower View we would have put it as one of our choices, but if they don’t change the decision then we can’t do anything about it.”

The couple selected Holy Trinity Primary School and the Violet Way Academy as their second and third choices.

Mr Phillips added that the couple would appeal but, unless it was overturned, they would have to accept the decision.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for learning, Ben Adams, told the Mail that there was incredible pressure on school places in Burton due to a rapidly expanding population.

He said: “Unfortunately there will always be a few people who do miss out.

“That could be because of the demand in the area, or because population has grown before we can invest in new infrastructure.

“The good news for people in Burton is that we can still find places for the vast majority of children.

“It’s important to know the national picture where about 20 per cent are not getting their first choice.”

Mr Adams also urged Mr Phillips to get in touch with the county council to see if any changes could be made.

He said: “We might have some options, at the last minute things can change.”

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