Mum’s school red tape battle

TEARS: Demi-Lee Dean, whose mum Samantha is fighting to get her into Heaton Avenue School, pictured. (d137a241)
TEARS: Demi-Lee Dean, whose mum Samantha is fighting to get her into Heaton Avenue School, pictured. (d137a241)

A MUM is taking on Kirklees Council in a battle to get her daughter into a school just yards from her home.

Samantha Dean wants her five-year-old daughter Demi-Lee to go to Heaton Avenue School, which is less than a minute’s walk from their home.

The family moved from Scholes to South Parade in summer and Samantha told Demi-Lee’s former school her daughter would not be coming back in the new term.

She applied for Demi-Lee and her three-year-old brother Mason to go to Heaton Avenue, and Mason was accepted into nursery, but the family was kept waiting for weeks to hear about Demi-Lee’s place.

Eventually Samantha was told the school was full and Demi-Lee could not go.

She said Demi-Lee watches in tears as other children walk past her house to and from school.

Samantha said: “She gets upset when she sees the children going and coming home from school and her own brother is going too. I have tried to explain what’s happening, but she’s only five. I don’t want her to think she’s not good enough.”

She said Kirklees Council told her they had not received her application forms until after term started, and they did not have her proof of address – despite writing to her at South Parade.

And she said the council had recently written to her asking why Demi-Lee was not going to school in Scholes.

She said: “I can’t take her to Scholes because it’s a 45 minute walk and I can’t afford the bus fare every day. They know she can’t go there but they are refusing to take her off the roll.

“She needs to be in school, not sitting at home. She likes reading so she reads with us and she likes making up her own stories. But we are not teachers and we don’t know what she should be doing. We want to ask the school for some work for her to do at home.

“It’s heartbreaking that she is missing out on education and I know how important it is at her age.”

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “The family have applied for a place at Heaton Avenue Primary School following a house move, but the year group at the school is already full.

“No other school preferences were named by Ms Dean and as her daughter is already attending a Kirklees school no offer of an alternative school has been made.

“However, Ms Dean’s daughter was immediately placed on the waiting list for Heaton Avenue Primary School and is currently number one on that list.

“Ms Dean has also been informed that she has the right of appeal to an independent panel and appeal papers have been sent out to her.”