EDUCATION authorities have been criticised by a mother from Sudbury, after her 13-year-old son was left without a school place this term.
Karen Gerrard has had to leave her son, George Hazeldine, at home since the start of term, after being told Derbyshire County Council could not provide a travel pass for him to attend Thomas Alleyne’s High School in Uttoxeter (pictured).
Now, Ms Gerrard has applied for a school place at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Ashbourne, but as year nine at the school is currently oversubscribed, an appeals process is under way, with a decision expected in October.
In the interim, George has spent the first week of term at home with no studying to do, although home tutoring is being organised.
Ms Gerrard said: “We moved to Sudbury after his dad and I divorced.
“During the school holidays I attempted to get him a travel pass to get him to Thomas Alleyne’s.
“I rang the travel people at Derbyshire County Council and they said that’s not what he was supposed to do.
“They said we wouldn’t get a travel pass because it’s not his home school.
“I didn’t put in the application for a travel pass because they said I needed to apply to QEGS.
“That is how this whole thing started.” Staffordshire County Council have confirmed George could still attend Thomas Alleyne’s with all his friends if a travel pass is provided by the Derbyshire authority.
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “We received an inyear application for a school place for Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School on August 23.
“We referred this to QEGS the next day, for them to process, as it is an academy, so it acts as its own admissions authority independently of the county council.
“The school responded to the authority that the year group is oversubscribed and the parent was informed first verbally of the decision and this was confirmed in writing.
“An appeal was received on September 3 and the appeal will be heard within 30 school days, as required by legislation.
“If the appeal is unsuccessful we will work with the family to help them find an alternative school place.
“We provide assistance with transport for secondary pupils who don’t live within three miles of their normal area school, but this isn’t usually provided if the student isn’t attending their normal area school.
“But help is given if a student attends a school other than their normal area, which is more than three miles away but closer to their home than their normal area school.
“We look at the individual circumstances of each application before making a final decision and we’d be happy to discuss this situation further with the parent.” Ms Gerrard added: “It’s bonkers. I want him to go to school, but I haven’t got a school to send him to.
“He is bored out of his wits.”