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School places row hits Parliament
7:30am Monday 17th September 2012 in News
THURROCK MP Jackie Doyle-Price has debated the lack of primary school places in Chafford Hundred in the House of Commons.
The Gazette reported in May, how 23 children in Chafford Hundred had been unable to secure school places at one of the three primary schools in the town.
The majority of those parents have now accepted a place at schools outside of Chafford, but four are still without a place.
During her speech, Jackie questioned the fairness of the council’s appeal system, and criticised it for making parents feel “like a nuisance”.
She highlighted cases where paperwork had been lost on more than one occasion, parents who should have been given 20 days notice to appeal given just 14, and appellants, who were supposed to be given ten days notice of their hearing, being given just one.
She added: “As a result of all this, the parents do not feel they have had a fair opportunity to appeal against the decision made by Thurrock Council and believe the process was run in a way that would have only one outcome.
“I am sad to say the parents have largely been seen as a nuisance by the LEA and are very bruised by their attempts to press their case. They should not be made to feel that way.” Jackie also questioned how reasonable the council’s offers of alternative schools were, with many more than three miles away.
In response to Jackie’s points, education minister David Laws said he was concerned to hear about the situation.
* CHAFFORD Hundred’s Harris Primary Academy now boasts nine new classrooms.
A new wing, opened by Thurrock mayor Yash Gupta, has six classrooms and a hall.
The two-phase project saw the building of a new nursery and the transformation of the old nursery into an additional three classrooms.
The work was funded by a grant arranged by Thurrock Council and has allowed the school to increase its intake of children each year to 90.