Single mother says son denied place at closest school as they live 30 YARDS outside the catchment

Furious single mother says her 11-year-old son was denied a place at the closest school because they live just 30 YARDS outside the catchment area

  • Becky Holt tried to get her 11-year-old son Zak a place at Poole High School
  • She said their lives have been turned ‘upside down’ after he didn’t get in
  • The single mother described the school application process as ‘brutal’ 

A single mother is furious after her son was denied a place at the closest school because they lived 30 yards from the catchment area – while claiming children living as far as five miles away from the school are still eligible to attend.

Becky Holt has been trying to get her 11-year-old son Zak a place at Poole High School, Dorset, since September because it is just two miles away from their home.

She couldn’t believe it when she got the news that he was actually being sent to Cornerstone Academy, which is more than double the distance away.

The mother says her request was rejected because she fell just yards out of the catchment area. 

Two appeals to the local authorities made by Ms Holt have been refused. 

She described the school application process as ‘brutal’ saying it had turned their lives ‘upside down’ and said nobody has considered her son’s wellbeing. 

Becky Holt has been trying to get her 11-year-old son Zak a place at Poole High School, Dorset, since September

Becky Holt has been trying to get her 11-year-old son Zak a place at Poole High School, Dorset, since September

The school is just two miles away from their home - which is why it was their first choice

The school is just two miles away from their home – which is why it was their first choice

Poole High School was oversubscribed, which is why Zak did not get a place, his mum says

Poole High School was oversubscribed, which is why Zak did not get a place, his mum says

The single mother said: ‘If you live as far out as Branksome you can get into Poole High, but Zak can’t even though he lives a stone’s throw away from the catchment.

‘My error was that I didn’t put more than one option down, which I didn’t know you had to do. Poole High has always been the endgame, but the school said it was oversubscribed and that’s why we got declined.

‘This has had really adverse effects as he doesn’t know anyone at the new school and can’t walk to school with his friends like he would have been able to.’

The process has put a strain on the family’s finances at the worst time, she says.

Zak doesn't know anyone at the new school and can't walk to school with his friends

Zak doesn’t know anyone at the new school and can’t walk to school with his friends

The mother has blasted the "brutal" school application process after the news

The mother has blasted the ‘brutal’ school application process after the news

Her request was rejected because she fell just yards out of the catchment area and two appeals to the local authorities made by Ms Holt were refused

Her request was rejected because she fell just yards out of the catchment area and two appeals to the local authorities made by Ms Holt were refused

She continued: ‘We haven’t had any help, nobody has turned around at any point and thought about what impact this has on our family financially and Zak’s wellbeing.

‘It’s been an absolutely brutal procedure.

‘I’m just so disappointed with how we’ve been treated. I’m a single mother who privately rents, works, and the only error I made was not putting more than one school down. I feel guilty because he’s suffering the consequences.’

A spokesman for the local BCP Council said: ‘There are limited circumstances under which children are lawfully entitled to receive free assistance with the cost of travel.

‘At the point of application for admission, we encourage parents and carers to think about how they will get their children to and from schools. We advise them to express all four school preferences and to make sure they include choices which are closest to their immediate area.

‘Whilst we can’t comment on individual cases, our two-stage appeal process ensures that there is fair and objective consideration of all family circumstances for every application.’

MailOnline has approached Poole High School for comment.

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