Mum's anger after daughter refused place at new Aylesbury secondary school that will be 0.26 miles away from family home

An artist's impression of St Michael's Catholic School
An artist's impression of St Michael's Catholic School

A mother has spoken of her frustration at the school places system after she lost an appeal to get her daughter into the new St Michael's Catholic School - which is being constructed less than a mile away from the family home.

Geraldine Hawes applied for her daughter Kiera Willis, 11, to attend St Michael's Catholic School which is currently being built less than a mile away from their Coventon Road home.

Kiera was refused a place at St Michael's Catholic School's Aylesbury campus on Bierton Road to start at the school in September 2019.

The family appealed the decision and Kiera was again refused a place on appeal.

Mum Geraldine said: "There will be children attending from different areas around Aylesbury yet we live 0.26 miles away and will have to travel past all the children attending, potentially having to battle through all the traffic to go to another school.

"We were turned down initially because we did not send all the paperwork and fell into category seven."

According to the oversubscription criteria on the St Michael's Catholic School website category seven is: 'any other children whose parents are in sympathy with the Roman Catholic ethos of the school.'

Geraldine added: "The application forms we required were available online but the paperwork was not sent to us after the appeal.

"We put the paperwork in on the final day and were refused again which is very frustrating.

"When Kiera was at primary school I could pop out of work and pick her up.

"If she has to go further afield she will have to get school transport rather than walk to school - which would go against Aylesbury's garden town scheme.

"I want to see the process change - I understand it is a catholic school (the family is Church of England) but we have had to live with the effects of the construction process and will see no benefits."

Geraldine is refusing to send Kiera to their next nearest catchment school (Aylesbury Vale Academy) because of her previous experiences there and says Kiera may have to go to Princes Risborough School.

A Bucks County Council spokesman said: “We aim to provide a fair and robust school admission process for all the county’s children.

"Our figures show that on initial allocation day this year we offered 83% of resident children who applied for their catchment school, as their first preference school once grammar school qualification is taken into account.

"This demonstrates that sufficient places are available to be a good overall match with parental preferences.

“It’s understandable that some parents might feel disappointed if they have not been allocated their preferred school.

"Places at all schools are offered in ‘admission rules’ order according to the published admissions policy of each school.

“St Michael’s Catholic School’s admission policy is very clear on the process and deadline dates that applicants need to follow in order to submit a valid application.

“It is also important to note that the admissions appeals process is fully independent of the county council’s admissions team and of the school, and all applicants cases are subject to thorough scrutiny by an independent panel.

“Our advice to parents if they are unhappy with the school place their child has been allocated is to accept the school place offered for the time being to ensure their child has a school place for September - they can then amend/add new preferences to their application and their child will be included on the waiting list for those schools.

“Any vacancies that arise will be offered from the waiting list, which is held in admission rule order for each school.

"A child's position on a waiting list can go up or down as other children join or leave the list, depending on whether they have a higher priority in the admission rules.

“Full information on our allocation process is available at https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/education/school-admissions/moving-up-to-secondary-school