EXCLUSIVE: Child’s school place for sale on eBay

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A CHILD’S school place has been put up for sale on eBay following a parent’s ongoing battle with the Pupil Admissions Office.

Paul Day, of Eversfield, Southwater, has used the online market place to advertise his son’s 2011 placement at Southwater Infant School.

The father of three-year-old Harvey hopes to ‘exchange’ the reception placement for another child’s at Castlewood Primary School.

Under the username of ‘schoolplace4harvey’, the eBay sale is described as: “Condition: New: A brand-new, unused, unopened and undamaged item.

“For exchange - new/unused.

“Unwanted genuine placement for 2011 reception intake at Southwater Infant School.

“Our child has been offered a reception place at Southwater Infant School/Academy for entrance in September 2011.

“Our preference is for our child to attend Castlewood Primary School - had we applied, we would have been offered a place, however we didn’t apply in a timely enough manner.

“We are aware that for a number of the 30 children offered a reception place at Castlewood Primary School this was not their primary choice.

“Therefore, if you are the parents of a child in this circumstance and you would like to make an exchange of school places then please do not hesitate to contact us.

“1 x Southwater Infant School reception place September 2011, in exchange for, 1 x Castlewood Primary School, Southwater, reception place September 2011.”

The sale was prompted after a number of failed attempts to change Harvey’s school via the West Sussex County Council’s Pupil Admissions Office.

Paul hopes the move will finally stamp out the local authority’s ‘inflexibility, red tape and beauocracy’.

He said: “If they don’t have a mechanism for exchange then they don’t have a mechanism for common sense.

“I just can’t believe it’s this hard to exchange a placement when there are four pupils on the waiting lists at both schools.

“Every year people will move into the area or an application will be late or someone express a different preference.

“Well ‘Mr Local Authority’: Get over it, get on with it and do something different as the current process clearly penalises those who have moved, made an error of judgement or have just simply changed their mind.

“Here’s a radical proposition for the admissions team and school governors: How about they try to manage it! We’ve just completed the 2011 census and were told about it’s great benefits such as forward planning, well take a leaf out of your own book and plan for it.”

For the full story and West Sussex County Council’s reaction to the online auction pick up today’s County Times.