Mother ‘angered’ by council’s error

JPCT 090914 S14381661x Coneyhurst. Sara Ellis and children Evie Ellis, on left and Olivia on right -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141009-113739001
JPCT 090914 S14381661x Coneyhurst. Sara Ellis and children Evie Ellis, on left and Olivia on right -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141009-113739001

A mother has been left ‘angered’ and ‘frustrated’ after a mistake led to confusion over whether her children could move schools.

Sara Ellis, from Coneyhurst, applied for her eight- year-old twins, Evie and Olivia, to move from Shipley Primary to West Chiltington school over the summer after the girls complained they were unhappy at their current school.

She received a letter on August 28 from West Sussex County Council’s admission team, which is responsible for schools admissions in the county, stating that there were two spaces for both of her children at West Chiltington school.

However, on September 3, the day when Shipley Primary’s new term started, she received another letter from the council saying that there had been an error and there was only space for one of the girls at West Chiltington.

Sara said: “It has been a very stressful week. I had already told the school that the girls were not going back.

“The girls did not go back to school on the opening day and have missed a whole week of it due to this. I am angry and very frustrated with the situation.

“I have been put in a position I did not want to be in with either school and the twins were both really excited because they wanted a fresh start.”

Sara said that she was offered the one remaining space for one of the girls but refused to take up the offer as she did not want to split them up.

She was also alarmed that her children could have arrived and been turned away from West Chiltington school on their first day if the issue had not come to light in time.

A spokesperson for West Sussex County Council said: “Regrettably an error was made by the pupil admission team in offering two places at West Chiltington rather than the one available place. When this error was identified the situation was explained to the parent and an apology by the manager of the team was made. The parent is able to appeal the decision not to offer an additional place at the school to an independent panel.”

Sara told the County Times she would be appealing the decision.