Some parents go to great lengths to get their children into their school of choice.
None more so than the Taylors who uprooted the family and moved house so that their young sons could go St Thomas Primary School, Bradley – only to hear the bombshell that they are 12 houses outside the catchment area.
Five-year-old Aiden has been home schooled since September while his parents, Kelly and David, battle to get him into the school where he attended nursery, where his brother Justin, three, currently attends nursery, and where his mother and her siblings went to school.
The family moved from Dalton to Crawthorne Crescent, Deighton, in May last year to ensure that Aiden, who dislikes change, was able to go straight from the nursery at St Thomas into the infants along with his friends.
They have just lost an appeal for him to attend, as the school is full. However, the report stated that the family home is about half-a-mile from the school and Rawthorpe St James, the school Kirklees has offered, is around one and a half miles away.
If they accepted this offer, they would also put Justin in the Rawthorpe Nursery, and this would involve a total of 12 buses a day for the boys’ self-employed father, David. There is a school bus but Aiden is afraid to travel alone.
Aiden was first on the list for a place at St Thomas but they have just heard that a another family has moved into the catchment area and leapfrogged him.
Mum Kelly, 26, a senior healthcare support worker, said: “We are devastated. We have considered moving again to be inside the catchment area but we have worked out it would cost us £1,380 and that would only move him up to first, not guarantee a place.
“I can’t drop Aiden off at school due to my working hours and his father doesn’t drive, so it would mean 12 buses a day for David including half day nursery for Justin.
“Aiden has a phobia, he won’t go on the school bus, and he doesn’t adjust very well to change. I explained all of this at the appeal but they didn’t seem interested.
“The home schooling started off very well, but now we are very concerned as Aiden seems bored, and his behaviour has drastically deteriorated. We are constantly trying to keep him cheerful, but it is stressful. He would be much better with the routine of learning at school.”
The appeal officers also suggested Aiden could attend Christ Church Academy despite being told it was full by the Kirklees officer present.
Gill Ellis, the council's assistant director for Learning and Skills, said: "Children are more likely to be allocated to a particular school if they live within the catchment area.
"All reception places at St Thomas were already full. Places were allocated based on the school’s oversubscription criteria and we were unable to allocate any more - an independent appeals panel has supported that decision.
"Our advice to parents is always to state more than one preference when applying for a school place. When an application only names one preferred school, and when that school is full, parents can only be offered a place at the nearest available school.
"If a family also name a school that is within their catchment area, this can help in securing a place nearer to home. Whilst we sympathise with any family in this situation, it does highlight the important of naming more than one school preference."