A LITTLE girl who was told she can’t go to the same school as her brother and sister is now attending a school in a different local authority area.
And the family says the decision not to allow her into Lindley Infant School is unfair as she was once in care and so should be treated as a special case.
All three children – Chloe, who is five on October 28, and her brother and sister Ethan and Georgia, both seven, are adopted.
The family, who live in Kaffir Road, Edgerton, had been very involved in out-of-school activities at Lindley Infant School and had given time to help the school with its policy on adopted children.
So when parents Adrian and Alyson received a letter telling them there was no place at Lindley for Chloe, they were devastated.
Neither was she offered a place at second or third choices of Reinwood and Moorlands schools. Instead, Chloe was given the option of travelling to Hillside Primary School in Newsome.
The family live just outside the catchment area of all three schools, but the twins were accepted at Lindley Infants two years ago when demand for places was not so high.
After being turned down, the couple contacted local MP Barry Sheerman, Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan to appeal the decision.
Lindley Infant School was prepared to consider Chloe a special case, but the council would not allow it.
The Etheringtons’ appeal was rejected due to the school already being over subscribed.There is no sibling rule between Lindley Infant School and Lindley Junior School, where Ethan and Georgia have just started, and Chloe is not high enough up the priority list.
She joined the family when she was 17 months old. For the next seven months, before the adoption procedure was formalised, Chloe remained legally in the care of the local authority.
But because she has now been formally adopted, Chloe has dropped from top priority – which automatically applies to all children in local authority care – to grade six priority, according to local authority rules.
The day the Etheringtons signed the adoption paperwork, Chloe ceased to have any priority in the education system. Yet the family say that adoptive children continue to have special requirements, including a need for stability and not to be separated from their new family.
Mr Etherington claims that the system is unfair to adopted children.
“Our objective has been simply to do the best by Chloe for her education and psychological well-being,’’ he said. “This is all about the child.
“The needs of the child do not change the day they are adopted. Their psychological need not to be separated from their new family has not changed, yet the day they come out of local authority care they are discarded.
“Our social worker provided us with a letter stating how important it was for Chloe to be placed with her brother and sister. The effects of separation are well documented, but it made no difference.
“It is very frustrating. The majority of Chloe’s adoptive and post adoptive friends are at Lindley where they give particular support to adoptive children.
“We feel cheated. We had invested heavily in terms of volunteering at the school and we had helped to form a mini community of adoptive parents there.”
Following the appeal, Kirklees offered Chloe a place at either Rawthorpe or Golcar. No places were available at any of the North Huddersfield schools such as Moorlands, Reinwood, Fixby or Birkby.
Mr Etherington’s comments follow Kirklees Council’s controversial decision three weeks ago to grant planning permission for 294 houses to be built on Lindley Moor, despite fierce opposition from local residents. One of the main objections was that schools in the area would be unable to cope.
Chloe’s parents have now found her a place at Greetland Academy in Calderdale.
A council spokesman said: “ Unfortunately the application form requesting a place at Lindley CE (VA) Infant School was submitted late by the family and at the time the application was processed there were no places left at this school.
“We did inform the parent of their right to appeal to an independent appeals panel and how they could do this. We are aware that a place has now been secured at an alternative school and that the parent can request a place on the waiting list for Lindley CE (VA) Infant school if they would like to”.