A four-year-old girl could be forced to leave the school she has attended for 15 months because of a shortage of places.
Isabelle Firth, of Upper Hopton, attends the nursery at Battyeford Primary School in Nab Lane, Mirfield, and was due to start at infants’ school after Christmas.
But when mum Tamara Smith-Stevely, 25, applied for her daughter to move up she was refused a place – on the grounds that she was outside the catchment area, even though she hadn’t moved since securing a place at Battyeford nursery.
There were also no places at her nearest school, Lower Hopton primary, but she was offered a place at Kirkheaton instead.
Isabelle has a distressing bowel condition, similar to irritable bowel syndrome, and staff are aware of how to deal with her problems.
Single mum Tamara, who runs her own hair salon, believes forcing her daughter to leave Battyeford will cause her condition to worsen.
Moving schools would also mean leaving the childminder who has cared for her since the age of 18 months, meaning more upset and upheaval.
Tamara said: “Isabelle has been at Battyeford for 15 months and her condition will deteriorate if she has to move. It’s wrong that she should be denied a place.”
Tamara lost an appeal against the decision. Her doctor wrote to the panel explaining how Isabelle’s health could be affected but to no avail.
The family also complained to the Local Government Ombudsman because they received two letters on the same day, one saying Isabelle had been allocated a place at Battyeford and the other that she hadn’t.
The ombudsman found no maladministration.
Tamara has nowhere left to go and now fears she may have to close her salon and teach Isabelle at home.
“Isabelle needs a set routine and even one late night affects her,” said Tamara. “She has a key worker at school and the staff and other children know the signs and symptoms.
“Moving school will also mean leaving the childminder who can’t take children to two different schools at the same time. It’s really unfair on Isabelle because of the problems she has.”
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “We are committed to supporting local families in securing a place at their first preference school but this is not always possible when there are more applicants than there are places available.
“Children are more likely to be allocated to a particular school if they live within the catchment area. If a school is over-subscribed, several criteria are used to allocate places.
“An independent appeals panel have considered this case and supported the decision made by the local authority.
“The Local Government Ombudsman also considered it and found no fault in the way the independent appeals panel reached their decision.
“Isabelle’s name will remain on the waiting list at any school where a place has been refused.
“The family did secure a place at one of their three preferences schools and this place remains available for Isabelle.”