So after much deliberation and effort of trying to get my two children into the same school with childcare after a traumatic two years I thought I would utilise my blog to give my opinion and outlook on DMBC School Admissions and Appeals Team and how I think the processes should be changed.
My name is Annie Reed and I have two children aged 4 and age 5 who I do not want to be named.
I am a 25 year old full time working mother, recently moved for the safety and welfare of my children to a different area in Doncaster.
A bit of background, I suffered from domestic abuse and my ex partner kidnapping my children, resulting in a court order against him to have no contact with the children, my mum and dad have both passed away within the last two years and I have no local family to take care of my children outside of school hours whilst I work.
So I listed all of these reasons in my application to the School Admissions Team in DMBC for both children and made it quite clear that my only specification is childcare provisions before, after school and in the holidays.
So my youngest child, due to start Reception in September this year, they placed him in a school that has no childcare provision, all because even though I had secured a house I had not yet moved to the new local area as at the time of my application I wanted my children to finish there school and move in the holidays to cause minimal disturbance.
I went along to the school and tried to set childcare up, we performed a survey and had meetings with the headmaster and local childcare providers to no avail. Unfortunately there was no demand for childcare in the school he was placed, therefore it was not financially viable to set this service up just for myself – which I agree with and appreciate the provider and the school for trying this.
I wrote to my local MP Caroline Flint about this and appealed the decision the local authority had made for the above reasons for my youngest child.
I attended my hearing Friday 27/07/2018 and won my appeal for my child to attend my chosen school on 30/07/2018 as this school provided the necessary childcare had saved a place for both of my children.
The letter I had received to state I won the appeal had the wrong number for the school and asked me to call them to arrange a start date (only they’re shut as it’s the summer holidays).
In the meantime I had still received no decision on my daughter to attend Year 1 in September 2018.
I called the Admissions Team on 30/07/2018 and informed them of the decision for my son and told them that they ought to take this into consideration when submitting my daughter to a school to waste unnecessary time and funds of another appeal.
A few working days later 01/08/2018, I received the decision that they have placed my daughter not only not in a chosen school, not even a school in the new local area.
They have placed her back in her previous school 20 miles away from my current address in a completely different area!
So I rang the Admission Team again 01/08/2018, to complain about the decision made and they informed me over the phone that they could place her in a local school – the original one they had placed my son with no childcare.
Knowing my circumstances, knowing about her sibling, knowing I’ve appealed and knowing they have no childcare.
I spoke with the Legal Team in Appeals at DMBC who informed me “because of the backlog my hearing now wont be heard until the end of September”. Subsequently meaning my son can attend school as normal, yet my daughter has to attend a school with no childcare, FORCING me to leave my job if this actually happens. I have spoken to my employer and my job hours are not up for negotiation … rightfully so.
I now am asking for a change in process, an earlier appeal, and my daughter to be allowed an education whilst her mother (me) can maintain my job.
I don’t want to have to buy a uniform for her then to maybe win her appeal, I don’t want her to make friends and then move schools after everything she’s been through. I want her to attend a normal school whilst I work and have a secure childcare in place.
The MP Caroline Flint has been informed and is in agreement with myself and has written to DMBC regarding all of the above and has asked for an earlier appeal. She has been brilliant throughout the whole ordeal.
I don’t know if Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council think it’s ok for me to forfeit my job because someone has wrongfully placed my children.
The children have had the most traumatic 2 years as have I and I should not have to fight to keep my job on top of this and add to the stress!
This is appalling and a massive failing on the Local Authority, I personally think it’s disgusting and will not stop until the correct decision is made.
I cannot believe that after the Government kick up a fuss about working parents and getting people off of benefits they want to put me in this situation over a childcare issue through circumstances out of my control and circumstances I have fought for.
To contact me regarding the issue my email address can be found on the contact page.