Sunday, May 25, 2014

British schoolgirl rejected for a place at her local school even though she lives just 100 YARDS away and her name was down for a place at just three months old

There are so many crap government schools in Britain, that the competition to get your kid into a rare good one is fierce

A mother has hit out after her daughter was rejected for a place at their local school - despite living just 100 yards away.

Furious Chloe Turner, 21, put daughter Ellie's name down for a place at Woodhouse Primary School in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, when she was just three months old.

The mother-of-two and her partner Mark Thomson, 25, even moved into their house three years ago because they knew it was a two-minute walk from their desired school.

But despite the fact they can hear schoolchildren in Woodhouse's playground from their bungalow, Ellie, now three, has been refused a place along with her friends to start in September this year

Instead, the family has been asked to send Ellie to a different school - 20 minutes away by car.

The full-time-mother, who also has a one-year-old called George, says she has not been given a reason for the refusal.

She said:  'All of her friends from playschool, which is close by, have been given a place.

'We've always told Ellie that she'd go to Woodhouse with her friends - and I don't know how to tell her it's not going to happen.

'Not only is it the closest school to our house, but it's a very, very good school - I'm so frustrated by it all.

'I know of people who are exactly the same as Ellie - the only box they tick is living close by, they don't have any siblings at the school - but they've been given a place. It's not fair on Ellie.

Ms Turner registered her interest in her Ellie attending the school formally when the youngster was just three-months old, because she knew places were sought-after.

A few months later, Chloe and her windscreen technician partner were looking for a house - and found one just round the corner from the school.

In November last year, she painstakingly completed the online registration form to apply for a place at Woodhouse Primary.

'The criteria they use for allocating schools are - firstly, priority goes to children with disabilities or looked-after children. Secondly, if there are any siblings at the school, then they consider living distance from the school and then if there are any spaces left they are allocated,' she said.

'There are around 60 places available a year, and we've been told this is a high-birth year so places are even more competitive.'

'After applying, the next thing I knew was when they contacted me saying they had two different addresses registered for me - the other was my parents' address, so I assume they had that from when I registered interest when we were still living with my mum and dad.

'I had to send them proof we lived at this house, which I did, and didn't hear anything back so assumed it was all ok.

'But the next thing we knew, in April I logged onto the website where you apply, and it said "not accepted" next to Woodside Primary.

'It also said "not accepted" next to our second choice of school, and said "place given to Castlefield Primary School".

'Castlefield isn't even a school I put down as a choice. It may seem like it's close by on a map but there's no direct route, driving there round all the streets would take about 20 minutes. It definitely is too far to walk.'

Ms Turner was offered a two-tier application process including reallocation, which means if anyone turns down their place at the school, Ellie could have it.

However despite applying for this, the family found out this week that they had been unsuccessful.

Now they will have to try the second appeal process - applying to an independent panel who could allocate a place.

'The appeal panel is in August some time - so what happens if Ellie still doesn't get a place? I'm not sending her to the school they allocated her at, it's too far away.

'I face keeping her off school until she's five, and in the meantime will face all sorts of childcare issues, including paying for nursery.

'But I'm going to keep fighting this, because it's ridiculous she can't go to this school when it's so close to our house.

'I haven't told her about it because she wouldn't understand why she can't go to school with her friends, but I'll have to tell her eventually and she's going to be so upset.'

Judith Wyllie, Calderdale Council's head of commissioning and partnerships, said: 'Every effort is made by Calderdale Council to offer parents a place for their child at their preferred school, although this is not always possible where schools are popular and oversubscribed.

'If none of a parents' preferences can be met, a place will be offered at the closest school to the family home where a vacancy exists.'


Headteacher who gave out razor blades at school so pupil could self-harm 'safely' is CLEARED of wrongdoing

A headteacher who introduced a policy of handing out razor blades to a pupil so they could self harm 'safely' at school has been cleared of misconduct.

Laura Blair, the former head of Unsted Park School - a specialist school in Surrey for children with Asperger’s syndrome and ‘higher functioning autism’ - was investigated after whistleblowers at the school alerted the authorities.

However a disciplinary panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has now cleared Miss Blair of unacceptable professional conduct.

The panel heard how the headteacher allowed a ‘controlled self-harm’ policy at the school in Godalming, in a bid to control the behaviour of a single pupil, referred to as Pupil A, who had a history of self harming.

Just six days after the policy was launched a number of whistleblowers at the school raised concerns - saying they were worried the pupil could accidentally kill themselves - and the policy was scrapped by the headteacher.

The panel heard how the pupil was given a ‘sterile disposable razor blade’ and was allowed in a room by themselves so they could ‘self harm’ - with a teacher checking in on them every five-10 minutes.

When the pupil had finished, teachers would dress and clean the wounds.

A spokeswoman for the Priory Group, which is responsible for running the school, said last year that it was a ‘short term procedure’ in the ‘best interests of the pupil’ after it was introduced in January 2012.

George Brown, a former child support worker at the school, told the panel this week that he had raised concerns that the pupil ‘could bleed to death in as little as two minutes if an artery was cut’.

But the NCTL panel this week found that the former head - who left the school after her botched policy came to light in March last year - was not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

The panel ruled that the ‘controlled self harm policy’ was ill-advised and ‘badly thought out’, but that it came about because of ‘failings in communication’ between school chiefs and a ‘lack of experience’ of Miss Blair’s part.

John Pemberton, the chair of the panel, said that Miss Blair was responsible for the policy, saying that she had told them ‘Pupil A’s behaviour was becoming an increasing cause for concern’.

He said that Miss Blair ‘failed to follow best practices’ due to her lack of experience and her keenness to help Pupil A.

He told the panel: 'She said that she won’t make the same mistake again and the panel accepts this.'

The school principal Steve Dempsey and general manager Phil Jonas were both cleared of any involvement in the policy.

A spokesman for the Priory Group, which runs the school, said: 'The company notes the decision of the NCTL.'

Siobhan Freegard, founder of parenting website Netmums said: 'Children who self harm need intense help and support - but this sends out the wrong signals.

'Having an adult in a position of authority not only condone your actions but assist you in them could make children think the behaviour is normal and not a danger to them.

'While the clearly teacher felt she was acting in the child's best interests, it may show that specialists in this area need more training and guidance.

'Self harm is a cry for help and shows kids are not coping.  'They need love and care to get to the root of their issues, not a razor blade to slash open their skin.'

A spokesperson from charity said when the policy was revealed last year: 'The issue of controlled self-harm has proven to be effective in some areas, but only under the correct supervision.

'Self-harm is sometimes the safest option for a young person - if they’re using self-harm to make life a bit easier to manage, then taking it away from them without replacing it with something else can actually bring on a desperate kind of depression that could make them slide from self-harm to having suicidal ideation.

'I’d rather someone be self-harming in a way they can manage as safely as possible than be left stranded with no way to cope and be thinking about more desperate measures.

'In essence, it’s not possible to say that it’s a right or wrong approach to dealing with self-harm in young people - that judgment comes down to how it’s being supported, the policies in place and the point at which someone is deemed appropriate to engage in such a programme.

'I’d be horrified if a school was trying to manage such a scheme, but open-minded to an appropriate residential facility implementing it as one of many care pathways.'


'Abhorrent to British society': Damning Ofsted report accuses Luton school of promoting fundamentalist Islam and having library books on stoning women

A Muslim primary school has been heavily crictised by Oftsed because the library is said to contain books which advocate 'fundamentalist Islamic beliefs' and punishments under Sharia law, including stoning women.

An inspection at Olive Tree Primary school in Luton, Bedfordshire, was abandoned last week after parents reacted angrily to inspectors quizzing their children about homosexuality.

Now an unpublished report by the school's watchdog has condemned the school for promoting Salafi ideology and suggested it does not prepare its pupils 'for life in modern Britain, as opposed to life in a Muslim state.'

Muslims involved in the Salafi movement promote Sharia law, the Islamisation of society and those who practice the ideology advocate jihad against civilians.

According to The Guardian, the report said some of the content of the books were set 'firmly within a Saudi Arabian socio-religious context'.

It reads: 'Some of the views promoted by these books, for example stoning women, have no place in British society.'

Staff from the school denied the allegations, describing them as a 'complete fabrication', and said there were no books in the library that advocated extremist beliefs.

Farasat Latif, the school's chair of govenors told the paper: 'We have a large number of books about different faiths, which inspectors failed to to notice, including The Diary of Ann Frank.'

An Ofsted spokesperson said, 'We have shared a draft copy of the inspection report in confidence with the school for factual accuracy checking as is our standard practice.  'The final report will be published shortly.'

Last week, parents were said to be concerned that the Ofsted staff were discussing sex with the children, without their consent.

A scheduled meeting between parents and inspectors saw the appropriateness of the questioning raised and after discussions the inspectors withdrew from the school a day early.

The news that inspectors withdrew from the school comes following reports a similar line of questioning was used on Muslim pupils into an investigation into schools in Birmingham over the alleged Trojan Horse plot.

The Trojan Horse plot involves the alleged ousting of headteachers, mainly in and around the Birmingham area, by Islamic extremists attempting to take over several schools in a bid to target vulnerable young people.

Whistleblowers at Park View School in the city have claimed the school is in the hands of a group of extremists who infiltrated the governing body.


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