ANGRY parents fighting to send their children to the same school have branded the admission system ‘chaotic’.
Campaign group Siblings at the Same School say too many children are still not getting places at the same primary schools as their brothers and sisters.
Group founder Hayley Hindle – who created the group in 2012 after her two sons were offered places at different primary schools – said Radford Semele, Harbury, Milverton Primary, Clapham Terrace and Telford schools had been unable to keep siblings together.
The group had hoped education chiefs in Warwickshire would follow the lead of Hampshire Council and move towards a ‘family friendly policy’ which ensured places for all siblings at the same school.
But Warwickshire County Council’s ruling Cabinet rejected a proposal put forward last September to give siblings greater priority within current admissions criteria while keeping existing priority areas for individual schools.
And now parents, having already applied for the schools of their choice, are being told where their children have been allocated next September – and a number are unhappy at failing to secure a place at the school where they already have children.
Hayley said: “It is no surprise this situation has happened again. The real issue is a lack of school places in the right areas and a failure of the local authority to prioritise placing younger siblings at the same school together.
“We are dismayed to see that in spite of continued efforts to promote a positive change in policy, young siblings are still being split up in Warwickshire.
“Aside from the impact this has on the children, on a practical level parents face having to be in two places at once in the morning to drop children off, and again in the afternoon to collect them.”
But Warwickshire County Council maintain the issue affects only a small number of families – with around 40 children not offered a place at the same school as their brother or sister.
And the council say this is because they all lived outside the school’s priority area.
A spokesman told the Observer: “We must operate an admissions policy which is objective and as fair as possible to all. Having carried out a thorough consultation we did not find there was enough support for a change to our current arrangements. These already take into account when a child has a sibling at a school but are also designed to help ensure children can attend their priority area school.
“We make it very clear that parents should list more than one school on their application form and there is no guarantee siblings will be offered a place at the same school.”