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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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29 children refused places at Carlisle's Newlaithes infants

Dozens of children have been denied places at their first choice schools across Cumbria.

Alan Toole photo
Alan Toole

New figures have revealed that 96 per cent of applicants secured a place at their first choice school.

And of the 4,420 applications, 99 per cent were offered a place at one of their three preferred options.

But the News & Star can reveal that the school with the most refusals was Newlaithes infants in Carlisle where 29 applications were turned down.

Sixty spots were up for grabs at Belle Vue Primary School, Carlisle, where there were 20 refusals.

And St Margaret Mary Catholic Primary in Carlisle, where there were 30 places, turned down 14 children.

Fourteen children were refused a spot at Bookwell Primary School in Egremont and 11 applications were rejected at Kirkbampton Primary School, where just 15 places were available.

Alan Toole, county councillor for Belah, fears the numbers will only get worse in the north of Carlisle.

He says the area is now at “saturation point” with hundreds of new homes being built.

“The amount of development north of the river [Eden] is already far too much for the number of school places available,” Mr Toole said.

Work to redevelop Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School at Lowry Hill in Carlisle, which are both overcrowded, is expected to be completed by September.

The neighbouring Kingmoor Junior School will also see significant changes as part of the £1.4m scheme, funded by Cumbria County Council.

Mr Toole is confident the work will be finished in time for the new school year but doesn’t see it as the answer to overcrowding.

He explained: “Kingmoor Infant and Junior are both good schools and parents want their children to go there.

“Developing the school is fine but we’re at saturation point with [housing] development here so it won’t solve the problem in years to come.”

Anne Burns, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said it was “great news” that the majority of children will be going to preferred schools.

She added: “We want Cumbria to be a fantastic place to grow up and be a child and an important part of that is ensuring children can attend the schools their parents and carers want them to go to.

“While most will be very pleased with the result of their applications, where places are refused, applicants have the right of appeal to an independent admission appeal panel.”

Details of how to submit an appeal were included with notification letters sent out yesterday.

Bristol and London were among the worst affected nationwide with around one in five children denied a place at their school of choice.

Anyone who has changed their mind since about their place can contact the school admissions team at the website school.admissions@cumbria.gov.uk or on 01228 221582.

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