Leighton Buzzard mum's fury after son offered school place 16 miles from home

The child will have to travel 32 miles a day
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A Leighton Buzzard mum has slammed the schools allocation system after finding her 13 year old son will have to travel around 32 miles a day to get to and from his new school.

Karen Sparks had put Vandyke Upper School as her preferred choice for son William. But she was shocked to find that not only did the Leighton Middle School pupil not get into Vandyke, but that Cedars Upper was oversubscribed as well. Instead William was offered a place at Harlington Upper School.

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The mum of two admits she only put one school on her preferred options list to Central Bedfordshire Council but she has slammed the council for not ensuring there were enough school places locally for youngsters in Leighton Buzzard.

William's family are appealing the decisionWilliam's family are appealing the decision
William's family are appealing the decision

"At no point did I think that he wouldn’t get a place," she said. “I never thought he wouldn’t be offered a place in Leighton Buzzard.

"We felt Vandyke was the right choice for William because he can walk or cycle there and his peer group are going there. Harlington is not an option for us because there is no direct public transport.

"My son's mental health is being affected as he is unsure of his future, his social life, peer groups, hobbies, family life are all affected by this.

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“The fact remains there should be enough local school places in the town that I pay council tax in for my children to attend!”

The family is appealing the decision in April but Karen says she has already heard of another six youngsters who have not been given a place in one of the two schools in the town.

A CBC spokesperson said: “It is unfortunate when we cannot offer a preferred school place, and while we can’t comment on individual cases while an appeal is ongoing, all school places are allocated according to each school’s oversubscription criteria.

“We have a duty to offer a school placement to any pupil that lives in Central Bedfordshire who was not offered a place at a preference school. This placement will be at the nearest school with spaces available.

“And if this distance is over three miles, then the child will be entitled to school transport, which parents will need to apply for.”