‘Why did first choice school reject Daniel?’

Samantha Bolton and her nine-year-old son Daniel at their home. Picture by Jane Coltman.
Samantha Bolton and her nine-year-old son Daniel at their home. Picture by Jane Coltman.

A parent has raised concerns after her son was not given a place at a Morpeth middle school.

Samantha Bolton is unhappy that nine-year-old Daniel, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), was not admitted to Newminster Middle School and Technology College.

She has appealed this decision and she made an application for Chantry Middle School and Technology College in case the appeal is turned down. She was recently informed that the Chantry application had been unsuccessful.

The family live in Pegswood, but Daniel has been in the Morpeth Partnership of schools since reception age. When the effects of his disorder became more prevalent, his parents moved him to Abbeyfields First School.

Mrs Bolton said the school has been very helpful as it used to have a special needs department, so the teachers are trained to deal with conditions like ADHD.

Abbeyfields, run by Northumberland County Council, is a feeder school for Newminster, which is part of The Three Rivers Learning Trust academy, but there are more children in Year 4 in Newminster’s feeder schools than there are places available at the middle school.

“Daniel was reluctant about going to any new school, but he was part of a group that was shown around Newminster and as the children who he speaks to at Abbeyfields are going there, he was warming to the idea,” said Mrs Bolton.

“But he was devastated when I told him that the Newminster application had been turned down. I would like to know the specific reasons why we were unsuccessful.

“At first, I thought it was down to us living in Pegswood, as other parents from the village were unsuccessful with their applications, but others from Pegswood have been successful.”

There are various factors taken into account by the academy. They can be viewed online at chantry.the3rivers.net/policies/ (click on the statutory policies folder).

The Three Rivers Learning Trust executive headteacher Simon Taylor said: “The Admissions Code has been applied impartially and according to the published criteria – this process is overseen by the county council to ensure accuracy and fairness.

“Continuity of education is one of the highest criteria in our Admissions Code and we are therefore very concerned that not all children in the feeder schools have obtained a place.

“However, there is an appeals process, where individual cases will be heard by an independent appeals panel, and we have advised all parents in this position to submit an appeal.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “We can’t comment on individual circumstances and don’t control admissions for academies.

“Places are allocated by the governors of the academies according to their own criteria.”