Blind mum's devastation at school place row

PUBLISHED: 10:09 30 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 25 May 2010

A PORTISHEAD mum who is registered blind says she is devastated after being told there is no school place available for her son in their home town.

A PORTISHEAD mum who is registered blind says she is devastated after being told there is no school place available for her son in their home town.

Despite completing a schools application within the correct time limits, Reuben Sylvester is one of six children from Portishead who will have to travel up to six miles to go to school in Nailsea in September.

His mum Jay said: "This is totally unacceptable.

"As I am registered blind I specifically put on the form that Reuben needs to go to a school within walking distance from our home.

"Because of my disability I am unable to drive and I don't feel this has been taken in to consideration."

St Joseph's School had been the family's first choice, but Mrs Sylvester did confirm that any school she could walk her son to would be acceptable.

She and her husband Lee say they will fight the decision by North Somerset Council and can't imagine putting their young son in a taxi all alone on his first day at school.

They believe they will all miss out on the social side of school, from meeting other parents to having friends home for tea, and will be robbed of personal contact with teachers at the school.

Mrs Sylvester added: "This will really put Reuben at a disadvantage and my disability will just compound these problems."

This will be the second academic year beginning with a shortfall of reception class places in Portishead since the closure of St Barnabas Primary School in 2009.

A North Somerset Council spokesman confirmed there were 12 children in Portishead who could not be offered any of their school preferences and they were offered the nearest school that had a space.

Six were placed at High Down Infant School in the town's Down Road, three of them were offered places at Crockerne Primary School in Pill and three were offered places at Nailsea's Golden Valley Primary School.

* A consultation is underway on the proposed admission arrangements for community, foundation, trust, voluntary-aided and voluntary-controlled schools in the district for 2011/12.

Parents and carers should send comments to the headteacher or chair of governors for the relevant school.

Further information can be obtained from North Somerset Council's school admissions team on 01275 884794.

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