Hertfordshire County Council has not allocated nearly 200 children a secondary school place which has left families feeling “abandoned and in disbelief”.
When the school choices for the 2019/20 academic year were announced on Friday, 189 children received the news that they hadn’t been allocated a school which caused a lot of “tears and confusion” said St Albans mum Josie Madoc.
Josie, whose 10-year-old daughter, Seren, had been looking forward to hearing what secondary school she was going to be attending, says HCC has “failed them and the other 188 families.”
She said: “We have been failed by the council and it is disgusting that they have let this happen. I am still in disbelief.
“We was expecting the email and was looking forward to it. Seren had asked me to text her what school she got, she couldn’t wait.
“When I read the email, I was gobsmacked, I didn’t think that it was right so I rung the council and they confirmed. I was so upset, angry and shocked.”
Josie has slammed the treatment she has received by HCC as a “shambles”.
She added: “It’s a shambles. It’s totally incompetent. All they had to do was count. They buried their heads in the sand as they knew this was coming because the children were born 10 years ago.
“The more homes they build, the worse this situation is going to get in the future – there will be more kids who need schools which clearly, we don’t have.”
Josie, who has been juggling this with her full-time job, has channelled her tears and anger and organised a protest this Saturday.
She said: “The way we have been treated, and described as ‘anomalies’ by Terry Douris (HCC cabinet member for education, libraries and localism) is outrageous and disgusting.
“I have channelled all my emotions and have organised a protest against the council because they need to know that the whole community is up in arms about this.
“We have been patronised, not thought about and have been failed and I don’t want this to happen to anyone in the future.
“They have to be accountable for their actions. The community is up in arms and we want as many people that share the same views or worries to join us this Saturday.
“I have had loads of people saying that they are joining the protest, we should have a good turn out.”
Josie has made it clear that the protest will be peaceful, but wants all parents and children to join as it could affect them in the future.
The strike is planned to take place this Saturday (March 9) at 10am outside Nationwide in St Albans City Centre.
Councillor Terry Douris, said: “We appreciate that this is a worrying time for parents whose children have not currently been allocated a secondary school place. The number of applications received this year has increased.
“However, we have been planning for this expected rise in pupil numbers for years. As a result, a new secondary school – Katherine Warington – is set to open in September 2019.
“Unfortunately, due to a delay in funding approval, it was not possible for us to include Katherine Warington School in the normal allocation process for 2019, and applications had to be submitted through parallel process.
“This means that a large number of children in the area have been offered two places – one at Katherine Warington and one through the co-ordinated scheme. These families will now advise us which offer they will be accepting, meaning duplicate offers are removed and a large number of places become available.
“We are confident that we will be able to offer a local school place to all children during the first run of “continuing interest” in week commencing March 18.”
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