Sisters to be split up in school place allocation

Mum Nichola Ball with her girls Olivia (6) and Emily (4).

Mum Nichola Ball with her girls Olivia (6) and Emily (4).

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A MUM is facing a difficult dilemma because a shortage of places means her two young daughters are unable to attend the same primary school.

Nichola Ball had to apply for places for Emily (4) and Olivia (6) after taking the difficult decision to remove them from Ayscoughfee Hall School in Spalding because she could no longer afford the fees.

Emily has been offered a reception class place at Nichola’s third choice of school, Spalding Primary, but the nearest available place for Olivia is at Monkshouse Primary in Pennygate.

The difficulty is that schools don’t allow pupils to be dropped off until just before the academic day begins.

Nichola, of Nursery Way, says it is a “nightmare” situation as one child will have to arrive at school late every day.

She said: “I understand that places are limited and that all the schools are full, but how can it have got this bad?

“It makes you wonder what happens when new families move into the area – where are those children going to go to school?

“I’m sure other people have, or will, find themselves in the same situation as me because of the financial situation at the moment and have to take their children out of Ayscoughfee – what’s going to happen to them?

“It’s such a nightmare. Now I’m facing the dilemma of choosing which child to take to school on time and which one will arrive late.

“The last thing I wanted to do was change their school, but the fact that Emily is going to have to start somewhere new without Olivia is going to be particularly hard.”

Nichola now plans to appeal the decision to send the girls to different schools, but says she does not hold out much hope that the local education authority will have a change of heart.

The Spalding Guardian reported last week how Lincolnshire County Council is looking to press ahead with plans to build an annexe school on the Wygate Park development to provide 210 extra primary school places after plans to extend Spalding Primary were turned down.

New housing developments, as well as an increase in the birth rate and the influx of migrants into the town, have led to Spalding becoming a “pressure point” where schools are full to bursting.

Nichola said: “I don’t really know what I’m appealing for – if they don’t have the places, they don’t have them. There’s nothing they can do until they build a new school.”