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500 Residents Sign Petition Backing Rights of Siblings to Attend Same School

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Aug 7th, 2017.

A 500-strong petition supporting the rights of brothers and sisters to go to the same school has been handed to council leaders in Wrexham.

The petition was launched by mum of three, Clare Roberts, whose second son Dion was refused a place at Ysgol Bro Alun with his older brother Osian.

From September she now faces the prospect of having to get her two older children to two separate schools at the same time. The same applies at the end of the school day.

She launched the petition to help ensure that other parents didn’t face her nightmare in the future.

Clare, who lives in Little Acton, said: “My summer is filled with dread and anxiety for September. It should be a happy time, looking forward to your child starting school. But because they won’t be going to the same school all I feel is worry and upset that my children will be going to different schools.”

From September, Clare will face having to take and collect her boys to Bro Alyn and Plas Coch schools. She also has concerns for the future with her new baby Elis: “I worry about what the future holds for Elis as he could potentially end up in a different school.”

Councillor for the Grosvenor ward, Marc Jones, has worked with Mrs Roberts on the petition.

He said: “The situation Clare finds herself facing is not unique. Every year, brothers and sisters are getting separated because of council regulations. This petition is a simple plea to ensure they are kept together at a key part of their education.

“It’s important for their development but also important for the family, which is juggling two sets of primary schools rather than just one. It’s virtually impossible for a parent to get both children in such a situation to school at the required time.

“The situation is particularly acute in Welsh-medium schools and, as demand grows, we want to ensure that nobody has to go through this again in the future.”

Issues surrounding school places in Wrexham have been well-documented for sometime, particularly the problems faced with provision in Welsh-medium schools.

Earlier this year Wrexham.com reported that a number of parents across the county borough had been left frustrated and upset after their child was refused a place in their desired Welsh medium primary school.

Speaking this week, Cllr Phil Wynn, Lead Member for Education, said: “Admissions to Wrexham schools are processed consistently through the Council’s published admissions criteria, which gives priority to the closest school over siblings.

“The Council is generally very successful in allocating a place to a parent’s first preference, as evidenced by the data for September 2017, where of the 1610 applications to the Reception class, 98% received their first preference , with these being 97% for English medium and 99% for Welsh medium.

“In respect of Nursery places, 95% were offered their first preference to English medium provision and 91% to Welsh medium provision. Of those not allocated a first place across both English medium and Welsh medium, there were 12 refusals for siblings, which represents 0.8% of the entire cohort.

“The Council recognises and understands the difficulties for parents when children attend different schools and that this is further compounded by the distances between schools, particularly in respect of Welsh medium provision. The Council, through its Welsh in Education Strategic Plan, is committed to increasing provision to meet demand and to the growth of Welsh medium education in the County Borough.

“Having accepted the petition, I will examine the request raised within it and respond in due course, after discussing the matter with senior officers in the Education Department.”

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