Teen ‘denied’ place at school for six months

Matthew Christie, 14, of Thorne, pictured with mum Sarah Morgan, has been out of education since July 2012. Picture: Marie Caley D4467MC
Matthew Christie, 14, of Thorne, pictured with mum Sarah Morgan, has been out of education since July 2012. Picture: Marie Caley D4467MC
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a DISTRAUGHT mother says her son is battling depression after being out of education for six months due to being denied a school place.

Matthew Christie, 14, of Thorne has been unable to find a school place since moving to the area from Lincoln with his family in July of last year.

Doncaster Council's Director of the Children and Young People's Service Chris Pratt.

Doncaster Council's Director of the Children and Young People's Service Chris Pratt.

The teen, who has ADHD, has spent the last six months falling into a spiral of depression after his family say confusion between Trinity Academy and the local authority resulted in him being without a school place.

Mum Sarah Morgan said after being told Matthew had a place at Trinity she was told he could not start as they were oversubscribed but the local authority said she could not appeal the decision as he had been allocated a place.

Ms Morgan said: “Matthew is being denied an education, he is becoming very anti-social and is starting to show signs of depression which he has suffered before. We don’t want special treatment just an education.

“If we had kept Matthew away from education this long both his father and I would be in court and fined if not jailed yet the authorities and school can do this? Where is the fairness in that?”

Ian Brew, principal of Trinity Academy, said steps had been taken and Matthew now has a start date for after half term.

He said the academy is over-subscribed and has a waiting list for places in Year 10 while other nearby schools are not full.

He added:“The normal, and fair, procedure is to apply for a place, then join the waiting list or appeal. This student was not given the right of appeal by the local authority.”

Director of children and young people’s service Chris Pratt said he would look at this case as a matter of urgency, he added: “All children of compulsory school age have a legal and moral right to benefit from full-time education and I regret that in this particular case this seems not to be so. I will look at this as a matter of urgency. For most secondary schools, including Trinity Academy, we are not the admissions authority – the school’s governing body is. “However, we do have an important role, in ensuring schools comply with their admissions criteria and once children are allocated that they are admitted without delay.”