‘You must offer full-time primary place choice’ council tells Bournemouth schools after row (From Bournemouth Echo)
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‘You must offer full-time primary place choice’ council tells Bournemouth schools after row
BOURNEMOUTH council officials have written to all of the town’s schools after one was rapped by the Department for Education over its provision for new pupils.
Schools adjudicator Carol Parsons ruled that St Mark’s in Talbot Rise must give children permanent places after the government became embroiled in a row between the school and mum Andrea Jarman.
The voluntary-aided school had previously only taken on pupils part-time in the first term, switching between mornings and afternoons of teaching.
It is thought that many of the town’s schools will be affected by the decision.
Neil Goddard, service director for community learning and commissioning at Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “Following the school adjudicator’s decision we have written to all head teachers in Bournemouth to ensure they understand the ruling and are aware, that unless they are already doing so, they will need to ensure parents have the choice to start their child full-time from September this year.”
Mrs Jarman had hoped to send daughter Eibhlis to the school next month, but has now deferred the youngster’s place until January next year over the row.
Caroline Burn, headteacher at St Mark’s, said the school is rushing to make parents aware ahead of the beginning of term.
She said: “The school fully accepts the decision of the adjudicator and in the first week of term will be making plans with governors and staff to implement the necessary changes as quickly as possible.
“The school will be writing to the parents that this effects to ensure that they understand the ruling while setting out for them the date in September when a full-time place will be available for their child.
"Part-time places will still be provided for those who would prefer them.
"We’ll be happy to answer any questions from parents from Wednesday, September 4, when the school re-opens for the autumn term.”
Mrs Jarman, a law lecturer at Bournemouth University, had considered taking legal action against the Department for Education.
However, the adjudicator ruled that it was not permissible for the school to take away a child’s right to full-time education.
Mrs Burn said: “We would like to reassure all parents that this does not in any way impact on our commitment to providing their child with the best education possible or in our continued drive for excellence in the classroom.”
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