AN EMOTIONAL fight to send the children of a terminally ill woman to the same school has finally ended in victory.
As reported previously in the Daily Echo, cancer sufferer Michelle Amey and husband Stuart were told by Dorset County Council that youngest child George, six, would not be allowed to join nine-year-old brother Charlie at Mudeford Junior School in September.
The council claimed there were a lack of places available, dismissing the family’s argument that the pair would need to attend the same school to best support each other in the wake of their mother’s plight.
After a failed first appeal, a second was granted last month after campaigning by Christchurch councillor Lesley Dedman, who asked officers at the council to consider again the family’s “exceptional circumstances”.
That second appeal was heard yesterday and resulted in a place being awarded to George in time for the new term.
Mr Amey described feeling emotional after receiving the news two hours after the hearing had finished.
“We are all just so relieved,” he said.
“The boys are happy and have been jumping up and down.
“I saw that I had a missed call and guessed what it must be about. I was so nervous that I was physically shaking when I went to call back.
“The fact that they will be in a position to support each other and that George will be with his friends during a time which could be very uncertain is so important.
“Michelle’s health has deteriorated and knowing the boys are happy at school will be one less worry.”
Michelle was unable to attend the hearing, where the panel heard Stuart explain the “devastating” impact the result of the previous appeal had had on the family.
Cllr Dedman sat with Stuart throughout and said she is “over the moon” by the result.
“We cannot dispute the fact that the school is full,” added the councillor. “But the school will have to manage with another pupil.
“I know how much this means to Michelle, Stuart, George and Charlie. I am absolutely thrilled.”
Cllr Toni Coombs, Cabinet member for education at Dorset County Council, said: “The schools’ appeal process allows parents to challenge the decision made by the county council and is totally independent.
“The panel follows set criteria and has to weigh up all the evidence presented carefully and objectively before reaching a final decision that is law-abiding and fair.
“Following an unsuccessful appeal in June, we felt that there was enough new evidence for the panel to consider the Amey family’s case again. Now the family's appeal has been successful, we will seek to secure a place for the younger child to attend Mudeford Junior School this September.”