Mum wins fight to keep sons together in same school

VICTORY: Michelle and Stuart Amey  with sons  George and Charlie

VICTORY: Michelle and Stuart Amey with sons George and Charlie

First published in News
Last updated
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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.”

Comments (22)

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7:13am Tue 19 Aug 14

we-shall-see says...

Finally a sensible outcome! Why did the council have to put this family through so much, when they could have just awarded the place at the start?

If they hadn't dragged it on and on, this family could have enjoyed their summer holiday, rather than having to spend it worrying about the school place .......
Finally a sensible outcome! Why did the council have to put this family through so much, when they could have just awarded the place at the start? If they hadn't dragged it on and on, this family could have enjoyed their summer holiday, rather than having to spend it worrying about the school place ....... we-shall-see
  • Score: 68

7:41am Tue 19 Aug 14

hamworthygirl says...

brilliant news
brilliant news hamworthygirl
  • Score: 21

8:00am Tue 19 Aug 14

new2it says...

Brilliant news, just such a pity they had to go through all this worry. They could have enjoyed the summer without this additional problem hanging over them. I wish all the best to this lovely family.
Brilliant news, just such a pity they had to go through all this worry. They could have enjoyed the summer without this additional problem hanging over them. I wish all the best to this lovely family. new2it
  • Score: 27

8:07am Tue 19 Aug 14

zigzags says...

A disgrace that it went that far. Glad it worked out in the end though.
A disgrace that it went that far. Glad it worked out in the end though. zigzags
  • Score: 27

8:37am Tue 19 Aug 14

fizzy fert says...

Exiting news
got me jumping up and down now
brilliant.
Exiting news got me jumping up and down now brilliant. fizzy fert
  • Score: 18

8:39am Tue 19 Aug 14

RM says...

Delighted with the final result but disgusted that this little family had to go through so much to achieve it. Hats off to Cllr Dedman for getting involved & a boo hiss to the Cllrs & other people who were so unhelpful. Council elections in May 2015 - voters, remember this story when you vote.
Delighted with the final result but disgusted that this little family had to go through so much to achieve it. Hats off to Cllr Dedman for getting involved & a boo hiss to the Cllrs & other people who were so unhelpful. Council elections in May 2015 - voters, remember this story when you vote. RM
  • Score: 31

8:41am Tue 19 Aug 14

skydriver says...

Outstanding news, pity so much time and effort had to be placed on this family.
Pity common sense couldn't have come into play before..
Outstanding news, pity so much time and effort had to be placed on this family. Pity common sense couldn't have come into play before.. skydriver
  • Score: 23

8:47am Tue 19 Aug 14

cromwell9 says...

A victory over the Heartless pen pushers at County Hall.
I wish her and her children all the best .The lady did not nead all this agro ,The pressure she was under ,must of damaged her health.
A victory over the Heartless pen pushers at County Hall. I wish her and her children all the best .The lady did not nead all this agro ,The pressure she was under ,must of damaged her health. cromwell9
  • Score: 28

9:06am Tue 19 Aug 14

Phixer says...

Another example of our beloved pubic serpents screwing the people who pay their wages.
Another example of our beloved pubic serpents screwing the people who pay their wages. Phixer
  • Score: 18

9:15am Tue 19 Aug 14

Doddler says...

we-shall-see wrote:
Finally a sensible outcome! Why did the council have to put this family through so much, when they could have just awarded the place at the start?

If they hadn't dragged it on and on, this family could have enjoyed their summer holiday, rather than having to spend it worrying about the school place .......
I think the County Council should hang their heads in shame for their insensitive and arrogant behaviour in refusing this family a simple concession that would mean so much to them - and for prolonging their anxiety in such a way. All credit to Cllr Dedman for opposing their disgraceful original decision. I am shocked and appalled that our elected representatives acted originally with such thoughtless and careless disregard of the personal circumstances and needs of this family. Shame on you!
[quote][p][bold]we-shall-see[/bold] wrote: Finally a sensible outcome! Why did the council have to put this family through so much, when they could have just awarded the place at the start? If they hadn't dragged it on and on, this family could have enjoyed their summer holiday, rather than having to spend it worrying about the school place .......[/p][/quote]I think the County Council should hang their heads in shame for their insensitive and arrogant behaviour in refusing this family a simple concession that would mean so much to them - and for prolonging their anxiety in such a way. All credit to Cllr Dedman for opposing their disgraceful original decision. I am shocked and appalled that our elected representatives acted originally with such thoughtless and careless disregard of the personal circumstances and needs of this family. Shame on you! Doddler
  • Score: 31

9:55am Tue 19 Aug 14

Fuscia67 says...

Hallelujah!!! Well done Cllr Dedman for supporting, and fighting for, a family truly in need. Let's hope they can enjoy the rest of this summer's holiday, safe in the knowledge that the boys will be together in September. I'm truly disgusted that it had to go this far, putting undue stress on obviously loving parents who are already going through a very tough time. I wish you all the very best.
Hallelujah!!! Well done Cllr Dedman for supporting, and fighting for, a family truly in need. Let's hope they can enjoy the rest of this summer's holiday, safe in the knowledge that the boys will be together in September. I'm truly disgusted that it had to go this far, putting undue stress on obviously loving parents who are already going through a very tough time. I wish you all the very best. Fuscia67
  • Score: 14

10:30am Tue 19 Aug 14

bogtrotter says...

A nice, feel good story to start the day. One thing I'm confused about though. Surely if the application for the youngest was in at the same time as other pupils, it is completely logical to give him a place from the outset as his elder brother is already there? I don't even see the need for exceptional circumstances to have come in to play here, it's purely logic. Well done for fighting the bureaucratic jobsworths though!
A nice, feel good story to start the day. One thing I'm confused about though. Surely if the application for the youngest was in at the same time as other pupils, it is completely logical to give him a place from the outset as his elder brother is already there? I don't even see the need for exceptional circumstances to have come in to play here, it's purely logic. Well done for fighting the bureaucratic jobsworths though! bogtrotter
  • Score: 16

11:50am Tue 19 Aug 14

gonzo123 says...

Elect a new council....these monkeys are useless
Elect a new council....these monkeys are useless gonzo123
  • Score: 10

3:01pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Loyal2AFCB says...

A victory for good old fashioned snobbery.
A victory for good old fashioned snobbery. Loyal2AFCB
  • Score: 4

3:45pm Tue 19 Aug 14

BigAlfromsunnyBournemouth says...

Sense prevails, class limits should be a guide not an instruction, when I was at school class sizes of well over 30 were the norm and it didn't do us any harm.
Sense prevails, class limits should be a guide not an instruction, when I was at school class sizes of well over 30 were the norm and it didn't do us any harm. BigAlfromsunnyBournemouth
  • Score: 2

3:51pm Tue 19 Aug 14

twynhamob says...

skydriver wrote:
Outstanding news, pity so much time and effort had to be placed on this family.
Pity common sense couldn't have come into play before..
I echo your views, however, do we ordinary people really expect 'common sense' when dealing with any type of government, whether it is local or national? sorry, I should rephrase that, we SHOULD expect common sense but we have become immune to the fact that the two do not go hand-in-hand.
[quote][p][bold]skydriver[/bold] wrote: Outstanding news, pity so much time and effort had to be placed on this family. Pity common sense couldn't have come into play before..[/p][/quote]I echo your views, however, do we ordinary people really expect 'common sense' when dealing with any type of government, whether it is local or national? sorry, I should rephrase that, we SHOULD expect common sense but we have become immune to the fact that the two do not go hand-in-hand. twynhamob
  • Score: 2

5:42pm Tue 19 Aug 14

breamoreboy says...

we-shall-see wrote:
Finally a sensible outcome! Why did the council have to put this family through so much, when they could have just awarded the place at the start?

If they hadn't dragged it on and on, this family could have enjoyed their summer holiday, rather than having to spend it worrying about the school place .......
Couldn't agree more. The way this family has been treated is absolutely disgraceful. It sums up perfectly just how out of touch with reality some councillors and officers are.
[quote][p][bold]we-shall-see[/bold] wrote: Finally a sensible outcome! Why did the council have to put this family through so much, when they could have just awarded the place at the start? If they hadn't dragged it on and on, this family could have enjoyed their summer holiday, rather than having to spend it worrying about the school place .......[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more. The way this family has been treated is absolutely disgraceful. It sums up perfectly just how out of touch with reality some councillors and officers are. breamoreboy
  • Score: 4

5:49pm Tue 19 Aug 14

breamoreboy says...

RM wrote:
Delighted with the final result but disgusted that this little family had to go through so much to achieve it. Hats off to Cllr Dedman for getting involved & a boo hiss to the Cllrs & other people who were so unhelpful. Council elections in May 2015 - voters, remember this story when you vote.
In Mudeford who do think people vote for, the Monster Raving Loony Party? Although thinking about the appalling way this family have been treated, could it be that this party is actually in power but disguised as somebody else?
[quote][p][bold]RM[/bold] wrote: Delighted with the final result but disgusted that this little family had to go through so much to achieve it. Hats off to Cllr Dedman for getting involved & a boo hiss to the Cllrs & other people who were so unhelpful. Council elections in May 2015 - voters, remember this story when you vote.[/p][/quote]In Mudeford who do think people vote for, the Monster Raving Loony Party? Although thinking about the appalling way this family have been treated, could it be that this party is actually in power but disguised as somebody else? breamoreboy
  • Score: 3

8:33am Wed 20 Aug 14

bobthedestroyer says...

Shouldn't be news as it should never happened in the first place!!!!! Made far worse by the health issues facing the family.
Shouldn't be news as it should never happened in the first place!!!!! Made far worse by the health issues facing the family. bobthedestroyer
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Lucy28 says...

The comments on this story show how little is known about the way school places are allocated. There's a set of criteria and a set number of places, this family like it or not were applying for a school place out of catchment with sibling attending and clearly there were too many children ahead of them in the ranking for a place to be offered. Offering against a criteria is the way that it's done for that school. If you are going to have a school allocation system that looks also at the circumstances of the family and makes decisions based on that you have to do it for every family. If the whole system sounds uncompassionate unsympathetic and buracratic then that's because it has to be in order that places are allocated as fair as they can be.

The people who got the decision wrong the ones that do have the ability to take a school over its numbers is the appeal panel who are not council employees but made up of persons from an education background and lay people.

Obviously it's good news that the boys can be together
The comments on this story show how little is known about the way school places are allocated. There's a set of criteria and a set number of places, this family like it or not were applying for a school place out of catchment with sibling attending and clearly there were too many children ahead of them in the ranking for a place to be offered. Offering against a criteria is the way that it's done for that school. If you are going to have a school allocation system that looks also at the circumstances of the family and makes decisions based on that you have to do it for every family. If the whole system sounds uncompassionate unsympathetic and buracratic then that's because it has to be in order that places are allocated as fair as they can be. The people who got the decision wrong the ones that do have the ability to take a school over its numbers is the appeal panel who are not council employees but made up of persons from an education background and lay people. Obviously it's good news that the boys can be together Lucy28
  • Score: 0

6:57pm Wed 20 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

This is great news. Really pleased, as it will slightly ease a very difficult time for Michelle Amey, and I wish her and her family the very best. What has amazed me, though, is the silence of Cllr Nottage (Leader of CBC, thogh admittedly not County) on this. He has very recently fulsomely praised two of his acolytes - Cllrs Davis and Bath - for merely doing their job, but there has been not a word about this, despite the fantastic job Councillor Dedman has done. Surely he should be proud?
This is great news. Really pleased, as it will slightly ease a very difficult time for Michelle Amey, and I wish her and her family the very best. What has amazed me, though, is the silence of Cllr Nottage (Leader of CBC, thogh admittedly not County) on this. He has very recently fulsomely praised two of his acolytes - Cllrs Davis and Bath - for merely doing their job, but there has been not a word about this, despite the fantastic job Councillor Dedman has done. Surely he should be proud? agp1337
  • Score: 1

7:01pm Wed 20 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

Lucy28 wrote:
The comments on this story show how little is known about the way school places are allocated. There's a set of criteria and a set number of places, this family like it or not were applying for a school place out of catchment with sibling attending and clearly there were too many children ahead of them in the ranking for a place to be offered. Offering against a criteria is the way that it's done for that school. If you are going to have a school allocation system that looks also at the circumstances of the family and makes decisions based on that you have to do it for every family. If the whole system sounds uncompassionate unsympathetic and buracratic then that's because it has to be in order that places are allocated as fair as they can be.

The people who got the decision wrong the ones that do have the ability to take a school over its numbers is the appeal panel who are not council employees but made up of persons from an education background and lay people.

Obviously it's good news that the boys can be together
You're right, but wrong! You argue forcefully about the system and then end, almost as an afterthought, that 'Obviously it's good news that the boys can be together.' Whatever happened to common sense? This was an exceptional case.
[quote][p][bold]Lucy28[/bold] wrote: The comments on this story show how little is known about the way school places are allocated. There's a set of criteria and a set number of places, this family like it or not were applying for a school place out of catchment with sibling attending and clearly there were too many children ahead of them in the ranking for a place to be offered. Offering against a criteria is the way that it's done for that school. If you are going to have a school allocation system that looks also at the circumstances of the family and makes decisions based on that you have to do it for every family. If the whole system sounds uncompassionate unsympathetic and buracratic then that's because it has to be in order that places are allocated as fair as they can be. The people who got the decision wrong the ones that do have the ability to take a school over its numbers is the appeal panel who are not council employees but made up of persons from an education background and lay people. Obviously it's good news that the boys can be together[/p][/quote]You're right, but wrong! You argue forcefully about the system and then end, almost as an afterthought, that 'Obviously it's good news that the boys can be together.' Whatever happened to common sense? This was an exceptional case. agp1337
  • Score: 1

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