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Parents to get £500 a year after children miss out on preferred school place

Two families are to be compensated by the council after their children missed out on a place at their preferred school.

The parents will each receive £500 a year after admissions arrangements were 'unfairly' changed, meaning their younger children were denied a place at the same school as their older siblings.

Holly and Hannah Davidson, from Mansfield, were not offered a place at the same school as their older brother, Daniel.

The twins go to a school eight miles away from their brother.

Their mother, Vivien Davidson, says the school run is a nightmare: " It's unworkable, isn't it. How can you expect to have children in two different schools and they are both expected to be there on time.

"It is awful. They're not sharing the same experiences and they're not having the same relationship together that they would have if they were at one school."

Daniel goes to a school eight miles away from the one his sisters attend. Credit: ITV Central

Their families will receive the money until either their eldest child leaves the school, or a place is offered to the younger child.

In 2016, Nottinghamshire County Council removed priority in the oversubscription criteria for children outside the schools' catchment area who had siblings at the school.

This decision affected two families who had applied for reception places for September 2016. They appealed the decision, but it was unsuccessful.

But in January 2017, The Office of the Schools Adjudicator ruled that the new admissions arrangements were unfair and families were offered a second appeal. However, this was also unsuccessful because the desired school was full.

£500
Each family will receive £500 a year from the council.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman then agreed to help the families who now have to transport their children to different schools.

Michael King, Ombudsman, said he was 'pleased' the council accepted his recommendations.

He added: "The changes Nottinghamshire County Council made to its admissions arrangements have had a significant impact on daily life for these two families, which could last until the older siblings have moved on to senior school.

"In cases like this we would normally ask the council to offer a fresh appeal to the families. But because the school has now converted to an academy, neither the council nor we have any authority over its admissions arrangements.

"I am therefore pleased the council has accepted my recommendations, and hope these will go some way to help these families with their arrangements over the coming years."

Nottinghamshire County Council has agreed to apologise to the families and pay them each £500 per school year.

It will also pay both families £250 for the 'distress' in being denied the remedy they should normally have been entitled to, and a further £250 each for the time and trouble in bringing their cases to the Ombudsman.

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