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Mum discovers her four-year-old son has no school place the day before he was due to start

Katie Chantrey said her son Freddie Loakes is Credit: BPM Media

A mum has been left stressed after she discovered that her four-year-old son had no school place the day before he was due to start - despite being told otherwise.

Katie Chantrey, 26, said her son Freddie Loakes is "really confused" after they had built him up ready for his first day at Candleby Lane Primary School in Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire.

Freddie was due to start yesterday (4 September) but it was only when his mum called the school to ask which class he would be in that she was told he was not enrolled.

Nottinghamshire County Council had sent both an email and a letter to Katie Chantrey confirming he had been accepted and enrolled at the school.

"It's really upsetting," she said.

"We've been building Freddie up. It's one of his biggest years and now I've got to explain to him that I do not know when he is going to start."

"It's hard to get my head around. He's confused because the past few days we've been getting him ready for it."

"We've taken him shoe and uniform shopping and now it's not happening."

"He's going to miss out on what all the other kids are having. He's just not going to have the same experience now."

– Katie Chantrey
Katie Chantrey said her son Freddie Loakes is Credit: BPM Media

Katie Chantrey, a recruitment consultant, moved from Bingham to Cotgrave in July.

She said she had applied for the school because they were moving, and due to the fact Freddie had been attending the pre-school at Candleby Lane since October 2018.

It was initially thought the school was full, but Katie Chantrey said the county council explained how it was "their priority" to get him into a school.

Other options had been discussed, including offering free transport to Cropwell Bishop, but Katie said her four-year-old son would be travelling on his own as she works full time and his grandmother - who took him to pre-school - cannot drive.

However, she then received a letter on August 19 confirming he had been accepted.

"It's just a lot of stress," Katie added. "Once we got the letter to say he had been accepted it was just such a relief because it's not an easy process anyway.

"They cannot do this. Not one person called to say anything or apologise to say there had been a mistake.

"I've been left not knowing what is happening."

"Cotgrave Candleby Lane school is currently full in Foundation Stage, and we have matched Government recommendations of no more than 30 children in infant classes (those where the majority of children will reach the age of five, six or seven during the school year), nor exceeded our PAN [Published Admission Number] which is 90 pupils.

"School admissions and allocation of places for pupils is the remit of Nottinghamshire County Council’s admissions department.

"However, we will be undertaking every effort to help to resolve this situation as swiftly as possible, and as such have scheduled a meeting with members of the admissions team on Thursday, September 5."

– Caroline Armstrong, the head teacher at Cotgrave Candleby Lane School

The email from Nottinghamshire County Council addressed to Ms Chantrey read: "I can confirm that this place has been accepted for you and Freddie is now enrolled at Cotgrave Candleby Lane - starting from September."

Marion Clay, service director for education, learning and skills at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We are committed to ensuring that every child in Nottinghamshire has access to a school place and take school admissions extremely seriously."

"We can appreciate this must be a very stressful experience for Ms Chantrey and we are currently working with the school to look into her case to do all we can to help resolve this.”

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