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Parents' anger as son is refused place at his village school twice

PUBLISHED: 13:47 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:17 26 July 2019

Chrissy Mottershead with son Philip and daughter Olivia, from Hethersett. Chrissy and her husband Phil are trying to get their son a place at Hethersett Junior School. Picture: Phil Mottershead

Chrissy Mottershead with son Philip and daughter Olivia, from Hethersett. Chrissy and her husband Phil are trying to get their son a place at Hethersett Junior School. Picture: Phil Mottershead

Phil Mottershead

A father has hit out at a council after his son was twice refused a place at his local school.

Phil and Chrissy Mottershead tried to get their son Philip a place at Hethersett VC Junior School after moving to the village from Norwich in July 2018. Their request was turned down, as was their appeal.

The couple tried again this year, but their application and appeal were refused again.

Norfolk County Council is planning to convert the school in Queen's Road - which is currently oversubscribed - into a primary school and double its capacity to serve the growing village, along with an expansion at Woodside Primary School.

Mr Mottershead said the situation had been stressful for the whole family, including Philip, who is having to take a taxi - funded by the council - to and from school in Norwich every day.

"He has been forced to grow up. We have had to buy him a mobile phone earlier than we wanted him to have one and he has to spend an hour by himself at home before anyone else gets back. That is not the way we wanted it for him," he said.

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The family moved to Hethersett due to Mrs Mottershead's deep family roots in the village and the desire to get their son into a good school.

Mr Mottershead said Philip was happy at his current school, Edith Cavell Academy in Norwich, but that the taxi journeys from Hethersett had affected his punctuality.

"He is happy and he has friends there, but he has got to change school at some point so he is with us on this," he said.

The family has blamed school place planning in Hethersett for the upset, saying too few new places have been created to cope with housing development.

"There is no short term plan to increase capacity," Mr Mottershead said. "The school has been oversubscribed for a long time. They are in a growing community."

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: "We're sorry that some families who have recently moved to Hethersett haven't been able to get places this year but that is why we are investing £20m to create hundreds of extra school places in the village by the start of the 2020 summer term.

"Expansion of these schools will address the immediate need in the local area, but we can never guarantee places for families who move into an area once their children have already started school elsewhere."

READ MORE: Where will Norfolk's new schools be built?

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