Letter to Editor: The chaos of school choices….

Dear Editor,

WE live in Orsett, Beauchamp Gate estate with our catchment school being St Cleres. My son is particularly sporty and after visiting our local Secondary Schools we decided that William Edwards would be the best choice for our family. The facilities available to him we felt would aid his education as he is not particularly an academic child. We placed this as first preference with St Cleres being our 2nd choice as this was our catchment school.

We received a place at St Cleres which has left my son very upset and stressed about starting School in September. I fully understand how the system works and how the places are allocated but have to question whether this is fair and treats each child as an individual.

Why in Thurrock are the Schools admission criteria not set to be the same throughout. Each School are allowed to admit children in there own preference order. My son is an only child therefore we do not have a sibling to "bump" us up any lists. My son attends Orsett Primary School who are not classed as a "feeder" School to any Secondary, why is this? The majority of pupils who attend Orsett Primary live in the "village" part of Orsett and therefore fall under Williams Edwards catchment area, with us living the other side of Orsett we obviously have a difference catchment. Who decides which Schools should be "feeder" and why don’t all Schools in Thurrock not have a link to a Secondary. Again this also makes me feel that that odds are always stacked against you.

I also wonder whether the Council could offer more support to pupils not receiving their first preference. Surely there are hundreds of us out there. Maybe they could put us all together and see if anybody would like a "mutual swap". A child out there may have a space at William Edwards but wanted St Cleres, we would happily exchange places !! Afterall you can do this with Council houses !!??

We are now waiting again until the "waiting lists" are made available on the 14 March to see if we are in with a chance of William Edwards once all places have been accepted or declined. We can only wait and hope we can provide our son with what we believe to be the best Secondary School for his future.

Regards

Name and address withheld

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