Parents fight for places

Louise and her son Jonathan who has been refusted entry into the three nearest schools to his home on Turret Hill Drive, Lowton

Louise and her son Jonathan who has been refusted entry into the three nearest schools to his home on Turret Hill Drive, Lowton

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CONCERNED parents have united to form an online campaign after children were refused places at local primary schools.

Record shortages of primary places in Lowton and Golborne has left the education of scores of young children in doubt.

Now families are being urged to join the Facebook group ‘Lowton School Places - Reception 2011’ after they were told they would have to travel elsewhere in the borough for their children’s primary school education.

Group founder Louise Hill, of Turret Drive, Lowton, said: “We were devastated to find that no places could be offered at any of our three choices.

“Lowton West was our first choice school and, despite living just half a mile away, we did not receive a place.

“We were offered a place two miles away at Leigh St Peters CE Primary.

“I am saddened to find I am not alone in this situation.

“There are many others in the Lowton area who did not receive any of their three choices and are, understandably, bitterly disappointed.”

Catherine Williams, of Lane Head Avenue, Lowton, said: “I was horrified when I received the letter stating that I had failed to gain a place at any school in Lowton or Golborne.

“The school I was offered is St Peter’s in Leigh which is 2.7 miles away and deemed to be the school 10th closest to my home.

“The offer of a place so far away is going to cause incredible difficulty for my son and my family, especially as my husband suffers from a chronic illness and I work full time.

“My son will be cut off from the local community and will never have the opportunity to walk to school.

“Wigan Council provides a transport pass for anyone offered a primary school place more than two miles away. Do they expect the child to go to school on his own at four?”

Leigh MP Andy Burnham has called for urgent talks with Wigan Council after being contacted by parents in Lowton and Golborne.

He said: “Everyone wants their children to go to school in their local area and many families have lived in these communities for years.

“We’re going to start talks with the local authority and headteachers in Lowton and Golborne in the next fortnight.”

Council chiefs say the demand of primary places in Lowton and Golborne has been “unexpected”, but vowed to work with parents affected.

Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Coun Susan Loudon, said: “We understand the current situation is a concern for the parents affected and are closely monitoring the situation.

“Ward representatives have had a number of discussions to try to address these concerns and we are confident, within the Government’s funding restraints, there will be a positive outcome.”