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Parents in uproar at unexpected Crayford to Slade Green school place switch
A group of angry parents say they were reduced to tears when a Crayford primary school unexpectedly told them their children would be starting school in Slade Green.
Sarah Bull, 31, and dozens of other parents were all delighted when their youngsters were offered reception places at the highly regarded Haberdashers' Aske's Crayford Academy.
But delight turned to despair when a week later they all received letters to say the places would be at the school’s Slade Green campus, known as Temple Grove, and not its main site in Iron Mill Lane, Crayford.
Mrs Bull’s son Callum, aged three, was offered a place at the academy in a letter on April 16 but on April 23 another letter told his mum her son would be starting school more than three miles away from their home in Town Hall Square.
The mother-of-three claims it was never made clear to parents their child might end up at Slade Green
She told News Shopper: "I would say about 20 to 30 children have been affected and a lot of mums and dads are in uproar about it.
"I never even knew there was a Slade Green campus until I got the letter.
"At no point did anyone say to me Callum could end up there.
"If I had put down a school in Slade Green he wouldn’t have got it because we are out of the catchment area.
"I would say about 20 to 30 children have been affected and a lot of mums and dads are in uproar about it."
The academy has sites in Crayford and Temple Grove, Slade Green.
The full-time mum says things got heated when a group of parents were shown round the Slade Green facilities on April 29.
She said: "Some mums were crying and some were getting angry.
"They wanted to give us the tour but a lot of us said we just can’t do this and ended up walking out.
"I walked out because everyone was shouting and raising their concerns and I didn’t want my children to hear that."
Mrs Bull says she can’t afford the £4.90 it would cost her to take two bus journeys to Slade Green and back every day - totalling two-and-a-half hours - when the Iron Mill Lane site is 15 minutes walk from her flat.
A spokeswoman for the Haberdashers' Aske's Federation said it was made clear to parents their children could be allocated places at either site at parent information sessions and in the Bexley primary admissions handbook.
The federation's senior executive assistant Penny Levack said: "We understand why a small number of parents are disappointed not to be offered a place at the site nearest to their home.
"However, as Crayford Academy’s two primary sites are part of a single school, the school is required to have a single admissions policy.
"It is therefore unable to offer parents a choice of site when they make their application and all applications are considered for both sites.
"All of the places offered based on distance at both of the sites went to the applicants living the shortest distance from them."
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