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Dartford boy, 11, left without a secondary school
WHILE most students are making new friends, putting on their school uniforms and dreading their homework, one 11-year-old is still unsure if he will ever start secondary school.
Robbie Cheeseman failed his 11 plus by just seven points in maths, meaning he did not get a place at his chosen schools Leigh Technology College, Wilmington Grammar, Dartford Grammar and Haberdashers' Aske's.
Instead he was offered a place seven miles away at Hextable School.
His mum Jane Kersting, of Barnwell Road, Dartford, said: "I can't get him to Hextable and I will not get him to Hextable. It's a failing school.
"First and foremost I can't get him there because he has travel sickness issues.
"He gets really ill and anxious at the thought of a journey, he takes medication for it."
The mother-of-two added: "The school might be perfect for some children but I know my son will not get on there.
"Statistics have shown children who go to poor performing schools get half a grade less at GCSE level.
"He will not develop and if he's lucky he will maintain the same standard, he will not achieve what we expect him to achieve."
The last Ofsted inspection report for Hextable School stated: "The overall effectiveness of the school is inadequate rather than satisfactory because standards are low and students have not been making enough progress from their starting points on entry to the school."
Robbie’s family appealed against the decision made by three of the schools but were unsuccessful.
Miss Kersting, 40, said: "It feels like when you get a death in the family, you get that hollow feeling in your stomach.
"I go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it.
"I'm so desperate I've been looking at internet schools, he has to do something until he goes back."
The leisure manager added: "In an ideal world I would like to get a place at the Leigh.
"Hextable is definitely 100 per cent not an option.
"I understand he had to pass the 11 plus and he didn't, I'm not saying he should be treated any differently to other children."
Kent County Council’s response Cabinet member for education, learning and skills, Mike Whiting, said: "Kent County Council operates an equal preference scheme.
"This is a national process set out by central government which allows parents the opportunity to name their preferred school and be assured that they will be considered fairly against the oversubscription criteria for that school.
"It is however frustrating for parents, if, when the over subscription criteria for a preferred school is applied, there are more children with greater eligibility for the places available.
"This does not mean the process is unfair or has not been applied properly, only that not every child will get one of their preferred schools if there are more children than places available, at those schools.
"In a situation like this, KCC will allocate a space at the nearest school with a vacancy. Robbie has been offered a place at Hextable School.
"Ms Kersting has chosen to turn down this offer and whilst she may currently be without a school place, in recent correspondence with us we have provided her with school options at both Hextable and Swan Valley Schools.
"We understand Ms Kersting has already appealed for her preferred schools and the independent appeals panels have not upheld the appeals.
“KCC will continue to explore whether her preferred schools can accommodate Robbie in the future, but the panel decisions are binding on all parties including KCC so our advice to Ms Kersting at this stage, is to accept a place at either Hextable or Swan Valley School.
“This will at least offer a fall back position of a school place, if no alternatives emerge."
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