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Wibsey family in row over school place allocation
As thousands of pupils head back to school today, Meghan Bell will be staying at her Wibsey home.
The 11-year-old’s family have been battling for her to be able to join her brother at Grange Technology College, their first and only choice, since May – but so far their fight has been in vain.
Despite the Education Ombudsman rejecting claims Meghan was unfairly treated by a schools appeal panel earlier this year, the Jobes, who live in Elmfield Drive, are still refusing to take up the place they were automatically allocated at Queensbury School six miles away.
They are determined not to give up on getting Meghan into Grange where she would be with her 12-year-old autistic brother Kyle.
Her father, Andrew Jobes, was angered when a Freedom of Information request to Bradford Council’s education department revealed four children had been allowed into Grange on appeal after Meghan was refused and despite the school saying it could not take in any more pupils because of health and safety issues.
He is also claiming human rights issues were ignored when the school appeal panel on May 2 allegedly dismissed a letter of support from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service who help Kyle at Grange.
Mr Jobes, 45, who struggles with mobility problems, is adamant Meghan, who is asthmatic and scared of buses, has no way of getting to Queensbury and will have to stay at home until a compromise is found.
“Our two youngest are at Wibsey Primary School, Kyle is at Grange – we can’t physically get Meghan to Queensbury but they don’t seem to get that,” Mr Jobes said.
“She would have to catch several buses to get there and would not cope with that.
“Meghan is distraught she's not going to school. She’s a clever girl and deserves a good education.”
The Jobes had filled in only one of the five school preference boxes in their application for the place at Grange last year because they were so sure their special circumstances would guarantee it.
Meghan is 37th on the waiting list for Grange, 54th for a place at Bradford Academy and sixth for a place at Appleton Academy, just over a mile away from their home.
The family will now go before a schools appeal panel to try to get a place at Appleton Academy in Wyke on Thursday, September 12.
Mr Jobes said: “Meghan won’t be going to Queensbury. Hell would have to freeze over first.”
A spokesman for Bradford Council’s education department said it would not be appropriate to comment because of next week’s appeal hearing.