School’s out Move leaves children away from lessons
TWO children studying for GCSES have not been able to get to school for nearly six months. And their mother has criticised a council over its handling of the situation.
Louise Bennington has become increasingly anxious about the lack of education for Jacob, 14, and 15-yearold Katherine.
Louise said issues with transport had affected her and her husband Clive after they and their seven children moved from Tewkesbury to Churchdown in March.
She said they had to move because their landlord wanted to sell the fourbedroom home where they had lived for seven years.
Because of their large family size, they were then given help by Tewkesbury Borough Council.
It found them temporary emergency accommodation at a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Churchdown.
And while that has seen the family struggling to cope with living in very cramped conditions, Louise’s main concern has been Jacob and Katherine not going to school.
They had both been at Tewkesbury School but have not been able to get there since the move.
Neither Louise nor Clive drive and Louise said there had been problems getting them to Tewkesbury by bus.
She also said there had been a lack of spaces at other schools closer to their new home.
She said: “If it was the other way around and I had taken them out of school, it would have got me into trouble.
“It’s not that we don’t want them to go to school, we just can’t physically get them to the school they’re enlisted at, Tewkesbury, and nobody seems to be listening.”
The 39 year old added: “The council is passing it to other departments and making us apply here and there. It’s been stressful.
“I don’t blame anyone in particular but obviously there’s a system in place that isn’t working.”
The council has said it would help with bus transport so Jacob could go to Henley Bank High School in Brockworth and Katherine could attend Bridge Training in Gloucester – a charity helping youngsters to develop their academic, personal and practical skills.
While the couple look forward to Jacob and Katherine resuming their education, they are hoping that Tewkesbury Borough Council will find them a bigger home.
Of the family’s other children, twoyear-old Anais is too young for school and 16-year-old Nathan is set to go to Gloucestershire College in September.
Poppy, five, Holly, seven and Ellie, 10, attend Churchdown Parton Manor Junior School.
A Gloucestershire County Council spokesman said: “The council does not manage the process for children wanting to move school as this is something parents have to arrange themselves.
“We are able to provide support to families who are struggling with this process and a parent advisor has been working with this family to ensure these children are able to access school in September.
“The council will continue to support the family over the summer and provide any help and guidance required.”
Pete Tonge, head of community services at Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: “We are in regular contact with the family, and we are working with them to ensure that they are aware of, and fully understand, the process they need to follow to find a bigger property.”
Louise Bennington, centre, with her children Ellie, Katherine, Poppy, Anais, Holly, Nathan Bennington and Jacob