School row mum keeps Doncaster kids at home

Annemarie Stapelton with her children (l-r) Arron, six, Amy Grace, four, and Callum, eight, which she can't get into a school. Picture: Andrew Roe
Annemarie Stapelton with her children (l-r) Arron, six, Amy Grace, four, and Callum, eight, which she can't get into a school. Picture: Andrew Roe
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A furious Doncaster mum is keeping her children away from lessons in protest over having to take her children to schools five miles apart.

Annemarie Stapleton, aged 28, from Balby, whose children are under the age of nine, believes her case may be one of many similar situations, and that parents across the borough are suffering because its schools are ‘full to bursting point.’

Miss Stapleton does not have her own car and says she can’t be in two places at once, to get them to school on time. She is on income support, moved to Sheppard Road in Balby last November and since then has been fighting the authorities to get her children – Amy-Grace, aged four, Aaron, aged six, and Callum, aged eight – all based in one school.

Amy-Grace was due to start the reception class at Waverley Primary in Balby on Friday, just over a mile from where the family live. However Miss Stapleton has taken the decision to keep her two eldest off their school Bentley New Village Primary which is over five miles away because she cannot get them there on time.

She said: “I moved houses in November and there are no places for all three of my children in Balby. I’ve been told that I have to basically split myself in two. I want all three in the same school in Balby.”

She added: “I’m Doncaster born and bred, they’re Doncaster born and bred, and this has been going on for 10 months. Why can’t a family be given priority to all go to the same school?

“I’m on benefits so I asked for help with transport from the council so I could at least get the boys to one school and my daughter to another.

“I was told to go to social services but because I’m not on their books they couldn’t do anything for me. If I was a bad mum then they could have helped! Every school is at bursting point. When’s it going to end?”

Eleanor Brazil, Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Doncaster Council, said: “We are aware of the situation and are working with the family to try to resolve the issue. 
“The vast majority of families in Doncaster are able to secure the places in primary schools that they want for their children but occasionally difficulties do arise. We do respond quickly when this happens.”

n We’d like to hear from any other families who have found themselves in a similar situation to the Stapletons. Contact us via Facebook.com/SheffieldStar, email news@thestar.co.uk or tweet @sheffieldstar