'I didn't feel I was being too sneaky';Admissions

2nd April 1999 at 01:00
The rights and wrongs of fraudulent applications can be less than clear-cut. When Peter became unemployed, he and his wife, Carol, had to move from the neighbourhood both had grown up in. They found a cheaper house a few miles away, but kept their children in the same primary school. Then the marriage broke up, and Peter moved back to the original area.

At secondary transfer, Carol applied for the popular comprehensive near her children's primary school, using her ex-husband's address. "I'd lived there all my life and we'd both gone to that school, so I didn't have a conscience about it. Janine had been through a hard time with the split, and the thought of going to a school where she didn't know anyone would have broken her.

"People did ask 'how did you get in?' but it wasn't a big issue. Most people knew my situation. I told the primary school head I'd changed the addresses over, and said I'd leave it to her discretion whether she signed the form. She was sympathetic.

"I've heard the education office will knock on neighbours' doors to see if children are living there and I was worried. I took some of the children's old clothes over there and left them in the wardrobe. I was like Miss Marples, with the bills and everything. But the children stay there three nights a week anyway so I didn't feel I was being too sneaky.

"I was thrilled when we got the offer, but I was nervous until the day Janine went to school. I told her to say she lived at her dad's. I hated putting that pressure on her. But I said just lay low for a couple of months. Now I'm up and down in the car like a blue-arsed fly but it's worth it.

"I was so passionate for her to get in, for her sake, I was making myself feel as if it was my right. But because me and her father were both from here, I feel we should be a bit more privileged. We're not like people who've just moved in."

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