Parents' row with staff led to 'unfair' refusal

5th March 1999 at 00:00
An 11-year-old boy was refused admission to a secondary school because his parents had a row with the staff.

Cumbria County Council was guilty of maladministration when it refused the boy a place at the school attended by his two brothers, says a report by the local government ombudsman.

It recommended that the boy be admitted to the school, and that his parents be paid pound;200 by the council in compensation.

The boy's parents complained that the council took "irrelevant matters" into account when it accepted that the boy should not be admitted because of the difficult relationship between his parents and the school.

Relations soured after an incident involving one of their older sons at the school. On one occasion, the police had to remove the mother from the premises .

In March, after other children had already been accepted by the school, the parents received a letter from the headteacher rejecting their application for their son. The letter referred to several verbal attacks by the father on staff and the fact that both parents were barred from school premises.

The ombudsman ruled that the parents' disputes with the school were insufficient grounds for their appeal to be rejected. She added that the law clearly states that where a school has places available and parents express a preference, the child must be accepted.

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