Families in Wanstead and South Woodford miss out on primary school places

Shameela Adam's son was allocated the Hindu Avanti Court Primary School despite their family being practising Muslims

Shameela Adam's son was allocated the Hindu Avanti Court Primary School despite their family being practising Muslims

First published in News
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Families are being forced to travel for miles and attend schools at odds with their religion after missing out on primary school places for their children.

Some families living in Wanstead and South Woodford have missed out on all of their top six choices, having to travel to up to 30 minutes to Barkingside, while also looking after young children.

Shameela Adam, 32, of Firs Estate, South Woodford, was allocated the Hindu Avanti Court Primary School in Barkingside for her five-year-old son Amaar, despite her Muslim beliefs.

She said: “I just didn’t expect it, this is a Hindu school and we are a practising Muslim family. This does not go down well with me or my husband. This is the opposite to what we believe in and completely against our faith.

“I would not mind as much if it was a Christian school as they believe in one God, but I am concerned with what my son will be learning about there.

“I also have two young children of 9 months and 13 months to look after so it is just not feasible for me to be travelling so far two times a day.”

Many schools are over-subscribed in the area, with Aldersbrook Primary School in Wanstead taking on 660 pupils despite having only 620 places.

And Churchfields Primary School in South Woodford has 485 students, but only 392 official spaces.

Samira Attia, 30, of Draycote Road, Wanstead only got places at Moss Green Primary School in Barkingside for her four-year-old twins after applying to both Nightingale and Snaresbrook Primary schools.

She said: “This will really affect my children. I don’t know anyone who lives in Barkingside at all. It will mean travelling half an hour each way which is just not good enough.

“When would my twins have time to do homework? We need more primary school places otherwise cases like mine are going to get more common.

“I will be appealing as it will impact on the learning of my children.”

Ian Bond, deputy leader of Redbridge’s Lib Dem and Conservative council, advised parents to appeal if they are unhappy with their allocated school.

He said: “It is impossible to give everyone there first choice places at primary schools. Unfortunately that is the way it is. At the moment we have only just got enough places so there will always be some parents who are left disappointed.

“I urge parents who are unhappy with their allocated school to speak to their local councillor for advice and appeal the decision.

“The Hindu Avanti Court is a very good school and all faith schools must take a number of students who are not from that background, I don’t see a problem there.”

Research by the Department of Education recently found primary schools in Redbridge must expand by the equivalent of eight new schools to meet demand by 2018.
 

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