December 12 2013 Latest news:
Joshua Fowler, Reporter
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
A 13-year-old boy has been left without a school place for more than a month in Bromley, despite his twin sister enrolling almost a fortnight ago.
Tarek Khatib should be choosing his GCSE options this year, but has been waiting to join a local school since moving to the borough with his sister, Hannah, and mother Sueli in July.
The family, who live in Foxgrove Road, were told they would have to wait until September to apply for school places and, despite his sister landing a place at Langley Park School for Girls last month, Tarek is still waiting.
Sueli, who works in logistics, has had to draft in her sister to look after the would-be Year 9 student - who has taken to reading his sister’s notes in order to try and keep up with his learning.
“The most frustrating part is that we’re getting the same answers time and time again,” explains Sueli. “The council say they are trying their best and the schools have only just come back from the summer holidays - but actually it’s closer to half-term now.
“I work full time and so does my husband, so my sister has been helping look after him otherwise he would be at home alone, which is not an ideal situation for a 13-year-old.
“He should be choosing his options, it’s just so frustrating.”
The council say school places for new pupils should be found within 20 school days, but say “particular pressures” in the 13-year-old’s year group mean it can take “a little longer”.
Schools are contacted in turn, rather than all at once, which has caused further frustration for Sueli.
She added: “Last week they told me my son’s application had been sent to a school, though they couldn’t tell me which.
“The school has 10 days to get back to them and I asked when the application was sent. It was then they realised it had already been 11 days.
“I was told I’d have to wait up to another 10 days for an answer from another school.”
A Bromley Council spokesman said: “When families move into the borough during the school holidays and have missed the deadline for applying for school places, applications cannot be processed until schools open again at the beginning of the school term.
“At this point the council’s admissions team work through the preferences as quickly as possible contacting each school in turn to see if there are any places available to accommodate extra children.
“The Admissions Team does everything it can to meet the guidelines for ‘in year’ applications which recommend that places should be found within 20 school days.”