THE treatment of parents whose son was denied a school place because their application was delayed by the youngster having major surgery has been criticised by the councils watchdog.
Hull Council has been told to to overhaul the way it handles appeals against school admission decisions after the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) found it did not deal fairly with the family, who have not been named.
The LGO investigation found the child’s parents were not given all the information needed for them to properly make their case when they appealed against the council’s decision to refuse a place.
The family had complained they did not meet the deadline for school place applications because their son underwent major surgery in another city at the time.
When the boy was discharged and his health condition improved, the child’s mother approached their local school to ask about a place.
However the council told her that the family’s application was late and all the places had been filled.
The family appealed but a panel decided the authority had acted correctly and refused to overturn its decision.
The LGO investigation found the council was not clear with the child’s parents over the way evidence had to be provided to the appeals panel.
It was also unclear how it had calculated the school’s limit on class sizes and the authority presented evidence at the appeal which the family had not previously seen.
The LGO recommended Hull Council apologise to the family and review its letters and procedures to make sure parents appealing against school admission decisions are properly informed about the process.
After the appeal, the child went on the waiting list for the school and was subsequently given a place.