Yorkshire father pleads to council for help as he can’t send son to school down the road

“I am your child and I am asking for your help,” pleaded a York father addressing his local council’s children scrutiny committee about primary school allocation.

Chris Hoyle, 37, a senior business intelligence analyst, grew up in foster care and described the City of York Council as his corporate parents. He has a three-year-old son Oscar and another on the way with his wife Danielle, 36, an educational psychiatrist.

Mr Hoyle described Oscar as the council’s grandchild.

“I have received exactly zero practical support from my parents in bringing Oscar up,” Mr Hoyle told the children, culture and communities scrutiny committee on Tuesday (Dec 5). “But I bring with me today a way that you can give practical support to care-experienced people at almost zero cost and that is school allocations policy.

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Chris Hoyle, with his son Oscar and wife Danielle Hoyle. Pic credit: Chris HoyleChris Hoyle, with his son Oscar and wife Danielle Hoyle. Pic credit: Chris Hoyle
Chris Hoyle, with his son Oscar and wife Danielle Hoyle. Pic credit: Chris Hoyle

“I’ll shortly be submitting my choices for schools for Oscar. The closest school to my house is two streets away on a safe walking route. It’s where many of our friends are. Unfortunately my catchment school is a mile away on a road that’s often jammed with traffic and terrible parking available.

“You can see that the practicalities of attending a school that’s really close to my house where all of our friends are to provide us with practical support is a million miles different to attending a school that’s a long way away, where we don’t know anybody with no support for unexpected events that life throws up.

“His closest school is right next to the secondary school that he will attend. Something that my people long for is stability.”

Although Mr Hoyle said he could get through this inconvenience, he asked members of the scrutiny committee if it would be good enough for their children.

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“It will be ok, but it will be difficult and I feel like I’ve had rather enough difficulty in my life,” Mr Hoyle said. “I’d urge the committee to explore the possibility of adding a priority to the school’s allocation policy for the children of formally looked after children. I’d like you to do what all good grandparents do; love their grandchildren.”

He added: “It’s too late for Oscar. His allocation will happen shortly. Policy is already published and enacted, but it’s not too late for my second child.”

Mr Hoyle said: “I’d like you to be a grandparent for her in a way that you haven’t been for Oscar. Would it be good enough for your own children? Because I am your child and I’m asking for your help.”

Executive member for children and education Coun Bob Webb said: “It is something that we want to look into. I can’t promise anything when it comes to school allocation because it’s a minefield but it’s certainly something that we will look at.”

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Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hoyle said he is “really pleased” priority to children who had parents who had been in care will be explored but that “the proof is in the pudding.”

He added: “I understand school allocations are a complex process that cannot be changed easily and that many people struggle with.”

Mr Hoyle commended Coun Webb saying he “clearly cares about transparency in council work and about the difficulties faced by care-experienced people.”

“I’m heartened that the proposal has passed the first hurdle towards implementation,” Mr Hoyle continued. “I do hope it is implemented and helps to create a shift in how care-experienced people are supported throughout their lives in our city.”

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