FAMILIES in villages to the west of Stockton have spoken of their shock at finding their children are being denied a place at Egglescliffe School.

Parents from at least 17 families in villages including Carlton, Long Newton and Redmarshall are lobbying Stockton Borough Council to change admission policy to allow their children access to the school in neighbouring Eaglescliffe.

They argue that they were reassured there would be no problem getting their children into the school, although this is firmly denied by the council and senior management at the school.

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However, there are also transport issues with buses only running to Egglescliffe School from Carlton.

The parents, many of whom only put one choice for their child on the schools admission form, are also upset they were not given sufficient warning that the school would be oversubscribed - saying there has never been a problem before.

Parent Claire Bourne, who has produced leaflets and instigated a Facebook campaign on the issue, argued that Egglescliffe was effectively the only choice for children in the area and the youngsters should be given priority.

She said that she would rather her son went to Egglescliffe despite being offered a place at Conyers School, Yarm, which has an even stronger academic record.

However, other parents had been offered places at schools achieving far lower levels of children achieving five A* to C grade GCSEs including English and Maths.

“It’s not a class thing or anything like that," she said. "It’s about academic results and some parents think they’re somehow letting their children down.

"There have been children in tears. It’s also going to cause serious transport issues for parents who work.”

Coun Andrew Stephenson, who represents the Western Parishes ward, said the situation would worsen if the large housing development schemes approved by Stockton council’s planning committee are built.

Ann McCoy, Stockton council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We make every effort to offer children a place at their first choice school, but this depends on the number of places that are available.

“We have received and responded to more than 2,000 applications for places in the Borough’s secondary schools and it’s really encouraging that nine out of ten young people were allocated a place at their first choice school.

“Unfortunately, it is impossible to guarantee everyone a place at their chosen school but we would urge any parents who are not satisfied with the offer that they have been made to contact our school admissions team, who will do their best to help.”