AN MP has said it is "totally unacceptable" that more than 100 North-East children have not been given a secondary school place for next year.

Yesterday, it was revealed that hundreds of families across the region have learnt that their children have missed out on a place at their chosen secondary school.

But in Middlesbrough, dozens of pupils were left devastated to discover they have not been offered a secondary school place at all, as local authorities across the region release the figures of the number of children who were given their first choice school.

The Northern Echo:

Most authorities boasted of high success rates but Middlesbrough Council was faced with the prospect of informing anxious parents that all the places in the town were fully allocated following 'unprecedented' demand.

Those affected are being advised by the council to seek places at schools in neighbouring boroughs, with many places currently available in Stockton and Redcar & Cleveland.

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and east Cleveland, said the information provided by Middlesbrough Council was "lacking in sufficient apology or detail given the seriousness of the issue", and parents were understandably "upset".

Dad of two, Dale Kenvyn said his daughter Drew, who was one of 100 youngsters to miss out in Middlesbrough, was being "robbed" of her education and if she couldn't go to a school in Stockton or Redcar, the only other option was to home school her.

The Northern Echo:

In a statement on Facebook, Mr Clarke said: "I want to update you on the shortage of secondary school places in Middlesbrough that was reported yesterday. Some of the families affected are friends and I share their frustration and concern about what is a totally unacceptable situation.

"Having seen the letter that was sent to parents by the council, I think it was lacking in sufficient apology or detail given the seriousness of the issue. While later comments clarifying the situation have been more helpful, it’s not hard to see why parents have been left fuming.

"I spoke to the chief executive at Middlesbrough Council to get an explanation. The problem has been driven by a variety of factors, including both Nunthorpe and Stokesley Schools accepting fewer pupils from Middlesbrough for next year, as well as population growth in the town.

The Northern Echo: Simon Clarke in Westgate, Guisborough, at the Saturday morning market

"Some of this population increase is due to unexpected short term factors (inward migration) but it also bears out the warnings many of us have made about ensuring the right infrastructure exists when adding more homes.

"The hoped-for solution is a new secondary school planned for Middlehaven, which would reduce pressure across the town. The bid for this is at an advanced stage and I will be urging the Department for Education to approve it as swiftly as possible.

"In the interim, the council is working with local schools to try to reduce the shortfall from the current 80-100 to the lowest possible level."

Andrea Williams, Middlesbrough Council’s director of education, said: “We have unprecedented numbers of children requiring places in Middlesbrough schools which could not have been foreseen, and clearly this is a matter of considerable concern.

“We are working hard to resolve the situation, and I’m grateful to parents for their patience and understanding.”

  • The MP is asking any constituents who are affected and want help to email
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