A COUPLE say they are prepared to give up all legal claims to their daughter for the sake of her education.

But council officials last night warned that the couple's idea of handing over their daughter's upbringing to a distant relative might not work.

Parents James and Stella Coils are considering putting ten-yearold daughter Rebecca into the guardianship of a great aunt, Mary Holland, who lives half a mile from the comprehensive school of their choice, after she was refused a place because the family lives outside the catchment area.

Call centre workers Mr and Mrs Coils came up with the idea of changing their daughter's legal guardianship because they are desperate for her to attend Manor College of Technology, in Hartlepool.

She has instead been offered a place at St Hild's Church of England Secondary School, five miles from their home, in Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool.

Explaining their plan, reached after much heart-searching, 34- year-old Mr Coils said: "Rebecca's education will shape her into the person she becomes - so we will give her up to get her into the right school."

He and his 36-year-old wife were unhappy when the council allocated the year six Eldon Grove Primary School pupil a place at St Hild's, two bus rides from their seafront home in Glentower Grove, Seaton Carew.

Rebecca's parents filled in the schools selection form, in order of preference - St Hild's being their fourth choice school out of the six secondary schools Hartlepool has to offer.

They were stunned when they were offered a place for Rebecca at the school.

Mr Coils said: "We only picked St Hild's because we had to pick schools on the form, we never wanted her to go there.

"The school is on the other side of town - it is five miles away. She would have to get two buses to get there.

"We have considered putting her in the guardianship of Stella's auntie who lives in the catchment area for Manor, or we would home-school her.

"That would be the worst case scenario, but we would do it.''

The couple have appealed against the council's decision. Mrs Holland said: "It's a big ask, but her education is very important, so I would do it."

A spokesman for Hartlepool Boirough Council, the local education authority, said: "Under the allocations process, parents are asked to list a minimum of three schools in order of preference and we do our very best to meet one of those preferences based on the number of places available.

"However, if there are more applications for a school than there are places as there are this year in the case of Manor, English Martyrs and High Tunstall, we make allocations for community schools and foundation schools in accordance with the published admissions arrangement.

"As with every application, we have tried to do our best for Mr and Mrs Coils within the terms of the published admissions arrangements, and we have also advised them of their right to appeal.

He added: "I am not sure whether changing the child's legal guardianship would be successful.

It would be a long process and the family would still have to reapply once it was complete."