Education chiefs have refused a 10-year-old boy a place at his former school because there were not enough coat hooks. The boy's parents, Chris and Joanne Knowles, were also told Max could not rejoin Hill West Primary in Four Oaks, Birmingham, because its playground was at full capacity. The youngster previously attended the school before the family moved to Australia where Mr Knowles worked as an insurance sales manager. But the family returned to England earlier this year after Max had suffered from bullying.
His elder sister Poppy was admitted to The Arthur Terry School in Sutton Coldfield without any problems, his application for Hill West was rejected by Birmingham City Council.
The family appealed and provided medical evidence that Max had suffered from the bullying which meant he needed “familiarity along with the welcoming and known surroundings” of his old school.
But the School Admissions Authority dismissed the appeal, citing a lack of coat hooks and playground space among the reasons.
A letter to the parents said: “Storage space for pupils is limited. There are 30 coat and bag hooks or lockers allocated to each child.
“Therefore there are no facilities available for children in excess of this.”
It added that another pupil “would increase the likelihood of accidents in the playground.”
Mr Knowles said: “Surely the wellbeing of a ten-year-old is more important than having to put a new coat-hook on the wall?
To hear that unfortunately the school doesn’t have enough coat hooks so your child doesn’t have a place is unbelievable.”
Max was offered a place at either New Hall in Falcon Lodge or Banners Gate in Kingstanding. But his parents say he would be unable to catch the necessary buses to go to the schools alone.
“He’s terrified of going on the bus,” his dad said. “He gets anxiety. He has panic attacks because of the bullying.
“Every single one of his friends is at Hill West Primary School.
We don’t know where to turn next.”
Head of School Admissions Julie Newbold said: “The family’s appeal was considered by a panel that was independent of both Birmingham City Council and Hill West Academy.
The family had an opportunity to submit all of their reasons, both verbally and in writing, as to why they should be offered a place at Hill West Academy.
Hill West Academy also submitted their reasons for why they could not admit any more children for that year group. Unfortunately the independent panel decided not to uphold the family’s appeal.
If the family feel that they did not have a fair hearing, they can refer the matter to the Education Funding Agency.”