Great Yarmouth boy, 14, left without a school place after application mix-up

Caister Academy. Picture: Archant

Caister Academy. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A 14-year-old boy has been left without a school place after a mix-up saw one he believed was confirmed fall through.

Caroline Sparks deregistered her son from Great Yarmouth Charter Academy (GYCA) amid concerns over its strict new behaviour rules.

They visited Caister Academy last Tuesday to enquire about a transfer, and Mrs Sparks, of Nelson Road in Yarmouth, said they were told by a member of staff he could start a six-week trial the following Monday.

She said he was 'over the moon' - but things quickly changed when, after calling the school on Thursday, she was told the place was no longer available.

'It was lovely at Caister,' she said. 'Someone shook my hand and said 'we will see him on Monday'. Then I went shopping for the uniform and a lady there said I should double check whether he had actually been accepted, which I thought was odd.

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'I rang the school and when they phoned back they said he wouldn't be welcome.'

She was told a behaviour incident at his previous school had come to light and altered the decision.

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'I can't understand why the check wasn't done before - I was about to buy the uniform, and no-one had even phoned to tell me,' she said.

The Creative Education Trust, which runs Caister Academy, said they had not received an official application for the teen to transfer - but Mrs Sparks said she was told, when visiting the school, that as long as she completed one soon after it wouldn't be a problem.

She did, and receipt of the application was confirmed in a letter from Norfolk County Council dated last Wednesday.

The trust said: 'All applications for Caister Academy go through Norfolk County Council admissions team, before they come to the school. We have never received an application for the pupil in question, and one was never made through the council.

'In order to be as fair and transparent as possible, as soon as it became clear that it was unlikely that we would be able to offer the pupil a place at our school, we communicated this, along with our reasons, to the family, to allow them as much time as possible to look for alternate provision.'

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