Schools policy splits up Ossett twins

6 year old twins Oliver (left) and Ben Wilby who have been refused school places at the same school in Ossett. Oliver was accepted by Gawthorpe Academy but Ben was refused because they have said they cannot legally accept more than 30 children in year 2. Their mum Maggie has had to home school Ben and fears he is missing out both educationally and socially.
6 year old twins Oliver (left) and Ben Wilby who have been refused school places at the same school in Ossett. Oliver was accepted by Gawthorpe Academy but Ben was refused because they have said they cannot legally accept more than 30 children in year 2. Their mum Maggie has had to home school Ben and fears he is missing out both educationally and socially.

A MUM has slammed school admissions rules after only one of her twin sons was offered a place.

For the past seven months Maggie Wilby has been forced to teach six-year-old Ben at home while his brother Oliver attends Gawthorpe Community Academy.

When the family moved to Bridle Avenue from Lupset last October, the school said it could accept Oliver.

But the only place for Ben was at another school almost two miles away.

Ms Wilby, 34, said: “I’m a single parent and I don’t drive so there was no way I could get both my sons to school on time.

“No other schools nearby have places for both of them so I have been left with no choice but to teach Ben at home.”

Ms Wilby, who works part-time at Wakefield College, worries the school’s decision may have a long-lasting impact on her sons.

She said: “It’s an awful situation for me as their mum because they’ve been together from birth, they’ve never been separated and I can see the effect it’s having on them.

“Oliver has got lots of new friends and goes on school trips but Ben misses out on that.

“The first two years of school are so important and Ben is being denied the same education as his brother.”

The school told Ms Wilby, 34, that it was bound by legal requirements not to accept more than 30 children in years 1 and 2.

Sue Vickerman, principal at Gawthorpe Community Academy, said: “I am aware of the difficulties of this family and appreciate how hard it is.

“However, legally, we have to abide by infant class size legislation.”

Since being contacted by the Express this week, Wakefield Council said it would try to help Ms Wilby and her sons.

Cheryl Hobson, Service Director Children’s Commissioning and Schools Organisation, said: “We are working with the family to try and seek a resolution.”