Padiham parents ‘can’t afford to send son to school’

Alfie Feeley (6) with his mum Kelly Brooke and Thomas Wheatcroft (12), Jack Feeley (9) and Autumn Feeley (7).
Alfie Feeley (6) with his mum Kelly Brooke and Thomas Wheatcroft (12), Jack Feeley (9) and Autumn Feeley (7).

A Padiham couple said their six-year-old son has not been to school for eight months after they were unable to afford bus fares to get him there.

Colin Feeley (42) and his partner Kelly Brooke (29) have been home schooling Alfie since January. Colin said they made the decision to take Alfie and his siblings Jack (9) and Autumn (7) out of St John’s Primary School in Read after he lost his job and they could not afford to take the children to Read on the bus.

The older children were offered places at Padiham Primary School but the school was unable to offer a place for Alfie because his year group was fully subscribed.

The couple appealed the decision but last week were told they had been unsuccessful.

Kelly said she had even bought Alfie a school uniform and said it was heartbreaking that he had not been given a place. He has been offered a place at Cherry Fold Primary School in Burnley but the family said they want him to go to the same school as his brother and sister.

Colin said: “He really really wants to go to school. He thinks he’s going to school next week, we need to tell him he hasn’t got a place. We want him to go to a school in Padiham and we want him to have an education. “We are trying our best to home school him but we aren’t the most educated people.”

Kelly added: “He should be sitting his Year 2 SAT exams this year. He’s always been quite shy but now he’s not mixing with other children. He sees his brother and sister going off to school and it’s just not fair.”

Mr Paul Bainbridge, Lancashire County Council’s pupil access manager, said: “We are extremely sympathetic when families move in to Lancashire, or where their circumstances change, and parents then need to request a change of schools.

“If a place is available, it must be offered. Unfortunately some schools will already be full in the required year groups, and meeting parental preferences may not always be possible.

“We always encourage parents to speak to the local pupil access team for information and advice about available places and appeals.”