Class war in English villages as lack of primary school places hits families

Richard Adams & Sian Elvin:

Caroline Beevers and her family moved to Stotfold, Bedfordshire, for the usual reasons: a pretty village, fast transport links to central London and the promise of good schools. The trouble was, they were not the only ones.

“It’s a nice village, the people are nice, there’s lots for the kids. The schools were a major factor in why we moved here,” said Beevers, whose four-year-old, Adam, starts school this September. “We thought we didn’t mind which of the schools he got into because they all seemed pretty good. To be honest it didn’t occur to me we wouldn’t get into any of the three village schools. You’d think we’d be covered really.”

While most of the 600,000 families applying for primary school reception places across England found out this week they had been accepted by their first, second or third preferences, it was not the case for an unlucky few, such as the Beevers family.

Instead of gaining a place at the local state primary school a short walk away, the authority, Central Bedfordshire council, allocated the family a place six miles away, with no direct public transport.