Radio Sandwell Local News

Great Barr twins offered places at two different primary schools

2015-05-19 11:40:46

Daawud and Ibrahim RassoolDaawud and Ibrahim Rassool

A mum has told how her family were left devastated when her four year-old twin boys were offered places at DIFFERENT schools.

Daawud and Ibrahim Rassool have never spent a day apart.

Yet as they prepare to start school in September, Sandwell Council offered Ibrahim a place at their preferred choice – Whitecrest Primary School in Great Barr – while Daawud was granted a place at Ferndale Primary, which is 1.6 miles away.

Sumaya revealed her plight to the Birmingham Mail, telling how the authority left her fearing that Daawud would be unable to start school anywhere following a mix up over application forms

She and her husband Eliyas, a 40 year-old property surveyor, only received his Ferndale offer on Saturday (May 16).

They then worried that the boys would be unable to cope being apart and that they would be unable to manage making journeys to two separate schools – which would take at least eight minutes, without traffic.

Yet after we contacted the council the authority found two places for both boys at Ferndale – which is still 1.6 miles from their home.

Sumaya said she and Eliyas are still unhappy with the offer, which they plan to appeal.

Daawud and Ibrahim RassoolSumaya Rassool and her twin boys, left to right, Daawud and Ibrahim Rassool aged 4

The parents submitted two separate online applications for primary school places for the boys back in November.

They received emails confirming receipt of each one from Sandwell Council shortly afterwards.

Then, in April, they received three emails confirming that they had won a place at their preferred choice – Whitecrest Primary School.

But when Sumaya went to accept the offer online, she discovered to her horror that it was only for Ibrahim – with no mention of any school being offered to Daawud.

“I phoned the council immediately and they claimed that although they had two files, they were both under Ibrahim’s name, and they admitted there must have been some kind of clerical error,” said the 36-year-old, who is also mum to five-month-old daughter Zainab.

“I am 100 per cent certain that I submitted an application for both of the boys.

“I am very meticulous, especially when it comes to something so important.

“I double and triple checked the applications.”

She said that the council then asked her to submit a late application for Daawud in April – and told her “not to worry”.

However, almost one month later and after weeks of pestering the council, the couple received a letter offering Daawud a place at Ferndale Primary on Saturday.

To add to their worries the couple discovered that they missed the May 15 deadline to appeal the decision.

“To say we are furious is an understatement,” said Sumaya, a schools speech therapist.

“We brought our house specifically because of its close proximity to Whitecrest and that’s where we had out heart set on the boys going.

“It is a one-form entry school and I know it is always oversubscribed, but I was assured there would be a place for both boys.”

Daawud and Ibrahim RassoolWhitecrest Primary School

Daawud and Ibrahim RassoolFerndale Primary School

Coun Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We have gone back and checked our records. Unfortunately they show Mrs Rassool applied twice – but for the same twin. She did not apply for a place for her other son.

“As a result, we merged the same application form for one son because it was not apparent he was a twin.

“By the time we became aware of the situation all the places had been offered at Whitecrest School.

“We have offered the family two places at Ferndale School, which is the closest school with two places available, but they have refused.

“While there is a closing date for appeals, which this year was 15 May, we do continue to accept appeal requests through to September and I believe Mr and Mrs Rassool are now appealing.”

Daawud and Ibrahim RassoolDaawud and Ibrahim Rassool

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