A Whitchurch mother says more emphasis should be placed on having siblings attend the same school after after her two children were split up.

Last week Hampshire County Council announced its September school starters and year 3 places.

Just under 98 per cent of parents were offered a reception year place for their child in one of their three preferred choice schools, and just under 91 per cent were allocated a place at their first choice of school.

But one of the parents to miss out on a place for her youngest was Marina Allnutt.

Marina and her family recently moved from Andover to home just a three minute walk away from Whitchurch Primary School.

But the move came just one week after the ‘freeze date’ for applications so our new address wasn’t taken into consideration.

"I completely appreciate why we didn’t get a place as although I have a daughter who is already at the school, the address on our application was Andover," she told the Gazette.

"It's highly frustrating that we didn’t get a place as there is no way I will be able to get two children to two different schools.

"My only option at the moment is to leave my son at nursery until he turns 5 then home school if he hasn’t yet got a place on the wait list."

Marina wasn't alone in missing out at a place at the primary school either.

Local ward councillor Chloe Ashfield estimates about nine families from the area were denied a slot, a number she said was "a lot from a town of this size."

"It’s really important that with a growing population  we do what we can to build a strong community," the councillor added.

"All children should be able to attend their local school with their siblings.

"In 2017 there were plans approved to extend Whitchurch Primary School but this has not happened. This is impacting local families."

As a dance teacher, Marina works in the afternoon and as such can't do the school run by herself.

This means she relies heavily rely on family members collecting her daughter in the afternoons.

"The sole reason of moving to whitchurch was to enable me to be closer to work and support all the children in the community," Marina said.

"Without both my children in the same school this is going to be compromised. 

"I believe that siblings should probably have a higher priority on the list of criteria than they do currently.

"It’s not fair to expect siblings to be split up and almost impossible for the average working family."

For the cases where parents did not secure a place at a school of their choice, the County Council has advised them, in their notification, about the right to appeal and the arrangements for their preferred school’s waiting list. 

It added that places can become available after the offer day and before September, for a variety of reasons including families moving house or out of the area, or if other parents change their mind and decide to decline the place originally allocated for their child, having secured an alternative place at another school.