Petition starts to reunite 11 year-old Wakefield boy with his mates after his school place is withdrawn

11 year-old Charlie, with older sister Keira.'Photo supplied by McCabe family.
11 year-old Charlie, with older sister Keira.'Photo supplied by McCabe family.

More than 500 people have signed a petition in support of an 11 year-old Wakefield boy who had his secondary school place withdrawn before he'd even started.

Charlie Hudson McCabe was supposed to attend Outwood Grange Academy alongside his older sister Keira this September.

Jane and John McCabe say their lives have been thrown into turmoil by the decision to pull Charlie out of Outwood Grange.

Jane and John McCabe say their lives have been thrown into turmoil by the decision to pull Charlie out of Outwood Grange.

But having originally been granted a place, Charlie's parents Jane and John were then told by Wakefield Council that he wasn't entitled to it, because they are outside of the catchment area.

John's serious health problems and frequent emergency medical appointments meant that the family had to make an unexpected move to a bungalow in Lupset from their previous home in Wrenthorpe, in 2017. It was the only home available in Wakefield that suited John's needs

As a result, Keira and Charlie, who attended Kirkhamgate Primary School in Outwood, stayed at their grandparents' house in Outwood during the week so that their sleep and school work was not disrupted.

With John's health deteriorating, the family say the situation has thrown them into turmoil, and they have been backed in their appeals by the local charity Kidz Aware, who said the decision to keep Charlie out of Outwood Grange "makes no sense".

Jane says her son misses his mates from Kirkhamgate Primary, and that he "just wants to go to school".'Picture supplied by the McCabe family.

Jane says her son misses his mates from Kirkhamgate Primary, and that he "just wants to go to school".'Picture supplied by the McCabe family.

With Charlie now having to be home schooled for the timebeing, a petition has been set up by a family friend for the decision to be reversed. At the time of writing, it's been signed by 528 people.

Jane said the issue was now affecting Charlie's mental health.

She said: "It is causing us all kinds of problems.

"Charlie's just not himself. He just wants to go to school with his friends."

"Kiera didn't want to go to school last week because she just wants to stay at home and look after him.

"It's affecting the whole family."

Charlie has been offered secondary school places in Featherstone and in Wakefield, but the family says childcare arrangements would be impossible if he went anywhere else other than Outwood.

He remains apart from the friends he went to primary school with.

The Change.org petition says: "Charlie is desperate to go to school and be with his friends.

"Charlie's emotional health is already suffering due to the stress of the whole situation, his mum has to look after his dad full time and go to regular hospital and doctor appointments and as this is the school his sister attends and closest to his extended family and his home.

"There are no other options for Charlie.

This would be too much for any 11 year old child but he has already experienced so much trauma. It's a real worry what the future holds for him without the security and normality of a school and an education."

When contacted about the situation in July, Wakefield Council said that the correct procedure had been followed.

Andy Lancashire, the authority's service director for education, said: "Whilst we have a great deal of sympathy for the McCabe’s situation, we must follow the local authority’s school admissions policy and had no alternative but to withdraw the offer of a place at Outwood Grange Academy as, despite the difficult circumstances, the child was not entitled to it.

"Mrs McCabe subsequently appealed the decision and the independent appeal panel considered all the information presented to them, however, they dismissed the appeal.

"As the appeal panel is independent of the council, we cannot intervene in this decision.

"As Mrs McCabe had only preferenced Outwood Grange on the application form we had no alternative but to offer her son a place at the nearest school with places.

"Mrs McCabe has since entered preferences for alternative schools which we are still processing.

"If the family had contacted the school admission team regarding their circumstances beforehand we would have advised her to put a second preference on the form."

Local Democracy Reporting Service