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Mum's six-month search for three school places

PUBLISHED: 11:20 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:45 25 August 2010

WAITING: Lisa Rowe with her sons Harry, Stanley and Harvey.

WAITING: Lisa Rowe with her sons Harry, Stanley and Harvey.

A SINGLE mum who has been home-schooling her three boys with books from Poundland for six months feels forced to leave the country to get them educated.

A SINGLE mum who has been home-schooling her three boys with books from Poundland for six months feels forced to leave the country to get them educated.

Lisa Rowe, of Erith Road, Bexleyheath, has searched for school places since October, but one school after another told her that they had no room for Stanley, five, Harvey, nine, and Harry, 12.

The 40-year-old returned from Spain last summer due to a split with her husband after living there for nearly three years.

Mrs Rowe said: "My main concern is for my sons, I would do anything for them.

"Things are at the point where I have to go back to Spain simply to get my boys into a school. But why should I have to leave the country to get my kids educated?"

"I've struggled and tried to do things by myself. I can only educate them as best I can with books from W.H. Smith and the pound shop.

"But I'm no teacher, I've been educating my children the way I was taught, methods could be totally different now. My friend is a teacher and she cannot believe what we have had to put up with, it's so stressful."

She said she called Bexley council but was told that they do not deal with primary school intakes and that she would need to ring them directly.

"To call one after another and for them to say there are no places is beyond belief," she said. "There are 12 schools in the borough and for none of them to have spaces is soul destroying.

"I'm a British citizen, my family is British, I was brought up here and lived here but feel like I'm being treated as an illegal alien."

She doesn't blame the schools for having no spare places, but the local council, adding: "I believe it's the borough's fault, saying that they can't help me and leaving it to myself as if it's none of their concern."

She said that when the family moved out to Costa Calida in Spain, they arrived on a Friday and her two eldest children were in a school by the following Monday.

Ms Rowe hopes to get her eldest son into Haberdashers' Aske's Crayford Academy in September but anticipates a "waiting game".

Local authorities must provide every child of compulsory school age with a school place.

A spokesperson for Bexley council said: "Bexley schools are extremely popular and, as such, are a victim of their own success.

"The council and its schools are prevented by law from holding places empty in schools for families who move into the borough. We are very sorry that Ms Rowe feels she has not received the help she needs.

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