Coronavirus: Somerset mum's fears as coronavirus pandemic delays school appeal

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image copyrightJoanna Gawecka
image captionJoanna Gawecka wanted her daughter to go to a school five minutes' walk from home

A mum fears she will have no choice but to take on a six-mile school run each day after her council announced appeals have been delayed due to coronavirus.

Somerset County Council said 98% of 5,600 pupils received their first, second or third choice, with 93% securing their top choice.

Joanna Gawecka has appealed after her daughter Emma did not get one of her top three school options.

She said: "I think there's a minimum chance for us to even be heard."

"Even if we are heard, we won't get a place there anyway because there are plenty of other families there in the same situation so there's a minimum chance, I don't have much hope," she added.

She also believes the council should consider expanding its intake at Primrose Lane Primary, as it was restricted to 30 places, and many other parents were "terribly upset".

She has a five-month-old son, no car, and her daughter has been offered a place at a school a mile-and-a-half away.

She said: "It's going to be quite tricky as I'll have to walk with her and my little boy as well so that's over half an hour walk."

"Some might think I'm complaining because a 30-minute walk one way is nothing, and that it's good for my health, but that's two hours every day and six miles walking for me whatever the weather."

The council said the delays were due to many of its trained volunteer members being retired and in self-isolation.

Meanwhile the Department for Education has said new laws are coming into force on 24 April to allow more flexibility with appeal deadlines and requirements.

A council spokesman added it would keep parents informed about how appeals would take place.

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