Children in Addingham and Burley-in-Wharfedale have been allocated places at schools in Keighley and Cottingley instead of Ilkley Grammar School, parents learned this week.
Fourteen Addingham families were turned away from Ilkley, their nearest comprehensive school, their children instead allocated places at Greenhead High School, near Keighley, for September.
And it is believed that at least two children in Burley-in-Wharfedale have also missed out on places at Ilkley Grammar, despite living in the Priority 1 catchment area for the high-performing Ilkley school, as do the Addingham schoolchildren.
Bradford Council confirmed that 18 Priority 1 children had failed to secure places at Ilkley Grammar.
The children allocated places at schools out of the area have a further chance at gaining places at Ilkley Grammar via the waiting list and appeals process, which begins shortly.
It has also emerged that Ilkley Grammar School, which is awaiting the verdict on controversial plans to build a bigger new school on land in Ben Rhydding, is now being directed by the education authority to take in an extra 22 children this September, raising its year 7 student numbers from 245 to 267.
Long-time Addingham resident Simon Bayntun, whose eldest daughter has been allocated a place at Greenhead School in Keighley, says he is angry at the decision to send his daughter to Greenhead, two bus rides away from the village.
The Keighley school is not an option for his daughter, he says, pointing out that generations of Addingham people have traditionally gone to school in Ilkley.
“It’s not a ‘preferred’ school, it’s the only school. They have no other option. I can’t even apply to some of the other schools because I live on the wrong side of the county boundary.”
Mr Bayntun called on everyone concerned to work together to find a solution, and pleaded with headteacher Gillian James to ease the distress of Addingham parents and children by agreeing to take on the extra numbers for this year.
Mr Bayntun said parents in the village were looking at more extreme measures should their children be denied places at Ilkley Grammar – including teaching their children at home.
A Burley parent, whose son attends Burley and Woodhead Primary, told the Gazette of her dismay at him being allocated a place at Nab Wood School, Cottingley, instead of Ilkley Grammar.
Ilkley Grammar released a statement this week in which Mrs James raised concerns about accommodating growing student numbers.
“The high numbers not being admitted this year are a shock”, she said. “This is also the first time some Burley children have not been allocated places. If we cannot admit our Priority 1 children, we have a problem – and I appreciate this is not about numbers, but about individual 10 and 11-year-olds and their families.”
She said there was nowhere to site an additional temporary classroom and taking in more students would leave the school with budgetary issues.
Chair of governors Rosalind Beeson said she felt ‘extremely sorry’ for the Burley and Addingham children not allocated places at their local school, but she said the school did not know how it would fit them in. She also fears the recession will make spare places less likely as fewer parents will take their children out of the state system and into private education.
She said Ilkley Grammar and Bradford Council now need to take a longer term view of the issue.
Bradford Council said it could not comment on individual cases, and advised parents unhappy about the allocations to follow the official appeal process.