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Why twins must go to different schools

IDENTICAL twins born six minutes apart face starting the new term in different schools because of rules limiting class sizes.

IDENTICAL twins born six minutes apart face starting the new term in different schools because of rules limiting class sizes.

Thomas Croston, four, has been given a place at school near his home but his brother Elliot must attend another one seven miles away.

It means the boys' parents, Andrew and Jill, face an agonising wait just weeks before the new school year starts.

They had put the boys' names forward for St Lewis RC School in Warrington, the only Catholic school near their home. The boys' parents claim new Government rules limit class sizes to 30 and, because Thomas is six minutes older than his brother, he was awarded the only place that became available.

Last night the Crostons pleaded for "common sense to prevail", calling for an exception to be made.

Mr Croston, 35, said: "It's ridiculous. I know rules are rules but I just can't understand why they can't be flexible in this case.

"It's completely irrational to send two children to two different schools.

"Can you imagine the difficulties that would cause and what on earth are we meant to do at home time when we would have to pick the boys up? Have me at one school and Jill at the other? I thought the whole idea of letting children go to the same school was it made things easier and safer. You hear of so many it doesn't bear thinking about."

Mrs Croston, 33, said: "There is a special bond between twins. They have gone through nursery and playgroup together. What could be more exceptional than separating twins.

"People seemed blinded by legislation - bureaucracy has ruled. I just want common sense to prevail."

Problems started when the family moved from Woolston to the other side of Warrington more than six months ago.

Although they applied for school places while house hunting, the twins were classified as low priorities as they did not then live in the catchment area.

But by the time they had bought their new home in Culcheth, classes were full at St Lewis's. Mr Croston added: "Getting your children ready for their first day at school is meant to be one of the days of your life. Instead this has just been a lot of stress.

"We've not even been able to buy a full school uniform yet because we are not too sure where the boys will end up."

Their pleas for the twins to stay together have been turned down by an appeals panel. The Crostons are now pinning their hopes on a local Government Ombudsman who is considering the twins' plight.

Last night, a Warrington council spokesman said: "St Lewis Catholic primary school is a Roman Catholic voluntary-aided school.

"The admission authority for the school is the governing body and not the local education authority. Similarly, the school admission appeal panel is one nominated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool.

"Prior to Mr and Mrs Croston's house move, they had applied for places for both Thomas and Elliot at another Catholic primary school. We understand these two places remain available for the boys if Mr and Mrs Croston want to ensure that Thomas and Elliot attend the same school.

"However, Warrington council is anxious to help find a mutually acceptable solution to this difficult situation and will be in discussion with St Lewis Catholic primary school as soon as possible."

Last night a spokesman for Liverpool Archdiocese was unavailable for comment.

A Department of Education spokesman said all infant schools must cut class sizes to a maximum of 30 by the end of the month.



David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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