PARENTS have expressed their frustration that their children have been refused a place in the reception class at the Rhyl school whose nursery they currently attend.

One mum, Lisa, told the Journal that her daughter’s development has been a “joy to watch” during her time in nursery at Ysgol Bryn Heddyd.

But she was not accepted into the school’s reception class, a decision which was later upheld following an appeal by Lisa.

Lisa told of how her daughter strives on routines and does not adjust well to change, so fears that the impact of starting reception at a different school will prove a difficult transition.

'Huge negative impact on wellbeing'

She said: “My daughter began her school journey last September being very quiet and timid.

“The school setting has brought routine to her life. Her speech has developed, and it has been a joy to watch.

“It will be a detriment to her wellbeing to remove her from the school setting, as not only am I removing her from the school, but I will also be removing her from the school’s wraparound care; ‘Cool Cats’.

“This is going to make a huge negative impact on her wellbeing.”


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Lisa also expressed her frustration at the appeal process, having she felt her daughter being a member of the school’s nursery should have been considered when places were first allocated.

The panel which considers such appeals is independent of the local authority and comprises three people, including a person with experience in education and another who does not.

By law, there must be no more than 30 children in reception, Year One or Year Two classes.

Lisa said, following the appeal hearing on July 1, she was told Ysgol Bryn Heddyd’s two reception classes are already projected to have 30 pupils each in September.

As such, the legal class size limit has been reached.

She said the council added that an additional mobile classroom and teacher to accommodate more pupils would cost a projected £181,000, which is out of the school’s budget.

But Lisa said: “It's an unfair system to strip a child of their routines and life which they have got used to.

“Every school in the area is full to capacity, yet there are no schools available for some children who lost their appeals this week.

“The Government is not putting money into the schools, so how can they accommodate more children with funding cuts?”

Budget cuts

Earlier this year, the Journal reported that Denbighshire County Council agreed this year to cut school budgets across the board by three per cent.

In February, a letter sent to parents on behalf of Denbighshire headteachers stated that all of the county’s schools were being “forced to make extreme financial cuts”.

Lisa added: “My key argument here is that Welsh Government has brought in a foundation phase (from age three to four) which is designed to allow the children to develop, make friends, learn and grow.

“Then, one year later, they strip them from this education setting which they have adapted to.

“The year which is due to go into reception is the year of the ‘lockdown children’ - most of these children are already behind in development and communication skills because of no baby groups being available during their early years.

“So, this is the first opportunity for them to have made friends and to have been surrounded by others.

“The government criteria needs addressing in relation to nursery being a feeder into reception.”


Another parent shared her experience of feeling “blamed” for her child not receiving a place in reception at Ysgol Bryn Heddyd.

She said she was also disheartened by paperwork which, to her, suggested that appealing the decision would be “pointless”.

“I find it unjust that families are required to re-apply for school placements after their children have already settled into an educational setting,” she said.

“My daughter, who took six months to adjust to her school environment, now faces uncertainty and the daunting prospect of settling in to a new school.

“This situation underscores the broader issue within the council's admissions process, which many feel is in dire need of reform to better support families and children.”

Another parent, whose son’s appeal was also refused, echoed those sentiments, arguing that the re-application stage is particularly unfair for young, vulnerable children who have already settled in to a school environment.

This parent highlighted the distress caused to their child, who, after having adjusted to a school setting, now faces the “anxiety and change” to finding a new, suitable environment.

What the council said

In response to the parents’ comments, Denbighshire County Council said it is unable to provide specific details regarding individual appeals.

A council spokesperson said: “When school admission appeals are heard, they are heard by an independent panel.

“Parents/carers have the right to attend the panel and present their case; as does the local authority. 

“The decision whether to award or a refuse a school place following an appeal is made by solely by the independent panel, and admissions authorities must comply with their decisions.

“If a family have been refused a place at appeal, it is not a decision made by Denbighshire County Council.

“It is a decision from the independent panel, who have considered their request and the information they have presented. 

“Where places have been refused, the admissions authority will work with parents/carers to ensure they have a place for their child from September 2024, and applications can be made on Denbighshire County Council’s website.”

What Welsh Government said

A Welsh Government spokesperson added: “The school admissions authority is responsible for setting admission arrangements and oversubscription criteria for maintained schools in Wales, not Welsh Government.

“We have prioritised funding for core frontline public services, including schools, by protecting the indicative rise for the local government settlement.

“The amount of funding set aside for school budgets is for local authorities to determine and we will continue to work with the sector to ensure the best possible outcomes for our learners.”