CHILDREN have been refused places at Silsden’s oversubscribed infant school even though their siblings currently attend.

Up to four families have been rejected by Bradford Council bosses despite living just over half a mile from Aire View Infants School.

At least two have been allocated places for their four-year-olds at Riddlesden St Mary’s Primary School, which is more than four miles away.

The parents say the twice-a-day trip to Riddlesden will be impossible because at the same time they have to take their other children to Hothfield Junior School in Silsden.

The four families had hoped to benefit from the ‘sibling rule’ which means schools automatically give priority for places to children who have an older brother or sister attending.

The rule could not be applied to the four families because their siblings are moving from Aire View to nearby Hothfield this September.

Parents and local politicians are now calling for the two schools to be combined when education bosses are applying the sibling rule.

One parent, Louise Armstrong, of Dean Grove, faces eight bus rides a day in order to get son Will to Riddlesden, as well as taking six-year-old daughter Leah to Hothfield and seeing the family’s older children on a bus to South Craven School in Cross Hills.

She said: “It won’t be feasible – I’m not a magician. Even if I had full-time use of a car, it wouldn’t be conducive to their learning.”

Another parent, Jane Hitchcock, of Crossmoor Close, said the council had refused to give her daughter Sylvie a place at Aire View in September.

She said: “I was under the assumption Sylvie would have a place, with my eight-year-old son Oscar being at the junior school. Sylvie is already at the Aire View Nursery.”

A Bradford Council school spokesman said there was pressure on primary school places in Craven ward this year and applications outnumbered available places at Aire View.

He said: “The last child offered a place at Aire View under the distance criteria lives less than half a mile from the school.

“There are 10 other children who live further away, who were allocated a place based on the sibling rule.

“There has never been a need for the sibling rule to be applied jointly at Aire View and Hothfield until this year.

“We are currently looking at the provision of school places in Silsden, and will consult on any proposals for future years.”

District and town councillors Chris Atkinson and Adrian Naylor said they would support the parents if they appealed against Bradford’s decision.