A CONCERNED parent has hit out against the council for not informing people about changes to the school application service.

Grant Turner, of Curry Mallet, has two children set to start secondary school next September.

Formerly, Somerset County Council would send out letters to parents letting them know it was time to apply for a school place, but this year, no letters have been sent in a bid to save thousands of pounds.

Mr Turner said: "I can understand their desire to save money, but it's quite a stressful time trying to find a place for your children.

"The council can now only afford to perform what they are statutorily obligated to do, but it has a demonstrable effect on day-to-day life.

"They say not sending out the letters to parents informing them applications are open will save £5,000 - but in my opinion this is money well spent.

"A lot of parents don't know the system has changed, and I fear they might miss it.

"Not everyone has access to social media, and some schools aren't even aware this has changed."

Somerset County Council says it has now aligned itself with other local authorities who also don't send out warning letters.

Despite not sending the letters, other means of communication such as text messages have been utilised to ensure parents are aware.

A spokesperson said: “Like many other authorities, we no longer send letters to all parents reminding them of the need to apply for a school place.

“It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to make an on-time application, though we will send ‘chaser’ texts and letters parents on our database who have not yet applied. These will be sent two weeks before the deadline for school applications.

“We have written to all schools to inform them and ask them to include information about the deadline and how to apply in their newsletters. We have also publicised the date and process through social media channels will continue to do so up until the deadline dates."

The deadline for applying to start school, i.e. going from infant to junior or first to middle school, is January 15, and the deadline for transferring schools, i.e. going from primary to secondary or middle to upper school, is October 31.

All applications can be made at somerset.gov.uk.