“I am your child and I am asking for your help.” These were the unusual words of a York father to City of York Council.
Chris Hoyle, 37, a senior business intelligence analyst, grew up in foster care and described the council as his ‘corporate parents’.
Addressing the children scrutiny committee about primary school allocation, he said this meant his three-year-old son Oscar is the council’s grandchild.
Now the time has come for Chris and wife Danielle, 36, an educational psychiatrist, to choose a school for their child.
“I’ll shortly be submitting my choices for schools for Oscar,” Chris told the committee.
“The closest school to my house is two streets away on a safe walking route. It’s where many of our friends are.
“Unfortunately my catchment school is a mile away on a road that’s often jammed with traffic and terrible parking available.
“You can see that the practicalities of attending a school that’s really close to my house where all of our friends are to provide us with practical support is a million miles different to attending a school that’s a long way away, where we don’t know anybody with no support for unexpected events that life throws up.
“His closest school is right next to the secondary school that he will attend. Something that my people long for is stability.”
Although Mr Hoyle said he could get through this inconvenience, he asked members of the scrutiny committee if it would be good enough for their children.
“It will be OK, but it will be difficult and I feel like I’ve had rather enough difficulty in my life,” Mr Hoyle said.
“I’d urge the committee to explore the possibility of adding a priority to the school’s allocation policy for the children of formally looked after children.
“I’d like you to do what all good grandparents do; love their grandchildren.”
Chris and Danielle are now expecting their second child. “It’s too late for Oscar,” Chris told councillors.
“His allocation will happen shortly. Policy is already published and enacted.
“But it’s not too late for my second child.”
Chris added: “I’d like you to be a grandparent for her in a way that you haven’t been for Oscar.
“Would it be good enough for your own children? Because I am your child and I’m asking for your help.”
Executive member for children and education Cllr Bob Webb said: “It is something that we want to look into.
“I can’t promise anything when it comes to school allocation because it’s a minefield but it’s certainly something that we will look at.”
Speaking after the meeting, Chris said he was “really pleased” giving priority to children who had parents who had been in care will be explored but that “the proof is in the pudding.”
He added: “I understand school allocations are a complex process that cannot be changed easily and that many people struggle with.”
“I do hope it is implemented and helps to create a shift in how care-experienced people are supported throughout their lives in our city.”