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Kemsley mum threatens to home-school son following ‘unfair’ Oasis Academy secondary school placement

The mother of a young boy who passed both the Kent and Medway tests with flying colours says she’d rather home-school him than send him to “the worst school in England”.

Daniel Psenicnyj, from Kemsley in Sittingbourne, was allocated a place at Oasis Academy, on Sheppey, by Kent County Council (KCC) despite not putting it down as one of his four desired secondary school options.

Daniel with his parents, Roman and Anna Psenicnyj. Picture: Megan Carr
Daniel with his parents, Roman and Anna Psenicnyj. Picture: Megan Carr

His mum, 33-year-old Anna, who has lived in the UK for 15 years after moving from Ukraine, explained her trilingual son gave up all his free time in the lead-up to his Kent test to obtain perfect scores so he could attend a grammar school.

The Lower Halstow Primary School pupil wanted to go to either the Rainham Mark Grammar School, the Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Fulston Manor or Westlands.

He said: “When I started getting ready for the 11 Plus, I was determined to get a good school.

“I wanted to be with the smart kids, so while I was revising I didn't play with my friends online, play outside or go to the park with friends.

“I just worked hard for it and I didn't get the school I wanted. I worked so hard to get a good school so there wouldn’t be bullies.

“When I found out I was going to Oasis I was just in shock. I couldn't stop crying. I worked so hard trying to reach my dream and I just got a place, at what I would say, is the worst school in the whole of England.”

Oasis Academy, a comprehensive school with two campuses in Sheerness, has a bad reputation due to recent teacher strikes and poor Ofsted reports.

In March 2023 the failing school, which had made some improvements, was told it still required special measures after inspectors rated the school inadequate for a second time.

In November, parents and teachers revealed the troubled school was plagued with abuse and violence.

The school was forced to close on several occasions while around 80 members of staff took to picket lines over fears for their safety.

Teachers striking outside Oasis Academy over pupil's behaviour in November, 2023
Teachers striking outside Oasis Academy over pupil's behaviour in November, 2023

One teacher told KentOnline staff face daily abuse including racial slurs and threats of violence, sexual assault and death.

Following the national coverage of the school’s negative image, Anna and Daniel’s 41-year-old dad, Roman, knew it was not the place for their son.

Anna, a makeup artist, said: “When I saw he’d got Oasis Academy I couldn't believe it. My legs literally numbed and I couldn't walk.

“This school might be better in the future because they say they promise it's going to be a new academy but the kids will be the same.

“You can't achieve what you can in that school because kids fight with the teachers.

The Oasis Academy on Sheppey
The Oasis Academy on Sheppey

“This means instead of spending their time explaining the subject to the kids, teachers are just fighting with the other kids who are uncontrolled.

“We refused his place straight away and if we don’t win an appeal for any other school, in the worst-case scenario, he's going to be home-schooled.

“I feel like KCC has made a big mistake. It's just not fair for him, he works hard, he has good grades, and he never had any issues at school. I want to fight for my child because it's just unfair.”

One of the reasons why Daniel’s parents are so fearful of him attending Oasis Academy is because of the racism that’s been reported there.

Anna explained: “I'm originally from Ukraine and Roman is from Lithuania.

Daniel Psenicnyj's mum, Anna, is from Ukraine. Picture: Anna Psenicnyj
Daniel Psenicnyj's mum, Anna, is from Ukraine. Picture: Anna Psenicnyj

“We speak different languages at home and because of that, Daniel is worried about bullying. This is because he had a few situations in primary school.

“I think it's a really good school, so I’m worried about how bad it can be at Oasis.”

KCC’s website explains that parents wishing to appeal their child’s school place must do so before Thursday, March 28, for it to be considered by Monday, June 17.

A Kent County Council (KCC) spokesperson said: “All applicants for secondary school are ranked according to the details they provide to us on their application form and the published oversubscription criteria for each school they named.

“KCC will then work through their preferences and offer a place at the highest preference school that we can according to availability of places in the school. Where we are unable to offer one of their named preferences because the school is full, we are then legally required to allocate an alternative space, which is usually the next nearest school to the child's home, on National Offer Day.

“All parents have the right of appeal for any school they have been refused.

“Parents are also able to go on the waiting list for any school they named. The only exception to this is if a grammar school was named, and the child was not eligible for grammar school under the Kent Test.

“We will email all parents who have named a waiting list preference on Kent’s Reallocation Day on Thursday, April 25 to let them know if we can offer a different school. After then, all parents are free to approach any other schools that they did not originally name for a place.”

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