A MOTHER says her son’s fledgling football career has been thrown into jeopardy because he has not been offered any of his choices for secondary school.

Barney Gillett-Coles is among 147 Brighton and Hove pupils unlucky enough not to be offered any of their three preferences – in his case Varndean, Dorothy Stringer or Blatchington Mill.

His mother Belinda Gillett said her son was “heartbroken” to have been allocated Longhill while his friends and older siblings all go to Dorothy Stringer.

The 54-year-old said she felt the same level of emotion at the death of her mother as she did learning the news this week.

Ms Gillett, who is appealing against the decision, said she would quit her job and home school her 11-year-old son rather than send him to school in Rottingdean.

Of the 5.8 per cent of pupils not receiving any of their top three choices, more than a third missed out in the Stringer Varndean catchment area.

Barney goes to Downs Junior School. Just eight Downs pupils are going to Longhill and none from his friendship group.

Ms Gillett, from Vere Road, Brighton, said she wanted Barney to attend Stringer with his older brother and sister and which has a strong reputation for sports.

She said it would not be possible to travel from her childcare job in Fiveways at 4pm to Longhill and on to the Chelsea Academy at Lewes or the Pro:Direct Academy at Cuckfield, where talented footballer Barney trains, before 5pm on weeknights.

She said: “I thought they had sent it to the wrong address when I first opened the envelope.

“Longhill is the most difficult school to get to, especially for an 11-year-old travelling in the dark with no one that he knows. Barney has been sobbing since he got the news. He didn’t even know where Longhill was when we told him.

“We are all heartbroken, I feel the same as when my mother died.”

A city council spokesman said: “We have always tried our best to ensure parents are offered a place in their catchment school if they apply for one but we have never been able to guarantee this.

“Dorothy Stringer and Varndean have both taken their full number of students this year.

“They are operating at the limits of their capacity, expanding them further is simply not practical.

“Our school admissions procedures have been scrutinised by the national Schools Adjudicator and found to be both fair and transparent.”