A GIRL who missed almost half a term of education after failing to get into her first choice school is celebrating after being given a place at a secondary just minutes from her home.

Lucy Jackson, aged 11, had faced the prospect of making a 50-minute trek to Hayward School - which she did not want to attend.

Her mother, Wendy, would have had to give up fostering babies and disabled children to take Lucy to school on the bus.

Lucy had wanted to go to Harper Green, but the Farnworth secondary school has been heavily oversubscribed this year and there were not enough places for every child who applied.

Mrs Jackson, of Broadway, Farnworth, had appealed against the Local Education Authority's decision and tried to get a place for Lucy at St James's secondary school.

She was unsuccessful a few months ago because there were still too many children on the St James's waiting list.

However, as children have come off the list and families have moved away from the area, a place finally became available for Lucy, who joined St James's two weeks ago.

Headteacher Bob Atkinson still followed the strict points system which he has had to use this year because of the number of children wanting to attend.

But as Lucy has always taken part in out-of-school activities, her mother is involved in community work and they live in the parish, she achieved enough points to put her at the top of the list.

Lucy, a former Highfield Primary pupil, is thrilled to have started at the school and has already made plenty of friends while her mother is delighted at the prospect of not having to abandon fostering.

Mrs Jackson said: "This is a huge relief for all of us. I'm glad I stuck to my guns and kept Lucy off school because she loves it at St James's."

Mr Atkinson said: "Lucy had sufficient points to get into the school.

"We were delighted to take her and she has settled in very well."

Cllr Laurie Williamson, who backed the Jacksons in their fight, said: "I'm pleased this has been resolved because it's been such a long drawn out struggle for both mum and daughter."