THE row over four-year-old Oswaldtwistle youngster Jack Lord being allocated a place at a primary school a 30-minute trek from his home while the school his parents chose is just three doors away highlights a real nonsense.

That is the pretence of the body responsible, Lancashire Education Authority, that schools no longer have catchment areas.

Of course they do - even if they are nowadays blurred by parental choice.

Common sense says that youngsters - for the sake of convenience and safety - should attend the school nearest their home. And above all, as was the case with little Jack, if it is the one picked by his parents.

But if the LEA is sticking to its insistence that catchment areas do not exist, how on earth does it explain its own criterion for places at oversubscribed West End Primary School in Oswaldtwistle where this lad has been refused a place?

They say that youngsters living on one side of West End must go to other schools in the area whereas those living on the other side - though further away from it that Jack - take priority because they would have to travel further to get to alternative schools.

Does this not amount to the school's catchment area being designated by the body that insists it has not got one?

That it does so unfairly is the case for some lessons in basic geography and logic needing to be dinned into the heads of those drawing the maps at the LEA.