The father of a disabled girl denied a school place for being a health and safety risk has described the school’s attempt to apologise as “an insult”.

Anthony Miller was devastated when 11-year-old Idayah, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was rejected from the elite Harris Academy, Crystal Palace, after being told her wheelchair would block other children using the crowded corridors.

The reasons for the academy's refusal to accept the little girl were outlined in a letter from headteacher Steve Kenning.

He said Idayah would suffer low self- esteem because her “academic ability is quite low” and Harris was “a high pressure, high performing academy” where she would struggle to keep up with her friends.

Mr Miller, who has won the right to have Idayah educated in a mainstream school at a tribunal, has since received an apology from the Harris Federation for the wording of their original letter.

But the school has cancelled an independent appeal hearing into the matter, telling him he needs to go through the Special Education Needs Tribunal.

He said: “I want a place, not an apology.”

The tribunal has since said it cannot help Mr Miller, who has been referred to the Department for Education.

He said: “I am in limbo at the moment. The Local Education Authority does not know what to do and the school has cancelled my appeal. In the meantime, my daughter is without education. It is ridiculous.”

A spokesman for the Harris Federation admitted the letter from Mr Kenning had been poorly drafted and inappropriate.

He said: "We have contacted the family to apologise.

"The academy is heavily oversubscribed, but gives priority in its admissions to children with statements of special educational need where the academy is named on the statement.

"When cases go to appeal and are upheld, we always do everything in our power to ensure the child has an outstanding education with us."