to be annoyed about my friend lying about her address on a school application?

(113 Posts)
cavell Wed 19-Feb-14 13:36:12

My friend wants her son to go to a very over-subscribed secondary school. They almost certainly live too far away for him to be offered a place in March, but her parents live very close indeed to said school. She plans to put her parents utility bills in her own name so she can claim she has moved in with them (with her son, obviously). Since her parents live almost next-door to the school, she hopes she will get a place for her son off the waiting list. If they do get offered a place, she plans to move house "properly" to live near the school, but if the plan fails then they will stay put and her son will probably end up at a good-but-not-great school.

Half of me says that it is none of my business. The other half is a bit annoyed because I think it is unfair and deceitful and it just isn't something I would ever contemplate doing.

I'm not actually considering "informing" on her, I'm just having a grumble. AIBU?

pixiepotter Wed 19-Feb-14 13:40:25

You say she plans to do such and such on her application for a place in March? Applications were done and dusted months ago?

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 19-Feb-14 13:43:37

It is unfortunate that we feel we have to make these choices, and no doubt she will argue that she is only doing what is right by her child. It is unfair though because she is probably going to get what would rightfully be someone else's place. Personally, I probably would dob someone in who did this.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Wed 19-Feb-14 13:44:57

I think they check with the council tax

Blu Wed 19-Feb-14 13:46:17

Pixie - this is her plan B if the school is not allocated in March. She will make the move and then make a late application from the parents' address, or go on the waiting list from her 'new' address.

Which won't look suspicious to the school / LA at all....

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 19-Feb-14 13:52:38

Given what Blu said I'd leave her to it actually. But YANBU to be annoyed - it's like people who jump into queues.

cavell Wed 19-Feb-14 13:55:06

Thanks Blu, that is exactly what she plans. I think by "utility bills" she is including the council tax. Her parents will still be paying said bills, of course, because she still has to pay the bills at her own house, where she is actually living.

tiggytape Wed 19-Feb-14 13:55:22

The moral debate on this always hinges on blaming the crazy system that drives parents to such lengths versus the fact this isn't a victimless crime (in order for her son to get in, someone else loses that place) which is also grossly unfair.

Regardless of all that though she probably won't get away with it.
A few years ago people got away with this all the time but now most councils are absolutely red hot on the issue:
There are certain applications that trigger red flags at the council leading to extra investigation. A late house move nextdoor to an oversubscribed school at the very time her son wants a place will be a massive red flag.

And a few utility bills won't fool them - they've seen it all before!
They will check her council tax history - is she still registered at another house? If so they will not accept the address as being genuine.
They can ask the primary school her son attends to tell them which address they have registered for her child
They can ask the DVLA which address they have for her
They can also ask the GP surgery.

Unless she is going to go to very extreme lengths (i.e. relinquishing her current house) then this will not work. And even if she did get away with it initially, if the council find out at a later date that she used her parent' address they can remove the place even if her son is already happy and settled in year 7. They can kick him out of the school as soon as any fraud is uncovered

The more desirable the school, the more likely it is she will be caught because more checks will be done and more people are likely to report her (eg when her son starts in September and reveals to any of his new Year 7 friends what happaned).

dannin Wed 19-Feb-14 13:59:02

I would imagine this is a type of fraud and she will be found out and find herself as well as her parents in trouble. Councils and school boards are not stupid, they have checks so people like her can't get away with this type of thing! YANBU!

tiggytape Wed 19-Feb-14 14:00:05

Oh and they can do spot checks. A council emplyee turning up at the parents' house at either 8am or 7pm asking about the new living arrangements is not impossible and is going to reveal the truth quite quickly. Again they do this sort of thing in highly suspicious cases where fraud is suspected.

PuppyMonkey Wed 19-Feb-14 14:04:50

Blimey - op, i think you should show your friend tiggytape's posts and maybe she'll see what a can of worms she could be opening for herself.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 19-Feb-14 14:05:30

What about if they check the electoral roll? She cannot be on the electoral roll at her parents' address if she is already on it at another address.

As a previous poster said, has she actually done all of this already? Before making an application back in October? If not, the LEA will smell a rat. Especially if the school is very oversubscribed & they routinely carry out checks.

newgirl Wed 19-Feb-14 14:11:23

It won't work - the paperwork needs to be dated back to november

tiggytape Wed 19-Feb-14 14:11:28

I know a lot of people think school admissions are a little local thing.
But they are in fact goverened by very strict laws.
As such, councils have a duty to ensure they are equally strict in making sure schools are allocated exactly as the law dictates. They don't check everyone's application in such depth but certain ones will be highlighted for lots of extra investigation.

If it turns out people get places by cheating, it doesn't just affect the person on the waiting list who would have got that place but who gets edged out. It undermines the entire system.

People are tempted though because they are desperate and councils know this too but they really have seen every trick in the book when it comes to convenient house moves at school admission time.

The other thing to remember is, in any dispute the council has the final say. They tell the parents which address they will be using not the other way round so they don't need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a family is cheating. If they suspect it strongly enough, they will simply use the address they believe to be the genuine one and if the parents don't like it they have to go to appeal and try to convince a panel of their innocence (not easy if they are in fact cheating - most go to panel and instead explain why they should be allowed to cheat and how unfair the whole thing is anyway).

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 19-Feb-14 14:15:20

And to add to what Tiggytape very rightly says - when places are announced on 1st March & other pupils at the child's primary school go home & tell their parents who is going where, she will have problems. Those parents will know where your friend lives and where her parents live. If their child did not get offered a place at School A, even though they may live a little closer than your friend, what do you think they will do?

They will report the fraud because that is in the best interests of their child - as they may then be offered the place (or at least move 1 place up the waiting list).

I have known this happen at DS2's primary school - although in the year above him - DS2 is in a tiny year, so there were no such problems, everyone got in to the school they applied for. The place was withdrawn in the case I know of, and led to fisticuffs in the playground sad.

Stinklebell Wed 19-Feb-14 14:15:45

Our local council is shit hot on this these days

Someone I know tried to use the DH's parents address as the over subscribed, out of catchment school they preferred was on the same road. They were initially given a place in the school but once the council investigated the place was withdrawn - I don't know what triggered the investigation, but once it started it was glaringly obvious they didn't live there

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 19-Feb-14 14:15:59

Fisticuffs between the fraudulent mother & the reporting mother I mean!

mousmous Wed 19-Feb-14 14:17:57

our council wants
- council tax bill
- tenancy agreement or proif of purchase
- utility bill

all 3 or school application is invalid...

WooWooOwl Wed 19-Feb-14 14:18:35

What's unfair is that parents have consider doing stuff like this just to get their children into a decent school.

I know it's wrong, but I couldn't judge a parent negatively for doing it.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 19-Feb-14 14:21:36

Also, there was a documentary about this - I think it focused on school places in London, where - I imagine - the competition is the most fierce.

They even had parents who had rented a property within catchment for a period of 3 or 6 months to try and get a place. Unless the family had actually relinquished their previous/other property & moved lock stock into the newly rented address, they were turned down for a place.

Using a 'second address' is not allowed even if you live between both - only the main residence counts.

It's really not worth it.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 19-Feb-14 14:24:25

Yes WooWoo, people should not have to feel that fraud is their only option to start with.

However, if OP's friend is going to go ahead with it, she should consider all of the implications very carefully first. Which is why I, for one, am listing all of the problems with it I can think of!

Johnogroats Wed 19-Feb-14 14:26:50

We legitimately moved to a house near an oversubscribed school...mid year...and were offered a school about 5 miles away. This was in Lambeth. We got a place eventually, but it was very stressful. By the way, the move was a long term thing, and schooling was not at the front of our minds when we bought the house (dim I know, but the truth).

I think your friend is likely to get caught out.

MissyO Wed 19-Feb-14 14:27:45

IME the council are not 'shit-hot' they have not got the resources or the motivation to do anything other than cover their arses by doing reasonable checks.In our case (we rented a few months in catchment)they asked for copy of council tax bill, NHS card, bank statement or utility bills.

cavell Wed 19-Feb-14 14:30:19

It isn't as if her son will be going to Shitsville Comp if he doesn't get the place his mother wanted. The fallback school isn't a bad one - it just isn't as good as the oversubscribed one.

Blu Wed 19-Feb-14 16:07:00

What happens if someone gets caught after they have been offered and accepted the place and the place is taken off them? presumably by that time the place they could have accepted, at good back-up school in this place, has been re-allocated to someone else.

Do they have to go to the back of the admissions queue and apply again as a late entry?

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