Admissions - what constitutes 'adopted?'

(70 Posts)
Twistlethant Sat 19-Oct-13 15:57:25

Hoping one of the admission experts will be able to help with this one.
A friend has adopted a child from abroad. She's now at the stage where she has to apply for primary school. The child currently attends a nursery attached to the primary school my friend would like her daughter to go to - only thing is she's not that near, certainly not in catchment, at any rate.
Friend was under the impression that as child is adopted she'll be top of the priority list and get in - and consequently only needs to put this one school on the form. I thought I'd read somewhere that 'adoption' for these purposes only applies to children who were in local authority care, not overseas adoptees or step -children.
Can anyone out there clarify this? Needless to say, I have already advised her not to put just this one school on the form and include a couple of realistic local options she'd be prepared to accept, just in case.

Hayleyh34 Sat 19-Oct-13 16:01:51

When we adopted it only applied to looked after children (technically still in care system, I know many parents who delayed official adoption process in order to get school priority). However we had to provide proof of this when applying for schools, it's not just taken at face value

Twistlethant Sat 19-Oct-13 16:09:54

Thanks Hayleyh34, I thought the rules had (or were going to be changed) to apply to such children after the actual adoption process - something else to ask the experts!

Choccyjules Sat 19-Oct-13 16:11:21

The government are busy changing it to children who are or who have been in care, however I can't find anything which states whether or not this will apply to children adopted from another country's care system.

bundaberg Sat 19-Oct-13 16:12:10

i'm fairly sure you don't get priority just because you're adopted confused

schools have different admissions criteria, she should be able to find it online.

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 16:14:01

sorry it only refers to children who were "looked after" in teh UK system. WE have petitioned against it and even BAAF who are hardly avocates for intercountry adoption have said the position doesn;t make sense, particularly given the extremely small numbers of children there are in this position and who suffer from their early start every bit as much as any other child who has been adopted from any care system.

Hulababy Sat 19-Oct-13 16:15:24

In the case of over subscribed schools, in my LEA this is the priority order:

Special Educational Needs
Any child that has a statement for SEN that names a specific school must be offered a place there.

Priority 1. Looked After Children
Pupils who are in public care (Looked After) who:
are looked after at the time of an application for a school is made
will be looked after at the time when the child is admitted to school.

Priority 2. Catchment area with Sibling
Children who normally reside with a parent or person with parental responsibility in the defined catchment area and who will have a brother or sister at the preferred school on the day of admission will be considered next. This means that all catchment/sibling applications are prioritised before catchment applicants irrespective of distance. The normal distance tie-breaker will apply within each category.

Priority 3. Catchment Area
Children who normally reside in the catchment area of a school, as defined by the Authority, at the latest date for applications, and who apply for a place there will be considered after priority 1 and 2.

Priority 4. Brothers and Sisters (Sibling)
A sibling is defined as a child who permanently or usually lives at the same address as:-
A brother and/or sister (to include half brothers/sisters)
A stepbrother and/or stepsister
The child for whom the application has been made.
And in both cases will attend the preferred school at the point if entry.

Priority 4. Other Applications
Any child who does not fit into one of the above categories will be considered next. Places will be allocated up to the published indicated admission number.

Tie Breakers
For any admission category that is over-subscribed there are two stages of further consideration;
Where exceptional medical, social or special educational needs are demonstrated, an application may be prioritised by the Admissions Board but only within the same admission category.
If there are no exceptional circumstances, all other applications will be prioritised first by the admission category and then by distance from the home address to the school building. This is a straight-line measurement from the centre of the school building to the centre of the home.

bundaberg Sat 19-Oct-13 16:16:34

really? so children who were in care but are now adopted would have priority?

what is the thinking behind that?? it seems unfair, but very possible i'm missing something obvious!

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 16:16:35

i'm fairly sure you don't get priority just because you're adopted

Yes you do from sept 2014 intake (I think).

It followed the recognition that being adopted doesn't miraculously make any issues disappear and the days when babies were adopted at or near birth from healthy well nourished birth mothers for social reasons (eg single motherhood) are long gone.

Thepoodoctor Sat 19-Oct-13 16:18:32

As Kew says, sadly it is children adopted from UK public care only. Check Schools Admissions Code guidance for 2012. Its new from
September 2013 and got my Dd her reception place.

Best bet is for your friend to claim exceptional social or medical need - usually a category something like that - and to gather as much evidence as poss that her DD has needs related to her start in life that will be best met at the preferred school.

Best of luck!

MoreThanWords Sat 19-Oct-13 16:20:20

Not relevant to OP but ruling also applies to children under a Special Guardianship Order who were previously in LA care.

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 16:21:08

it seems unfair

Most adoptive parents would happily swap their childs start in life to a "normal" one in exchange for having to queue up for a school with everyone else if you want to play "fair" top trumps.

Post adoption support is so chronically bad in many authorities I suspect this was brought in as something to appease those parents struggling to get support so Gove can point at what the govt has done to encourage adoption

I also think it was probably taking a lot of resources assessing every adopted childs case on a case by case basis under social or medical needs criteria. Given the relatively low numbers involced its probably easier to accept that a few children may get into a school they don;t "need" than to try to deal with each individually.

bundaberg Sat 19-Oct-13 16:22:16

i appreciate that adopted/fostered children may need extra help due to their start in life.

why does that mean they should get priority at a particular school?

i don't want to upset anyone, just want to understand the reasoning behind it

RudolphLovesoftplay Sat 19-Oct-13 16:23:25

Children who were LAC that are now adopted do indeed get priority in school admissions. It's because a child's traumatic history doesn't magically disappear when they are adopted. Adopted children often need special help and nurturing throughout school, and some schools are better at that than others.

Hayleyh34 Sat 19-Oct-13 16:23:32

Oh good lord

Hayleyh34 Sat 19-Oct-13 16:24:22

Rudolph you've said it far better than I could. Am so shocked that people think like this

Twistlethant Sat 19-Oct-13 16:25:20

Thanks, all of you who replied. I thought this might be the case. Will pass all this useful information on.

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 16:26:00

BTW OP its worth checking her local council becasue I think the local counsil can choose to include any previously adopted child if they want to.

I got DS into his primary on exceptional social needs basis (though there is a good chance we would have got in anyway) but it was a lot of work and required a professional opinion why it had to be that specific school that addressed his social need and no other not just a list of reasons why that school would be good for him.

IME exceptional social needs are very hard to justify

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 16:28:40

Because parents are ususally pretty good at assessing which school would suit their child best (for any child not just an adopted one) and it ties up lots of social worker/doctor/psychologist etc time arguing each on a case by case basis.

I'll swap if you like Bundaberg - your child can have the start mine did and you can choose any school you like.

bundaberg Sat 19-Oct-13 16:28:55

ok, that makes sense.

again, i didn't mean to upset/offend anyone. havign no experience of adoption or what it entails (for all involved, but esp the child) i was not sure why this was necessary.

now i do.

bundaberg Sat 19-Oct-13 16:29:59

you wanna swap? ok you get the autistic child who can't get the education he deserves because the local authority aren't interested in paying for it.

shall we call it quits?

i've explained why I asked.

clangermum Sat 19-Oct-13 16:30:51

I second Rudolph. Schooling is often the most stressful thing for parents of adopted children, you just can't imagine until you've been through it. Love just isn't enough for many of these kids. I'd give anything not to be living with the daily reminder of the early abuse mine suffered. They are truly damaged for life and the wrong approach at school just heaps further misery on top of everything else.

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 16:31:13

Also many adopted children struggle terribly with change (having such bad experiences of it) and anything you can do to help transition them is worth doing.

Often from an adoption perspective smaller = better when it comes to changing schools and they are the hardest to get into.

Do you really think its unfair, Bundaberg?

clangermum Sat 19-Oct-13 16:32:12

Cross posted bundaberg, but also dealing with autism if that makes you feel better. We didn't benefit from new rules and it has been shit

clangermum Sat 19-Oct-13 16:33:15

Local authorities are just reluctant to pay. Period.

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