are the LA obliged to find child a reception place in this instance?

(32 Posts)
DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 21:40:06

An acquaintance of my cousin did not get any of her choices and was given a reception place at a school she did not want. Foolishly (IMO) she turned the place down. She's on waiting lists for her preferred schools but I was wondering what would happen if she had no offer come September? Are the LEA obliged to find her DD a place given she turned the one offered down? I'm just curious as to what her options may be now.

LynetteScavo Sat 31-May-14 21:44:04

I don't think the LEA are obliged...they offered her a place and she turned it down.

My understanding is the LA have done their part by offering a place.
It is now down to the parent to arrange for education for their child - securing a place off a waiting list, private or home education. Formal education doesn't need to start til the term after the child turns 5, so September isn't the cut off.

I'm sure someone with more knowledge will be along soon.

DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 21:51:20

Yes that's what I thought, I think she's pretty stuffed TBH. We're in Surrey where the schools are heaving at the seams and she's quite far down the waiting lists. I suppose she might get lucky if bulge classes open up.

WorraLiberty Sat 31-May-14 21:56:28

No they're not obliged until the term after she turns 5

Hopefully she'll get a place of her choice before then. Come September, a lot of allocated places aren't taken up because the families have moved during the Summer holidays, so you never know.

WorraLiberty Sat 31-May-14 21:58:55

IME if a school is going to add a bulge class, they have it ready for September anyway, to help with the new intakes.

They cost a lot of money and take a lot of planning, so it would be unusual for a school to 'suddenly' be able to add one at any other time of the year.

DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 22:23:33

That's what I meant worra she might get lucky if bulge classes open up over summer and one has a place for her DD! Are they obliged once the child turns five then, even though a place was offered and turned down?

prh47bridge Sat 31-May-14 22:30:20

They have offered her a place which she has rejected. They do not have to come up with another offer, either now or at any time in the future. WorraLiberty is wrong to say they will have to come up with another offer the term after the child turns five. The LA may come up with another offer but they are under no obligation.

She will only be offered a place in a bulge class if she is high enough up the waiting list for that school to get in.

She needs to find out which schools (if any) still have places available. If nothing comes up via the waiting list and she can't find any schools with places her only choices are to home educate or go private.

DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 22:35:05

That was my understanding prh, nice to know I've got the hang of this!

So she's stuffed then unless enough places appear in Sept. my understanding is that she's only on two waiting lists and is 7th and 9th. If I knew her personally I'd be giving her a kick up the arse to go on every waiting list in the area.

DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 22:39:45

Are bulge classes designed to clear (or mostly clear) the waiting list for a specific school, rather than mopping up several shorter waiting lists in the area? Or do they do both?

WorraLiberty Sat 31-May-14 22:41:19

I stand corrected re the obligation but my LA will offer other places anyway.

That's what I meant worra she might get lucky if bulge classes open up over summer and one has a place for her DD!

If there was a bulge class opening up, it would open in September and the places would already be allocated by now.

LAs know early doors whether they're going to be inundated and plan well in advance if any schools have the room for bulge classes.

Sadly most schools (here anyway) just can't cope with the extra pressure a bulge class puts on the lunch hall and the playground...because they're overcrowded to begin with.

We need more schools built as they're bursting at the seams here.

WorraLiberty Sat 31-May-14 22:43:23

Are bulge classes designed to clear (or mostly clear) the waiting list for a specific school, rather than mopping up several shorter waiting lists in the area? Or do they do both?

They do both here but the main criteria is still the shortest distance from the child's home, to the school. So just being on the waiting list, won't put you above kids living nearer to the school IYSWIM?

DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 22:45:03

Ah I didn't realise bulge classes would already be sorted.

The pressure on places is awful, especially when it means a silly mistake could cost a child so dearly.

DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 22:46:32

Yes I see worra. Let's hope she gets lucky for her DD's sake!

WorraLiberty Sat 31-May-14 22:56:51

Yes let's hope so!

In the school I'm a governor at, it took a fair while to sort the bulge class because...

It had to be okay'd by governors

Finance from the LA had to be agreed

Some fine building alterations were done, due to health and safety.

New teaching post and TA post had to be advertised.

Interviews had to be held.

And that's just what I can think of off the top of my head. I think we were asked by the LA to consider it, about 10 months before the September intake.

tethersend Sat 31-May-14 23:03:55

"No they're not obliged until the term after she turns 5"

Whilst this is the compulsory school age, the LA must offer a school place to every child for the September after they turn four. It can be deferred until the term after they turn five, but the place must be available for the child to take up from the September after they turn four.

doodledotmum Sat 31-May-14 23:13:49

They offered a place. She declined. She now needs to go private or HEd .. Unless a place appears

DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 23:18:09

tethersend yes the LA tried to fob me off with that little gem last year. I've NC since then but you and prh147 were two of the people who gave me brilliant advice on here.

scottishmummy Sat 31-May-14 23:18:51

The local authority under no obligation to offer another place,the parents declined offer

tethersend Sat 31-May-14 23:20:30

That's sweet of you to say- I'm sure my contribution was dwarfed by prh's excellent advice though grin

DrLizShaw Sat 31-May-14 23:34:25

You are equally enshrined on my mantelpiece ;)

prh47bridge Sun 01-Jun-14 00:40:31

Thank you. grin

Are bulge classes designed to clear (or mostly clear) the waiting list for a specific school, rather than mopping up several shorter waiting lists in the area? Or do they do both?

Places in a bulge class must be allocated to the waiting list. It is not permissible to give parents who did not apply for the school priority over those who did. Of course, allocating places via the waiting list will usually free up places at other schools so the net effect is that several waiting lists will get shorter.

MaudantWit Tue 03-Jun-14 00:40:25

Prh47bridge has said it all. The LEA has done all that it is required to do and if a bulge class does open, it's places will be filled from that school's waiting list , using its usual admissions criteria.

At the risk of sounding harsh, your acquaintance is - unless s/he can home educate or find a place in an independent school - very foolish.

DrLizShaw Tue 03-Jun-14 07:43:15

Maudant not harsh at all, I couldn't agree more. She's actually my cousin's childminder which is why it's come up in conversation - at least she's in a reasonable position to home educate!

Saracen Tue 03-Jun-14 22:13:21

Does your acquaintance actually regret having turned the place down? (Oh wait, she isn't even an acquaintance, she's someone you've never met...) If you don't know that she regrets it, then it's very judgemental to declare that she has been foolish or she is stuffed, or imply that someone should "give her a kick up the arse".

It's quite possible that she did think it through carefully and decided she would rather wait than send her child to the school she was offered. Not all parents feel in desperate need of a school place, any school place, for their child at the start of Reception.

I know a number of parents locally who have declined the school places they were offered. They were completely unwilling to send their child to that school, so in their case this was a sensible move. All of them were well aware that this could mean no school for a while and were prepared for that.

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