how long do you need to live at an address to be able to use it to apply for school admission?(65 Posts)
Just that really. Thinking of primary schools and moving to be in the catchment area of a good one, but I'm wondering how long you need to live in that address for it to be ok to use it? I will probably not be able to live long term in the catchment area I am thinking of.
More and more councils are cottoning on to people cheating by temporary moving into catchment areas. Which is quite right too. Unless the move 1s permanent don't.
I'm going to do what is right for my child, and will follow the rules to the letter. I'm just wondering what the rule is as the council website isn't explicit.
There is no specific rule about the length of time you must live at an address. However, as creamteas says, many councils have been stung by people moving into the catchment area of a popular school temporarily to get a place and then moving out again afterwards. If they think you have made a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application the council is entitled to withdraw the place even after your child has started at the school.
You may get away with it if you move in well before the closing date for applications and stay at least until offers have been made but there are no guarantees. If you succeed you will be taking a place away from another child who lives in the area permanently.
And please don't fool yourself that you are following the rules to the letter if you engage in this kind of behaviour. You are not. The rules are that you must use your permanent address, not a temporary address where you have moved to try and get a place.
I'm asking a question about the rules, not a moral judgement.
I will follow the rules. Lots of people move to get places, to think otherwise is naive, I am just wondering how long I am required to live in the catchment.
Different schools have different rules.
Perhaps you could name the school in question?
Any of the following is likely to cause suspicion:
* a house move in the 12 months prior to applying
* where you own a home close by
They will also typically expect you to be able prove your address with a council tax bill, in your name.
So for instance if you are a home owner 3 miles from the school, and rent a house half-a-mile away without selling the house, then that's suspicious.
It has to be your permanent address.
If you currently rent your home, then there's no problem, you just move (and IMO doing this six months prior to application date is not unreasonable, thought it is likely to prompt an investigation), but if you are a home owner then you really have no option but to sell your current home, or have the risk of your child being kicked out for fraud.
Home renters - move for a year to somewhere v. close, move again a year later to somewhere further away - absolutely fine.
Home owners - sell your house or forget it.
There are no set rules. If they think you have moved into area to get a place and then moved out again they will remove the place regardless of how long you have been there.
In my area you need to be paying council tax at the time of application and when the school year starts.
So you are not concerned about morals or nicking a place from a local child whose family may have been living in the area for many generations and is more deserving than your child.
Good, I hope your child will be well educated to the same high moral standards.
I'm not particularly condoning OP's intentions, but I strongly disagree with peteneras description of nicking a place from a *local child.... more deserving than your child".
Why is one child more 'deserving', just because his or her parents have lived in an area for 'many generations?'
The biggest piece of advice I'd give to the OP is don't assume the grass is greener, just because Ofsted or other parents say it is.... Have you visited your currently local schools, your preferred school etc?
Sorry to state the obvious if you have, but I know a few people who have moved (permanently in their case) to get their child into a 'better' school, only to have that school decline and their local school thrive during their child's time there. Also think about possible travel etc getting a bus during rush hour, not having local friends to share pick ups with takes its toll over 7 years.
OP - we moved house 4 weeks ago due to relocating for dh's work. I have just done ds' application for sept 2013. The application firm only asked for your permanent address.
As you haven't actually said you plan to do anything questionable I hope you find somewhere you like within catchment. Moving house is a major pita - dint underestimate that!
"I strongly disagree with peteneras description of nicking a place from a *local child.... more deserving than your child"."
"Why is one child more 'deserving', just because his or her parents have lived in an area for 'many generations?'"
Have you ever wondered, for example, why the government spend multiple millions every 10 years to carry out a National Census? Well, I can tell you amongst other things, it is forward planning to cater for the future needs of a (local) community like how many houses, schools, hospitals etc. to build in the future.
It follows therefore, schools and especially primary schools, are built in any given locality to cater for the needs of the local community. Local residents by virtue of their continued residency over a prolonged period of time would have done their parts to support and contribute to local projects and other amenities including the school(s) around them. They would have paid their dues like Council Tax and other indirect taxes which would have benefited the local schools around them.
It is therefore, highly unfair and morally wrong for someone who is more affluent from outside to move in next door to the school so that their child could get admission to the school and then move out immediately thereafter while another local child whose family who happens to live just 10 yards further down the road has no school to go to. Id have thought someone who can afford to move in and out of dwellings should be able to afford some mysterious creature called private schools.
Just be aware we have this problem at local school and children who live across the toad haven't got in!!
Being close to school is 3rd reason for place, behide children with statements, children in foster care, siblings and then local to school.
When we applied for a school for DS1We lived in the same county but different LA area, we were allocated a school but it wasn't what we wanted. We had to give the address of the house we were moving to (we were buying) and they were happy because we showed we had intentions of staying here.
They will not remove your place if you have followed the rules, regardless of the morality of your choices.
I would suggest that if you are living at the address when you apply and you are still living there when the child starts school then you would be fine.
People moving in temporarily is a big issue for our local school. The council are considering changing the sibling rule so that if you move further away after the first child has a place, subsequent siblings will not get sibling priority places. May be worth considering...?
petenas, it doesn't sound like OP is more affluent or wealthy if she doesn't think that she'll be able to live in this catchment very long.
She just sounds like someone trying to do the best for her children, within an inherently flawed system.
You do know that people move for lots of reasons, don't you? The impending changes in Housing Benefit are going to force 1000s of families to relocate from where they've build their lives and community, people move for jobs, childcare reasons, because they get evicted, because they need more space etc etc.
It's incredibly reactionary to assert that one particular family has more 'right' to a particular school place because they happen to have lived in a particular area for longer.
The Census information only provides the barest of school planning functions in areas of high mobility like many urban areas. Talking of which, successive governments have known for years the birth rate rose significantly in the late 2000s, creating a demand for 100,000s of extra reception places, although this current job are too busy with their pet projects of free schools and academies to be planning in any sort of strategic way for this.
The rules specific a 'permanent address'. Do you think it's more moral to stay at a particular address where you may have lived for some time until you've got your first child into your preferred school, then move knowing that you can take advantage of the sibling rule?
Genuine questions by the way.
I assume that it will be a temporary rental property if the OP can't afford to live there long term. This is cheating.
I don't think a genuine local child is more deserving than a temporary incomer but I think they have a better claim on the place. Not that this makes an actual difference to the cheats.
They use medical records so make sure that you register the change of address with your GP. Also I'm assuming you're already in rented accommodation? If not then the fact that your house has not been sold will arouse suspicion. What do you mean by not living in the new area 'long term'? Most rental properties have a 12 month initial term - you won't have much choice if you're looking for a shorter let than that.
I will be renting on an assured shorthold tenancy. I won't own a home elsewhere. For work reasons I will need to move anyway, I will just probably not be able to stay there in the long term. If I were to move, rent, and for the landlord to not grant an extension on my tenancy would that be better?
I really don't get this whole 'deserving' business. Nobody has any right to say one child is more deserving than another.
My dc's morals are doing just fine thank you. Maybe you should concern yourself about your own child's morals petereneras?
to answer the question.
here there is no time limit. If you are buying you can apply the day you exchange. If renting, as soon as you have a signed contract.
What they check is if you are genuinely living there. So if you rent somewhere and use is for a couple of nights a week, and they find that out, it won't count.
It isn't relevant if you have moved to the area just for the school, as long as you have moved and are living there, you are counted as resident.
you must still be living there when the child starts school. Once school is started, they cannot remove place.
the moral issue is up to you
The point about siblings not getting in if you have moved away is true here, any catchment dwelling child has higher priority than siblings living outside catchment.
I moved just a couple of days before the late application deadline. It was however a permanent move into a house we were buying.
I know a couple who bought a house in the catchment area for a very good school. They did this to get their soon into the school. They rented it out as a short term let the next year due to the catchment area, that child was also admitted to the school. The next year the rented it out to another family, the school refused admission as they realised what was happening.
The address is now blacklisted so be very careful!
I thought they could remove the place if they found the application was fraudulent?
actually lavolcan, I think you are right, if they decide it is fraudulent.
Yeah... Totally fine to bump a child who actually lives in catchment.Course it is.
If its your permanent address, for however short a time, then afaik it follows the rules.
Wiltshire, it's six months after moving to a purchased home, and twelve months after moving to rented. Rule is strictly enforced for popular schools.
I really don't get this whole 'deserving' business. Nobody has any right to say one child is more deserving than another
Well, you wouldn't would you?
It would, however, be interesting to see if your opinion changed if you moved into "catchment" and failed to get a place because someone had "cheated" further up the pecking order.
The real problem is that people will take such steps to get their kids into a 'good' school rather than a local one. If everyone stopped doing this then the exam results would even out and people wouldn't have this idea that their precious little darlings should go somewhere different!
Well of course you would feel that if it was your child.
But objectively, it's very hard to see that one child is more 'deserving' than another.
God, we have this where i live, everyone wants our village schools. Everyone thinks they deserve to be able to get these 'best schools'
What they fail to realise is they are high achieving, nice schools as they are in the most affulent area. The children generally come from high achieving parents, the schools are well funded as the parents are affluent. ( tough if you don't like it, that's how it is)
Really if you can't live here you should be at your local school. Where i live evryone knows everyone and last year a few places were removed from people just like you! They have also just changed the sibling rules.
You deserve a moral judgment as your cheating children who rightfully should have that place. Cutting them out of the community in which they live. Stopping them from walking to school.
I have to do a long school run (20-25 mins each way) and I find it utterly tedious and thankful that I don't have to do it every day (ds is at a non local school for a particular reason). I'd find it even harder to do a short school run knowing that I would have to move out of the area soon.
Actually the schools probably aren't better funded. More deprived schools will get more money from the government.
I've every sympathy with people playing the system however, smugly saying 'you can eff off back to your council estate, pleb', is not terribly endearing.
The system is very much unfair and, as you note, tending to entrench privilege among the already privileged.
So if people manage to beat it, good for them.
In London you need to provide copies of your council tax bill; I thought that was the norm?
yellowsub, of course people move for all kinds of reasons and Ive absolutely no problems with that provided the move is genuine and dare I say, permanent. Even that, I can accept that permanency is subjective and is dependent on many factors. As far as this thread is concerned, I suggest you take another look at the very title itself and the original post.
OP was quite forthright and didnt beat around the bush what his/her intended move was all about i.e. to be able to use it to apply for school admission . . . in the catchment of a good one . . . and probably not be able to live long term in the catchment . . etc. I must admit this frank admission struck me dumbfounded when I first read it.
But you have utterly refused to see or consider my reasons when I explained why I feel a local child is more deserving than another who has been ferried in just for the school. OK, maybe the word deserving is too strong a word and I give you that. I honestly believe EVERY child is deserving of a good education but I also believe for every winner who gets into a good school, there is a loser who doesnt get in.
The council in their wisdom have devised rules like permanent address and distance from the school, etc. I believe the rules are well intended and meant to be fair catered for the local residents around the schools in question. But as always, the wealthy and the affluent are able to play the rules to their advantage at the expense of the poor and worse still, nudging out the very people that these schools were built for in the first place.
Your moral question to me about the siblings rule and moving away once your first child has been admitted is well answered a few post up thread. Councils are quite rightly shutting down this nonsense.
And as for playing within the rules, is it OK then for example, for multinational companies who have sales income in the UK of £millions (if not £billions) and paid little or no UK tax? Again, this nonsense is soon going to be consigned to history now that central government is realising whats happening.
OP I suppose you want a good school for your child so that (s)he can be educated to differentiate between right from wrong. After all, this is what education is all about. I hope this goal is achieved. Personally, Ive no concerns about my child(ren)s moral standards. I've been living in this same address for the last 22 years and I can see me living here still for the next 22, all being well.
Peteneras I am simply being honest.
I'm not affluent but you choose to label me as such: I'm a single mum and an (underpaid) key worker. I just want the best for my child, and if that means making sacrifices to live in the catchmet area of a good school for a bit then I will. I would move permanently if I could afford to do so.
Your question about tax avoidance is completely irrelevant to me.
But you haven't told me what you morally think about playing the sibling situation peteranas.
I think it's fair to say that OP has confirmed that she isn't affluently floating around nudging the deserving poor from their local school
It not about sending people back to a council estate, its about community. Children should go to a local school so that they are within the community. ( if you think your community is not good enough for you...move). I have only pointed out the obvious, you might not like it.. the truth.
It is a more affluent school as the fundraising and gifting, time and goodies are very high.
The point is people walk around schools, read the ofsted report and see a glowing report commenting on the lovely children. They want that for their child, however these schools can be filled by the community. If your not in that community you do not deserve a place. ( at another childs expense)
Invest in your local school, get involved.
You should look at your own council website because they have different rules.
We are currently moving from one county to another, our new one just needs to see a signed rental contract/council tax bill. And they say they'd withdraw a place for fraud, but quote the DES guidance:
"A school must not withdraw a place once a child has started at the school, except where that place was fraudulently obtained.
In deciding whether to withdraw the place, the length of time that the child had been at the school must be taken into account, for example, it might be considered appropriate to withdraw the place if the child has been at the school for less than one term "
So you're advocating keeping your head down for as long as possible in the hope you'll get away with it, Boulevard?
They're guidelines, anyway. I'm sure not all cases are dealt with identically.
It's easier to assume that position, violet if you're one of the ones who can afford to live in a nice village or desirable catchment.
Call the relevant council and ask them. The rules may vary from council borough to council borough, so the only relevant rules are those applied by the council where the school you are referring to is. Our council has a dedicated education line and the education officer was able to tell me the exact rules.
Yellow, but that is life is it not? We worked hard to buy a house in a good catchment. We spent tens of thousands more for our home knowing it is in catchment.
Why do you think it is a desirable school?
Nothing i have said is untrue, it how our society works.
Yes people feel it's unfair that they can't go round choosing the best schools, why are they the best schools?
The op can't afford to buy in this area but she would like her child to benefit from the school. Do you think that it is fair to cheat a child out of a place.
If you do obtain a place in this way all if the parents will know, do you want this? Would you like your child to be different?
All children should go to a fabulous school, of course they should. Fundamently though children shoud go to school within their community.
I have a good job but can't afford to live in the catchment area of the good local school. I can afford to pay private school fees so that is what I do. I think it is rather smug to tell people not to go to a certain school.
Fwiw when I was growing up I lived in a nice house in a middle class area. However, ours was a large year and there weren't enough places at the village school. Instead I had to go to a school in the middle of a large council estate as that was the next nearest school. I didn't go to school with dcs from my community but it didn't affect my schooling nor mean I didn't have local friends.
Ds has loads of local friends although he gets a bit fed up as they aren't always around to play with him (his has different term dates).
It is not smug to tell her not to steal a place from a local child.
Would you like to live in a forty room mansion with a pool and a gym...yes? Can we all live in a forty room mansion. No. It is not how life is.
If i wanted a very expensive car, would it be ok to steal one? Well you see i'm worth it, i deserve it, because my child deserves the best? these are not valid reasons.
We deal with what we have. cheating the system, lying is wrong. Its not a victimless crime.
I spent more on my house to avoid school fees.
If you move somewhere and it is your permanent home - i.e. you're not just renting until admissions are over then moving back to a 'real' home that you've hung on to all along - then that is allowed.
Whether it is 'right' or not doesn't come into it. As long as you are not doing anything decptive (like renting a second home just to get into a good school) then you are acting within the rules.
Thankfully a lot of schools and councils are acting to stamp out all the nonsense about renting a second home just for a school place. It has a very negative impact on all areas (both the ones people fight to get into and the ones they fight to get out of).
But what OP intends to do is perfectly fine. She is genuinely moving home to a new permanent residence and applying from there. The fact she doesn't intend to live there very long is neither here nor there. Nothing in admissions rules says you can't continually move house - just that you mustn't have 2 at a time and use the most favourable address for schools.
Once school is started, they cannot remove place.
Yes they can. They probably won't if the cheating isn't discovered in the first term but they can still do it later on as well. They can also refuse an application form and either ammend it to show the correct address (the family home instead of the one being cynically rented for a school place) and they can also leave an application until last treating it as a late applicant and allocating a school from whatever is left after everyone else gets one of their choices.
Lots of people are caught every year. Most are quietly dealt with by getting a telling off and their form ammended to show their real address but children can and do get kicked out of schools when their parents have cheated.
Again - not refering to the OP here because the OP has no second home and is therefore not cheating.
I can't speak for the whole of the country but in London "a local school" is more likely to mean "a ghetto": whether a bankers/high rank lawyers or parents mostly on benefits or Irish Catholic or white creative middle classes ghetto or any other combination. I just don't get this hysteria about local schools and more deserving children. Parents shouldn't be in this position full stop. Poor schools with weak leadership shouldn't be tolerated because as a parent you can do a lot but you can't run the school if the head teacher is a poor manager and the local education authority prefers to game the system instead of genuinely improving schools.
Oh sound that's why i'm not in london! I left london long before i wanted children.
My local school is lovely, so are a lot of the schools around. Even the less desirable ones are ok.
The system is flawed, it encourages us to believe that we are entitled to the best school. You are of course correct but good governerns can transform a school.
violet, stealing a car is theft.
Moving into the catchment of a good school is what the OP is asking about and, er, what you did.
I live in London, which is precisely why I am doing this. The bad schools are pretty bad. I agree with you completely sound.
Violet you are clearly living a charmed life being able to buy a house in a good catchment area in a nice area. Not everyone is that lucky. I think there is a lot of truth in the saying 'you have the morals you can afford'. I'll do whatever I think is best for my child, and no I dont feel guilty. I think its easy for you to judge those less fortunate than you.
And I agree with yellow!
Purple, I think you've been given an incredibly hard time. Especially as you are a "key worker", which means you probably work your bum off in a very important job that isn't particularly well paid, and I'm sorry to say, at times thankless.
As long as you actually LIVE in the rented flat, as opposed to using a postal address you'll be fine in London. There has been a lot of hysteria and more than a bit of pompous posturing about community on this thread.
I really wish you all the best in getting a good education for your DC.
Purple, think you are getting lots of flak more properly aimed at people who own a house and then rent an extra 1-bed flat for 6 months, which they never move into. Eg those who lie about where their current main address is. Which you are clearly not intending to do.
In fact the only difference I can see between you (given your comments in the thread) and someone ponying up an extra 150k to buy a permanent residence in a good school's catchment area is that they have more money? I'm a life long Londoner and people talking about "community" sounds like cant. I'm one of a very very few people who was raised in my current area and is now raising kids there. London is constantly in flux and that's a Good Thing.
Sometimes people in London try to corral off areas for them and PLUs ("people like us") - not a good thing for anyone in the long run. Luckily it tends not to work all that well most of the time.
If you can be bothered to put that much effort into getting into the "right" school catchment area then great. The irony is that if you care that much about your children's education they will probably be well served in any school that isn't absolutely rubbish!
Totally agree with the last two posts.
My cautions would be 1. make sure that the grass really is greener before you move 2. err on the side of caution re length of time at an address 3. remember that catchment areas in London can shrink dramatically year to year 4. do consider the potential travel etc
Best of luck.
Thank you for the replies. I do just want a good school, the problem is that a lot of schools in the areas I could afford to buy in have serious problems. The school I'm actually thinking of is the one I went to. I won't be staying where I am currently anyway, so am just hoping to move in a good catchment. Also my parents will live nearby and be able to help with pick ups etc.
It needs to be your permanent home. If you move into a house (rented or purchased), even if it is only a few weeks before the admissions deadline and it is your home, you will be fine. As others have said, it is fake 'homes' that cause an issue. If you need to move again after 12 months, that's fine.
TBH, I don't see this as any less deserving than all the families round by me who move into a two bedder (with sometimes a small converted third bedroom in the roofspace) in the catchement area of the two amazing local schools. Then move after child one gets in.
Do beware the practicalities if you think you will live far away long term. Things like school runs are only part of it. Parties, friends, etc will all require trekking back school-wards.
Some of the points made above are interesting. People in mc areas with good schools because of that mc intake unhappy that families who cannot afford to live in their area rent to get school places - while others think it is the affluent to move into school areas to steal school places. Eh? Also that there is an assumption that families move between LA boundaries so that moving within a council tax area is not acknowledged. In london population is so dense that you can be a fully paid up community member and just live too far from a good school serving that community. Finally there is the issue about how long a rental has to be, to be long term? Is 18months or 2 years still considered short? Frankly it is not at all as clear as most posters like to make out.....
As many have said, as long as it is your real home on the time of the critical dates of application and offer (check your LEA website for their requirements) then it is legitimate.
Shorthold tennancies are 6-12 months usually, so it is not in your power as a tennant anyway to be sure that you would be living there for longer (therefore it would be unreasonable for councils to expect this)
I think it's a bit ripe of people to get on their moral high horse that homeowners (who stand to benefit from the inflated asset values of their asset in the catchment) somehow are more deserving of a local school place than renters who do not have secure bling term tennancies.
Exactly, Himalaya. I was dancing around the point a bit in my earlier post - but there is an undercurrent in some of the preceding posts of "How dare you come on in the state schools belonging to those who have stumped up for a house locally!"
Which is just... a little confused, perhaps?
When it comes to education, lots of people are torn between two pretty basic urges: (1) not wanting to appear to be queue-jumping (2) wanting the best for their own kids. It's easy to end up doing the mental gymnastics to stick ones own actions on a pedestal, and put everyone else's choices on the naughty step.
So the person paying for private education makes snide remarks about local state schools. The affluent parent sticking with the local comp but paying for extra tuition gets very moralistic about the private school mob. The person owning a house in the catchment area slags off renters as non-communiry chancers. Etc etc etc.
Worth avoiding casting the first stone if you can but on occasion I'm as guilty as anyone else!
Oh well Merry Christmas everyone anyway
Yes! Love comments such as being able to afford catchment and did do to avoid school fees! Shame on those who didn't work had enough .....
Actually in some parts of London, people do the short term rental thing to get into desirable schools in less than desirable areas ( in their view) - its not that they can't afford to buy there, only that they don't want to
I know it's not OPs position, but there is in that situation an element of money b
Actually in some parts of London, people do the short term rental thing to get into desirable schools in less than desirable areas ( in their view) - its not that they can't afford to buy there, only that they don't want to
I know it's not OPs position, but there are all sorts of permutations and all sorts of moral analyses
Why is it better to buy and move permanently than to rent short term?
In either case you are displacing someone else ....
Arkestra, so true! Really made me laugh! We're all parents trying to do the best for our children at the end of the day, no one can really judge but we all do, lol!!!
Not read all the posts but we faxed a copy of our signed rental lease to our school admissions officer. We faxed it in late June and the lease was starting on the 1st August for a September school start date. We were offered a place as soon as the admissions officer received our lease. I am not sure, but we had previously sent a letter of intention from our estate agent saying we were about to sign the lease and I think the admissions officer unofficially held a place for our child for a week or so until we sent the copy of the signed lease. We were coming from overseas and one of our DC's had already got a place in the school as there were vacancies. Our rental house was almost next door to the school. I had spent weeks phoning the admissions officer waiting for news of any possible spaces becoming available.
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