Primary school application - Moving house - Will we lose the place?(20 Posts)
Birmingham LEA, oversubscribed schools.
We've done our application online and have a good chance of getting into our first choice. Closing date for changes is today, 15th January.
However, we found out before Xmas that we'll have to move house, our landlord wants to sell and our contract ends 10th Feb. We are now looking at other places to rent, but anything that is affordable or big enough, is further away (1-2 miles) than our current address is from the schools we have applied for.
Question: If we move in 3 weeks and then inform the LEA of our move (obviously we'll have to!), will they count this against us and will the new address count, and will we lose our potential place on distance?
Or will they use our "application date address"?
I've spoken to LEA 3 times, getting 3 different answers, from "don't worry" to "yes, you will probably lose it", but i have nothing in writing and we will have to commit to a house soon.
Has anyone experienced this or has Birmingham LEA knowledge?
No expertise I'm afraid, but surely you couldn't lose it as you would be too late to apply for school nearer new house?
To be on safe side, could you ask your landlord to give you an extra month?
Or is there a school nearer poss new house you like in which case maybe it doesn't matter if you were able to be considered as late applicant with equal chance - I believe there is a month or so's grace where people who have just moved get to apply with equal chance?
i.e. is your concern you will have no school place or that you will lose chance of preferred school even though moving out of catchment?
There's usually a second deadline for 'late with good reason' applicants who have moved into the area. Think it's usually in mid-Feb. These applications are treated the same as 'on time' applications, so if you've moved into your new place and have the contract (and/or other evidence of the move - it can't be a short let), then you can hand in the form by the second deadline, citing late with good reason. This of course will mean you prioritising schools near the new address on your application, rather than those near your current address, so you'll have to do some swift schools checking as well as moving. But it's doable, and better than fraudulently using your current address for the application, as you're not allowed to move from there until after the allocations are made in April, and if you're found out, you'd very likely lose your place.
PS: Make sure you get things confirmed in writing (email) from these people who are telling you conflicting things over the phone. It sounds like most of them haven't a clue, so if they tell you the wrong thing and you have it in writing, it will be very valuable if it comes to appeal. Hopefully you can sort it though.
"you're not allowed to move from there until after the allocations are made in April"
Pinkdelight - very curious to know where you get this info from as there is no mention of anything on my LEA's website other than after the application deadline you have to inform the LEA of a change in address immediately. Are you saying that once the April allocations are made, it becomes easier to move then?
If it is a different LA you are moving to then they will pass on the application to the LA where you are going to be living. Most LAs do have a few weeks of overlap room for parents moving into a new area but Birmingham mention January 15th is the final date for changes to be made by.
You need to make sure that you put the change of address in writing to the LA and that you get confirmation that they received it. You should make it clear in the letter that the change of address is for communication purposes only. Do not change your admission application to the new address. This will automatically mean you are considered a late application and will not be considered for a place until all others have been offered a place.
As to where you are allocated - Birmingham's website is vague:
"What happens if I change my address after the closing date?
We may be unable to take your new address into consideration when offering your child's school place. However, you will still need to inform the School Admissions and Pupil Placements Service and send acceptable proof of your new address to ensure that you receive your offer letter."
It seems that in Birmingham January 15th is the key date and unlike other LAs they don't have an extra month or so when people can inform them of address changes that they want to be taken into account (you are the opposite - you don't want yours taken into account because you are moving away not closer).
Again the website says:
"Only those applications received by the final closing date (15 January 2013) are considered in time for the offer of places on 22 April 2013"
The information provided by Birmingham is not very clear. However, the primary school booklet on p17 says, "We may be unable to take your new address into consideration when offering your childs school place. However, you will still need to inform the School Admissions and Pupil Placements Service and send acceptable proof of your new address to ensure that you receive your offer letter." That implies they should either use your new address or stick with your current address but it doesn't tell us how they will decide which address to use.
Elsewhere Birmingham seem unable to make up their minds whether you can change your preferences on moving. At one point they say no changes are allowed after 15th January, at another they say you must apply in writing to the Head of Admissions, but doesn't give any clear guidance as to whether or not a change in preferences will be accepted.
None of this is very clear. I would make sure you get an answer in writing so that you can produce it at appeal if necessary.
audrey - sorry, was going off my experience in several London boroughs, where they've had a clear set of dates indicating when an address will be deemed valid for an application, and if it changes in that timeframe, then you have to notify them etc. But it sounds like Birmingham is a different kettle of fish. And strangely unclear, unfortunately for the OP.
I am in Trafford and if you move between 15 Jan and 5 March (i think) then you can submit a further request but only if you have placed an on time application. You have to provide proof of disposal of old property (either solicitors letter for completion or tenancy agreement).
I am presuming most LA's have a similar policy but i see that Birmingham are rather vague.
Hope it works out for you
Thank you all for your answers.
And I'm glad that it's not just me who finds B'ham's online info unclear.
It's clear if you want to move schools, but not, if you don't want to lose a place, like me.
I might have to call them again and ask for an answer in writing... maybe that is the safest route.
I would be tempted to send them an email, saying that you might have to move because your rental is potentially coming to an end and ask them what the procedure is.
See what you get back and then when you have moved you can confirm to them your change of address for administrative purposes only. It would be preferable if somehow you could extend the date of moving past April as that would ensure that Birmingham used your old address. Given the very vague detail that Birmingham have put out on this subject it is possible they could use your new address with your old preferences which would quite possible mean that you will not get any of your preferences as you are now too far away.
i'm curious to know what you base your comment on...? have you got experience of this or do you work in admissions?
it is not possible to delay our moving date, sadly we'll be moving in feb, whether we want to or not...
Admission chairs admission appeals. I have been advising parents on admission appeals for a number of years. I have certainly seen LAs using the new address with the old preferences leading to parents missing out on all their choices. I would imagine Admission has seen the same. That is why we are both advising you to put everything in writing and get responses in writing - email will do. If Birmingham tell you one thing then do something else this will be evidence that will help you in any appeal.
Can't really add much to what PRH has said. Everybody is human and in any organisations things do go wrong occaisonally. That is not to say I think Birmingham have a problem in that direction, just the opposite - they tend to be good on admissions.
In any appeal it comes down to what evidence is there of a mistake having been made. If there is evidence then it weighs very heavily in your favour, if there is no evidence only one parent's word against the LA then it is up to the panel to decide who they believe more. Call me a cynic but I have had my fair share of parental tales that turn out to be a set of half truths, so my inclination is to suspect the worse of people. And when it comes to getting darling daughter into the dream school, oh boy can some parents tell some porkies!
Sorry but this has just made me spit my coffee out laughing at my desk!
OP if you did a quick advanced search on admissions or just looked at another thread, you will have seen that she and prh have been offering sound advice on this subject for years. They know everything. Fact.
still-pissing myself that admissions was asked what she bases her knowledge on
Just to add, fair enough not to know who admissions is if you aren't a serial lurker (like me). But, as a serial lurker, I know that admissions is an incredibly wonderful person, who comes in like knight in shining armour and arms the poor and helpless with important facts, rules, regulations and advice about the world of school admissions, so that they can either proceed into battle without getting slaughtered, or retreat back without getting battered further before they have to do so. I always have admired his/her generosity of spirit to take time to look things up for people, and to help so many who are so worried and anxious about something so important. Personally, I would do a Mumsnet life-time canonisation (may be making up words here) for Admissions, were it in my power.
Okay, just to add, poor and helpless was a bit of excessive artistic licence. I was getting carried away in my simile, and am NOT suggesting that people who aren't sure how the LA procedures work are poor and helpless!
As someone who received a lot of help here form admissions and prh, I definitely felt very helpless when we didn't get what we'd hoped for with schools. Trying to get answers out of the council the day after allocations is impossible and the charity ACE are wonderful but not open every week day. prh and admissions however were on hand to help and have been helping others through appeals and other problems for a long time here.
fair enough ally i may have been a bit mean, but i just had to share my giggles at admissions being asked what she bases her knowledge on.
maybe it is because i have been stalking the primary education topic since september (and last years admissions in prep for this year) and just know how invaluable admissions and prh have been to me and many others. you really have to know how the system works and having pro's on here who know the system inside out really is a bonus.
<hands over MN crowns to the lovely admissions and prh>
Yes I do know of people who have had to move house due to being given notice by their landlord (in one case they were a council tenant - a great example of council departments not communicating with each other!) who have still managed to secure places at their first choice school. Some of them did have to go to Appeal though and basically they had to prove that they did not move by choice and weren't just moving to get into a "better" school. Similarly you may need to prove that you weren't short term renting in the first place to obtain a school place near where you live now.
When I was a student, the landlord did put our house on the market but decided to let us stay on provided that we agreed to move at short notice when the property was sold. We ended up staying there an extra 6 months, so it is possible. This type of arrangement may not be possible for families though as more notice is required when children are involved.
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