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Primary admissions blunder by Southwark...advice needed!(12 Posts)
I really need some school advice and would be grateful for any help.
My son was offered a reception place at our 2nd choice school. I received the letter of confirmation from Southwark council but on the same day received a letter from the school (an academy) saying that Southwark had made an administrative error due to miscalculating some twins in the admission process and as a result couldnt offer a place to our son. I was then told that we were no 1 on the waiting list at 2nd choice school and 3rd on the list at our 1st choice.
Southwark has just called me to say we have now been offered a place at our 6th choice school but we have now moved down to no 6 on the waiting list for our 1st choice. I feel like the whole system is a complete shambles and I really need some advice on what to do now. I dont want to accept our 6th choice as it is so far away from where we live. Can we really be bumped down the waiting list I have it in writing that we were number 3 on the list? Do I need to appeal to the academy that messed up our admission list in the first place.
I have been fairly calm about the whole situation until now and am now enraged as Southwark dont seem to know what it going on. No one is taking responsibility for the initial admin error Southwark is blaming the academy and vice versa.
Do I just bide my time and wait to see if the waiting list place for 1st choice works out? It seems that where I live is a black hole for school admissions.
The initial error is very poor but, as it was 'corrected' (as they will see it) on the same day as the offer was made, they are allowed to withdraw an offer made in error.
Only if several days had elapsed between making the offer and withdrawing it would you be on safe grounds to appeal this.
As for waiting lists, yes you can go up and down. If someone moves closer to any of the schools you are waiting for, you will move down the list, if families move into the area and get a sibling placed at the school, their younger child will move above yours on the list. As people are offered places and accept, you will move up the list.
Waiting lists are held in order of admissions criteria not date order.
Saying all of that though, you are still perfectly entitled to appeal, it just won't be a strong case as it would have been if the offer had been withdrawn days after it was made. Are there 30 per class in the school you were originally offered?
Also people will have been adding themselves to waiting lists which is the immediate reason why you have gone down in ranking; however people can be on any number of lists and indeed you would be advised to be on the waiting list for any school you thought acceptable.
As people can be on several lists a lot of movement can take place over the next few months, as someone above you for your favoured school may be offered and accept a place at another school causing you to move up.
You should accept the offered place and remain on the waiting lists for your other schools - everything is still shaking out so you may well go up again in a few days.
Can you check whether you would have been offered any of the other schools between 2nd and 6th place if they hadn't made the error re school 2? It may just be that you would also have had an offer(s) from one of these but it was effectively declined on your behalf by the LA as you had placed another school with an apparent offer higher. Now those schools may be fully allocated and no 6 is the only one with places left. If this was the case then they have made an error in not offering you one of these other higher placed schools and you have a good case for appeal on these. I stand to be corrected however, I am no expert unlike some here.
I am afraid that everything that you have said can happen.
The situation about your 2nd preference is regretable and should not have happened. If for no other reason that you now have concerns about exactly how this all happened I would appeal for the 2nd preference school but accept you will probably not get a place. What you really need to know is how the LA and the academy school between them made such a mess and why it was not spotted earlier. In effect you are challenging the admission authority to prove that they did get the admission process right. From what you have said there were at least one set of twins and they were counted as only one applicant, which would be why you are now first on the waiting list.
I think there is additional complication in Southwark this year as the new school - Judith Kerr - is operating outside the LA admissions system for 2013 entry, and some people have an offer from both, for example.
there is a Southwark Cllr who is incredibly helpful to Southwark residents with admissions issues -Cllr Renata Hamvas. I would contact her for advice, alongside the good advice here.
Judith Kerr is doing a second offers round this week I believe.
Southwark does tend to have a lot of mobility within schools especially in the north and centre of the borough, so I would expect waiting lists to move fairly fast.
blu and pyrrah, do you have any idea where the Judith Kerr location is?
Not exactly, somewhere in the Herne Hill direction I think.
It's definitely the Herne Hill site - but they haven't announced the address yet.
The places are 50% on distance and 50% lottery. I would imagine a number of people are in our position where even if they got a lottery place, the location would be too far to be feasible.
I believe the second round is all lottery though - or at least I was told that we would have a second opportunity and we are far, far too far away to be in with a distance chance (I asked to be taken off the list so that another child had a higher chance)
It looks like it will be a fantastic school and the new headmistress was very impressive when we met her.
I will say that compared with other LAs, Southwark seem to be slightly more on the ball - or at least they are very happy for people to ring and check waiting-lists etc
They told me to ring weekly and gave me my position and looked up the 'last distance offered' for the first round for me. Lots of other LAs aren't giving out any information at all.
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