School place fraud?

(44 Posts)
Whattodo3 Thu 10-Apr-14 11:26:46

I started this WWYD but was advised to move it over here.

My friend lives in a rented property and has done so for years. The Ll has decided they want to move back this summer and her children therefore need school places for this September.

The LL has applied using the address she's moving back to over the summer but at the date of the application she didn't live there.

The LL had broken the rules. School places are really tight in the town especially for the Outstanding Schools which using the future address the LL will get.

Do I report the LL?

tiggytape Thu 10-Apr-14 11:40:56

If you say children (plural) it sounds like you might be talking about an in-year transfer rather than one of the major admission rounds?
In that case she may have children already of school age waiting to be found new places once her move is complete. She may have told the council her moving date and the council will bear in mind which date the new address becomes effective from. Basically she isn't competing with lots of others in that situation really but is setting things up so that, as soon as she has moved house, the process of finding multiple spare school places can start without delay. Most councils accept this and it isn't a problem as long as they have a moving date and confirmation once the move is complete.

If you mean that she is applying for a September reception place in the main round of admissions (where the deadline was Jan 15th and the outcome is April 15th and where hundreds are applying for the same places all at the same time) then yes, this would be a fraudulent application if she used that address. Even though she owns the house and even though she intends to move there again in the summer, it wasn't her address when she applied so she cannot use it on the form.

Whether you report her not is of course up to you. Like a lot of areas, it sounds as if school places shortages are a problem. If so, the council will probably look at the council tax history of each applicant. I assume your friend's LL hasn't been paying the council tax for her all this time. Assuming your friend has been paying council tax from that rented address, it will become obvious if anyone else tries to claim they lived there too at that time.

meditrina Thu 10-Apr-14 12:06:24

I hope you don't mind, but for ease of reference, here's the earlier thread

When did the LL serve notice to quit? Was it before the mid-January deadline? Because some LEAs will accept documented future house moves (signed leases, exchanged contracts). But in general, unless a Forces family, you cannot apply on the strength of a future address.

Dinosaursareextinct Thu 10-Apr-14 12:11:21

I wouldn't report. Yes, she broke the rules, but not in a cheeky way. She is relying on the address the children will actually be living at when they start school, which actually makes a lot more logical sense than using an address that you will no longer be living at. You presumably think that she should be commuting miles from where she lives to take the children to wherever there are spaces, just because of an accident of timing?

PortofinoRevisited Thu 10-Apr-14 12:13:04

But she will be living there - and her children will need school places, non? Maybe not following the letter of the law, but I really can't see why you have an issue with it.

MirandaWest Thu 10-Apr-14 12:15:22

I've replied on the other thread too, but if it is an oversubscribed school, there will be someone who should have got a place and who was living in the area at the time of application who doesn't get one because of that. The landlord should have moved back before they made the application. My LEA says you need to be ordinarily resident at the time of application and the Landlord wasn't.

tiggytape Thu 10-Apr-14 12:29:23

But she will be living there - and her children will need school places, non? Maybe not following the letter of the law, but I really can't see why you have an issue with it.

Assuming it is a reception place application, the reason everyone has to use the address they live at is so that places are fairly allocated.
If everyone was allowed to use an address they plan to live at or their childminder's address fro ease of childcare or their exH's address who lives near a better school, it would mean everyone manipulating the system to suit themselves

The rule is you apply from the address you live at. If you move before September, you tell the council and they find you a place. It means you will possibly get a less popular school being so late to move to the area but then why should people already living in the area miss out to people who aren't even living there yet?

I wouldn't report. Yes, she broke the rules, but not in a cheeky way.

Again if this is a reception application, it would be breaking the rules in a very cheeky way indeed because there are only a limited number of places to hand out. If they give places to people who are breaking the rules, someone who isn't breaking the rules misses out as a direct result of that. One person cheating means another person not getting the place they would have been given. It isn't just a bit of an admin issue. It has direct consequwnces on other children.

Dinosaursareextinct Thu 10-Apr-14 12:34:44

A child will miss out by not getting the place this person's DC has got, yes. But DC's child will be living closer to the school than that child does, from the time when they start at the school. And the child who missed out will probably get their 2nd choice place at another local school. This person's child might have ended up having to commute 20 miles, if all the local schools are oversubscribed and they have to apply later than everyone else.

doodledotmum Thu 10-Apr-14 12:37:41

I would email the LEA with all the information you have and let them decide if its cheating or not. Leave it with them. If it it cheating it must be reported - rules are there for a reason.

MirandaWest Thu 10-Apr-14 12:39:03

Yes but that's because they didn't live there when the application was made. Plenty of people move house after the application date and so might live nearer when school starts, but they have to find another school that does have places? Why should the fact you already own the property but don't live there make a difference?

starlight1234 Thu 10-Apr-14 12:41:41

The thought of mine is what is it to do with you?

Dinosaursareextinct Thu 10-Apr-14 12:45:25

Yes, I suspect that the OP holds a grudge and that this is pay-back time.

tiggytape Thu 10-Apr-14 13:03:59

the child who missed out will probably get their 2nd choice place at another local school.

Or maybe not. Maybe that child will be sent by bus to a school 6 miles away. You cannot justify cheating the system by saying the child who loses out as a result of that cheating will probably be just fine anyway!!

School places are in short supply. There are strict rules about applications. If you move over the summer, you will get slotted into whichever school has a place leftover. This is not a happy prospect but you will know all along that this is what happens.
If you lie to avoid this happening to your child, you will be taking a place from a child already genuinely living in the area and forcing them to be the ones who have to travel further to school.

Even if OP says nothing, this is probably going to come out anyway. A child can be kicked out of the school they have already started if the council get reports in September that this is a fraudulent application and they find out it was true. Other parents are on the look out for this because they will have friends who didn't get into the popular school and who they realise lost out due to cheating. It happens more and more unfortunately but most of the time the council finds out via tax records before the poor kid starts school and gets forced to leave.

K8Middleton Thu 10-Apr-14 13:42:38

The landlord has clearly breached the rules. We have a high profile case locally where a councillor's child was declined a place at an oversubscribed school because the council believe the address given was not the residential address so that's not even as blatant! (Google Virginia Morris if you want to see the details).

If there was any possibility my child would be disadvantaged I would be ringing and writing to the council. If I was unlikely my child was going to be affected I would still email. If it is all fine nothing will happen. If it is not fine then the child who was entitled to the place will get it.

The current system is not perfect but it is the system and must be applied strictly or it becomes unfair.

Best to do it now before place allocations go out.

Whattodo3 Thu 10-Apr-14 14:01:16

I don't have a grudge but live right on the outer limits of where places go out to. If there's one place left then I'd rather my dc got it that someone who has cheated the system.

The LL is applying for both infants and secondary school places in the main intake in September.

I'm still torn between doing what I think I should (reporting it) or just leaving it to fate.

MirandaWest Thu 10-Apr-14 14:13:07

How do you definitely know that the LL has applied from the house your friend currently lives in? I think that's the only thing that would stop me reporting it.

If the LL used your friend's address when completing their application then they have already broken the rules.

If I was 100% sure of my facts then yes, I would report it.

Wickeddevil Thu 10-Apr-14 14:32:59

I believe some LA accept applications from parents who can prove that they are genuinely moving into an area, for example via a solicitors letter / exchange of contracts. As the LL already owns the property, it is likely that they would be able to do this.

zipzap Thu 10-Apr-14 14:42:39

It could also have screwed your friend if she had dc that were applying for schools at the same time and all of a sudden there were two applications from the same address which could have caused lots of hassle for her.

I'd mention it to the council - if they want to investigate and do something about it they can. It will save them from having to double check that address later onwhen itcould cause more problems.

tiggytape Thu 10-Apr-14 14:43:23

Wikeddevil - that is true but only in the imemdiate weeks before the house and the person is still classed as a late applicant with all the disadvantages that brings.

To apply for a secondary school Year 7 place for Sept 2014 the deadline for applications is October 31st 2013 and the address used is the addrss you lived at in October last year. No council lets you use an address in October that you won't occupy for another 9-10 months.

To apply for a reception class place starting Sept 2014, the deadline for applications was January 15th 2014. Again no council will accept an address for the January deadline that won't be lived in for another 5-6 months

If she's told the council she'll be moving back in July, they may agree to add her to the lists from the very second she moves house instead of making her wait to get bills and all sorts of documents submitted. This will boost her chances from the waiting lists but will not get her an on-time priority place. Those are based totally on the October 2013 and January 2014 addresses.

A few weeks of advance warning is acceptable to many councils. A 9 month gap between listing the address and living in the address is not.

Twighlightsparkle Thu 10-Apr-14 14:50:16

i dont live in England so this is all a bit over my head.

However my brain has simplified it. Am i right in thinking she has applied for school places at the address she will be living ?

if so I dont get what the issue is.

doodledotmum Thu 10-Apr-14 14:51:09

If I was at risk of loosing a place I would do it without hesitation. In fact if I was sure about facts, I would do it anyway as some poor child and worried parent will loose their rightful place. Of people don't report then there is no incentive not to try and cheat

ChocolateWombat Thu 10-Apr-14 21:55:32

I guess you can report it as POSSIBLE fraud and say you would like it investigated, as you would not like someone else to lose a place that is rightfully theirs. When reporting you can say that you are not entirely clear about the rules for people moving back to houses they own, but don't live in, or if this person has been given special dispensation from the council to put that address. It will then be up to the council to sort it out.

If the LL has not done anything wrong, nothing will come of you reporting possible fraud. If they have, it will be shown up.

YOU don't have to decide if the LL is in the wrong. The council does. YOU don't have all the info to know what the situation of the LL is to make a judgement, but the council can access that info. All you can do is raise legitimate concerns and then leave the council to do their job.

You can email the council with your concerns. Phrase them as concerns about possible fraud, rather than making out and out accusations. Make it clear that you realise there may be no wrong doing, but you feel it is your duty to report suspected malpractice, when places are so short. Ask for confirmation that your email has been received. If you don't get confirmation, ring to ask for it.

The final decision about what happens is not down to you, but the council, so don't feel like a 'grass'.

nlondondad Fri 11-Apr-14 12:40:09

if I had this information I would regard it as my duty to report it to the council. But then that would be it. I would take no further concern with it.

Whattodo3 Fri 11-Apr-14 18:11:51

Thanks for replying everyone. I have emailed the council with the information I have and they have confirmed they will investigate it.

If the LL hasn't done anything wrong then fine no harm done but if they have then it will now be dealt with.

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