Been offered brand new free school or last choice

(128 Posts)
Lazymama2 Wed 16-Apr-14 16:35:03

We're not sure what to do as have been offered a place at a brand new school which is with walking distance but has not been 'fitted out' yet (buildings are there). There is very little concrete info on term dates, start and finish times, curriculum and obviously no past performance on which to base a decision. Also no older kids to look up to. Other school is our last choice and has improved from satisfactory to good. DH does not want Dd to go to this school and would prefer private. I, on the other hand, quite like idea of a brand new school.

Thoughts/ideas anyone?

PS please dont turn this into a debate of state vs. private as I believe every parent does what is best for thier child/family circumstances and im not for/against one or the other.

nlondondad Mon 30-Jun-14 16:03:30

@buckskid

What is comparable is the shortage of applicants, what, I agree, is (probably) very different is the reason for the shortage. Shortage of Sikhs in one case, shortage of children in general in the other.

I was interested that this school was shut down for lack of enough applicants in its second year. Assuming Whitehall park gets going this year with the same sort of handful of children as this school had, what happens next year when it becomes apparent that there will be no new building for the children ready only what, one must presume, will be really crowded temporary accomodation.

BucksKid Mon 30-Jun-14 05:21:08

Nlondondad - the Wolverhampton school is a totally situation because it's a Sikh school in an area without enough Sikhs to fill it.

I don't think it's comparable to Whitehall Park.

alexandra430 Mon 30-Jun-14 02:12:13

Bellevue is a rapidly expanding business.Has its ability to offer education with integrity been truly assessed?

nlondondad Thu 26-Jun-14 10:16:29

A story has appeared in a Wolverhampton paper. Is this the future for Whitehall Park School? This is an edited version of the story, full story available at the link below.

"Anand Primary School opened its doors in Wolverhampton in September last year.

But it can today be revealed the body set up to oversee the running of the school has agreed to relinquish its control amid fears about the low number of pupils - just 20 - on the school roll.

Headteacher Kulbinder Kaur Pouni, who took up her post in September 2013, told the Express & Star she had resigned and would be leaving on September 1.

Anand Primary aims to have 420 pupils on its books by 2019....

...But only 20 children started classes last September - 40 fewer than the initial target of 60 starts.

And a letter from the Wolverhampton Local Education Authority sent out to governors in February stated only 14 pupils had put the school down as first choice for next year...."

www.expressandstar.com/education/2014/06/24/headteacher-quits-citys-first-free-school/

nlondondad Mon 23-Jun-14 17:02:17
meditrina Thu 29-May-14 23:46:57

" I am advised that I must refuse to confirm or deny ...."

By whom?

I have noticed you offering to relay enquiries to Islington. But I have also noticed some very strange descriptions of quite ordinary Admissions procedures, which led me to conclude that you were new to schools issues.

nlondondad Thu 29-May-14 23:40:09

I do not represent a school: nor are any of my posts on here criticising the proposal to set up the Whitehall Park school based on a concern for any individual school. I am, it is true concerned for all the Schools in Islington which will loose collectivily three million pounds from their repair budget. I am also concerned for the welfare of the children who will remain in over crowded housing, because of the loss of council housing that would otherwise have gone on the site.

As a taxpayer I am concerned both at the waste of money embodied by the Whitehall Park scheme, and the transfer of public assets paid for by tax to a private company.

By the way all schools are "potentially" outstanding: Its getting there is the trick. It was failing to observe this distinction in its publicity that lead to Whitehall Park Schools publicity being censured by the Advertising Standards Agency.

Bellevue, has of course no track record in running Free Schools, being still in the first year of the only one it runs, but it has a big track record in making promises.

unrealhousewife Thu 29-May-14 18:23:03

Please read carefully the difference between these two statements:

Children did not get a place at any school.

Children did not get a place at any of their top three choices of school.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 29-May-14 18:03:54

The rule isn't that we are people with pen names. You are more than able to identify yourself, or post under your own name, stating who you are if you choose. Some people do. That's why your post about your being a governor stood, not because it applies to several people. MN is also not a moderated site. They won't read even a quarter of the posts here unless they are reported.

I agree the rule is definitely that you don't out other posters. Although, if you are the person in that link, there might be a bit of a grey area where it could be argued that you outed yourself.

TheNewBrown Thu 29-May-14 18:00:23

@nlondondad

I always find your protestations that who you are has no bearing on the validity of your arguments laughable. Knowing that your one-man campaign against Whitehall Park School is being waged because you are terrified that the school you represent will return to being undersubscribed if it is has to live in the shadow of another potentially 'outstanding' school does undermine pretty much all of your arguments.

nlondondad Thu 29-May-14 17:35:03

@thenewbrown

Calling someone an idiot is not an argument, just an insult.

But I have never linked to a blog post on the "Islington Schools Forum" let alone "continually." Actually I do not think such a blog exists. i mostly link to (relevant) newspaper articles actually. The information I posted about myself on the thread you indicated applys to a number of people. Which I suppose is why mumsnet allowed it.

@Juniorjones

I did not intend to be threatening, nor in fact have you said you felt threatened, but just incase, I merely wished to make the point that I thought you were pursuing an unprofitable line, as actually who I am, or indeed who you are, not relevant to whether the arguments we use are valid.

And the rule is that on mumsnet we are all people with pennames. And that we dont make postings seeking to identify other mumsnet users.

TheNewBrown Thu 29-May-14 17:14:08

@nlondondad

I think if you openly declare on Mumsnet "I am a governor at Ashmount Primary School, and a member of the Islington Schools Forum" like you did on this thread and then continually link to blog posts on the Islington Schools Forum written by a governor at Ashmount Primary School it is not so much JuniorJones revealing your identity, as your own idiocy.

whitehallparkdad Thu 29-May-14 08:46:19

nlondondad

I find the tone of your last note on this thread threatening to say least and completely out of order.

Disgraceful

nlondondad Wed 28-May-14 23:13:55

@Juniorjones

You are purporting to identify me in real life. This is strictly against Mumsnet rules. I am advised that I must refuse to confirm or deny any purported identification.

But I would make the point that just because I put in a link to something written by someone that is not evidence that I am that person. After all I also put in a link a few message earlier to an article in the Evening Standard. Doesnt mean I am that journalist either.

You would be well advised to drop this matter now.

tiggytape Wed 28-May-14 22:25:23

I was wondering, but this would require legislation I presume, whether there would be support for FINING parents who did not respond in time?

It is very understandable that parents want things to move as quickly as possible and most parents do reply quickly. Those that need to be reminded often do not understand the need to reply or reply quickly (remember most people only go through it a few times and often years apart so aren't always up on the rules).

Admisson law requires a council to issue reminders and give parents some extra time to be contacted. There are reasons for this:
Letters get lost or delayed - LAs cannot remove a place from someone who did not receive the offer or got it very late.
People go on holiday - you cannot expect everyone on every waiting list to sit next to their letterbox from March 17th - September 3rd on the off chance an offer letter arrives. If they are away when it comes then delays are unavoidable.

Pushing people for a quick answer won't stop places being blocked by those that have a private offer too. They simply reply to say 'yes' to their state offer knowing they can always turn it down at any later date. Nothing can be done about that just as anyone else is free to say 'yes' but then decide to Home Ed instead at the last minute.

It would help of councils didn't work in batches as some do (saving up a pile of offer letters to process in one go rather than doing each one as and when it comes up). This definitely can be an issue as happens when people at number 1 on the list are told be academies that an offer can now be made only for it to then take another 2 weeks for the council to actually send the letter.

Juniorjones Wed 28-May-14 19:16:00

Interesting post written by you nlondondad, please stop pretending it is written by an independent third party.

nlondondad Wed 28-May-14 18:09:45

An interesting post on the Local Schools network about the Whitehall Park and the recent local elections. Contains a potted history of Whitehall Park School proposal, and explains why a lot of local people, including it seems a lot of voters, do not like it.

www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/05/all-politics-is-local-the-strange-case-of-whitehall-park-school-the-liberal-democrats-and-the-voters-of-hillrise-ward-islington/

nlondondad Fri 23-May-14 18:52:00

@zucchini

Thats a really informative post about how it feels to be at the receiving end of the admissions process. In fact I have been wondering if there is any way of speeding up the process whereby parents respond to offers of a place. At the moment when an offer is sent out, people are asked to reply, yes or no, by a certain date. But if they just do not respond the admissions people are not allowed by the rules to "take that as a no then" but instead have to follow up individually with phone calls etc. And failure to respond promptly is a major cause of delay.

I was wondering, but this would require legislation I presume, whether there would be support for FINING parents who did not respond in time?

No doubt opinion will divide between those who think that a bit over the top, and those hanging on for a place who would cheer me on.

By the way the number of children in Islington who have not yet received an offer for a preffered school, one for which they applied, stands now at 102. Whole bunch of new offers to go out early June.

ZucchiniPie Thu 15-May-14 15:28:49

In case this is reassuring to anyone, we live in Whitehall Park and were 12th on the waiting list for Ashmount on Reception offer day last year (we live 0.416 miles from the school). DD got a place there six weeks into the autumn term - and at least one more child further down from us on the waiting list got in the following week.

So even though I agree all of this is a total mess and an extraordinary source of stress (it was equally bad last year, although we didn't have the added element of not knowing whether to choose the free school), things do change quite a lot over the five or so months from the day you get your offer to the time the children actually start in September (or if you're willing to jump ship mid-way through term as we did, even longer)

nlondondad Sat 10-May-14 16:00:59
jakecat Mon 05-May-14 23:08:13

Nlondondad just following through that logic - if Islington revise or revisit their forecast each year and if planning permission is granted for the Ashmount housing development & the Peabody development, and say those developments complete in 2017 providing family homes (which I understand is the intention in terms of the nature of the housing - I am speculating about the timescale), then Islington would have to increase school places in the following years to take into account those extra children because the figures are already tight. None of the existing schools in this area appear to have capacity for that (apart from Whitehall Park). Particularly if you then factor in that the birth rate has been increasing year on year too, which exerts natural pressure in school places even before you factor in the creation of extra housing.

nlondondad Mon 05-May-14 22:37:09

Whether I work for the council not relevant. School place demand forecasting is carried out by all London Boroughs and the forecasts are revised on an at least annual basis. The concept of "child yield" applies to new housing and reflects the type of housing. So for example the conversion of Archway Tower into bedsits will produce a development of negligible child yield. Once the Peabody development you mention is finally agreed (gets planning permission) and the types of housing known, then a "child yield" will be calculated.

whitehallparkdad Mon 05-May-14 22:28:11

Really? How fascinating? Perhaps you could share the "child yield" data they are using. Do you work for the council nlondondad?

nlondondad Sun 04-May-14 23:39:04

Yes, Islington's forecasting does take account of new housing developments and their potential "child yield"

whitehallparkdad Sat 03-May-14 19:24:07

I wonder if Islingtons forecasting also includes the future potential development at both the ashmount site and also the redevlopment of the university site at the bottom of Highgate hill which will be adding 350 properties. I would suspect some of these may even have children of school age. I wonder what school they may look to go to.

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