In year admissions - understanding database on council website

(18 Posts)
nomorelostweekends Mon 28-Apr-14 23:50:42

We are hoping to move this term approximately 7 miles and have 2 DD, DD1 in yr 3 and DD2 in Reception. We are moving to a new authority. I have spoken with the admissions team today and they have confirmed there are currently no places for DD2 in any of the 5 local schools. The area we are moving to is a large village, though more like a small town, at the edge of a semi rural area. We havent got a moving date yet, but envisage it being after the next half term. The plan is to take DD's back to their old school for the last few weeks of term, and start a new school hopefully in Sept. This won't be particularly easy, as traffic is heavy in the direction of travel and we both work, so not manageable longer term. We could possibly move schools before the end of term if places were available.

The admissions officer I spoke with today advised me to view a spreadsheet on the council website which outlines the spaces by year group in all local schools. I was suprised to see many of the schools showed a 'minus' figure for even reception and year 1 groups. So rather than spaces, there are 2,3 or 4 extra children in many year groups in a large number of the schools (about a quarter). One is showing 15 extra pupils in one year! There are a number of schools showing spaces, although not in the areas adjoining where we are moving to. The area is not urban and some of the catchments outside of the village are quite big.

I am not sure what to make of this. From what i had understood its unusual for schools to go over agreed numbers in reception. However the spreadsheet does suggest that its quite common in this authority. I am wondering given the lack of places in all the neighbouring areas, can we be hopeful that the data suggest have a good chance of being offered places in local schools. Or is there some other reason the database might show this infomation? I am at a bit of a loss what to think really. We can't manage the commute back to the old school for very long, but concerned we may end up with an equally long commute once we move. We don't have our heart set on a particular school, but obviously have work committments and also would really like DD's to be able to have social contact outside of school without a very significant journey.

Sorry its long! I would really appreciate any words of wisdom!Does anybody know what the database might mean?

nomorelostweekends Mon 28-Apr-14 23:53:20

Oops sorry, couple of typos in there!

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 29-Apr-14 00:18:05

Does the database have the PAN of each school as well as the number of places? If you are in a village/semi rural area, it's possible that the PAN won't be a multiple of 15 so they can accommodate a couple of extras without breaching the infant class size limit. I live in a similar sounding area and a couple of the village schools still had a PAN of 27/28 until last year just because no one had really got round to changing it to 30. This meant that they could take a couple of extra children without too much hassle.

I'd imagine the extra 15 is a bulge class. We had a couple of schools with an intake of 45 who took 60 last year when the LA ran out of places.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 29-Apr-14 00:19:29

The other option for the extra 15 is some sort of massive admissions cock up that year that lead to lots of extra children being admitted, but that seems unlikely.

Galena Tue 29-Apr-14 06:03:26

DD's Reception class this year, and the 2 Reception classes before hers, had a PAN of 15 each. However, the LA authorised a 'temporary' increase to the PAN to 30 for the 3 years to cope with the higher birth rate. It looks fairly certain that the PAN will officially become 30 soon.

titchy Tue 29-Apr-14 07:55:12

The extra 15 is probably a bulge class for one year only.

tiggytape Tue 29-Apr-14 09:19:13

An extra 1 or 2 pupils would perhaps indicate that children won at appeal and got a place that way (in Year 3 or above where this is much more possible).

For YR-Y2, appeals can be won where the class size is below 30. If the official class size is only 24 for example, it wouldn't be impossible for 2 or 3 children to win apepals and take the class over PAN but not above the limit of 30 set by law (except where a admissions mistake forced this to happen)

Other than that it may be children with a statement naming the school joining outside the normal admissions round. These children must be given a place even in a full school. That includes reception classes with 30 already in the class.

15 extra sounds like a bulge class - a one-off class to allow the school to accept extra children. Since the other schools are all full, it seems likely that this happened when at least 15 children were without a place.

As to how much this helps you argue for a local place rather than an allocation at a school with a space, it depends on actual numbers. If there are 30 children already in each reception class, an appeal should not be successful. That includes schools where they have 45 in reception but will mix these before Year 2 to form mixed classes of 30 each.

If the schools say they are full but only have 24 per class, you may not get an allocation but you'd have a much better chance at appeal. Individual councils all have their own quirks but the 30 limit is set by law so in theory none of them should be flexible on that point beyond the exceptions the law allows (statemented children, admission errors etc)

nomorelostweekends Tue 29-Apr-14 22:01:29

Thank you to everyone for some very helpful responses, I really appreciate the advise and do feel a little clearer about what the figures mean. The PAN's weren't on the database but I have now found them. Some schools do have PAN's smaller than 30, so that does explain a few of the increased numbers. I'm still suprised by how many do have 30 as their PAN in reception/year 1, but still show as over this number, sometimes by quite a few children. I have also worked out that the class showing 15 extra children have had their PAN significantly increased, starting from that year group, so that makes more sense.

I guess I can't really second guess anything here, other than its unlikely the DD's will get places in any of the local schools immediately. It gives us time to think through how we are going to manage in the meantime. All we can do for now is keep close tabs on database and make an application if by chance the right combination of spaces come up in any of the local schools. I can't put their name on waiting lists as apparently they don't have them.

admission Tue 29-Apr-14 22:20:59

The in-year admissions you are talking about should be handled by the school directly now. I would approach all the schools and see what they have to say about the chances of getting two children into the school.
If you consider the appeal process, then DD2 in reception will have far more situations where the infant class size regulations will be a factor. You can only win at appeal under those circumstances if a mistake has been made. That is unlikely, so I think my advice would be that getting a reception place is far more difficult, so if you get a reception place offered go for that and appeal for the year 3 place, not the other way around.

nomorelostweekends Tue 29-Apr-14 22:44:43

Thanks admission

Could I ask a bit more about that? So if a place for DD2 comes up in one of the local schools we should apply anyway just for her, and then appeal for DD1? I understand the logic re ICS, it just feels very strange to only go for one place. I am worried about the risk of ending up with them in 2 separate schools in 2 separate authorities. I don't think we could even manage that for a week given the distance and the traffic at that time. We don't have any family locally to help us. Also, would it harm our relationship with the school if they were 'forced' to take DD1 on appeal?

sunnydaylucy Tue 29-Apr-14 23:37:50

Wondering if you are in the same LA as me OP (NW?). We have this database, updated every Friday afternoon (by the schools that feel like it!).

The minus figures on ours are for those children who got in on appeal. We had this situation last year. Call the schools directly, many, especially with a PAN of 45, have more movement than the spreadsheet implies depending on your DC's birthdate. On saying that we decided to rethink areas as we couldn't get 2DC's into the same school without an appeal & we found a school we loved that had spaces. The LA were very helpful.

prh47bridge Wed 30-Apr-14 00:35:00

Yes, if a place for DD2 comes up you should take it then appeal for DD1. That is far more likely to work than the other way around.

Unfortunately it is possible you will end up with your daughters in different schools but there is no reason they should be in different authorities. If the schools are more than 2 miles away by the shortest safe walking route (3 miles for DD1 if she is 8) your daughters will be entitled to free transport.

No, it would not harm your relationship with the school if you got your daughter in via appeal.

nomorelostweekends Wed 30-Apr-14 21:34:00

Yes, sunnydaylucy, we are in the NW, sounds very likely! Glad the LA were helpful that sounds reassuring. When I spoke to them on the phone they were understanding but of course just cant give concrete responses. I have looked at the database for nearby schools but they appear full in reception too - there just aren't many schools to check due to the location of the property in relation to the whole county. The further away from the house we go, the further away from work and the more problematic it gets.

I am trying to get a sense of what the LA think is 'reasonable'. DH has to do some of the school runs (i work in an education setting and need to be in work at 8am some days). The nearest school I can find with a reception space is over 3 miles a way, and is would mean DH and DD's leaving the house before 7.30 to catch 2 buses. Its also a faith school, which is definitely not our preference. If only DD2 was offered a place and DD1 was in another school it would be impossible.

Prh47bridge - I am assuming we would leave DD1 in her current school while the appeal was processed. If I move her to a different school, then we won an appeal to move her to DD1's new school, she would potentially have 2 moves in a short space of time. She wouldn't cope well with this at all. I don't say that lightly. Ironically, DD2 would manage much better, although really I would like to avoid it for either of them.

prh47bridge Wed 30-Apr-14 22:03:28

That is entirely up to you but I agree that is the approach I would take.

nomorelostweekends Wed 30-Apr-14 22:07:32

Prh-thanks for your input, much appreciated

Spindelina Thu 01-May-14 11:42:07

Just picking up on one thing you said...

"there just aren't many schools to check due to the location of the property in relation to the whole county."

Is the new house near the border with another county? If so, might it be worthwhile to ask if that county has any space and/or get on waiting lists there?

sunnydaylucy Sat 03-May-14 11:42:18

It is a struggle OP, we have ended up driving our children to a school 3 miles away (faith school, luckily it is in the right direction for work) when we have a school virtually in our back garden!

Everyday I wonder if I have made the right choice not to appeal or wait for a place (as I fight to get my car out of the drive as it gets blocked in by kids being dropped at that schoolenvy) but I couldn't take the chance of starting one DC there and then the other at (yet another) school.

Phoning round the individual schools on a regular basis can help, as people move all the time, often giving schools very little notice. Please DM if I can help at all.

All the best.

nomorelostweekends Mon 05-May-14 23:56:22

Thanks sunnydaylucy, I think we may be faced with a similar scenario. I will definitely be making regular Friday phone calls. We are going ahead with everything and desperately hoping the outcome will be manageable and not too unsettling for DD's.

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