Late admissions - Redhill - No places :(

(38 Posts)
Lostandlostsomemore Fri 21-Aug-15 16:24:49

Moved to redhill on Monday, I know it's the worst time possible to move with son starting reception in September but landlord was selling and this was the most secure property we could find within our budget etc.
We completed our application listing 4 local schools, catholic as 1st and COFE as second as we are a religious family and then the 2 other closest to our house.
Found out that we could request vacancy info from the admissions team as to what schools had vacancies after the offers were made and within 5km there were....0 :-( I then requested 10km and there is only 1 in Banstead, 8 miles away. I do drive and am at home but the petrol cost is worrying me I would probably have to stay in Banstead all day rather than drive home after drop off just to save petrol costs!
But I feel like I should add it to my list as there's no other options and he legally has to start by January as winter born.
Awful :-( I feel awful for putting him in this position

NynaevesSister Fri 21-Aug-15 17:00:15

I believe that you can apply to be reimbursed for your mileage. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me will come along though.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 21-Aug-15 17:09:08

Dont they pay for a taxi? Some one on another thread said. ...

spanieleyes Fri 21-Aug-15 17:14:24

We have both scenarios, some parents claim mileage ( we have to verify attendance) and some children travel by taxi.

Lostandlostsomemore Fri 21-Aug-15 17:25:55

But surely then if another place arose nearer home they would expect me to change? No matter what the school was like which could be very unsettling depending on when it was in the year etc

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 21-Aug-15 17:47:47

No, not necessarily. I think you are on a list, and you ring to find out where he is on it, and ring once a term, if, you want a nearer school. Otherwise he stays put.

Lostandlostsomemore Fri 21-Aug-15 17:59:31

Interesting as the cost is the only thing really stressing me out. I know banstead well as grew up in Sutton so I'm familiar with the area.
What happens though if I add this to my list and they offer it to be but another school a few miles closer to me has come up in that time, will they then only pay for the closest school?

spanieleyes Fri 21-Aug-15 18:14:16

No, we had a child came to us by taxi as we were the nearest school with a vacancy when he was looking for a place. Even when a place arose at a school nearer to his home, he continued to come to us. It was only when he moved house and the school with vacancies was nearer was the taxi removed.
So if a taxi/mileage claim was agreed, your child could continue at the given school as long as you remained in your home. it would only be if you moved that the situation would be reassessed.

NynaevesSister Fri 21-Aug-15 18:14:47

They are only obliged to pay for the transport if the offer you a school place at a distance from your house.

If you accept that place, and start there, they can't force you to move again to a closer school.

I would put in your application, accept whatever place you are offered so you know you have a school place, and then make sure you are on the waiting lists for other schools. It is possible a place will come up before school starts or in the first few weeks.

Don't worry about changing schools on him early on, he will be fine. It is Reception so half their day is play based anyway.

Lostandlostsomemore Fri 21-Aug-15 18:24:44

But if there were 2 schools available, both over the 3 miles distance but I opted for one that was 7 miles away instead of 6 would that lose the entitlement to mileage?

PatriciaHolm Fri 21-Aug-15 19:16:42

Free transport is to the nearest school that as a place available, so if you happened to asked to choose, then yes you would need to take the nearest school to be entitled to the transport. In practise, you are unlikely to be offered a choice - in fact you haven't, you've been offered one school.

However, 8miles for an infant to travel is somewhat excessive, in such a densely populated area, and I would try pushing back. They do have the ability under FAP (Fair access protocol) to force another full school to take him if all the local schools are full, and I would be pressuring them to bring that into play. 8m across south London at 8am could take you an hour easily.

Lostandlostsomemore Fri 21-Aug-15 20:06:22

So if another place came up as a school a mile nearer they would offer that rather than my 5th choice of the one 8 miles away? I was under the impression they check all preferences first and if they can't offer that they will then offer you your nearest school with places ( which at this moment in time is my number 5th choice 8 miles away ) I'm just confused whether because I've now listed it as a preference that discounts us for the travel assistance

kla73 Fri 21-Aug-15 23:21:56

I'm not an expert in these matters and hopefully others will also advise. However my view is that you should sit tight for a bit and see what Surrey come up with from your original application - they have an obligation to offer him a place somewhere and they may use the fair access protocol (FAP) to offer him a place nearer to home. This may not be a school of your choice but it you never know your luck and it might be nearer. If you put the Banstead school on your application form this will give the local authority a 'get out' from considering using the FAP.

Regarding the transport issue, I would assume that if he is allocated the Banstead school (even if listed as a preference, as long as it was made clear that this was because you were aware that it was the only school with a place) that he would meet criteria for free transport. However they might not pay mileage and might be very specific regarding how the free transport is implemented - they might for example insist on a taxi. Hopefully they will outline this on their website so might be worth a look in case it clears things up.

I don't think there is an issue of the local authority withdrawing free transport if a place comes up in a school nearer to your home because it would only be offered to your son if he was on a waiting list for that school (and there is no obligation to remain on a waiting list as far as I'm aware) or you put in a further application.

There is often a bit of movement at the beginning of term so if he is high on the waiting lists for your preferred schools you may find that he gets a place nearer to home.

prh47bridge Sat 22-Aug-15 00:02:42

Just to clarify the travel situation...

If the nearest school with places is over 3 miles away by the shortest safe walking route (2 miles if your child is under 8) the LA must provide free transport to that school regardless of whether you chose that school or the LA allocated a place.

If you choose to send your child to another school that is further away than the nearest one with places you don't generally qualify for free transport unless you are on a low income or your child has SEN.

If a place subsequently becomes available at a school nearer home that does not affect your entitlement to free transport.

prh47bridge Sat 22-Aug-15 00:05:28

By the way, you don't need to worry about adding the Banstead school to your list. If there are no places available at any of the schools you list the LA must come up with a place somewhere. That could be at the Banstead school or they could force one of the local schools to take your child even though the school is already full.

catkind Sat 22-Aug-15 00:42:29

Hang on, you said that was what schools had vacancies after the offers were made? i.e. in April? I should think things would have moved quite a lot since then, I wouldn't rely on it either for the Banstead school having places or other ones not. I think you're better listing the nearest schools then either you get something near, or they have to give you transport.

Surrey automatically keep people on waiting lists till Christmas (longer if you ask), if a place opened up you would get a call and have to decide whether you wanted to move. That wouldn't affect free transport if you already had it though.

We found there were a good few kids moved over the course of the first term as places opened up. They didn't seem to find it massively disruptive, though obvs not ideal. Another option to consider might be if you get allocated something too far away, defer your place there till half term say, then if something closer comes up quickly you can just start him there, but you have still got the allocated place in reserve.

Lostandlostsomemore Sat 22-Aug-15 08:25:34

Thanks for further replies.
I'm just confused now that if they do offer me the Banstead place if they still have places and I've listed it as a preference, if for instance there is also another school a bit closer, will they pay the mileage for the Banstead one or will they offer me the school closest to home regardless of my preference list?
It seems odd that they would pay for transport of any kind unless they really had to, but at the same time the list of preferences is apparently looked at to try and give parents their choices if at all possible.
This list was true as of 17/08 but obviously people may have moved and just not informed the council or may keep their places until something else comes up.
I didn't realise about them having to find him a place, I was worried they would start looking at bordering boroughs for instance if that Banstead place was taken by someone else so wanted to grab it whilst I could.
My plan was to accept it but start him in January if no other closer school had arisen, by January I need to make my application for my daughter too sad

Lostandlostsomemore Sat 22-Aug-15 08:27:59

P.S they're website doesn't have any info on the type of transport they offer so I need to check that. I've shot myself in the foot as if they offer that school now which is I've put on my list how can I reject it? Even if they won't cover mileage and only offer a taxi for instance.
They also won't pay for my daughters transport costs as she won't have just been allocated that school, I will have had to apply for it as 1st choice as son will already be there and can't be in 2 places at once

Lostandlostsomemore Sat 22-Aug-15 08:31:46

Sorry if my rambling is confusing, I'm just wondering if they will offer me the Banstead one 7 miles away even if by next week there is also a school 4 miles away for instance that has a place? If I'm a late application do they just assign your closest school regardless of preference or would they give me the Banstead one as it's on my list?

prh47bridge Sat 22-Aug-15 09:27:34

if they do offer me the Banstead place if they still have places and I've listed it as a preference, if for instance there is also another school a bit closer, will they pay the mileage for the Banstead one or will they offer me the school closest to home regardless of my preference list?

So the scenario is that you name Banstead as a preference but there is also a place available at a school closer to home which you don't include as a preference. In that scenario you would be offered Banstead and would not be entitled to free transport because you had chosen to send your son to that school even though there was a place available closer to home.

If you name Banstead as a preference and there are no places available closer to home you will be offered the place and will be entitled to free transport.

If you do not name Banstead as a preference but there are no places at any of your preferred schools and they offer you Banstead you will be entitled to free transport.

I didn't realise about them having to find him a place, I was worried they would start looking at bordering boroughs for instance

They do indeed have to find him a place but it doesn't have to be in Redhill. They will be reluctant to offer a place elsewhere unless there really is no other alternative. And any place they offer must be within a reasonable distance from home (which for primary school pupils means 45 minutes travel each way).

Lostandlostsomemore Sat 22-Aug-15 09:34:15

Thankyou for your reply, this is what I assumed.
But how will I know if we are entitled?
If they write to me offering the Banstead school do I then need to ring to make sure there isn't another school closer to home available in case they then won't cover the transport?
And now it's on my preferences if they offer it they don't have to offer anything else do they sad think I've done this all wrong now.

Lostandlostsomemore Sat 22-Aug-15 09:36:26

I should have just left my preferences as the 4 local schools but I thought a school was better than no school :-( but they aren't going to write to me saying here's the Banstead school but just to let you know there is also another school 5 miles away that we will provide you with transport for are they? So how on earth will I know??

Icimoi Sat 22-Aug-15 10:03:27

Look, just phone them on Monday and ask.

admission Sat 22-Aug-15 18:38:26

I would go back to them on Monday morning and say that you now realise how far the Banstead school is and that it is not practical. Tell them that you wish to go back to the 4 original preferences and that you want them to confirm in writing that there are no places available at these schools.
When the letter comes from the LA, you then need to say to them that you require a school place, which as an LA they need to do. Also say to them that you will be appealing for all 4 schools and fill the forms in.
This will put as much pressure on the LA as is possible to come up with a school place. Whilst legally you have to have your son in full time education in the term after he is 5, the LA also have a legal duty to provide a place within reasonable distance. Reasonable distance is a bit of a moving feast depending on who you talk to - 45 minutes travel is one, as is 2 miles walking distance for an infant child in terms of free transport. The LA will find you a school place but you will need to push them and they will almost for sure wait till after the schools start again before making any decisions as they will be hoping that spaces become available.

Lostandlostsomemore Sun 23-Aug-15 10:29:48

Hi,
I have emailed the admissions team asking for the Banstead school to be removed.
I've been honest and said my only reason for adding it was because it was the only one with places on the vacancy list however I was unaware that by requesting it, I would lose all right to mileage assistance and whilst I would be happy to drive him to school and not require a taxi, financially we would need that assistance.
So now it should be a few weeks, they said usually first week of September before we receive an offer through the post with the closest school and we will have to go from there.
I hope they let me change my preference now though sad I will ring Tuesday to check it's been completed although I'm guessing they are sick of me already

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