What happens if you are offered a school that wasn't one of your choices or no school at all? and other questions

(15 Posts)
SchoolApplicationQuestions Thu 14-Jan-16 11:44:32

If you get offered a school that you didnt put as one of your choices and the one you are offered is awful, what can you do? If you have no particular grounds for appeal I mean. I have heard talk of being put on waiting lists for your preferred schools, but who do you need to contact to do this? The schools themselves or the council?

Would you be able to just suggest another (preferably under subscribed) school that you would prefer but wasn't one of your choices on the form?

Could you go on a waiting lists for your preferred schools even if you were given your third or fourth choice of school?

I have been searching the application website but can't find any info about any of this.

Thanks smile

meditrina Thu 14-Jan-16 11:55:33

If you are not offered one of your preferred schools, the best thing to do is accept the one you've been offered (unless you have a private school available or are prepared to home educate). This is because the LEA has no obligation to come up with another offer.

If your DC is below statutory school age, you can defer entry to that school, which gives you a bit longer to work on an alternative.

The first thing you need to do is look at the reasons you were rejected from your listed preferences. Does it look as if there have been any errors in handling your application (so was your DC placed in the correct category, does the distance from your house to the school seem right). This might give grounds for a winnable appeal, if the error cost your child a place. Not if the mistake was putting you at 0.750km from the school, when it should be about 0.650km, but the last place offered was 0.550km (obviously you need the mistake rectified so you are placed correctly on the waiting list, but it won't win you a place at that point).

If still no grounds for appeal, then yes you can go on the waiting list for your preferred schools (the LEA may well do this automatically, but worth a quick email to check).

meditrina Thu 14-Jan-16 11:58:40

And yes, you can apply for schools that were not your original preferences at this point. If there is an undersubscribed school, then you should be offered the place. If other schools you like better than the offered ones are full, you can be added to the waiting list.

Places on the waiting lists (which must be held until at least December) are ranked according to how well you fit the entrance criteria, not by the amount of time you have been waiting.

SchoolApplicationQuestions Thu 14-Jan-16 12:06:29

So they wouldn't consider another option at all? If there were no grounds for appeal and I didn't want to send her to a particularly awful school in my area? I would homeschool rather than let her go there but would rather offer up a different option.

She will be one of the oldest in the year so I'm presuming the statutory age thing doesn't apply.

Is anyone able to tell me if you can go on a waiting list for your first/second choice if you get offered your third/fourth? Or does it not work like that?

SchoolApplicationQuestions Thu 14-Jan-16 12:07:08

Thank you, sorry crossed posts.

Karoleann Thu 14-Jan-16 12:44:03

I wouldn't get too despondent, waiting lists, especially in London mover very quickly. Some parents who have chosen a private school also apply to a state school as a sort of insurance, some move, others are on a waiting list for another school.

You can go on a waiting list for all your schools if you choose.

When my child applied a couple of years ago, there were around 10 of his friends who didn't get their choice of school (some were not given a school at all). By the end of August, all bar one had a place at one of their original choices. The remaining child stayed at nursery, but had a place by the end of the first term.

meditrina Thu 14-Jan-16 12:57:25

"Is anyone able to tell me if you can go on a waiting list for your first/second choice if you get offered your third/fourth?"

Yes, you can. Some LEAs do this automatically. Definitely get in touch with them after allocations days to check you are indeed in the waiting lists.

"So they wouldn't consider another option at all?"

Yes, they will. If you identify a school with a vacancy and apply for it, they have to give you the place (unless loads of people have done the same thing, in which case the allocation is by how well each applicant fits the criterion). And then your existing offer can be cancelled.

If you however turn down the offered place, they LEA is under no obligation to come up with more offers. It will be up to you to identify places and reapply. And there is a risk you will be left with no place at all (or one which is even worse for you than the originally offered school).

catslife Thu 14-Jan-16 15:23:27

If you aren't offered a place at any of your preferred schools then the LEA will offer your child a place at the school closest to your home that has places available. If you identify a place is available at another school a bit further away than the offered school, then Yes you can arrange for your child to go there instead.
Yes you can go on waiting lists for schools higher up your preference list if you are offered 3rd or 4th preference.

mrsvilliers Thu 14-Jan-16 20:55:36

We were in this situation last year and we ended up moving from where we lived (SE London) to get ds into a school. Thankfully he was at a private nursery so we kept him there for an extra term while we decided what to do. I'm also sorry to say that I wouldn't necessarily put your faith in waiting lists, particularly if you're in an area of London with good schools. We actually got pushed further down the waiting lists on our two closest schools. I didn't even bother checking the others after that! I really feel for you if this happens, it was a horrible experience. Thankfully ds has now settled in very well at his new school but I am totally at sea in a new area. Do you know if there is a chance of a bulge class in any of the schools you're applying for?

tiggytape Fri 15-Jan-16 10:09:55

I have heard talk of being put on waiting lists for your preferred schools, but who do you need to contact to do this? The schools themselves or the council?
In many areas it is automatic. You are added to the list of any school that you said you preferred over and above the one you were offered. So if you get offered none from your list, you'd be added to the list of every single school you named. However there are some exceptions:

- Not all councils add you automatically or they want you to confirm that you want to go on lists - so always check with them after allocations day.

- Academies run their own lists. They still have to abide by all the same rules but they are the ones who physically keep track of the list so if any of your schools is an academy, contact them after offers day

- At least one council (Herts) has a weird "no second chances" rule.
So if you go on the waiting list for a school you like and a place comes up, they take away your original offer without even asking you if you're still sure to give you a new school. Great if that's what you want. Not so great if you've made your peace with the offered school or even come to like it.
All other councils let you keep your original offer whilst you think about whether to accept a place off the waiting list or not. But you have to be quick - a few days usually - as other people are still waiting.

Would you be able to just suggest another (preferably under subscribed) school that you would prefer but wasn't one of your choices on the form?
Yes and if that school has spaces (and nobody else waiting for them) then they will give you a place at that school.
It is wise though not to fill in your form only with desirable schools on the basis that "School X is always half empty so if I don't get a school from my list, we'll just apply to School X last minute" This might be the year that School X gets more applications or the council allocate some people without places School X and filling it up.

Could you go on a waiting lists for your preferred schools even if you were given your third or fourth choice of school?
Yes. You can go on the list of any school you said you liked better than the one you got allocated. People who get their 2nd choice often stay on the list for their 1st choice.
Sometimes you can even go on the list of a school you said you didn't like as much as the one you got given (people get their 1st choice but suddenly realise they wanted their 2nd choice afterall). This would never be automatic though and you'd have to request to be added to that list specially.

prh47bridge Fri 15-Jan-16 13:04:38

At least one council (Herts) has a weird "no second chances" rule

That rule appears to be directly contrary to the Admissions Code. Any parent who loses an offer they have accepted just because a place has come up at one of their higher preferences has an excellent case for appeal. But of course it is safest not to get into that situation.

tiggytape Fri 15-Jan-16 16:44:38

prh47 I totally agree with you but a poster called ButterflyUpSoHigh contacted the adjudicator last year and was told:

"The Hertfordshire County Council website informs parents about the Continued Interest Lists, when and how they will be operated and important information why parents must opt out if they are happy with the place offered. This is considered in line with the Code but should you require further clarification you could contact the Department for Education"

I agree with you though and the Adjudicator didn't look at the issue against the requirements of the Code. Given that withdrawal of an offer is a serious thing and only permitted in limited circumstances, I don't see how a whole region arbitrarily removes children's places to substitute with others with no further notice of checks. Parents buy uniforms, plan childcare and generally get used to the idea of their new school. For a council to then swoop in last minute and announce the good news that they're now allocated a different school weeks or months later doesn't seem to meet the requirements about not withdrawing places once fairly allocated.

Portlypenguin Fri 15-Jan-16 20:45:05

This happened to us - I was expecting an underperforming school very locally ( rather than ''good' ones we listed, one of which is our catchment school) but we got an underperforming one on the other side of town. Under provision of primary places here aer a babu boom i think. 30mins drive in rush hour. Luckily Given my initial expectation ( and no possibility of moving in time etc etc) we explored private options. DS1 got a place at a local prep, about 10mins drive in rush hour that is brilliant. They are able to deal with his malabsorption syndrome inc no dairy diet and lots of diarrhoea really well ( the state schools i spoke too were not very positive and supportive on that front). Is horribly expensive though and i recognise not an option to explore for many.

Pico2 Fri 15-Jan-16 21:02:49

If it makes a difference to you, you may be provided with transport to the school that you didn't put down but are allocated to (depending on the distance), but if you reject that place in favour of a more distant school you won't get transport provided.

Inkymess Fri 15-Jan-16 21:23:02

In our LA you automatically go on wait list for all your higher preferences. If you get a school not on your list and don't want it at all, you can look at all other schools with places left over and choose from them

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