No reception place for DD

(92 Posts)
skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 19:49:24

So the email verdict is in and they were unable to offer a place to my DD who is due to start reception in September.

What does this mean and what should I do next?? Any experiences please as I am desperate and so sad as this isn't the start I had hoped for, for my pfb. Also any useful advice. I am in London and have 6 primaries each with 90 place reception intake all less than half a mile from me. How can this be??

tiggytape Wed 17-Apr-13 19:54:17

Don't panic - this is more rare but it does happen. It means that the schools you listed couldn't take you and, in addition, no school in the local area has any spaces left for Reception.

The council will find you a place - they have to - but you may need to be patient.

First thing tomorrow, ask to be added to the waiting list of every school you would consider. You can also ask if they have any bulge classes planned for this year and where you stand with gaining a place that way.

Don't panic - you will get a place but you will need to be proactive especially about getting on multiple waiting lists and chasing up for news.

Was this an expected outcome? Did you list any schools that you felt you had a realistic chance of being accepted at - because if so you might want to double check with the council no mistake has been made eg that they've got your home address correctly recorded

skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 19:54:32

I should add that we listed the 6 closest schools as your choices and all are half a mile away or less. I am in bromley if that helps. Please?

It means that (assuming all 6 were on your list of preferences) all 90 places at each school have been filled by looked after children/siblings/kids who live closer to the school than your DD does. I'm also in London and this has happened to a few people I know.

You will be on waiting lists for the schools you listed on your form, there is a fair amount of movement in the next month or so - but if there are ANY other local schools you would be happy for her to attend, get in touch with admissions and ask to be put on their waiting list too.

skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 19:58:43

Tiggy. Thanks. Our six closest schools should have yielded some sort of place as they are so close to us. And we deliberately listed a couple which were close but not so great just to get a space.

I am panicking and freaking out. DH is away on business which isn't helping.

Do I phone the individual schools for waiting lists or do I phone bromley council.

Please tell me this will all turn out ok. <sob wail>

tiggytape Wed 17-Apr-13 19:58:56

Rue is spot on with her explanation and advice.
It is not uncommon in London unfortunately. Every year there can be a few hundred children in each area who get no allocated school but over the Summer waiting lists move and bulge classes open up.
You do need to be pushy though - make sure they know you want to be on every list possible (not just the ones you applied to) and ring for nagging updates regularly. They have an obligation to find you a place.

tiggytape Wed 17-Apr-13 20:00:25

Phone Bromley council.
It will be O.K honestly - you will get a place.

skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:01:52

Rue. Ok. Will get on the net to see which other schools are close that we can get wait listed for.

This is a nightmare. I thought with so many schools so close with such large intakes we would get a place even if it wasn't the best of the schools. I am trying not to panic.

Pozzled Wed 17-Apr-13 20:06:21

Sadly, this is becoming more common as the demand on school places is so high. If you weren't offered a place, it means that the six schools near to you were filled by people who were a higher prioritythan you. Either they had siblings there, were looked after children, lived closer than you or had some other reason based on the school's published criteria.

It also means that there is no other school with spaces that is within a 'reasonable' distance.

You should now:
1) Make sure your DC's name is on the waiting list for all the schools on your preference list. Some boroughs do this automatically, some need you to do it, so phone and check tomorrow.

2) Add your DC's name to the waiting list of any other school you can reasonably get to. Are there any schools further away but on a commute into work? At this stage, any place is better than none, and even if you end up accepting an offer you don't really want, you can change at any point when a better place becomes available.

Once people start accepting or declining offers there will be some movement on the lists, so you may yet get a place that you're happy with. More knowledgeable people than me will have more advice as well- good luck.

Periwinkle007 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:06:48

oh you poor thing, I can only imagine how stressed you must be feeling but it will all get sorted out. I agree you must get on as many waiting lists as you can. the only thing I would add to what has been said is to speak to the preschool your daughter is at and make sure they are aware of the situation and check if they would have a place for her to stay there if she had to for the initial few weeks if it takes a bit longer than we hope to sort it all out.

Honestly, don't panic. I know it's easier said than done, but even more importantly don't let on to your DD how stressful it is. And when you do get allocated a place, accept it (no matter where it is) and stay on waiting lists for schools you prefer.

Pozzled Wed 17-Apr-13 20:07:52

X-posted, I took too long to type!

skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:17:11

Thanks everyone. I am eating left over Easter eggs and trying to remain calm.
Now I have read the email from bromley it says we are on waiting lists and to do nothing. Still I will phone some of the schools tomorrow just to make sure.

I still don't get it. Our first a choice school is 400 yards from our front door. How does this happen?

stella1w Wed 17-Apr-13 20:25:56

Ask council where you are on all thje lists.. You may find you near the top. Then chase the schools cos the council can be slow to coordinate

Periwinkle007 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:28:08

if it is that close and has a 90 intake I can only assume a very large number of siblings and are there any blocks of flats between you and the school.

noramum Wed 17-Apr-13 20:28:12

Skandi, I live in Bromley and it gets worse each year. Three years ago our school had 45 siblings in a 60 pupil intake. So catchment moved down to 0.2 miles.

Last year thanks to a bulge class we went up to over 1 mile and now we are back to quite short distances again. From DD's class alone there are 5 siblings coming this year.

Def. phone the council. They will be able to tell you on which place on the waiting list your DD is. Often parents do an admission form for a state school but also apply for public and places will be free again.

Periwinkle007 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:30:04

according to our stats that have been sent out one of the schools near us only got as far as 0.14mile for non siblings.

skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:30:41

Brilliant Stella. Thanks. I am still shocked at no offer given our proximity. wine May be required!

skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:33:16

Nora. Yikes! It really is that bad! I suppose I was silly enough to assume there was some sort of mistake. Oh dear. I guess I will be busy on the phone tomorrow.

skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:36:09

Periwinkle. No flats at all. Just houses but all family houses (proper suburbia here). I think it's siblings. Or perhaps lots of twins. Who knows.

I sort of feel better to know I have not been overlooked and no mistake has been made. But again horrified as there are simply not enough places for everyone.

OzBrit Wed 17-Apr-13 20:41:38

I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I found myself in the same awful place last year. Keep ringing the council and getting updates on where you are on the waiting lists of all 6 schools. These waiting lists can move up and down. It is a horrible waiting game, but you will get a place somewhere at some stage...hang in there.

I'm quite shocked for you, I live in Bexley, and have plenty of friends in Bromley. Didn't think our corner of London was this oversubscribed. Sending wine

knitcorner Wed 17-Apr-13 22:15:42

Sorry to hear this skandi, we don't apply till next year and I know we will be in the same boat.

I'm told that the waiting lists are managed by the schools themselves so get to know the admissions people in each school. Let them know that you are the kind of parent/child they want in their school (by caring about your child's education!) and they might be able to bump you up the list (I doubt whether any will admit to doing this, but I have heard that it goes on). It certainly can't do you any harm!

Whereabouts in Bromley are you btw?

pooka Wed 17-Apr-13 22:22:46

Oh goodness - how worrying for you. I'm also in Bromley. I didn't know there were so many 3 form entries - am guessing that you're H/WW? Though prob wrong, and now I think it could jut as easily be orp.

The lea will have to get you a place. This is when they start discussing bulge classes I suppose. My local school had a bulge class a couple of years ago which actually has worked really well. Only 75/80 ish kids but a whole extra teacher, so the adult child ratio was and is good. All depends which schools either have a spare classroom or room for temporary classroom.

pooka Wed 17-Apr-13 22:26:14

It's entirely likely that the waiting list will come up trumps - some kids will be going private and so on.

My nearest school is 350m away and we were 20th on waiting list several years ago. That school now has a catchment less than 300m. Luckily, there are other good options nearby.

Fingers crossed that all comes good as soon as possible.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Apr-13 22:26:53

Just poking our heads round the door here to advise you of our
primary admissions webchat
HTH and good luck with it all

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 17-Apr-13 22:36:51

The places on the waiting list should be held in order of the application priority (eg siblings, distance etc) and staff should have no impact on waiting list position. If they break these rules, everyone ahead of the admitted pupil on the list would have be able to appeal.

pooka Wed 17-Apr-13 22:41:06

I think at this stage waiting lists are operated by the lea and even when they go to the schools (if they do, further up the line) it is strictly on admissions criteria I.e. distance, siblings etc.

skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 23:36:36

Thanks everyone. I have had some wine and I am trying not to panic.

I am in borough of bromley in Beckenham if that helps. I had no idea it would
Be this bad. So many schools on the doorstep and no place. Argh.
Olivia. Thanks. I will look at web chat.
I have now spoken to DH who was very unimpressed with the whole saga and has told me to phone all the independent schools tomorrow to see if we can get her a place in one of those. It will bankrupt us to send her and later DS private but if its that or home schooling what kind of a choice is that?

nancy75 Wed 17-Apr-13 23:42:17

skandi1, I live in bromley too and have to agree it is getting worse. Do you mind me asking which schools you put as I do know of some local schools that often have spaces that you might not have put down

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 18-Apr-13 00:21:45

If it would put your mind at rest, ask the LEA to confirm the distance between your home and each school and the distance at which the last place was awarded under the distance criterion. If you live closer than the last place awarded, and it was a place awarded on distance rather than a sibling or looked-after child, that'sastringent indicative of a mistake.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 18-Apr-13 00:22:45

Err, strongly indicative.

noramum Thu 18-Apr-13 06:34:50

Nancy, if one of the 6 school has no space then Bromley looks at all schools in the whole of the borough to see who has a free one. If Skandi got no place at all it means the situation is a really bad one.

As I said, we had a bulge class but can't accommodate another one. A school in .bromley North just changed from 2 to 3 entry form.

We looked at Beckenham 3 years ago when we moved and ai think it was Balgowan where you have to live on the doorstep to get in.

nancy75 Thu 18-Apr-13 08:03:17

Nora um, yes I understand that, however if the op is going to ring schools to get on waiting lists it would help her to know that schools like pickhurst usually have a large catchment and a fast moving waiting list, while a school like clare house or high field will be massively over subscribed and have much longer slower moving lists.

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:41:48

Argh what a morning so far. Spoke to education people at bromley. Very nice but I couldn't actually speak to the admissions people until 2pm.

The education lady seemed to think that they were trying to organise extra classes to go into a junior school. So this school is 4 miles from my home and DD would be with children aged 7 to 11!!

Please someone tell me this lady is wrong and if not that this is illegal.

Phoned around the schools and bromley controls the waiting list so no joy there.

This is a hideous nightmare!! How can this be? It doesn't make sense. I am 300 yards from a school where last years catchment was 500 yards.

Am now phoning independent schools. Sigh.

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 09:48:43

skiandi1 - try not to panic. The people you need to talk to are the admissions people at 2pm. The front desk staff can field calls and give general advice (and may even know vague plans about bulge classes) but they aren't going to be able to give proper details and advice as the admissions people will.
The same applies to waiting lists. The front desk staff won't know and you'll need to get the information from the admissions team.
Hopefully you will find you are top (or close to top) of at least one waiting list this afternoon.

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 10:03:11

Tiggy. Thanks.

It wasn't the front desk, it was a lady within the education dept I spoke to although she didn't deal with primary admissions

Fingers crossed she is completely wrong.

Most of the prep schools are full with waiting lists.

However I have shamelessly used DHs work position and his name (md of a major uk plc) and it has yielded a result. We could get DD into one of the local independent schools subject to a meeting with head master. Now I just need to find the money to pay for it. I guess it means putting poor DS into nursery to I can work to pay for it.

We moved here and paid big money for a house thinking we has lots of schools on our doorstep. And yet we could have saved ourselves all of this and just signed up for one of the preps where we used to live as this is how we are ending up anyway.

Guess we can manage by not having holidays and selling one of the cars and me working again. I still find this shocking.

ohforfoxsake Thu 18-Apr-13 10:10:08

This is the first wave of offers isn't it? So places will come up after the acceptance date has passed. It's not without hope (DC1 got his place in his %231 school in July from being somewhere like 11th on the waiting list).

Find out where you are on the list and sit tight. Places come up on the first day of term - some people simply dont show up and tell the school. I was going to homeschool until a place came up - would you consider that?

ohforfoxsake Thu 18-Apr-13 10:11:13

Not sure what happened there but it should say 'number 1 school' confused

afussyphase Thu 18-Apr-13 10:18:50

Check all the distances; it is very possible that you will find that a mistake has been made. LAs will give you the max distance of an offer made on the distance criterion. If any of these are farther than you, you should appeal. Don't change your whole life around to do independent schooling based on these first wave offers, as there can be a lot of changes between now and September. As for the junior school, I really don't think they would put a 4yo with 7yos! So don't worry about that. And they might open bulge classes at any of your 6 schools, too.

Check with your local authority about what they do to detect people who have pretended to live where they do not, or applied based on a temporary rental (one of those short-term 4-8 week lets, hotel rooms even, friends' houses, for example). No doubt admissions specialists will be along who know more than I do, but you might be able to appeal if offers were made to people who don't live in the area, and they displaced your child. With only 400m to a school with an intake of 90 it seems possible that these sorts of things are going on!

lottieandmia Thu 18-Apr-13 10:31:29

It's possible some people will decline their places yet, try not to panic.

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 10:32:03

skiandi1 - it is nice to have an independent offer as a back-up if you can afford to as it can take away the horrible pressure of being on waiting lists for weeks.
You may end up liable for one term's fees if you don't get a waiting list offer soon but you may decide that is worth the money if it gives you a guaranteed plan B.

ohfor is right though - this is very early days. I was in the same situation as you last year (for secondary not primary) and eventually got 2 offers from different waiting lists. I am not minimising how bloody stressful hard the wait was but this is really just the start of a process of offers and acceptances that will carry on through the Summer and beyond.

afussy is also correct that you can double check for errors by asking for last distance offered at each school although I don't agree that not getting a place at a school so close definitely indicates cheating or mistakes. It is far more probable that half the places or more have been allocated to siblings which is quite legitimate and very common in London. At some schools it reduces catchment areas to 200m or less.

As for bulge classes - it is true some boroughs are considering pretty drastic solutions to house all the extra children they must find spaces for. Some areas are considering disused public buildings for example so I wouldn't say it beyond the realms of possibility that they may add classrooms at a junior school but, being 4 miles away, I think you are in a very good position to be given something closer to home anyway.

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 10:33:29

Fox and fussy. Yes I will check distance this afternoon once I can speak to the lady in charge of admissions.

I would consider homeschooling until a place came up. I just feel bad for DD. she is desperate to make friends which she wouldn't do if I homeschool. None of the immediate neighbours have children DDs age (teenagers) and neither DH or I come from large families so no cousins at all.

The two closest schools confirm on their websites that they won't be doing bulge classes until 2014.

I have just spoken to DH and he is seething. Sadly it won't help as its not a case of just getting on the phone and speaking to people until you get a result.

Thanks so much to all of you for hand holding.

ohforfoxsake Thu 18-Apr-13 10:34:51 was useful when we appealed having not got a place at our first choice (OK, appeals are rarely held up but I felt it was worth a shot).

ohforfoxsake Thu 18-Apr-13 10:39:11

DC1 went to the nursery of the school so I spoke to them about homeschooling an they were supportive. It's worth making contact with the schools as they will take over the waiting list at some point. I only ever saw homeschooling as a very temporary thing. I think it was better to hold off for the school we wanted, than start elsewhere and move - although this also works.
It's incredibly stressful, but VERY early days and it will come good.

I hope you will feel a bit more confident when you've spoken to the admissions people - fingers crossed you're at the top of the list and it's just playing the waiting game!

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 10:43:09

Tiggy. Thanks. I guess I am just in shock that it would turn out like this.

I am hoping to know more once I speak to admissions again this afternoon.

Fox. I will look into appeals too.

MegBusset Thu 18-Apr-13 10:43:16

Don't panic smile The LEA will have to find her a place by September. As you are so close to 6 schools you will be very near the top of the waiting list for all of them. Individual schools have no say over which pupils are admitted - it is all handled by the LEA. Make sure via the LEA that you're on all the waiting lists you need to be, they should be able to tell you where you are on the list.

Then it will be a waiting game. Even if she is offered a place elsewhere in the borough, she can start there and still move when a place becomes free at one of your nearby schools. A friend of mine's DD moved schools the second week of term as one child hadn't turned up.

Snazzynewyear Thu 18-Apr-13 10:49:58

No advice but just wishing you luck with the waiting lists - everyone seems to agree it is a case of holding your nerve.

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 10:52:24

When is her birthday? Could you keep her at preschool until she is 5, by which time is more than likely that a place will have come free.

I do thnk that a private school that is able to rustle up a place because of your husbands job doesn't sound amazing.

It's still very early days in terms of offers and organisation of bulge classes. Is terribly worrying and I can imagine you're panicking, but try not to make a knee jerk decision that will cost you hugely in the long run.

noramum Thu 18-Apr-13 10:58:00

Skandi, as the other say, don't panic. I know one girl who was on the waiting list of DD's school and moved from place 30+ to under 10 in a matter of days when the acceptance letters went back to the council.

Accept any place and keep her on the list for your local ones. September is still a while to go.

It is absolutely ridiculous. And I have to say it won't be better when they move to secondary unless Bromley builds another couple of school. There are huge new developments in Bromley but it seems nobody thought that in nice terrace house you have families with children instead of single people. So no school was built.

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 11:05:01

I suppose bishop justus is a recent build for secondary. But is cofe and now applying admissions criteria that leaves only a small percentage of places for children based on distance rather than worship.

Bromley has a history of being rather shortsighted in terms of schools and retention of buildings. There was a big decrease in birth rates in the 80s which led to many schools being amalgamated and the buildings being reappropriated for other purposes. It makes it so much more complicated to reverse the situation when there is a baby boom.

I think academisation (massive massive push in Bromley) and lack of robust planning obligations on major developers means that there is a lack of central Bromley funds for building programmes, and the government sure as hell isn't going to step in and pay because, well, that goes against the government approach to education IMO.

Pyrrah Thu 18-Apr-13 14:04:43

Don't panic yet.

I'm in hideously oversubscribed Southwark - I got lucky and just squeaked into my 2nd choice but we're desperate to get our first choice.

I spoke to the LA - who are handling the waiting lists until the end of acceptances (sometime in May I think, but they can tell you).

We are way, way out of the usual catchment distance (1000+ metres outside LDO) for a very popular school and yet DD is only 47 on the waiting list - and that is with every child who listed that school above the option they got still on it.

The lists will move really fast, and given how close you are to start with and there are 6 potentials in the running, I will be very suprised if you aren't right at the top of the list for some if not most of the 6.

Once you've got the LDO and the waiting list number for each school, then you can keep ringing (as often as you like according to the lady at Southwark) to check for movement.

christinarossetti Thu 18-Apr-13 14:14:20

I second the 'don't panic' school of thought (easier said than done).

There will be a shake down over the next few weeks, then second round offers in early May, then bulge classes set up to accommodate the children without a place.

My friend was in exactly your position in Walthamstow last year. Her local school set up a bulge class and she was sorted.

You'll have to hold your nerve over the next few weeks and months although I can see that a private place back up makes sense.

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 14:25:04

Oh it just gets worse. I have just spoken to the admissions people at bromley. And yes indeed, our "place" is a junior school for 7 to 11 year olds and DD will have to sit with 7 year olds as there are no places available and a very serious shortage this year.

We are not anywhere near the top of any of the waiting lists and I was told unlikely to get a place through waiting lists.

The only positive of the day is that I now have potential places in 5 of bromleys best prep schools inc the two who previously had said they were full. One of my neighbours is involved in the most popular/best (also most expensive) one and she made a call on my behalf.

The thing which really got me was that the independent catholic will take dd even though we are not of the faith.

So independent education it is. Unless I want to throw my daughter to the lions with a bunch of children twice her age.

Thanks for the handholding.

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 14:31:05

skandi1 - do you mean they plan a mixed class of 4 year olds with 7-8 year olds. Surely not? They wouldn't even be at the same stages of the curriculum.
Or will it be a class of 4 year olds in a school of 7-11 year olds which might not be so bad (after all many areas have full primary schools taking children aged 3-11 all in the same building).

It is probably advisable to take whatever is offered at this stage and see what comes of the lists. There are probably others who will be going private too if things are so bad and who knows - this might shorten the lists a bit? There's nothing to stop you holding 1 (or even 2) private school offers in addition to your state school offer so don't be rushed into anything at this stage.

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 14:36:39

I think it'll be part of turning a junior school into a primary - so her class at the 'new' infants will be the first year, and then next year they can have r &yr1 and the year after r, yr 1 and yr2 (made up of septembers reception starters?

Which school is it op? I wasn't aware of any distinct junior schools. Apart I suppose from worsley bridge, which tends to take dcs from st George's in beckenham. They've got space I suppose for extensions and building work.

I'm going to look at the newshopper/Bromley times to see if there's anything about it there.

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 14:50:29

Yes it's worsley bridge. It's going to be come a full primary but not for another year. So until then the leftovers like my DD will be shunted in with the older ones.

I am sitting looking at Balgowans front entrance from my kitchen window. Grrrrr.

noramum Thu 18-Apr-13 14:52:25

Wow, which Junior is it? DD goes to an Infant with a Junior next door and I doubt they have space and there was nothing not even rumours.

Ladymuck Thu 18-Apr-13 14:54:27

There is still time for a lot of movement on waitlists between now and September. I live in the next borough, and in an area where children in my road regularly get turned down for all the local primary schools at this time of year, yet all get places at one of our closest schools by end July. If you think that private education will bankrupt you then wait it out. If 5 prep schools have places today, then at least one of them will have a space in September, but if you put down a deposit this week then be aware that you will be liable for the first terms fees if you get offered a place at your 1st choice state school next week.

littleducks Thu 18-Apr-13 15:02:59

I had this. I honestly think you should give it time, much easier said than done. People will refuse places and there is lots of movement.

The junior school thing won't be as bad as you are describing. They will make a new class or classes who will seperate from the juniors (in reception probably even for the majority if assemblies) and then as time goes by they will move up the school and the school will become a primary. If managed well it can work really nicely and the first yr group get lots of new resources (like a decent phonics based reading scheme rather than Ginn books from the 50s).

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 15:08:15

That is very true littleducks. It looks like this restructuring has been properly planned and isn't just a knee jerk reaction to yesterday's admissions outcomes. Being the youngest children in new classrooms with new resources can work very well, the school looks pretty good already and a primary does have advantages over the Infant / Junior arrangement (no more admission stress for 7 years for a start!).
I think you said it is a 4 mile journey though which isn't so great but things really are likely to change a lot in the next month anyway.

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 16:16:31

Balgowan to worsley bridge is about 2.2m.

I think in some respects it might work well - your dd will most likely be in a normal sized class, but possibly with extra adult contribution - so where some reception years share a TA between 2 classes, a class teacher and a TA will be solely responsible for one class.

Now books and resources. Money being chucked at school.

I have a couple of friends who have children who went to the junior school and did very well.

Plus, 7 year olds are really quite nice most of the time! Firstly they are hardly going to be learning together. In assemblies they will be sitting according to classes.

I'd wait and see what more information emerges about the structure and practicalities of the new set up.

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 17:38:40

So far there is nothing set up. They were thinking of implementing this for 2014/15 but are doing it now instead.

I was told today by the leader of the bromley admissions team that I would be informed of the exact start date as it was unlikely the facilities would be ready for the start of the autumn term.

It doesn't sound promising.

It's actually further away than I thought. 2.5 miles so its a 5 mile round trip twice a day.

Now that we have the option of 5 prep schools, I feel more relaxed. At least we have a place at an actual school with a classroom and facilities.

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 18:30:43

Sorry. If I was unclear. I was sent an email and later today a letter stating that at present they have no place available for DD but are working on it.

When I spoke to them I was told they are rushing around to make spaces available at this junior school. However it is by no means an offer and I was told this was out best/only hope of a space because of high demand.
I initially assumed this meant we'd be top of the waiting list. We are not. So there must be a lot of children around here with no offer.
And Pooky. I realise I said 4 miles away but actually I meant round trip.

I do wonder if we don't have a space and we are way down on waiting list whether someone has made some sort of error somewhere. Can it really be that oversubscribed?

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 18:50:50

Definitely worth finding out the furthest distance each of your 6 schools has gone out in the first round, comparing this to your own distance, so you can see whether an error has been made. The admission team should be able to help you with this, and if you can demonstrate with any or as many of the schools as applicable that an error has been made, that would be grounds for appeal.

It does sound odd to me.

But I understand that Balgowan and Marion Vian for example are often oversubscribed. Others near to Balgowan include Churchfields, Bromley Road and Royston. Might be worth asking for your name to be put on waiting list for any that you didn't specify in the application?

I wonder whether the failure to provide any school place in time for your dd's normal start date of September would represent grounds for appeal? Might be worth going on one of the appeals threads here to see whether the appeal experts can advise.

When I applied for my eldest we only had three choices to specify and so I think maybe there were more examples of children not getting any of their choices, particularly in black spots. But when a child didn't get any of their three choices, they were always (among the people I know of) offered another currently existing school (albeit maybe an undersubscribed or less popular one). It's so worrying that this is happening - particularly as my understanding was that next year is a bit of a crunch year in terms of prospective pupils. Worrying times.

Hope you get something sorted quickly - fingers crossed. At least you have backup, but is a massive kcik in the teeth to have to do this.

If it's over 2 miles you may be entitled to funded transport.
Bear in mind that other parents may be going for the independent option having only got their 3rd choice and this will open up spaces for you.

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 19:44:05

skandi1 - do check the distances but your situation in itself doesn't definitely indicate a mistake. If your closest few schools happen to be ones with tiny catchment areas, it is likely you live too far from any other schools to meet their distance criteria either so have no school you qualify for.
If, in addition,no other school in the area has a single place free (as seems to be the case if the council are bringing forward expansion plans by a whole year) it is correct that, at this stage, you have no place.

They must find one for you however. If dozens of people are in the same boat, 30 of them may qualify more than you do for this school 2 miles away as well. The council however must still find somewhere else for you to go.

If you had no offer at all (as opposed to one you don't want and decline) you could appeal on the grounds of a decision that is so unreasonable that it cannot be allowed to stand. Prh or admissions or Panel Chair would know the chances of such an appeal being won.
It is more than likely however more bulge classes will be opened up if the problem affects lots of people or the council will use emergency powers to force a school to take your child above numbers (the council chooses the school in this instance based on which would cope best). This is an absolute last resort though and it rarely comes to that.

JustOneMoreBite Thu 18-Apr-13 20:19:05

Balgowan were supposed to have a bulge class this year, weren't they? But looking at their website they decided at the end of Feb to defer it to next year (presumably after an outcry from current parents). I guess that means that Bromley were caught on the hop a bit with one less class than they thought they'd have.

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 20:27:19

I wonder if because they are an academy they have more autonomy over scheduling of bulge classes. this is going to get much worse in coming years if that is the case as more and more schools academise.

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 20:35:36

Tiggy. That is correct. An email and letter saying that they were unable to offer a place. When I spoke to them and asked them what would be done about it, they explained that they were speeding up their expansion programme at worsley bridge junior school and shortly would be able to offer those who hadn't qualified with a space there. In other words, once they have placed a couple of temporary buildings on the site of that school they will be in a position to offer a space.

As you say, we may actually be too far away to qualify given the situation.

I researched and applied to the 6 closest schools. All are well under a mile from home.

I am hoping some people will give up their offers and go for the independent schools but its a bit of a wing and prayer.

It may be as you say that I live in some sort of Bermuda Triangle for school places.

Essentially they are working on finding a place for us and the letter said they will be in contact with an "update" after 20th of May or sooner if a space becomes available.

I know I live in a London borough and schools provision is tight. And I know I have sounded like a moany whiny spoilt child here in MN today but I was genuinely taken aback. And quite pissed off that the local authority's reassurance and "backup" plan is to shove my pfb into a temporary building with children twice her age.

Sorry. I know lots of people are much worse off and this is a real elitist first world problem. Thanks all of you for your suggestions and hand holding. It's helped a lot. Thanks for listening. smile

BananaPie Thu 18-Apr-13 20:44:47

Good luck skandi1 - I don't think you've been whiny, just understandably upset. I hope it all works out, I'm sure it will. We live in the same area as you, although we're a couple of years behind you as DD has only just turned 2.

Does anyone know whether Bromley still publishes admissions distances for the previous year? They used to be on their website, but don't seem to be there anymore (trying to plan ahead to work out how to hedge our bets!)

ohforfoxsake Thu 18-Apr-13 20:51:08

You haven't been whiney at all! It's incredibly stressful at this stage - especially when it's your first.

I'm surprised at Bromley - how any LEA can be so under-prepared is beyond me. It seems to have taken them by surprise confused

Do keep us updated - we're rooting for you smile

JustOneMoreBite Thu 18-Apr-13 20:52:23

Yes, good luck, skandi1 - we're in Shortlands and just squeaked into our third choice - without that we'd probably have been in the same boat as you as everywhere else would have been hopeless.

BananaPie - admissions distances are published in the admissions booklet. Next year's won't come out til sometime in the Autumn, but this year's is here (from page 40):

SE13Mummy Thu 18-Apr-13 21:23:49

So sorry to hear that your DD hasn't been offered a Reception place at all - it's a horrid situation to be in.

We're in Lewisham, so not far from you. Four years ago DD1 was offered a place at a school that was about 2 miles away (our first choice, where she was at nursery was 650m from us) but, thanks to the positioning of trainlines, would have taken about an hour to walk to. The alternative was to catch two buses which wouldn't have been feasible come September as DD2 would be three months old and getting prams/buggies on buses for the school 'run' is a nightmare. Childcare once I returned to work (as a teacher) from maternity leave would have been impossible; no childminder within walking distance of our home would consider a drop-off etc at our allocated school.

So, my initial response was to cry lots but then to keep my fingers crossed that Bexley borough would come up trumps - this was before all the boroughs were fully in sync - and that DD1 would be offered a place at a school more than 5 miles away but opposite the secondary that DH teaches at. Meanwhile, I rejected the Lewisham school and said I'd defer entry until DD1 reached statutory school age (the term after her 5th birthday which, for her, was January 2010). This confused the admissions team hmm as did most legalities associated with admissions or so it seemed so I told them to tick the 'home school' box and to put DD1 on the waiting list for every one of the 17 schools that was closer to us than the allocated one.

Bexley did come up trumps and DD1 was offered a place 5.something miles away which we accepted, whilst remaining on the waiting lists of 17 schools. Weekly phonecalls to the admissions team eventually resulted in the news that DD1 could be offered a place at our closest community school which, although it wasn't where we wanted her to be at all, it was local and do-able. At that point we accepted that place and contacted Bexley to turn down theirs.

Fast forward to September and DD1 starts Reception at our closest school. She is 10th on the waiting list for the school where I teach/she was at nursery. Weekly phonecalls continue.

By December she is 3rd on the waiting list for 'my school'. I learn that a child in Reception is moving to another very local school as the result of fraudulent behaviour by a parent whose child was due to start in January. I ring admissions with the name of the moving child and ask where that puts us on the waiting list. I even ask about the January-intake child who is currently being assessed for a statement of SEN and whose parents want to name 'my school' in the statement i.e. that child jumps the waiting list. Cue enormous cock up by the LA who tell me that they will be offering the place to DD1 as that child can be admitted as an 'excepted pupil'. I immediately e-mail and seek written response that DD1 will be offered place officially.

January 2010 arrives and I receive a phone call from 'my school' advising that the LA have over offered the vacancy - not only has it been offered to DD1 and the child with a statement but also now to the child with the fraudulent parent. 1 vacancy but 3 children to fill it so the LA want to withdraw DD1's place angry even though the fraudulent parent hasn't actually provided the evidence required for a priority place at 'my school'.

In the end, DD1 started back at 'my school', rejoining her nursery friends, rather rapidly - the second day of term instead of the original plan which was for her to do two days at the local school (to say goodbye properly and for coat pegs etc. to be set up at 'my school') - so that she had started before the January intake home visits happened/children started. Eventually the LA admitted DD1 as the child filling the vacancy, the child with the statement as an 'excepted pupil' and the child of the fraudulent parent as an 'excepted pupil' too. By the end of Reception the child with a statement had moved to a special school and the LGO overturned the ruling that fraudulent parent's child should lose a school place that had been obtained fraudulently shock so that child moved to the other very local school.

It was hellish and I sympathise with you trying to navigate the ins and outs of how to secure a place that's workable longterm and shorterm, for the whole family. What I would say is, this is London: there is a massive amount of movement both on waiting lists and within the schools themselves. Accept whatever apparently madcapped scheme that Bromley offer and contact them weekly for an update on where your DD is on the many waiting lists she is on. You will probably receive 6 depressing letters that state 'you applied for XX school but we could not offer you a place. The furthest place offered was 30cm and you live 92.5cm away as measured by our special triangulation system that isn't the same as Google maps or anything you can get your hands on'.

As Bromley measure proximity 'in a straight line from home to school' doublecheck that they are using 'as the crow flies' rather than 'by safest walking route' then borrow a trundle wheel* and measure the distance from your front door/boundary to the front entrance of Balgowan. Last year's furthest place was approx. 482m and, although that is not an indication of what this year's will be (one year it was 161m) it might make you feel better to know they haven't made up the numbers/to spot a mistake!

*I'll bring one home from school if you need it smile.

Good luck with it all.

SE13Mummy Thu 18-Apr-13 21:29:15

Sorry my post was so long blush.

Meant to say, DD2 is eligible to start Reception in September...she'll be 4 and a quarter. Her big sister will be very nearly 9 and, although it's an age gap I wouldn't have chosen, it's a great one. The Reception children at the Junior school will be spoiled rotten by the Y3s who will be thrilled not to be 'small fish in a big pond'.

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 21:31:15

skiandi - I think you have held it together very well and not been whiney at all. It is horrendously stressful being in that position and very shocking too. You expect you might not get one of your top choices or maybe any of your choices but nobody expects to get no offer at all.

We were in the exact same position last year and (very embarrassingly) I literally couldn't stop sobbing long enough to even tell the admissions lady my postcode over the telephone. I was sort of hyperventilating at her instead!
And once the shock wore off I was then very cross about it especially as the lists started moving and people with their 3rd choice got offered their 1st choice whilst we still had no offer at all.
It did feel very unfair and I don’t think it is whiney to say that because it is unfair even when the rules have been adhered to fully.
Luckily prh and all the others who offer advice each year were on hand to help and you will get a lot of support as well as sympathy here because so many people have been in the same boat.

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 21:37:25

The furthest place offered was 30cm and you live 92.5cm away as measured by our special triangulation system that isn't the same as Google maps or anything you can get your hands on

Ahhh (nods sagely) - the standard London rejection letter!

parabelle Thu 18-Apr-13 21:40:29

Is Bickley too far for you to go? I heard a rumour Bickley primary is going to 3 forms this year.

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 21:47:44

Scotts Park and Clare House have also gone to three form entry.

But if there were places at ANY school in LBB, I reckon the OP would have been offered one.

Looking through the admission booklet, it does seem to be a trend - reduction in size of catchment in schools in general. Though some schools are relatively static i.e. Balgowan and Raglan - suppose they're always popular?

Beckenham/Shortlands in particular seems tricky - Valley, Balgowan, Marion Vian all go out really rather short distances, and then schools the previously could have been safety nets have shrinking catchments. Scary.

noramum Fri 19-Apr-13 09:56:21

Skandi, you are not whinny at all.

The problem even with the distances advise from last year is that the council managed to get 9 schools to do a bulge class but not all of them can do it again, so what may have look good last year was a minefield this year.

Bromley really had its head in the sand but for the last three years running. Friends only managed to get into their school thanks to a bulge class which is now a permanent third entry form.

The only good thing on new classes mean totally new resources. As a Junior school doesn't have any Infant set up they will have to build and buy all the resources from scratch. Plus new teachers qualified to teach infant.

lizardqueenie Fri 19-Apr-13 10:40:55


Just coming in to offer you a hand to hold and a stiff wine & I really hope it all works out best for your DD. we are also within LBB but towards Bickley/ PW & my dd is only 2.5 but with all the talk of shortage of school places it's really got me thinking which brought me on to this part of MN.

If you have a moment (when you aren't kicking LBB up the bum!) I would be really keen to know which independent schools you have contacted/ seen (happy for this to be in a PM if that's better for you) as it might be something we are thinking of for our DD. thanks

skandi1 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:13:29

Went to look at preps today. Saw three. All very fantastic and would take DD (and DS later). St Christopher the Hall, bishop challenors and wickham court.

There are two others to see next week but one is in Chislehurst, babbington (too far) and the One in bromley, bromley high. Both a girls schools and I really want a co-ed so DS can go there too. At the moment I am not too sure about those two.

I am still all over the place. You would have thought bromley council collected stats on how many children lived here and required schools etc.

Spoke to bromley admissions again and they are still singing the same tune. I don't expect they will know anything for a few weeks.

pooka Fri 19-Apr-13 17:31:31

I have a friend with dcs (boy and girl) at st Christopher's. She's very very happy. Another friend used to teach there. She is lovely and has always said that she loved the school.

skandi1 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:43:22

Pooka. Thanks. That's really useful to know.

What a saga this is turning into.

I did slightly lose it last night with DH because he was the one who insisted we sell our beautiful house in Islington and move out here because the Islington schools were crap and we'd struggle to get in. And out here were sooo many schools with plenty of space. Meh.

Back to bath time in the educational Bermuda Triangle.....,

lizardqueenie Fri 19-Apr-13 17:43:50

Thanks Skandi

If it helps I also have a friend with 2 dd's at st Christopher's & another friend who will prob send her dd to Breaside.

Bromley high is prob closest to me but again I'm not sure about single sex schools from a young age. Sorry you have had no joy with the LA hmm

Zofia Mon 22-Apr-13 11:11:20

Hi Skandi - I've also been offered a place at Worsley Bridge... I must be another memeber of the Bermuda triangle although I'm in Shortlands!

angel1976 Mon 22-Apr-13 13:59:20

skandi1 I sympathised but think very carefully about going down the prep route is it is going to 'bankrupt' you.

We had 5 schools down on our list <in oversubscribed Lewisham, waves hi to SE13mummy> last year for DS1. We were confident of getting into at least 1 as we would have gotten into 2 based on previous years' 'catchments'. We got nothing and got sent to a school 3 miles away, I went to look at that school and it was a failing school which they were 'expanding' from 2-form to 3-form. No way was I going to send my child there.

We held off committing to a prep school till last minute, I called every day week the local council and there was some movement on the wait lists but not enough (we were going from 6th to 9th then to 7th on one list through summer!).

So we ended up in an independent prep. DS1 started there and was very happy. 4 weeks after school started, we got a phone call from the principle of our local CofE school (5th choice as it was one-form entry, outstanding and we didn't think we had a chance of getting in!) saying DS1 has a place if he wants it. We went to look at the school, loved the principal, the teacher and the school. We were very worried about pulling DS1 out of the prep school as he was very happy there but the drive was doing my head in (6 miles return but on some of London's busiest roads!) but we did it as we wanted him to have local friends etc.

But we didn't have to worry, he loved his new school and that was it for him. We ended up paying 2 terms' fees to the prep school due to the term's notice period (so it was 4 weeks of the most expensive education of DS1's life!). But I am so glad we did it now as my husband I have since split up and not having that set of school fees to worry about is a HUGE relief.

If I had known what I know now, I would have either 'home schooled' DS1 or held him back till he got a place. It doesn't take long in London as people do move in and out a lot! Would have saved us a lot of dosh and to be honest, he hasn't suffered from it. I probably have gained a whole bunch of white hairs since due to the stress of it all!

allyfe Wed 24-Apr-13 21:29:25

I so feel for you skandi1. We are in Beckenham and I can really understand why you would not want to send your child to Worsley Bridge, particularly not as one infant class in a junior school. I just wanted to say that a friend of mine who was looking at private schools in the area really liked St David's. It is in West Wycombe. It may be on your list, but I wanted to mention it. I also know a child at Bishop Challoner (a little older) but she loves it.

My husband was telling me that someone he knows got offered a place at St Mary's in year 3 (having been on the waiting list all that time). They were a lot further away and it is a church school, but if you want to leave your DD on the list she may get a place later on. Just worth thinking about if private school is financially cripplling.

Really have my fingers crossed it all works out for you.

Caro19 Thu 25-Apr-13 17:08:30

Good luck as well. We've had friends who are in the same boat this year. The Council doesn't have any new council controlled schools planned for opening (because of the Education Act) but there are local parents hove applied to open a French- English primary free school in Bromley next year, and the website is

The Harris chain has also applied to open up a Primary school in Beckenham fas a free school too.

sleeplessinderbyshire Thu 25-Apr-13 21:02:16

hoping it all goes ok for you OP. I have a friend whose 2 children are incredibly happy at St Christopher's and she raves about it. It does sound very academic and is very formal about homework and learning joined up writing in reception and wearing a very old fashioned posh uniform but her 2 kids are thriving there

BlackeyedSusan Thu 25-Apr-13 22:00:02

it is quite possible that they will do different playtimes for erceptioon children, who ae likely to have a small fenced of bit of space an outdoor classroom to themselves anyway. the junio children ae likely to mollycoddle and look after the infants too, so it may not be as bad as you imagine.

monkeytennismum Mon 10-Jun-13 09:54:27

I've just found this thread as am planning to move into the Bromley borough. I'm wondering how you got on skandi1 - did you get a state school place yet?

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