Rejected my sons place offer for September, what happens now?

(252 Posts)
PoppyPia Sat 04-May-13 18:52:23

We were allocated a terrible primary school miles away earlier this month for reception, I have thought about it and there's no way I can send my son there, so I have rejected the offer. What happens now?

DiscoDonkey Sat 04-May-13 18:54:02

Are you appealing for one of the places you didn't get?

As I understand it if you reject your place the onus is on you to find a new place. I could be wrong but I wouldn't assume the LEA will start looking for an alternative on your behalf.

pooka Sat 04-May-13 18:56:13

The lea has fulfilled its obligation to provide you with a school place. Now you need to make sure that you're on waiting lists for all schools that may be acceptable to you, and to hope that something comes up!

blueberryupsidedown Sat 04-May-13 18:58:39

You have to put your son's name down on the waiting lists of every school that you approve. You have to do this straight away, and more than one. By the way, it would have been much wiser put his name down on all the waiting lists and not refuse the allocated primary school as you may end up with no school at all. How many schools did you apply to in the first place?

spanieleyes Sat 04-May-13 19:00:26

You home educate!

LIZS Sat 04-May-13 19:01:02

Nothing really , but you may find yourself with no place for September. Presumably you are on waiting lists for schools which you feel are more acceptable but it is not necessarily automatic that you will be put on so do check. However there is no guarantee another place will come up in the meantime and LA has no obligation to find you one.

seeker Sat 04-May-13 19:01:04

Too late now- but you should have kept the place and put your son on waiting lists.

What's wrong with the school you have been allocated?

PoppyPia Sat 04-May-13 19:01:27

I don't know if I can appeal because of infant class sizes? I'm not sure though, I need to look into that. I thought a mistake must have been made as we didn't even get the local school, but when I phoned the LA they assured me there was not a mistake.

PoppyPia Sat 04-May-13 19:02:03


seeker Sat 04-May-13 19:02:09

Are you on waiting lists?

AuntieStella Sat 04-May-13 19:04:20

You can appeal, and you can add his names to the waiting lists of any other schools you would find acceptable and hope a place comes up.

But it's up to you now. The LEA has fulfilled its obligation. And you cannot count on getting a place via appeal/waitin list. You have to arrange for his education from the term following his 5th birthday, so you might want to look at private options or HE.

Or make a fresh in-year application for the term he must go, and take your chances on what school place is available then.

clam Sat 04-May-13 19:06:27

The short answer is that nothing happens, unless you make it. You rejected the place, and the LA's responsibility to offer one is done. all you can do (apart from appeal) is, as others have said, put his name on waiting lists and hope for the best.
Failing that, you stump up for a private school or home educate. Or just accept a place in any school which has places left. And, depending on your area, that may well be a school that you think is even worse than the one you've just rejected.
Who on earth advised you to reject the place you'd been offered?

LIZS Sat 04-May-13 19:08:24

When is he 5 ?

PoppyPia Sat 04-May-13 19:27:29

I work full time so can't home educate, I can't afford private. My son is on waiting lists but very low down all of them, I'm assuming this will change now he has no place at all.

The allocated school is miles away- I don't drive. It's in a rough area, has poor sats results and my son is likely to be one of few British children in the year. It's not an option at all, hence rejecting it.

He is 5 in September.

You go private, home educate, or hope that you can get to the top of a waiting list and get a place before September.

xposts. You would get free transport if over a particular distance.

pooka Sat 04-May-13 19:31:48

The position on the waiting list will NOT change as a result of you refusing the allocated place - waiting lists are organised with reference to the admissions criteria, so usually siblings/distance. If you are low down on the ones you're on, how about casting your net further and putting his name down for even more schools.

It's a shame you turned the place down - the lea have fulfilled their obligation and it gives you no advantage in terms of appeal or position on waiting lists.

JakeBullet Sat 04-May-13 19:32:03

I am not certain but I don't think his place on the waiting lists will change just because you have rejected the school allocated.
If he is well under 5, then its possible his nursery/preschool might keep him on. As I said thoigh, am not totally sure.

PoppyPia Sat 04-May-13 19:32:32

The trouble is that even with free transport, I couldn't go on a bus with my son as I would be getting to work. And I'm not sending a 5 year old on his own.

If it is more than 2 miles away and the nearest school the LA could offer then they would have to offer transport for him. This won't be the case now as you have rejected it.

Do you have any grounds for appeal? except for the fact you don't like the offered school? Did you apply for any schools that you had a realistic chance of getting a place at?

Are you aware that the fact you have rejected this place does not increase your chances of a successful appeal - the waiting lists are held according to the admission criteria so the fact you rejected his place makes no difference. You need to find a back up plan .

iPadTypo Sat 04-May-13 19:32:50

What happens if you don't get a place by September? Are you able to take leave. To home ed as I understand that he legally needs to be educated once five?

NickNacks Sat 04-May-13 19:33:03

You've assumed wrong I'm afraid.

He won't go up the lists just because you've rejected his offer. The lists are ordered in the sane way the places are allocated, using the admission criteria of each school.

lougle Sat 04-May-13 19:33:17

"I work full time so can't home educate, I can't afford private. My son is on waiting lists but very low down all of them, *I'm assuming this will change now he has no place at all.*"

PoppyPia, I'm sorry to tell you that it doesn't work like that.

All rejecting the allocated place has achieved, is ensuring that your DS has nowhere to go in September.

The admissions criteria for each school is clear, legally binding and cannot be circumnavigated by rejecting a place.

Your DS will not go up the list on his waiting list schools because you have rejected the place. He will remain where he is on the list unless someone gets allocated a place at the school (so he will go up the list by one place) or someone moves into the area, closer to the school than you (so he will move down the list by one place), etc.

The LA now have no obligation to find you a place for your DS. Of course, if there is a school with places, you're entitled to a place, but given that your allocated school was so far away, it's pretty certain that there are no closer schools with places.

nulgirl Sat 04-May-13 19:33:27

You won't go up the waiting list just because you have rejected your offered school.

Do you have a Plan B in case he doesn't get in to any of the schools he is on the waiting lists for?

AuntieStella Sat 04-May-13 19:33:53

"I'm assuming this will change now he has no place at al"

I'm afraid this assumption is wrong. Waiting lists are ordered by how well those on the list fit the entrance criteria. Holding (or not) another place doesn't come in to it.

DeWe Sat 04-May-13 19:34:32

If you refuse then the LEA has no obligation to find you a place. It's a common misunderstanding that refusing the place means they have to find you a place, or gives you a better standing at appeal.

If it meant that they had to find you a place you would accept, then people would just refuse all except the one they wanted, which couldn't work.

The general advice is do not refuse even if you have no intention of taking it up, as you can then end up with no school place.

You need to find out where you are on the waiting lists, and if there's any hope of getting what you want.

seeker Sat 04-May-13 19:36:49

What do you mean by very few British children? What do you mean by poor SATs results- and how far away is it?

As others have said, you will not go up the waiting list because you have rejected the school. You need to have a plan B for September.

JakeBullet Sat 04-May-13 19:38:05

Don't be totally downhearted about it all though as there can be a lot of movementbetween alliallocations and September. Its possible your DS will get a place nearer to home by the time September comes around. It must be such a worry though.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 04-May-13 19:38:07

If you ring the LEA first thing Tuesday and say you rejected in error, you may be lucky if waiting lists are still tbc and be able to keep the place you had.

What did you think your options might be?

stickortwist Sat 04-May-13 19:41:42

Id be looking to move/ rent elsewhere in the country to be honest.
There are huge parts of the country where there is no school admissions angst and unless you can home ed or afford private then sometrhing has to give. I know things arent aways that straight forward but i would be looking where i could live with a reasonable commute. We live in a suffolk village.... Loads of school places but some ppl commute into london from here. Horrible situation for you

sybilwibble Sat 04-May-13 19:46:39

Oh lord, your options are threefold.
1. Pray your son reaches the top of one of the schools you are on the waiting list for. His position will not change from the ones you've been given just because you've rejected the offered school. If you are not confident he will top the waiting list on one very soon, you need to put his name down on other schools in your vicinity, that you may have already mentally rejected, or you may be left with no offer, but you will still havea legal obligation to educate your son. If the worst happens and you don't find a suitable place in your vicinity you will have to either:
2. Home educate or
3. Go private.

Don't bury your head in the sand, the onus is ALL ON YOU now to find a school.

tiggytape Sat 04-May-13 20:38:04

Or the 4th option - ring the council on Tuesday and ask them to reinstate your offer. Seriously - you need to act now else he is going to have no school place at all to go to.

There is no obligation for them to find you another school now you've been offered one and turned it down. They have met their duty to you.

If there are 30 children per class in the schools you want and no LEA mistake (you say they've checked and there isn't) you have virtually zero chance of winning an appeal.
If there are less than 30 per class, you may have a case (but not because you've made yourself school-less. That won't help you)

His place on the list is purely to do with your distance from school (or whatever the school uses for admissions criteria eg siblings, faith, distance). Just because you have no school place doesn't put you higher up the list.

The onus is now on you to sort this out. If he is low down on the lists and the schools only take 30-60 children you may never reach the top of the list. Or oyu might be forced to keep him at home or nursery hoping a place comes up before the term after he's 5 (or much sooner if he's a summer baby).

I am a bit worried that you don't seem to know the admissions rules and the position you've left yourself in.
You might get lucky. The lists might move loads. But you won't get special treatment for making yourself school-less.
You need to ring the council and either ask for your old place back or find the nearest school that still has a vacancy and snap it up quick no matter where it is located

You can stay on waiting lists even after accepting a school you don't want and you can keep him at home until nearer his 5th Birthday if you want to as well (if you think you'll get lucky from the lists) so he needn't actually start at the school - you just hang on to the offer there as a plan B until he gets a better offer or until he is so old he has to start somewhere.

tiggytape Sat 04-May-13 20:41:47

Oh - I've just seen he's 5 in September. In that case, you can only defer until January at the latest. So you can accept an offer but not send him there until January and hope something better comes up in the meantime

The advice of everyone here still stands though:
If you can't Home Ed or afford private then ring the council and ask for the place back
or move house now nextdoor to the school you like so you jump up the waiting list a bit (but even that's no guarantee - some waiting lists don't ever move or not for years)

Cloverer Sat 04-May-13 20:44:45

Could you move nearer to another school?

mrz Sat 04-May-13 20:45:19

The OP has said her son is 5 in September

tiggytape Sat 04-May-13 20:53:28

Cloverer - but that only helps waiting list position. The places are all allocated now. Moving closer to a full school won't get OP a place. If it is a big school with a lot of movement, it might pay off but if it is a 30 intake school where nobody leaves before Year 3, there's no advantage to moving house to be higher up a waiting list that won't change.

Op needs to find out from the council if she can have her old place back or which other schools still have vacancies and opt for one quickly. Relying on lists is tricky enough if you have a place (and therefore a definite plan B) but if you have no place, it isn't a good strategy.

LIZS Sat 04-May-13 21:05:24

My son is on waiting lists but very low down all of them, I'm assuming this will change now he has no place at all.

Sorry but it won't make an iota of difference, whoever advised you of that has misled you. If he is 5 in September he needs to be in education by the New Year. Can you find a child-minder who can take him to the allocated school, assuming you can reinstate the place, even as a shortterm option while you wait for a place closer. Alternatively he stays in his current childcare until a place comes up if they will keep him but as one of the eldest in his year he may well have outgrown it.

AvrilPoisson Sat 04-May-13 21:16:42

I know it's too late now... but I think what you should have done was accept the place, and then get on all the waiting lists at all the alternative schools you can find.

I don't think there's any obligation on the LA's part now to find him a place- they have found him one already. You've rejected it, not their problem IYSWIM. sad

DoodleAlley Sat 04-May-13 21:18:51

If I remember correctly you don't have to have him in full time school til January ie the term after the term he turns five which might buy you some time.

But please don't rely on my guess work please check unless someone more knowledgeable comes along.

Karoleann Sat 04-May-13 21:31:18

What do you do or childcare t the moment? If he's not 5 til later in the year, you can just keep him at nursery.

You've made a lot of incorrect assumptions. If I were you I'd get some proper advice - ring the LA on Tuesday and see what they say.

Oh dear. Right well you need to think very broadly about possible schools. No good thinking about what you want. You need to take what you can get now and try for something better as and when it comes up. Exactly how many waiting lists are you already on?
Are there other schools near your place of work that might have places?

piprabbit Sat 04-May-13 21:41:30

You could also start exploring options for before and after school clubs at all the schools you could possibly use. Or childminders. That way you'll be able to make quick decisions.

teacherwith2kids Sat 04-May-13 21:43:18


Legally, your child has to be in full-time education in January. If you have robust childcare in place - e.g. a childminder or a nursery used to children starting school at different points in the year & not all leaving in July / August - then you can keep him there until then.

There may be a little movement in waiting lists after September (as some children don't turn up to take their places e.g. through moving or going private) and you can sometimes be lucky as someone may be on the waiting list ahead of you but decide not to move schools once their child has started elsewhere. However, in some areas, waiting lists are 'wiped clean' in September as it is assumed that everyone is now happy in their allocated school, so if that is the case where you live, you need to make certain that you remain on the waiting list after September.

You need to get on the 'phone to the LA on Tuesday, and find out whether there are any schools with vacancies for September (these are likely to be poor schools, but may e.g. be more convenient for you to pass on your journey to work), and also to place your child's name on EVERY SINGLE waiting list that you consider remotely acceptable (as the place that you have turned down may well have already been given to another child).

And you need to start planning now for what you will do if, come January 1st (or September, if your childcare cannot manage the extra term) your child has no school place. As others have said, you will have caused the situation and so you will be deemed to be to blame for your child not meeting the legal obligation to receive a full time education - the defence 'well, I didn't like the place I was offered' is not acceptable to courts.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Sat 04-May-13 22:19:07

When you say you 'didn't even get the local school', did you apply to the local school? Did your letter explain how far outside the effective catchment area you were? The reason I ask is that you say you are low down on all your waiting lists, but if your closest school was on your application, in most cases if you had some sort of issue and missed out (like a huge sibling intake), I'd have thought you stood a fair chance of being reasonably high up the waiting list. Or do you have one of those difficult situations where you aren't actually close to any schools?

SavoyCabbage Sat 04-May-13 22:56:42

How far down on the lists are you?

prh47bridge Sat 04-May-13 23:07:19

To repeat some of the good advice you've had already:

- the LA is under no obligation to come up with another offer

- if they do it could well be even worse than the school already offered

- rejecting the place does not move you up the waiting list for other schools

- rejecting the place will not help you with appeals. In fact it could make it more difficult to win an appeal as the panel may think you are trying to blackmail them into giving you a place at your chosen school

I agree with others that the first thing you should do is see if the council will reinstate the offer and allow you to accept it. If they will not you will have to ask them what other schools have places available. If there are none you are running out of options, especially since you say you cannot HE or go private.

I presume your child will be 5 after 1st September. If that is the case you have the option of deferring entry until January in the hope that a place comes up at a school you would prefer.

You can appeal even if it is an infant class size case. However, you should only win if a mistake has been made. Of course the LA will say there hasn't been a mistake. You need to check that your child has been placed in the correct category for your preferred schools and that the home to school distance used by the LA sounds about right.

If you didn't apply to your local school that would explain why you didn't get it. People who name a school as one of their preferences always get priority for admission to that school. So if you didn't name your local school it could have been full with people who did name it, leaving no space for your child. If you did apply to your local school and didn't get in you need to know why so that you can see if a mistake was made.

PoppyPia Sun 05-May-13 13:29:17

Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm not going to ask for the place back as there's no way I'm prepared to send my son there. I will keep him at nursery for a term if need be.

I can't take leave from work, no, it would be impossible financially. The school we were given was 5 miles away in the opposite direction from my work, so not doable.

We are quite a long way down the lists for 3 schools, lots of private schools near us so I am hoping places will become available as private school parents reject. I had very limited options choosing a school because the ones closest to us are mostly catholic and you have to be practising to get in- we are not. I thought that if my son didnt get our first choice he would get the local school, which we leave within sight of.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 13:32:22

Did you apply for the local school? You must be quite high on the waiting list there if you are very close?

LIZS Sun 05-May-13 13:35:13

Will nursery keep him though , they aren't obliged to and with a full year's gap in age potentially between him and the next age group, they may feel they can no longer cater for him. Would private , even temporarily be an option for you. The EYFS grant would apply for the Autumn term but you need to give a term's notice or pay in lieu if a state place came up and move him at short notice. Most aprnts would have committed to private by now (same financial situation) so you can't rely on them dithering although there may be some yet to relinquish a state place..

LIZS Sun 05-May-13 13:36:50

Did you only list the one school on your form perhaps ?

Flojobunny Sun 05-May-13 13:39:59

I don't get how this happens. Surely like most people, when your son was born you began to consider what school might be best and as the years rolled by you gave it further consideration and checked the Ofsted reports of the local schools and checked out the admission criteria of the schools and made sure you met them?
I have to move to make sure my children went to a 'good' school. As the only one I was guaranteed a place in was 'satisfactory' (or whatever its called now).
I have several friends who also moved to get there DC in this school, as that year was a particularly big year and all the local schools were over subscribed.

NickNacks Sun 05-May-13 13:40:16

Can you please answer people's questions as you have lots if experts (not me btw!) who are willing to advise but they do need the full picture. smile

mrz Sun 05-May-13 13:42:18

You said earlier you couldn't afford private education has that changed?

PoppyPia Sun 05-May-13 13:42:52

The local school is c of e and prioritises religious children, but it does take others so I hoped we might get a place anyway. I did not list it for that reason- seemed like a waste of an option.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 13:44:19

If you didn't apply for a school you are unlikely to get a place! Have you got your name on the waiting list there now?

So you didn't even bother to out the local school on the form? Are you quite wise?

Flojobunny Sun 05-May-13 13:45:58

You didn't list the local school that you hoped you'd get a place in?
OP, you are refusing to take advice and get the offer reinstated. You can't afford to home ed or go private. What exactly are you going to do in January then?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 05-May-13 13:46:32

Well if you didn't apply then of course he hasn't got a place!

What kind of fool are you? Did you not read the application material?

JakeBullet Sun 05-May-13 13:47:31

Definitely hang on here Poppy, lots of very knowledgable people in here who can advise you. If you didn't list the local school as an option then it would not even have been considered by the local authority. Are you on the waiting list there?

JakeBullet Sun 05-May-13 13:48:01 be fair to Poppy I doubt she listed the school her son has been allocated either.

Flojobunny Sun 05-May-13 13:48:10

I get the impression you just listed all the outstanding schools that you didn't stand a chance of getting in, ever. Now the local school is full and you are left with no option. Poor DC.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 13:50:03

Your best bet now is to get your name on the waiting list of every school you would consider. Hopefully you will get offered a place somewhere by September or January at the latest.

If you haven't applied and your name isn't on the lists though, you won't get offered another place.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 13:50:39

as it is OP's first time through this minefield cut her some slack....
OP you would be well advised to take some of this good advice or you could be in bigger trouble than your child going to school with immigrants could ever be. that is your main objection right?

JakeBullet Sun 05-May-13 13:51:07

Tbh Poppy, you need a back up plan now. Get you DS's name down at all the schools locally you think are suitable. You are going to have to be very proactive now. Look at all admissions criteria for each school, see where your DS fits in and prioritise the schools where he is more likely to get a place quickly.

Go and visit all the schools you can, I hear you when you say this allocated school is not practical for work purposes but there must be other local schools which are practical.

JakeBullet Sun 05-May-13 13:53:03

It IS a minefield....I am fortunate that we have some good local primary schools locally and I am spared the challenges other parents have to cope with. It looks and sounds horrendously difficult for too many people.

YoniOrNotYoni Sun 05-May-13 13:55:04

Seriously then op, what are YOU going to do now? If you've been offered but rejected a place then no one's going to be doing anything for your son. You need to sort it out.

lougle Sun 05-May-13 13:58:48

Ok, you need to know that unless you phone the LA you will not be on the waiting list for your nearest school. You need to contact them and ask to be added to the list. You should be quite high on that list, if you can see the school.

PoppyPia I feel for you, actually. You sound like you had an idea of how admissions would work logically, rather than knowing how they work actually.

It seems like your thought process went along the lines of:

-No point putting down in-sight CofE because we're not religious and if they don't give us our preferred schools he'll go there anyway.

-Put down 3 other schools which we might get a shot at.

Then, offers day comes and, shocked, you see that not only did you not get your preferred schools, you didn't get the local school.

So, you rejected the place offered, thinking that the LA would prioritise your DS because, after all, he doesn't have a place anywhere.

Now you're in a bit of a pickle.

Pozzled Sun 05-May-13 13:59:00

Yes, OP it sounds as though you might have had some bad advice or made a lot of assumptions, but what's done is done. Right now, you need to make sure you are on the waiting list for every single school you could actually get your son to. Even a school that you really dislike might be better than having to home ed, and you can stay on the waiting lists and move your son as soon as a better place becomes available.

In the meantime, do make arrangements for what will happen if you don't have a place in September.

clam Sun 05-May-13 14:07:10

How much of a difference in fees is there between a private school and a full-time nursery place?

teacherwith2kids Sun 05-May-13 14:08:09


So where DID you apply to?

You didn't apply to your local school??? You seem to have thought that you would be given a place there even if you didn't apply...did you actually read any of the information available when you chose schools???

To summarise what you seem to have done:
- Assumed that you would automatically be given a place at your nearest school without naming it on your application form.
- Applied only for schools where you had no chance of getting in.
- Assumed that if you rejected the place that you had been offered, a) you would have a better chance of getting into one of your preferred school and b) someone else would do something for you.
- Now you are assuming that your child can stay at nursery for another term - have you checked this, as it may be as ill-based an assumption as all the others that you have made...

Which begs the question - did you read ANYTHING in the run-up to the application process? Talk to anyone? Visit any schools?

Are you now on the waiting list for your nearest school? Remember that waiting lists are kept in the same order as original over-subscription criteria, so if you originally applied only to schools that you were far too far away from, you will almost certainly not get a place there from the wating list either, as anyone who is closer to the school and chooses to add themselves to the waiting list will automatically leapfrog you.

So place yourself on the waiting list for EVERY school, starting from the one closest to you and working outwards. Don't just stay on the lists of your 'ideal' schools, as unless you move closer to one of them you almost certainly won't get a place there - as an example, the first child was admitted to my daughter's class from the waiting list in Year 3, nearly 4 years after original application.

Did you think the local authority had a crystal ball?

Seriously staggered you could have been so dim.

mrz Sun 05-May-13 14:10:56

clam has a point often nursery fees are more than school fees worth considering.

AuntieStella Sun 05-May-13 14:21:08

There may be places that come up in September if children don't turn up. It would be unwise to pin your hopes on a sizeable number of private school parents sitting on state offers though - many may never have made a state application in the first place and others will reject promptly.

And even if there are rejected places leading to vacancies, they will be allocated to children on the waiting list immediately. So you need to get his name on lists for all schools ASAP. You can start him at one school and move him later if you keep him on the list at others you prefer and a place comes up.

lougle Sun 05-May-13 14:21:48

That's a bit unkind, freddie. The OP clearly thought about this from the perspective of her one child. She wanted the best education possible for him, and thought, somehow, that a) her choices would be accepted and b) that if they weren't, her catchment school would take him.

I know that in my area all the preschools are given word to warn people to put their catchment school as one of their choices because people made the same assumption and didn't end up with a local school at all.

But how on earth could you not know that you have to APPLY to the school you want to get your child into? The school won't know you want to send your child there unless you APPLY.

Also, it seems like the OP hasn't been to see any schools at all and is making judgements based on what exactly?

I might be missing the point spectacularly, for which I apologise if I am, but seriously, how do you get to the point of having a child go to school and not know that if you want them to go to a school you have to APPLY. I might as well start a thread saying I'm disappointed DS didn't get into Eton. But. Oh. I never applied.

AlienAttack Sun 05-May-13 15:06:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

JakeBullet Sun 05-May-13 15:23:40

Thank you Alien....was wondering too but didn't like to say.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 15:37:58

Poppypia the admissions process works like this.

The Local Authority first places children in schools according to the preferences on the application form.

If there are more children than places, they apply the admission guidelines for that school.

Finally they will have the children who did not make the guidelines for their preferences AND those who did not state a preference. Those children are allocated the closest school with vacancies.

These schools are never popular schools - otherwise they wouldn't have vacancies.

All the children who stated a preference for your local school got priority over your child even though they live further away.

You would only have got a place there if less than 30 pupils had applied.

People are surprised because it seems obvious that you have to put down the name of at least one school you find acceptable enough to cope with and have a good chance of getting in or at least don't mind going there while you wait.

It could be that an unpopular school, but in the direction of your work, has places. Ask the local authority. Apply to that school, ask the nursery if your child can stay till Jan, defer the place and keep fingers crossed you get in.

You MUST make sure yourself that his name is on the waiting lists. Some local authorities have rules about waiting lists for schools you don't put down as a preference. Do check on exactly what you need to do in your area.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 15:40:18

What I mean is, you have no choice but to find out what schools have vacancies near your work and take that no matter how awful it is. Then just sit on the waiting lists for the school you want.

ChasedByBees Sun 05-May-13 15:41:07

This thread terrifies me. I have a 16mo and already there's mutterings about schools from my friends with similar ages children. It sounds so complicated. confused

letseatgrandma Sun 05-May-13 15:57:07

I find it incredible that you have got yourself in this pickle; did you not read any of the admission information? You sound like you've listed lots of over-subscribed outstanding schools you were not in catchment for, on the off-chance you'd strike lucky. Now, unsurprisingly, you've been allocated somewhere you don't fancy and assume that because you've turned it down, the council will suddenly realise their massive error in upsetting you and create a reception space in Leafy Green Infants School immediately.

I would be v surprised if the nursery will continue to take your child once he's school-age; his place for September has probably been allocated already.

I can't see what else you're going to do other than beg for the rejected place back or give up work to HE. Good luck.

YoniOrNotYoni Sun 05-May-13 16:12:33

It's not that complicated ChasedByBees. Start looking at schools now-ish. Make sure there's at least one near you that you'd meet criteria for and would be happy for your child to go to. If not, move grin

ljny Sun 05-May-13 16:20:14

how do you get to the point of having a child go to school and not know that if you want them to go to a school you have to APPLY.

Op's child was assigned to a school she didn't apply for.

It was logical for her to assume, if they didn't any of their choices, her son would be assigned to the local school - not some random school across town.

If you're new to all this, it can be misleading - the printed information from most LAs encourages families to visit schools and implies you have a choice. In some areas, that's not really true, but how was the Op to know?

teacherwith2kids Sun 05-May-13 16:37:53


Just returning to this. I am sure that you have realised by now that your misunderstanding of admissions means, at least in the short term, that your child will spend some time in an environment you would have preferred them not to be in.

If you are lucky, it is simply that they will spend a few extra months in nursery.

If you are unlucky, they may spend years in a school that you would never otherwise have chosen.

Unfortunately, which one it ends up being is largely out of your hands, and as the only other alternative (unless you HE) is being prosecuted for not sending your child to school, you need to accept that your child may spend some time in a poor school.

You need a 3-pronged approach (as well as, obviously, becoming an expert on admissions and undertstanding it inside out - here MN can help you).

1. Find somewhere safe for your child to be from September until January. This does NOT have to be a school, but it would be unwise to assume that their place in nursery for those months is secure - check that on Tuesday. If not, then you will need to find another nursery or childminder who can take them .. or you will simply have to move on to Step 2 with greater urgency.

2. Find a school / educational place somewhere, that you KNOW will be yours. If you have managed Step 1, then you don't need it until January. If you haven't, you need it from September, but you do need it whichever, and it needs to be definite and in your hands - ie not dependent on waiting list movement, but a backstop (however undesirable) that will keep you from prosecution in January. It could be:
- Your original place reinstated.
- Unpaid leave to HE
- A private school (cheaper to pay for a term or two's fees at a private school than cope with the aftermath of prosecution).
- Any other school that currently has a place.
It is VERY unlikely - unless you go for the private option - that this fallback position will be in a school that you would choose under any other circumstances. However, beggars can't be choosers I'm afraid. However, if you are extremely pro-active about finding schools with vacancies e.g. near your work, you may find a school that will suit you a tiny bit better than your original allocation.

3. Get yourself on waiting lists for ANY school that you would consider acceptable but does not have a place, starting with the closest to you. Determine where you are on each waiting list. 4th on a list for a 60 or 90 entry school might sometimes be OK - 10th for a 30 entry is unlikely to be. School secretaries are usually excellent sources of information on how much waiting lists typically move. Check that you remain on those waiting lists after September, and hang in there. It may take YEARS for a place to come up - remember that families moving into the area close to the school and applying in future will leapfrog you - but in the end you may be able to move your child from the school that you had to take at Step 2 to one you would prefer.

And next time - read the information! This is no-one's fault but your own.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 05-May-13 16:47:28

Jack your job in and home educate?

LaVitaBellissima Sun 05-May-13 16:51:25

Is this for real?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 05-May-13 16:54:03

What I find crazy is that OP is asking the question "what happens now" after rejecting the place rather than before.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 17:33:20

Wow Poppy - that's not great.

I do sympathise though - you were in a tough position. All local schools Catholic and one CofE school that you had a small chance at (had you listed it). It is quite possible that you might not have got a local place no matter which schools you listed as you perhaps live too far from non faith schools to qualify

The only schools you can get a place at without listing them are the unpopular ones nobody else wants (or the less popular ones in a low population area)
There aren't spaces saved in any school for people who live close but have not applied. You can ask to go on their list now though (for the CofE school) and should be near the top for one of the non-faith places awarded by distance.

there's no way I'm prepared to send my son there. I will keep him at nursery for a term if need be.

That's fine. But supposing you're not top of any waiting lists by January? He'll have no school place yet you are still legally obliged to ensure he has an education. There's a chance some will reject and go private but that's less common now as fewer people can afford to pay fees. You certainly can't sit tight and just hope it happens.

You really must (I hate saying must to people on forums but it is true - you must) ring the council on Tuesday and let them offer you another place even if it is 5 miles away from home, if it is near where you work it could be viable? You must (sorry) find him a school place as a back up because some waiting lists never move.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 18:44:26

Chased by bees it isn't that complicated. You don't have a choice. What you do is put in an application based on preferences. I believe at the moment you have six.

Go online and look for schools closest to you (do a google, school locator will be near top). Then look each school up. Look at websites and read the last Ofsted but don't go by that alone. An outstanding school may not be right for your child. Call the schools and ask to visit.

They must have the admissions criteria on the site. Make sure you have at least one school on the list you are fairly sure you can get into. If you don't like it, at least you may have a place you can live with while looking/going on waiting lists.

If admission is based on proximity then call the school or local authority and find out what the furthest distance the last child got in last intake.

That gives you a guide but these distances can change a lot.

If you are in a black spot then look at moving. Check though with the LA. some will not take a rental address if you own a property nearby. Unless you can show you are renting a three bed because you can only afford to buy a one bed.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 18:46:05

Oh and read here! I did. Took me six months of reading through numerous appeals etc to work out how the system works so OP has my sympathy. If you don't have people to talk to in real life it isn't easy.

Op - a suggestion. If you think you might want to keep the nursery place, speak to nursery about it now . Most nurseries assume children turning 5 soon will no longer be attending, as they are going to school instead.

My DS's preschool sends out letters asking what sessions/hours people would like in September - the 4yo's don't get a letter because it is assumed they are going to school instead.

Anyone else reading this - you get to state a preference for several schools. Always use the last preference for a back up school - a nearby school that is not very popular. If you don't get any of the 'attractive' schools then you are better off getting a nearby 'crap' school than a far away 'crap' school.

Fizzypop001 Sun 05-May-13 18:56:59

you should have done your research on the primary schools locally to you and had a look at the distances that offers where given in 2012 you have not done this. you say you have a c e primary thats very close that offers places on distance as well if you had looked into this primary school and others you would not be in this situation you have applied for all the schools you have zero chance of getting into its very importance to look into the admissions process and it is also important to name atleast one school on your application that you have a good chance of getting into which is likely to be your local school which you havent done good luck with finding a place i hope you get what you want every year the council show the distances online and also have a little book with admissions process and distances in it which you can get from local school or sure start centres or council anyway good luck

HSMMaCM Sun 05-May-13 19:44:13

OP I rejected a school place, but did it on the basis that I would home educate. We were 5th on the waiting list for our favourite school and a year later we were 6th. Fortunately she got a place in another school that she is very happy at.

Oh dear.

I think the advice that teacherwith2kids gave is very sound.

To be fair to the OP, she is not the first parent to have made inaccurate assumptions about the admissions process and she won't be the last. I know several people in real life who have gone through the process without researching or understanding it.

To anyone else who is reading this who has this yet to come, please take note. Most people do not get to choose the school their child goes to. You can list preferences. If you only list schools where your child doesn't meet the admissions criteria, then you might as well have left the form blank.

For future reference for people who are yet to apply:

Step 1: read the admissions criteria of all your local schools (availiable on their websites).

Step 2: based on the admissions criteria, make a shortlist of schools that your child has a realistic chance of getting into. Visit these schools, ask to meet the headteachers.

Step 3: list some schools from your shortlist in order of preference on the form (or application webpage), including at least one school where your child is certain to get a place.

Step 4: when you are allocated a school, accept the place before the deadline. If it wasn't your first choice, then you can choose whether or not to go on the continuing interest lists of the schools that were further up your preference list.

ChasedByBees Sun 05-May-13 21:02:22

Thanks for explaining NynaevesSister and Yoni. <starts reading up>

Clary Sun 05-May-13 21:20:04

Lots of good advice on here OP.

Can I add that IME (not complete of course) C of E schools, while they may show preference to those who are churchgoers, generally take much of their intake from people living locally.

In this I find they are different from Catholic schools - whether this is because there is more of an ethos in the catholic church to favour a faith school, I don't know (I am not catholic).

But eg the schools in most of the small villages near us are C of E and take all the residents' kids; there are also a number of C of e schools in my city and the nearest one is basically just the local primary for that area of town. Lots of non churchgoers I know go there. What I am saying is make sure your name is down on the waiting list for your local school.

Please please PLEASE don't assume that the LEA will magically produce a school for your son in January. It won't. What will happen, as teacher2kids says, is that you will be prosecuted for failing to ensure he is educated by the term after he turns 5, as is the law...

Fizzypop001 Sun 05-May-13 22:28:09

i totally agree with threebeeonegee and clary

Fizzypop001 Sun 05-May-13 22:29:01

some c and e do that

Snowme Sun 05-May-13 23:17:58

What's the panic fest?

Send to a childminder, home educate after you finish work* and then re-apply for a place next year,bearing in mind the advice contained herein.

Reception Year is basically just extended nursery anyway, 'learning through play'. There's no Three Rs, is there?

*As far as I read it, home educating demands NO curriculum whatsoever and you can tutor for as little as an hour a day.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 05-May-13 23:20:45

That's true up to a point, Snowme, but applying next year would be applying for a place in Year 1 and take OP straight back to the position of all popular schools being full and having to take a chance on the waiting list.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 23:25:18

Children do generally learn to read, write and do basic maths in Reception. It's more the social side and learning to do school than anything in that year though.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 23:42:05

Snowme - Reception is the only chance to apply for 1 of 30 or 1 of 60 places.
If you just sit back and wait until Year 1 you are relying on the odd spare place popping up. Children do sometimes leave a school. But not often in big numbers. And not always at the schools that are popular.

A child that doesn't get a Reception place will be no better off waiting until Year 1. It still all relies on waiting lists and vacancies.

SofiaAmes Sun 05-May-13 23:44:09

Can't you HE and still work. I thought one of the great things about Home educating is that you can do it on your terms. Put your child in nursery for another year and home educate during the term that he is supposed to be getting schooling. In the meantime you could re-apply to the local schools with all the useful information that everyone has given you. I know someone who works almost full time and HE's her 4 children. Her work has a very flexible that accommodates her and her children's schedule. She has a dh who works with a flexible schedule too.

By the way, the abysmal choice of local schools and the lack of state school options for atheists is one of several main reasons why I left the UK and brought my children back to the USA to be educated.

steppemum Sun 05-May-13 23:44:47

my dd2 has done a lot of foundation phonics in her reception year. They are not repeating it for new comers, and it would not be repeated in year 1, routinely, so a late comer would be playing catch up all the time.

steppemum Sun 05-May-13 23:48:43

Sofia - the system isn't great, but there are bad pockets and good pockets. Round here most people get their 1st choice (not all though)

OP - I actually was talking to a friend who works on appeals yesterday about a friend of mine. She said that in our LEA when a place is rejected, unless the parents are accepting another place elsewhere, or stating that they will HE, they don't actually take their names off the list, until school starts in sept. So on that principle, your ds may still have the place at the less good school.

HSMMaCM Mon 06-May-13 06:59:12

I am a CM and would happily care for a home educated child, but would make it clear to parents that the education part is their responsibility (although I would of course continue their learning through play).

SofiaAmes Mon 06-May-13 07:21:57

steppemum, phonics was a complete waste of time for both my dc's. They would have done much better skipping a year that was trying to force that on them! I lived in London and there no one got their 1st choice.

mrz Mon 06-May-13 07:50:55

Doesn't your children's schools teach phonics in KS1 & KS2 Sofia?

seeker Mon 06-May-13 07:52:25

"steppemum, phonics was a complete waste of time for both my dc's"


AuntieStella Mon 06-May-13 07:52:35

It's worth checking the criteria for the Cof E school. Because if it's Voluntary Controlled, then all places will be allocated by community criteria, and you might be closer to the top of the list than you realised.

If it's VA, then what is the proportion of faith v open places? Most CofE schools have some open places (though MNetters mainly seem to live by the minority which don't). Again, you might find chances of a place better than you thought, though it is going to be uncertain via waiting list.

Phonics was a wate of time in that they didn't learn to read securely?

If you want to use a school to educate your child then reception is VERY important. Not an optional extra.

tiggytape Mon 06-May-13 09:01:15

Phonics isn't confined to reception so skipping a year doesn't mean a child would miss it. I am not quite sure why anyone would want them to anyway.

3MonthMaid Mon 06-May-13 09:08:18

DD went into reception knowing a few letters. Came out reading pretty fluently. Reception certainly isn't all play!

5madthings Mon 06-May-13 09:13:01

If you consider the home ed route until a place comes up we home educated ds1 and ds2 both summer born and not happy with them starting just four. Anyway they started school aged 9 and 6 in yrs 5 and 2 respectively and not having done reception etc was not a problem. They settled in fine and continued to thrive. They are now yr 9 and yr 6 and doing brilliantly, it never disadvamtaged them at all, the opposite infact.

If you are paying for nursery won't private school fees be similar?

teacherwith2kids Mon 06-May-13 09:48:47

The most important point about skipping Reception is the one that Tiggy made. The OP is no more likely to get a place in Year 1 than she is now as a late applicant / waiting list applicant for Reception. Both rely on children who have places at the school leaving - which MAY happen, or may not.

I agree that a well home-educated child can slot into the school system very well when a place comes up - but in the OP's case, this place may not come up in Reception, may not come up in Year 1, may not even come up in Year 2 (as I said, the first child from the waiting list joined DD's class in Year 3 - and that was for a 60 intake school traditionally regarded as 'less popular' in our local area) and so any plan to HE needs to be robust for the longer term,

jamtoast12 Mon 06-May-13 09:52:22


Reception is learning through play not just play. My dd started reception without knowing any letter sounds and has learnt to read purely through reception class. They use play to learn and in dds school, they very much have a syllabus and I'm amazed how much she's learnt in just a few months.

Op, dds school takes 60 intake and dd1 is in year 3 and those classes haven't changed at all. Not one person has joined or left either class since we applied. If those schools you chose are popular faith schools, I expect similar as they a hard to get so people will keep hold of them.

meglet Mon 06-May-13 10:16:20

OP - in our area the C of E school admissions are no where near as cuthroat as the catholic primaries. Obviously every town is different but you need to get your DC's name down for the nearby C of E school as it might not be as oversubscribed as you think it might be.

mrz Mon 06-May-13 10:22:32

"Reception Year is basically just extended nursery anyway, 'learning through play'. There's no Three Rs, is there?"

Yes there are children in reception are expected to learn to read, write, add, subtract, learn about other countries, the past, science, art, music,ICT ...and more

teacherwith2kids Mon 06-May-13 10:32:24

DD entered Reception unable to read, write more that her name, or do any more maths than counting.

She moved to Year 1 able to read fluently, write full stories, add, subtract, multiply through arrays and share equally to divide, also use assorted ICT equipment and packages, and had extended her knowledge of the world in an enormouys number of ways. All through 'learning through play'.

SofiaAmes Mon 06-May-13 14:47:15

My dc's are at school in the usa. Phonics was not a good learning method for them. Both had difficulties learning to read because no other method was employed. I finally took it in hand at home. Both dc's were reading many many years beyond their age by 2nd or 3rd grade. There is more than one way to steer your child through the educational system and missing reception and home educating instead does not condemn your child to a life of ignorance.

mrz Mon 06-May-13 14:50:54

I don't think you can compare education methods in the US with those in the UK. Phonics teaching is quite different ...

AuntieStella Mon 06-May-13 14:53:43

OP has said she neither wishes to HE, nor thinks she could rearrange domestic admin enough to even give it a shot, and is in UK. The merits of HE v schooling in the USA are a bit tangential to her concerns and the next steps in finding a school place.

mrz Mon 06-May-13 15:01:59

the OP has rejected sensible expert advice so I don't think anything anyone posts is relevant

MarthasHarbour Mon 06-May-13 16:27:11

I live in a pricey area for schooling and even we found that Private School was cheaper than Nursery fees.

OP you need to also ring round the Private Schools to check out fees and waiting lists, because in our area you have to put your DCs down on the list a good 18 months before they start school.

Have you also considered that the nursery may not keep on your DS as it is illegal to keep him off school beyond January - they have their own legal obligations to consider too.

Really really sticky situation. I am also concerned that you are only seeking advice now. The offers came through 15/16 April - almost 4 weeks ago hmm

FadedSapphire Mon 06-May-13 16:34:54

Not all offers early. We only received ours 2nd May!

christinarossetti Mon 06-May-13 18:18:10

OP disappeared from this thread some time ago.......

If you're still reading OP, try to focus on the good advice that you've been given rather than the 'oh how could you be so dim?' responses. I know rather more than several people who didn't understand the admissions system until after places were allocated and would, in hindsight, have done things differently if they had had a better understanding beforehand.

Things do generally get sorted out, but now the onus is on you to make this happen viz an viz the advice above.

Best of luck.

prh47bridge Mon 06-May-13 18:21:04

PoppyPia - To clear one thing up, the Catholic schools cannot refuse admission simply because you are not Catholic. However, like the CofE schools they can prioritise children of the faith. That means you are likely to be some way down the waiting list.

You seem to have stopped responding to this thread but, just in case you are reading, let me try to make your position clear. Your child must start full time education at the start of term in January. You cannot HE and you cannot afford to go private. You are not CofE or Catholic so you are likely to be some way down the waiting lists for those schools. You are some way down the waiting list for your preferred schools. Hoping that enough people choose to go private to get you a place is not a plan and, bluntly, it is unlikely to happen. Any alternative offer from the LA is likely to be even worse in your view than the offer you have already rejected. What are you going to do when mid-December comes and you still haven't got a place?

Don't just brush that question off. That is the most likely outcome from your actions. You need to have an answer.

AuntieStella Mon 06-May-13 18:46:24

It's possible OP has nothing to add, but might do once LA offices reopen on Tuesday.

PoppyPia Mon 06-May-13 19:33:10

Thank you everyone for your responses, just reading through them now but a few things to add-

I naively assumed that when I wa told I had a choice it meant I had a choice. I was educated in a country where everyone automatically had a place at their local school, I assumed this would be the situation here. I now know I was wrong.

The local school is c of e and a very small intake and has a centre for children with sen attached, so they are part of the class but have some time in the centre. Therefore out of this small intake priority is given to children with sen who would be helped by the centre. My son is 6th on the waiting list but that's quite a long way down relative to the intake.

PoppyPia Mon 06-May-13 19:34:01

I have also found out some children in our area are offered no place at all, which is worrying.

FadedSapphire Mon 06-May-13 19:42:07

Good luck Poppy with your phone calls tomorrow.
Hope you do get a school not too far from you eventually.
Nice to be able to walk to school!

AlienAttack Mon 06-May-13 19:51:12

If other people have no places at all, this suggests even more reason to see if the LEA will reinstate the place you refused. Perhaps if you give more information about your reasons for refusing it - You mentioned "a rough area, poor SATS results" and your DS being one of a " few British children". -then others might be able to Give you some comfort that this school place is still a better option than nothing.

dixiechick1975 Mon 06-May-13 20:03:40

Good luck op

We didn't get a place I was happy with for DD.

Get on waiting lists for all schools in the area.

Your options are

1. Keep in nursery until end of the year if the nursery has a place - the govt funding continues until the end of the term they turn 5. Speak to nursery asap - they may assume all are leaving for reception in September.

2. Check with the private schools, don't assume you have to be a millionaire. That was what we ended up doing for DD. I had no intention of sending her private but the fees are less than a full time nursery place (they even knock off the govt nursery funding in reception) and it is filled with lots of 'normal' parents in the same boat as us. Also if you will be using aftercare/holiday this may work out cheaper at private or enable you to work longer hours.

3. Move asap

4. Home educate

5. Ask re free transport to out of area school - this may be by taxi. The LA has to provide over a certain distance. He wouldn't be expected to get on a public bus on his own.

6. Just because he does year R somewhere doesn't mean you are stuck there forever- you can stay on waiting lists.

JakeBullet Mon 06-May-13 20:06:38

Hope things work out for you Poppy. This school business is difficult, especially if you are not originally from the UK and don't know the system that well.

PoppyPia Mon 06-May-13 20:10:35

I haven't checked with the nursery no, will do that tomorrow. Private could be an option temporarily if the fees work out less than nursery but I will have to investigate. My son is on waiting lists for all the local Catholic schools as well as the ones I applied for him to go to.

AlienAttack Mon 06-May-13 20:38:53

Just to check, you're still ignoring all the advice to try to reinstate the offer of a school place which was made to your DS?

ClayDavis Mon 06-May-13 20:45:10

Are you on the waiting list for local schools that are not Catholic schools? If you're not a practicing Catholic you might be waiting a very very long time on the waiting lists.

YoniOrNotYoni Mon 06-May-13 20:59:57

Do you mind if I ask where in the country you are OP? Is moving an option? Some areas don't have the same level of oversubscribed schools as London.

BranchingOut Mon 06-May-13 21:48:15

I do feel sorry for the OP: the system is, at best, somewhat opaque.

You receive or download a brochure which has every school in the local authority listed, rather like a catalogue. You are told the characteristics of each school and encouraged to visit and to appraise which school would suit your child. It appears to be a system of choice, but is in fact, for most children, a highly restricted allocation based upon location, family sibling position and faith. Add in other cultural understandings of what a school application process might be and it is no wonder that so many parents end up in this kind of situation.

Fingers crossed for you, poppypia.

prh47bridge Mon 06-May-13 22:15:18

You can express a preference but you don't get to choose. If popular schools could expand to accept everyone who applies it would be different but that is not practical.

The good news is that the LA will find places for any child that doesn't currently have a place. That may include creating bulge classes at some schools. If one of your preferred schools gets a bulge class you may strike it lucky but don't bank on it.

christinarossetti Mon 06-May-13 22:17:20

I agree branching. I usually find the posters of these types of threads really irritating, but I OP doesn't come over that way at all and I hope that this works out for her.

It took me ages to understand how admissions work here, despite living in the UK all of my life, and every year I meet people who don't realise that they haven't understood the system properly until allocations are made.

tiggytape Mon 06-May-13 22:42:49

Many people get really stuck with admissions. The whole system seems to promise choice but really it offers no such thing.

The whole cycle of school open days and prospectuses and getting parents to visit several different schools all adds to the idea that parents have a choice when really they don’t.
Unless the school they fall in love with is undersubscribed, they are totally at the mercy of distance measurements and sibling rules when it comes to getting a place. Most parents only stand a hope of getting into 1 school or 2 at best so it is pretty pointless looking at all the lovely schools that have never accepted a child living as far away as they do.

And then the form has boxes for the parents to explain the reasons for wanting that school which again gives parents the impression that if they really like the school, they can write something to convince the council. In fact though, those boxes only exist in case the council needs to know a child is in a higher admission category eg has a sibling at the school (usually also covered elsewhere on the form). Parents don’t realise that no amount of praising the school in those boxes will make the blindest bit of difference to the outcome.

And then all the old rumours persist – even on MN you see parents who still believe putting a school as your 1st choice gives you more of a claim to it than someone who lives closer but didn’t put it 1st or that speaking with the Head Teacher might help.

So I can see where it is easy to go wrong.

Poppy – I hope the council are able to help tomorrow about school vacancies nearby. Prh is right – if some children still have no places at all, a bulge class may open at one of the schools you like and you may get a place that way. It is very important therefore to keep in touch with the council as, come January, you will need to have a place already lined up.

SofiaAmes Mon 06-May-13 23:27:10

Mrz , it has been my own experience that teaching methods of phonics, or anything else at the elementary school level are depressingly similar in the USA and UK. Perhaps you have had a different experience. I don't think that the OP has "rejected sensible expert advice" in the least. She is searching for options that will work for her and her family and they may not be the options that have worked for you, that doesn't mean that her choices are incorrect. Regarding HE, I was simply pointing out that HE can be an option, even for working parents. Doesn't mean she has to pick it. In fact, it was not an option that I was comfortable with for my dc's, but that was my issue, not an issue with the concept. I've been very impressed with the HE children that I've met over the years.

mrz Tue 07-May-13 06:41:33

Then I would be very very worried about the school in the UK

BranchingOut Tue 07-May-13 06:58:35

My own two-penneth is that I think that (if you chose to receive it by filling in an online form) is that councils should send out a prediction of your most-likely school place in the autumn term before admissions.

If they can generate individual council tax bills then this should surely be possible.

This would hopefully minimise this kind of issue and might give councils a heads up on where bulge classes etc might be needed.

AuntieStella Tue 07-May-13 07:17:45

"a prediction of your most-likely school place in the autumn term before admissions"

On what would they base that? It's nothing like as simple as council tax!

It might work in small town/rural areas with a fairly static population and well-spaced schools, always assuming thy have good data on number of children resident on their patch (and those under other councils who might make cross-border applications).

But in areas with a denser population, and distances to school of under 0.5km, I don't see how it can be done.

And what on earth would they say to parents who arn't likely to receive any initial offer at ll?

christinarossetti Tue 07-May-13 07:31:05

I think that LAs should run plenty of school application workshops, including evenings and weekends, so that working parents can access.

After years of allocations being a nightmare, our children's centre trialed this (including helping people fill their forms in online) and every single person who attended got a place at a school they had named, even though some catchments went down dramatically.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 07-May-13 07:35:06

Branching, that would result in people appealing based inthe council prediction, I'm sure.

5madthings Tue 07-May-13 08:04:33

We get a form and an informatoon pack that lists our catchment schools and then lists other local school.

Plus when we visited schools ht were quite honest re intake and distance etc. Yhere was certainly no false information re chance to get in. I knew we were borderline depending on distance for the school we chose. Thankfully i had the sibling rule for younger ones but even that difnt guarantee a place. i gambled and had home ed as a back.up until a place bevame available but our school has a high numbrr of transient pupild due to catchmemt covering an area wherr lots of people work for a local uni or are students and then move after a year or so.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 07-May-13 08:22:56

God this thread is DISGUSTING. All these people licking their lips in glee over the OPs predicament...absolutely horrid.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 07-May-13 08:30:35

Really, Neo? I don't detect glee, but I do detect a string sense of bafflement that anyone could launch into the school application process holding a lot of assumptions that could fairly easily have been checked out and which turn out to be pretty disastrously wrong.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 07-May-13 08:31:07

Err, strong sense of bafflement.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 08:35:49

What a weird post, neo. I think you would have to be superhuman not wonder why the OP didn't actually read the guidance notes that came with the primary school application form, but there has been no glee- and loads of helpful advice.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 07-May-13 08:42:39

Seeker it's no weirder than the ruck of people harrying the op with's like the third inquisition! There is at least one deleted post where someone's insulted her...someone called her an idiot. It's horrible.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 07-May-13 08:48:18

As for phonics it is not the be all and end all. My DD1 went to a prep for the first three years of her education and they never used any phonics at all. She's one of the strongest readers in her year 4 class now. In the top ten percent.

PoppyPia, I sympathise, I am also from a country were you just get your local primary and if there are too many children for one class, they just change provision to offer two classes with a smaller number of children than the maximum! The way it works here is quite mind boggling, to be honest.

We were lucky in that we could make two separate applications to two different LEA in our and in the neighbouring borough, as we were living on the border of one, so effectively had applied to 10 schools across two boroughs! We did not get any of our choices in our "home borough", and were really pleased to get a lovely RC primary in the neighbouring borough.

MerylStrop Tue 07-May-13 09:06:37


Just get his name on the list of every school you can manage

Hold your nerve and hope for the best

There has been LOADS of comings and goings in both my DS and DDs primary classes. With luck something will come through by September or January.

If you can bear it, go and look around the allocated school - reputations precede places, and are often unfounded. You may be pleasantly surprised. The school's ethos is way more important than if it is - in your words - "a rough area". If it is 5 miles away the LEA will be obliged to provide transport. You can keep his name on all the waiting lists.

cory Tue 07-May-13 09:07:48

PoppyPia Mon 06-May-13 19:33:10

"I naively assumed that when I wa told I had a choice it meant I had a choice.

I was educated in a country where everyone automatically had a place at their local school, I assumed this would be the situation here. I now know I was wrong."

The problem is these two premises are not actually compatible. Either you have a choice- which means that other parents also have a choice, which means they can come to your local school and fill it up if you don't- or else everybody just goes to their local school.

What you half subconsciously expected was a combination of the two, where you and every other parent would have the choice to go elsewhere, but where the local school would also keep free places for every single local parent who hadn't applied, just in case they changed their mind at the start of term. In other words, you expected two places to be available to your child and not filled by anybody else until the start of term.

If you think about it, that would be totally unworkable: what would they do with all these empty places and the teachers they had employed to teach these children who might just decide to turn up? Who would pay the salaries of teachers with no children to teach?

You have a choice to state a preference, but a good school is like any other goods in limited supply: you have a choice of cheese or ham sandwiches until the ham runs out, and after that you have a choice of cheese. No cafe organises their preparations in such a way as to have a full supply of everything at closing time: the aim is to sell out insofar as possible but not to have to totally turn customers away.

cory Tue 07-May-13 09:10:02

I would echo the advice of other posters: go and look at the school you feel is so bad. Is it really such an unpleasant place on closer inspection? Are you sure it is a disadvantage that many of the children are not British?

DontmindifIdo Tue 07-May-13 09:19:49

OP - to add to your "to do list" - can you check with local private schools if there is any help to parents with below a certain income level? It could be that you qualify for some help.

Where we live, most preps are around £12k a year, and a full time nursery place is over £1k a month so on the face of it, private education is cheaper, however - that's only for term times and school hours, you do need to budget for any wrap around care (although private schools tend to be much better at providing it on site than state) and holiday care.

however, I would call the LEA and say you rejected the place by mistake so would like to be reinstated, that gives you some breathing room until January. Then ask about transport - don't think that means they'd pay for your 5 year old to go on a normal bus alone and you'd have to accompany them, round here that means they would be collected from your house/your childminder's house and returned in a taxi, driven by someone CRB checked. Worth finding out. It might be possible, even if it's just for one school year while you get a place somewhere closer.

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 09:22:16

We were lucky in that we could make two separate applications to two different LEA in our and in the neighbouring borough, as we were living on the border of one, so effectively had applied to 10 schools across two boroughs

Living on the border doesn't mean you get to apply to 2 LAs and get double the number of school applications as everyone else.
Each child gets 1 application.
It goes to the council you live in even if all the schools you are applying to are in another county. The councils coordinate admissions between them.

If you send in 2 application forms one of them will be disregarded.
It would be ridiculous and very unfair for people living near boundary lines to get double the chances of everyone else!
If you send 2 applications, one of them won't have counted.

The same applies to parents who live apart but share care of the child 50/50. They cannot make 2 applications (one from each addess). They make only one application from the main address - normally defined in 50/50 shared care cases as the addressthe Child Benefit is registered to.

BranchingOut Tue 07-May-13 09:36:09

Stella, it would come with a huge health warning on the bottom, saying that this is not an offer of a place just a prediction.

I can't see that it would be that tricky to generate using an online form: boxes for postcode, sibling, faith and other admissions criteria.

I also agree that the council should hold information sessions.

AuntieStella Tue 07-May-13 09:42:17

How on earth would the council know who would qualify for a faith place?

How would they know how many children live in their borough?

How would they know who is moving house? Or going private? Or choosing HE? Or likely to secure a place outside the borough?

How many staff would be needed to process the (incomplete) information and how would they pay for it? It would in effect be a dry run of the whole process, with only a fraction of applications in, at the time they'd be doing secondary applications for real.

Cloverer Tue 07-May-13 09:52:55

Does you council not produce allocation statements for all the schools Branching? Mine puts on their website details of the intake number for each school, if it was oversubscribed, how many places went to each category (lac, siblings, faith) and what the furthest distance offered was.

From looking at that I can see I would almost certainly get a place in school X (undersubscribed) and school Y (furthest distance 800m, I live 400m away) but probably wouldn't get a place in school Z (furthest distance 300m, I live 500m). Can also see there is a faith school near by, but only half the admitted children were baptised in that faith so we might have a chance there too.

They list all the furthest distances from the last few years too so I can see how much they have changed, if they are likely to get bigger or smaller.

5madthings Tue 07-May-13 09:54:37

Ours is just done by postcode, so your postcode generates a list of catchment/local schools. Faith schools have their own criteria.

But its very easy to phone the council and give them.your address, they then look at distance as the crow flies and tell you your nearest schools and others where you may get a place on distance.

The information we were given by the council was very clear on how the ststem works, but perhaos not all councils are? Tho surely they have to be ot they leave themselves open to appeals?

Misinformation comez from heresay ie a mum i know was quite insistent that as her sister works at a school that she coukd get her a place, despite it being miles out of her catchment and heavily oversubscribed. I and another mum told her this wasnt the case but she was quite sure her sister would be able to get her a place!

parachutesarefab Tue 07-May-13 10:15:58

This is really sad to read, as the OP won't be the only one affected. Yes, she probably should have put down her local, C of E school on the form - but maybe she actually put down 5 schools that she, historically had a better chance at? (Quite possibly not).

I have a friend who lives in Brighton, and was looking to move house. They found a lovely house, so looked into schools (2 preschool DDs).

If they were Catholic, they should get into the local Catholic school. Places not normally offered to non Catholics.

If CofE, they should get into the local CofE school. Places not normally offered to non CofEs.

They are neither Catholic or CofE. But the nearest non denominational school was only about 3/4 mile away, so still close. However, that was about 1/4 mile too far away to have a chance of getting a space.

Schools further away, would generally expect to be filled with children living more locally. Nearest school with a realistic chance of getting a place was miles away, and 'poor'.

They didn't buy the house.

But it just shows that there are some areas where there is no 'safe', local option to choose.

OP - There is lots of good advice on this thread. And many, many people make assumptions about how the admissions system works, and get it wrong. I agree that you should ask for your place back, as a last resort (it doesn't affect your application to any other schools, and you may need it, even if very short term). Then fully research all your other options, and get him on the waiting list of every school that you see as 'better' than the one offered.

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 09:22:16
You are quoting my:

"We were lucky in that we could make two separate applications to two different LEA in our and in the neighbouring borough, as we were living on the border of one, so effectively had applied to 10 schools across two boroughs"

And you reply:

Living on the border doesn't mean you get to apply to 2 LAs and get double the number of school applications as everyone else. ....

It was possible then, my son is now in Y6. I should have specified.
Now it is all centralized into one application form.

Back then the deadlines were different, and we even got the results on different dates!

IsItMeOr Tue 07-May-13 10:43:06

tiggytape No, it used to be the case until very recently (about 3/4 years ago) that you could apply separately to different London boroughs. They now have a single pan-London application process, but that's a relatively recent thing. I think that's what Quint is talking about - a clue is that she's talking about 5 places in each borough, which used to be the case, whereas in the Pan-London scheme you can apply for 6 places.

PoppyPia - so sorry that you've been caught out by differences between the English and your home education systems - are you from Australia by any chance, as what you said is certainly what one of my friends from there says?

The system does seem to be designed to maximise stress, although as you say, some kids don't have offers at all, so the major problem is lack of capacity in the borough as a whole.

Fingers crossed that you get something sorted asap following the wise advice others have already offered. It might take a while, I gather, but try to keep your nerve and do all the things you've talked about re. nursery, private schools and waiting lists.

IsItMeOr Tue 07-May-13 10:43:45

x-posts Quint smile

But you explained it better than me, thanks! smile

tiggytape Tue 07-May-13 11:15:48

Oh I see Quint, sorry - I thought you were talking about this year's applications.

I think a lot of current parents get confused because the system really is very rigid now compared to how it used to be.
I know a mum at our school who was convinced she'd get 2 or 3 offers to choose from because that is what had happened with her older child. And some people still believe the council deals with first preferences first because that is how it used to work.

IsItMeOr Tue 07-May-13 11:24:31

tiggy I didn't realise there were so many other changes. It doesn't help people avoid getting confused and making mistakes as a result, does it? sad

Hope you're feeling okay Poppy.

Tingalingle Tue 07-May-13 11:36:40

Poppy, if it makes you feel any better, a (highly intelligent) friend of mine found that she had no secondary school place at all offered for her daughter.

Although she was at a feeder school for the secondary just 1/4 mile away, and had put down the next nearest school as backup, they were over the county boundary. They should therefore have applied through the other county system, even though they were too far away to be granted a place in any of their secondaries, going on past years. So neither LA had the responsibility for offering a place at all, as their application was just dismissed.

None of us knew that detail -- the secondary had just said it would be fine, they'd had children from that village before.

So, I can quite see that if you think it'll be fine, you tend not to check all the small print...

ClayDavis Tue 07-May-13 12:07:15

Was that recently Tingalingle? I was under the impression that applications to schools in another county had to be made to the LA you lived in, not the LA the school was in.

I do think some admissions booklets could be made a bit clearer though. It would probably be worth adding that you do need to make an application to your catchment school if you want a place there and giving the advice that you should have a school you have a chance to get into somewhere on your list.

prh47bridge Tue 07-May-13 12:42:15

What Tingalingle has described is either not recent or a serious failure by the LA. You always apply to your home LA even if the school you want is in another LA's area. Your home LA must come up with a place for your child even if it isn't at one of your preferred schools.

If this was recent the home LA is at fault both for failing to pass on the application to the neighbouring county and for failing to offer a place.

MarthasHarbour Tue 07-May-13 13:00:51

Hope OP gets something sorted today. I really feel for her DS who is the most affected in all this sad

Once again I urge you to contact private schools as you will probably find them cheaper than private nursery fees. As well as the very sensible advice to reinstate your school even though you dont want it - its just a back up and you could also hire a childminder to do drop off and pick ups

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 07-May-13 16:41:10

Martha I agree....some preps have bursaries too.

scaevola Tue 07-May-13 17:37:50

I would expect that bursaries for the coming academic year will all have been offered by now.

LIZS Tue 07-May-13 19:18:41

Bursaries at reception age are very unusual anyway.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 07-May-13 20:36:24

Are they Lizs? My DD got one...we weren't particularly early with our application but it is a bit late now I suppose.

ljny Wed 08-May-13 00:00:33

It would probably be worth adding that you do need to make an application to your catchment school if you want a place there.

Many children don't have a catchment school.

Some posters are advising Make sure you have at least one school on the list you are fairly sure you can get into.

Not everyone has the luxury of a school 'you're fairly sure you can get into'.

WHY can't we give every child a guaranteed place in a catchment school? Scotland does it. So does Australia.

End this madness. Parents could still choose another school - if it had space.

Every child would have a guaranteed place in their local school. Why is this a pipe dream?

Clary Wed 08-May-13 00:38:30

Because unpopular schools in heavily populated areas would have to, for example, plan for a three-class intake with associated staffing implications, and then discover that the parents chose not to take up their place at the local school and they only needed one class! It's unworkable

You could say "you will go to this local school and no other" maybe they should but if you don't do that, if you want to give people a semblance of a choice then you cannot have however many places at each school on the offchance they will be needed.

Schools across a city need roughly the correct number of places for 4yos in that city.

What used to happen? I remember as a child that suddenly being able to choose your school was a big thing. Before that were we just allocated our nearest school?

Presumably now that there is more population movement it's not so easy to predict.

The house price thing is significant but only because the catchment areas are fluid, so the closer to a good school the higher likelihood of getting in etc.

If catchment areas were fixed and every child had to be accommodated in that school, then it would be less of an issue.

In year transfers would be possible if there were genuine issues but I think all of this 'choosing the right school for my child' is bollocks. If all schools were good then there would be no issue.

The problems arise when individuals are given a choice based on self-interest which causes stampedes away from certain schools towards others, creating an ever decreasing circle.

Pyrrah Wed 08-May-13 10:11:14

The whole faith schools nonsense doesn't help either.

DontmindifIdo Wed 08-May-13 10:24:09

Newpencilcase - yes, you lived in X road, your DCs went to Y school. You could put their name down for another school if it had places, but it was very very odd to do that. However, there weren't the same limits on class sizes, my last year at primary was the last year before 'choice' came in, there were 38 in my class. they just had to take all the DCs that there the correct age in the correct area.

Choice was shortly followed by limits on class sizes, meaning limits on choice.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Wed 08-May-13 10:32:14

That's it, isn't it. In many areas there might only be a handful of children who miss out on a place, or at least who would have got their first or second choice but for a few places. If schools could go bigger at their discretion, the issue would abate a bit. But most people agree with the principle of limiting class sizes in infants. They just don't want it to result in their child not getting into the school they want.

I have to say that, much as I disagree with a lot of what the Tories have done in government, I do think allowing excepted pupils to stay excepted all through infants makes sense though. It totally screwed school budgets to have to have an extra teacher for 31 children - given that their funding is basically per pupil.

Tingalingle Wed 08-May-13 10:37:01

Prh47bridge: yes it was recent (this year), and our LA have now agreed that they were at fault for not passing the application on to the right county, so they have agreed to take the child.

But it wasn't something that was obvious on any of the information. The family got a pack through the school, saying, essentially, here are all the open days for your local secondaries; consider your preferences carefully and apply by date XX.

Tingalingle Wed 08-May-13 10:40:11

Amanda, effectively expanding at the school's discretion was what happened when I was at school and we all went to our local primary.

Result? There were 15 in my class and 45 in my younger brother's. That's in one classroom with one teacher. In Reception.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Wed 08-May-13 10:44:08

Yes Tingalingle, I totally agree, I wasn't saying it was a good thing. I was saying that the limits on class sizes (which most parents agree in the abstract are a good thing) are what really impact on choice. If people were for choice at all costs, they would accept stupid class sizes like your brother experienced. The fact that that would be unacceptable means we all have to live with the fact that choice is severely limited. You can't have both sides of the equation.

ClayDavis Wed 08-May-13 10:49:11

Fixed catchment areas would still affect the house prices. Removing choice doesn't meant that parents don't have preferences for which school their children go to. It just means that house prices in the whole catchment area go up as people move into it.

Where I grew up unless you go private you go to your catchment school. You can put in a request for your catchment school and will be given it if there are places. It isn't without problems. This year in particular has been a massive shambles with people who've applied for their catchment school being asked to reconsider and apply for another school instead because there are not enough children to warrant making an extra class.

BadgerB Wed 08-May-13 10:52:27

It must be so difficult for people in the SE and London! My sister, who lives in rural Derbyshire, sent her DD2 into Reception at her 1st choice school. Before half term it was obviously a wrong choice - bullying which the staff seemed unable to prevent.
She took another look at 3 local schools (within 3miles - this is a rural area) all of which had places. She chose one and moved DD in the week before the Christmas hols. Since then all has been well, and her DD no longer cries on school mornings - in fact can't wait to get there.
I am saddened by all the MN threads about 'no YR places' or places at the 'wrong' school.

It was one of the main reasons we moved out of London. We moved to a house equidistant from 2 not great primary schools, although would unlikely to have been awarded a place at either.

We now live in the catchment area of a great school which also takes some children from out of catchment (although is oversubscribed in general)

NotMoreFootball Wed 08-May-13 14:17:03

Still genuinely don't understand why it is impossible in England to have fixed catchment areas for schools when so many other countries seem to manage it without major issues.
There must be solutions to the staffing problems and varying pupil numbers from year to year in those countries so why can't we do the same?

ljny Wed 08-May-13 14:20:02

Clay, yes, fixed catchments would still affect house prices. But young families would get some security in their lives. They could invest and plan.

Now, a life of planning, choosing jobs, juggling childcare, can be destroyed at the drop of a demographic blip.

The current system is crazy. Siblings are assigned to different schools. Reception children are forced to travel over 2 hours a day (that's 4 hours for the parent). Families sacrifice to buy or stay - then, suddenly, the goalposts are moved.

On ICS - Scotland has catchment areas and better ICS than England, so there must be a way. They also have parental choice - you can go out of catchment if there's space.

Sounds so much more sensible than the madness here.

scaevola Wed 08-May-13 14:24:45

The big problem is population density. In London you can live less than a mile from 6 schools and still not get an offer at all. And there simply isn't land available for new schools. It works in areas with lower populations or where the densities are less (ie more land for new schools or expansion of existing schools on site nd still have a playground). So fine in Scotland and Australia, not fine in major UK cities.

I think Boris is looking at land availability in London. But with a 30 per class limit, it's going to be difficult to find space for more classrooms. Hence talk of allowing more classes to go to 32 in the hope of absorbing at least some of the current bulge in numbers.

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 14:28:59

NotMoreFootball - Population density is a big reason.
In places like London, Birmingham and other big cities, there are potentially hundreds more children living close to a school than the school has room to take.

If everyone in England went to their nearest school, you'd have some primary schools expected to take 200, 300 or 500 pupils in every year group.

In many areas there are physically less school places than there are children.
A National Audit Office (NAO) report has found 250,000 new school places are needed in England by 2014/15 to meet increased demand. That's a quarter of a million children without a place within a year or two unless new schools are built or current ones expanded very quickly .

The figures for London alone show over 100,000 more children than there will be school places. It isn't people being fussy. As new housing goes up and people stay living in flats even with 2 or 3 children, there are simply too many children packed into each tiny area to provide local schools.

The councils are just playing catch up - they slot people in and shunt them around and open the odd bulge class to gloss over the real problem that we are thousands of school places short.

Pyrrah Wed 08-May-13 14:37:19

I live within a mile of about 9 schools - I only had a realistic chance of getting a place at one of them (which I did by 30 metres).

However, they are building a new development of 120 flats bang next door to that school - many of them 2 or 3 bedroom flats.

If we were applying in 2 years time we would not even get a place there.

LaVolcan Wed 08-May-13 16:12:36

The UK isn't the only country in the world with cities with high population densities. Does this problem arise in other countries and how do they manage the situation? I think by operating shifts in some cases.

Just musing really, and not adding anything helpful to the debate.

Pyrrah Wed 08-May-13 16:47:42

Talking to friends in the USA, those in NY are as stressed about school places as people in London.

mummytime Wed 08-May-13 16:54:10

NYC has just as many problems, it is slightly simplified because there are no denominational schools to confuse things. But for private education what I've heard is that the stress is even worse than London.

The problem London and NYC share is: high population density and very little room for new schools.

mummytime Wed 08-May-13 16:54:55

Oh and from what I read on a thread about Brussels, the situation can seem similar there too.

SofiaAmes Wed 08-May-13 18:12:32

Personally, I think it's the religion part of it that complicates least it did for me as an atheist. And the lack of acknowledgment that families with 2 working parents are limited in their chauffering availability. Here in Los Angeles, we have similar stresses over getting your children into a good public (state) school. You are automatically entitled to a place at your local school. However, if that school isn't great, there are a variety of perfectly viable work arounds, so that all parents have options, not just ones who or rich or from the right religion who have "gifted" children. It's by no means a perfect system, but it seems to work much more smoothly and fairly (to all) than what I experienced in West London for my children and my friends' children. Population density-wise, I think Los Angeles is a good comparison to London. New York is a slightly different situation because of the higher density of the population and I understand that the schooling issues are currently more stressful and problematic than elsewhere.

ClayDavis Wed 08-May-13 18:25:54

ljny. It doesn't always work elsewhere. There aren't the same issues but there are still issues. Schools cannot expand indefinitely, nor can class sizes. If there aren't enough places in the catchment school to make an extra class but too many to put into the number of existing classes, those extra children don't get to go to their catchment school they fill in spaces in undersubscribed ones. The process for choosing which children they are can be as mind boggling as the admissions system in England.

scaevola Wed 08-May-13 18:26:00

London"s population density is about twice that of NY. And there are several other large cities with hire densities.

If you look at those cities with greater densities, they are in places where not all children receive schooling or huge class sizes are the norm. Neither are models to emulate.

scaevola Wed 08-May-13 18:27:04

Sorry -mangled and incomplete sentence "There are several other large UK cities with densities higher than NY"

AlienAttack Wed 08-May-13 18:31:00

OP, any news?

BranchingOut Wed 08-May-13 19:00:34

Sofia, how do these work arounds work in LA?
Just curious.

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Wed 08-May-13 19:05:09

Slightly random article, but this article suggests that the population density of London is much higher than LA. So maybe not a fair comparison?

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 19:16:23

London's population density (5,100 inhabitants per square kilometer) is greater than that of Buenos Aires, Moscow and Paris, and more than twice that of New York.

London is the most densely populated city in the 3rd most densely populated country in the world (only South Korea and Bangladesh are more densely populated than England).

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Wed 08-May-13 19:58:52

Twice that of New York? Wow. I wonder what it is like if you just compare Manhatten?

scaevola Wed 08-May-13 20:02:02

Probably much the same interval, if you took just parts of London's inner city.

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Wed 08-May-13 20:35:52

I suppose what I'm thinking is that being in Manhatten could be just as bad/worse than inner London for school places, but the population density pulled down by Staten Island, etc. It's probably not a great comfort to a Manhatten mother if there are places in Staten Island and the Bronx that could take their child. grin

SofiaAmes Wed 08-May-13 23:12:29

BranchingOut here are some of the options:
1. Charter Schools. These are public schools which accept children purely by lottery unless you are a "founding parent" (helped do all the work to form the school) and not by catchment area. In my neighborhood there are multiple good Charter Schools at all grade levels.
2. Magnet Schools. These are public schools (usually within a regular catchment area campus) that admit children partially based on lottery and partially based on skills (some are gifted, some are art based, some are math based etc.). These schools have a racial background admittance component as they were originally introduced in the 70's as a way to integrate the school system.
3. "Permit" into a catchment school that isn't in your catchment area.
i) At the elementary school level this can be done based on childcare needs (ie does the school offer before and after school childcare that your local catchment school doesn't).
ii) At all ages this can be done based on your child's grades/test performance/teacher recommendations.
4. Move into the school's catchment area as everyone is absolutely entitled to a place at the school if they live within the catchment area.
5. Work in the district - some school districts will give places in the district to the children of parents who work in the district.

I personally know people from all walks of life (rich, poor, illegal, legal, white, black, hispanic, smart, not so smart, educated, illiterate, etc.) who have gotten their child into a school of their choice by using one of these methods. My experience is that when parents are given the choice to choose what's best for their child, they don't all pick the same thing. Of course, some schools are over subscribed, but I have yet to meet a parent who didn't find a happy alternative if their child didn't get into their first choice of school.

In addition, most of the private schools offer very generous scholarships, so private education isn't out of reach for the poor and middle class.

SofiaAmes Wed 08-May-13 23:16:04

I'd be curious to know what is being considered "London" and what is being considered "Los Angeles" and what is being considered "New York" when calculating those density figures. As you mentioned, Manhattan is much denser than Staten Island and I'm guessing that the schooling issues are in Manhattan and NOT in Staten Island.

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 23:20:25

Amanda - that is true of London too. London density figures are diluted by patches of Green Belt land in some of the boroughs and the Thames in the middle.
London's average population density figure is 5,100 inhabitants per square kilometer but, in places like Hackney and Camden, it is well over 10,000 people per square km

London’s age profile is younger than that of the UK too with a higher proportion of people aged under-16 (19.6%) compared with 18.6% for the rest of the UK.

So it isn't just a higher density of people but more of them are younger people too (and therefore in need of schools).

tiggytape Wed 08-May-13 23:27:39

It's probably not a great comfort to a Manhatten mother if there are places in Staten Island and the Bronx that could take their child.

That's true Amanda and is what happens in London too. School places are not always in the places they are needed. Some parts of London virtually need a school on every street to keep up whereas others cope much better.

juniperinNZ Wed 08-May-13 23:45:30

Hope it all works out for you OP. The London situation is crazy, I know my Uncle, who lives in Herne Hill, had a nightmare trying to get his son into a local 'decent' school, involving joining the local church (which I don't really agree with but can see why people feel the need do it). If we'd stayed in England we had a primary school right behind our house and my daughter went to the preschool attached to it, but we were told due to a baby boom that there was a chance we still wouldn't get in, and they would have to have an extra large intake of 32 plus due to demand. We were in Gloucester, not London.
I find it mad, as here in New Zealand we have catchments (known as 'zones') for each school, which are all quite small - if you live in zone then you are guaranteed a place (even if you just turn up on the day you want to start - which is crazy but apparently has happened!). There are some schools that have no zones too, so you can apply from anywhere. If you like a particular school but are not in zone then you can apply to go into a ballot for out of zone places. Schools only hold a ballot if they think there will be spaces and assess this 4 times a year, so there could be 4 ballots in a year, or possibly none. We applied out of zone to a school with a fantastic arts programme and got a space this way. Classes are opened throughout the year (my dd's new class had only 7 pupils in it to start with) and the coordinator for the school has to assess how many pupils they think will start over the year.
In NZ children start on or just after their 5th birthday so there are staggered entries throughout the year (they don't have to start until they are 6). What I found interesting is the class sizes here compared to the UK, my dd has just started and there are only 18 in her class and the principal found it necessary to apologise that there were more than 15 - he has attached another qualified teacher to the class to help until she is due to open the next classroom at the end of the month for new pupils!!!
We don't have the same population density problems here obviously, but we do have problems here with population movement etc due to the earthquakes we had here in Christchurch. I can see it could be quite a chaotic system, but it does seem to work (interestingly it is the high school zones that seem to push the house prices up, not the primary school ones).

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Thu 09-May-13 07:28:19

Sorry Tiggy- Yes, I do agree. That was kind of my point. That population density was a guide, but that it didn't really tell you whether there were big pockets of people for whom finding a school was just as much of a nightmare as for many Londoners.

Greywacke Thu 09-May-13 08:27:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BranchingOut Thu 09-May-13 12:56:21

Thanks, Sofia.

So, lots of different types of schools - plus the 'permit' system making some allowance made for childcare, need for a school near a parent's place of work etc.

Does this lead to transport nightmares at school run time?

MrsMelons Thu 09-May-13 13:27:50

What is such a shame is that there are so many schools around that are sub-standard that parents feel they have to go out of catchment which results in these issues frequently.

If everyone went to catchment schools then presumably the whole process would be easier.

Private schools are often full also so it just seems there are not enough places to go round, there are 6 on the waiting list for DS1s class at the moment.

Certainly in our LA area they are putting in portacabin classrooms in state schools with lots of land available (ie taking up the sports fields etc) to house the extra children. The schools are full to bursting and there are children every year with no places right up to the last minute.

ljny Thu 09-May-13 13:35:25

It's probably not a great comfort to a Manhatten mother if there are places in Staten Island and the Bronx that could take their child.

The Manhattan child still gets a place at their local Manhattan school.

Maybe the local school is crap. But the parents already know that. They can move, they can apply to a magnet, charter, specialized program, etc.

What won't happen is, their child won't suddenly be sent to a random crap school they'd never heard of, hours away, like happened to the Op.

(Obviously crap schools shouldn't exist, but that's another issue.)

AmandaPayneNeedsANap Thu 09-May-13 13:38:31

Yes, sorry, I wasn't really making a point about school admissions processes in different areas, I was just saying that population density didn't tell you everything about how fraught local school admissions might be.

GinAndaDashOfLime Thu 09-May-13 13:59:44

Er ... Is no one else going to question OP for her blatant xenophobia (and latent racism) when she said my son is likely to be one of few British children in the year?!! I hope your ds does go to that school, OP, as he might give you a lesson in tolerance. Children are children. He won't care whether they're British or Martian just as long as they play with him. I taught in a school with over 90% non-British kids. Many spoke little or no English. Guess what? They played happily because play is an international language. I had (a little) sympathy for the OP although I thought she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic until that comment.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 14:02:38

I did, ginandlime- and was ignored.

GinAndaDashOfLime Thu 09-May-13 14:05:07

Yes seeker I saw that .. Seems like we're in a minority today. Tis a sad day when the mumsnet masses just accept DM views sad

MarthasHarbour Thu 09-May-13 14:13:18

i picked up on it too, didnt comment but certainly picked up on it.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 14:21:10

This is one of those threads where the mumsnet collective has bizarrely decided the the OP is a poor innocent victim of a confusing and arcane system. A system that the vast majority of people are able to navigate with little difficulty..........

MrsMelons Thu 09-May-13 14:28:17

I must say, I thought the comment was unecessary but gave the OP the benefit of the doubt as didn't want to start an unrelated debate on racism.

There has been another thread started recently about having a better system so people know how and when to apply for school places.

Surely you know when your child is due to start school and the forms are self explanatory IMO.

In general I thought people had told the OP she was in the wrong as she didn't actually apply for the local school at all?

tiggytape Thu 09-May-13 14:36:40

What is such a shame is that there are so many schools around that are sub-standard that parents feel they have to go out of catchment which results in these issues frequently.

This isn't the case in our area. Many parents cannot get into their most local school whether it is are 'sub-standard' or not.
When you have literally hundreds and hundreds of 3 and 4 year olds all living in the same tiny area, no amount of juggling is going to result in them all getting places at local schools. Some will be sent out of area - they have to be.

I am sure in some counties, parents being fussy might mean some schools fill up more quickly than others but there are genuinely whole parts of London and other cities where a parent cannot get a child into any of the 6 closest schools no matter how bad those schools are. It is purely numbers applying and nothing to do with parental preference at all.

MrsMelons Thu 09-May-13 14:42:19

Absolutely Tiggy, I was just commenting on my area mainly, sorry.

If catchment areas were decided based on number of places at the schools then this should help the issue but of course there has to be enough places in the local schools to fit the children in.

We live in a densely populated city and even with 4 private schools in the small area there are still not enough school places. All infant schools are completely full with waiting lists as are the private schools. It is insane!

tiggytape Thu 09-May-13 14:49:12

It is insane - even the councils have no real idea how they are going to cope. Over the next two years the admission numbers are set to go up and up and yet they've expanded most schools as much as they can already.
There's been talk about operating shift systems or using old public buildings as temporary schools or even abolishing the class size laws (which was ruled out) but that's not very appealing to most people.

lottieandmia Thu 09-May-13 15:41:07

PoppyPia - I can understand you rejecting the place if you won't be able to get your ds there as you don't drive but to give 'most of the children aren't British' as a reason is irrational and racist imo. I'm a bit shocked that that would factor in someone's reasoning for rejecting a school tbh.

In our LEA if a child is allocated a school that is further than statutory walking distance then you can usually get transport provided.

If he is on all the waiting lists for schools you would accept then perhaps a place will come up somewhere in the term before January. One other thing to bear in mind is that if you choose a private school instead then most of them take EYF so if you have any time left over that can go towards the fees.

SofiaAmes Thu 09-May-13 15:58:06

BranchingOut , Yes there are definitely traffic issues associated with taking kids to school. But the schools are set up for parents arriving by car...just about every school public or private has a "kiss and drop" set up and manned by parent volunteers where the parents pull up and drop off their child. It allows parents to drop their children off safely, keeps traffic flowing and eliminates the need (bother to the neighbors) for parking. In addition, for the most part, people go to their local school, but if they don't want to, there are good choices even if you are not rich.

AlienAttack Thu 09-May-13 18:04:56

Seeker, ginandlime, I tried to ask for more details from OP about her concerns about the school and encouraged her to see if the offer could be reinstated..but she doesn't seem to be engaging in this thread anymore. I hadn't realised that questioning whether a post was for real or windup was against talk guidelines (hence my initial post being deleted) so I apologise for that and it would be good to hear from the OP again with an update

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 09-May-13 18:59:18

I thought it might have been the whiff of xenophobia that led some posters to be quite hard on OP and not to give her the benefit of the doubt.

JakeBullet Thu 09-May-13 19:21:00

Did everyone miss that the OP is not from this country. I gave her the benefit of the doubt due t this.

seeker Thu 09-May-13 19:24:21

Surely that would mean you'd read the information about applying for primary school even more carefully?

AlienAttack Thu 09-May-13 19:48:13

jake All Op has said about where she is from is "where i come from...". I can't see anything specifically saying she is from another country (than UK) and thought she may simply be from Scotland or Northern Ireland. i confess i assumed she was British because she describes her DS as one of the "few British" children at the allocated school. Of course she may be from another country and describe her child as British but then i am surprised she would have such a negative reaction to non- British children if she herself is not from this country.

To be fair to the op I wouldn't want to send ds to a school where there were only one or two English speakers in his class if the rest of the class all spoke the same language. Having taught classes like this I think it can be an issue. Id be happy with a school with varied mixed ethnicity. I have a couple of Muslim friends who have applied to schools where there are high numbers of Muslim children (although they do speak English) because they felt happier with that for their children.

MarthasHarbour Thu 09-May-13 20:07:01

alienattack your last post summed up my thoughts exactly

AlienAttack Thu 09-May-13 20:08:50

And that's why it would be interesting to understand (and perhaps allay) OP's concerns about the non-British aspect of the allocated school. She hasn't mentioned non-English speakers or a dominant other language so we have no idea if this is her concern.

AlienAttack Thu 09-May-13 20:10:10

Sorry, that was to idbeloveandsweetness

mrz Thu 09-May-13 20:12:53

* PoppyPia Mon 06-May-13 19:33:10*

"Thank you everyone for your responses, just reading through them now but a few things to add-

I naively assumed that when I wa told I had a choice it meant I had a choice. I was educated in a country where everyone automatically had a place at their local school, I assumed this would be the situation here. I now know I was wrong."

AlienAttack Thu 09-May-13 20:21:58

mrz, thanks for that, you're correct, I had missed that reference. I guess it could still refer to Scotland or Northern Ireland but there is little point in speculating. i would still like to understand more about OP's concerns about her DS being one of the few "British children" at the allocated school.

IMO the schools in the 'rough areas' (council estate intake??) are actually excellent because they are set up to work with challenging behaviour, additional needs and SEN very well. They also tend to be well resourced and attract excellent staff. I'm only basing that on a couple in the town I work in but it must be possible to extrapolate something from that. Plus, what is wrong with your child being in a class with a lot of non British children? 4/5 year olds will learn English extremely quickly if they don't speak it already (which most will) and that's about all I can conjecture that might affect your child's learning. I honestly, hand on heart would be happy for my DS to go to school alongside lots of non British kids. In fact I wish there were more in my area, DS is mixed background himself and I'd like him not to stand out too much!

Only because in my experience if the majority of the other children speak the same language they will use it amongst themselves even if they can speak English. So on the playground etc they will speak their home language. That's why I think it's better if there is a mix of languages spoken. No one gets left out!

SofiaAmes Thu 09-May-13 21:50:31

My dd was in a very socio-economically mixed state school for the last 5 years. Although, my dd was the only white girl in her classroom in several years, it didn't matter because the rest of the kids weren't all from the same background. Socially it was fantastic. This year she is in an extremely wealthy private religious school where most of the children are from the same ethnic and cultural background (parents all from one particular country). I had not anticipated how socially difficult this would be for my dd. It is the first time she has ever had trouble making friends. The kids stick together and don't make friends outside their group, and although they all speak english with each other, their parents don't and don't mingle with outsiders, so I can't even help pierce the social circle for my dd. I can understand that the OP might be concerned if her dd was the only "british" child, if all the other kids were all from one particular background. (although she could have done a better job of explaining it...) That can be really isolating for a child and not all children are up to that character building challenge. I thought my dd would be, and it turned out she wasn't.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 10-May-13 08:14:26

How did you get on talking to LEA OP? I hope you found a back up school place while you're on the waiting lists.

DontmindifIdo Wed 29-May-13 14:29:49

Just thinking about this thread, OP, did you get a place sorted?

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