Primary School admission - What address do I use?

(46 Posts)
NewYorkDeli Tue 01-Oct-13 21:13:41

Hi,

I'm a little confused and want to make sure i'm applying correctly and not doing anything wrong. Any advice would be appreciated.

DD starts reception next September. I separated from her Father in December and now live about 4 miles from the school we want her to go to. Her Father lives around the corner from the school.

We share custody 50/50. One week she is with me 4 nights a week and her Dad 3 nights a week, the following week it is the other way around. On the school application form it is telling me to put "the address your child wakes up at most mornings" What am I supposed to put as it's 50/50?

The school we want her to attend is an oversubscribed Church school. I'm very involved with the Church that is linked to the school and have been for about 4 years, so she meets the criteria to get in. The Governer's decide who gets in, not the Council (Liverpool) This is what it says on the primary school admission booklet;

*Please note that it is not possible to obtain a place in an over-subscribed school by sending your
child to live with friends or relatives who live nearer to the school. When deciding school
allocations the child’s permanent home address will be used. Liverpool Local Authority defines
this as the address of the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s). Oversubscribed schools will ask
parents for proof of their address.*

Now i've spoken to the council twice over which address I should use, the first time they said it had to be mine as I received CB for her. I was gutted, the schools where I live aren't great, plus I won't be living there for much longer. Spoke to the council again today, they said put ex husband's address as her is her Father and she lives with him half the week. Child benefit is not relevant and is not checked. The school will ask for a council tax bill and utility bill in either of our names. Who do I believe?

The school application form says "If parent's are separated, they should choose which address to use" but then it also mentions using address that child wakes up most days.

So, what do I do. Use ex's address for the school application form and the online council application form and put both of our names on it? Or am I supposed to use my address because I receive CB for her? Don't want to use ex's address only for her not to get in any school because the addresses don't match up.

onepieceoflollipop Tue 01-Oct-13 21:16:18

From all you say I would use her dad's address. You are not 'cheating'. They just want to check people are not using grandparent's address etc.

Periwinkle007 Tue 01-Oct-13 21:16:18

I was under the impression it was the address CB is claimed for.
I would ask the council to give you its answer in writing. Then whatever it gives you is what you go with.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 01-Oct-13 21:19:26

If the form says you can choose, and she is genuinely at each address for 50% of the time, it sounds as if you can use her dad's address. But I strongly suspect it would also have to be her dad who makes the application. Is that an option?

Rebelrebel Tue 01-Oct-13 21:19:59

If the form says you can choose, and the time is genuinely split 50/50, sounds like you are doing nothing wrong by using her father's address. Tbh, in your position I would get the name of the person you spoke to today and if possible ask them to put their advice I writing, just in case. I really think given your links to the church you have little to worry about, but I do understand it must be a bit unsettling!

NewYorkDeli Tue 01-Oct-13 21:28:20

Thanks everyone.

Yes, she's genuinely with us both 50/50, except for the school holidays, she'll be with me a bit more due to her dad's job.

He can't complete the form without me. He doesn't attend the Church, they won't sign it for him. It has to be me.

It's so confusing, can easily prove her Dad owns and resides in the property close to the school, but not sure if the fact that I receive the CB will mess everything up. The Church still think I live at that address blush

itsatiggerday Tue 01-Oct-13 21:43:09

We had a child get into YR on appeal for this reason. They'd put both parents' addresses on the application but the one used by the computer in the initial allocation was the out of catchment parent and on appeal they successfully argued that it should have been the in catchment parent's address as it was a 50/50 time split like yours. That meant there was a (half)-sibling relationship that hadn't been taken into account and the little boy was given a place as having been in one of the admissions categories that had been admitted.

aciddrops Tue 01-Oct-13 21:59:56

Could you get the father to claim child benefit for a time? You might be able to come to some agreement over it.

DeWe Tue 01-Oct-13 22:21:39

I think it's generally where child benefit goes to to stop people using grandparent/friends/random addresses.

I also wonder if you use his address, whether you wouldn't then get church membership as that would be you not him.

However I think if they have said that you can use his, then I would. It might be worth putting down (if there is anywhere you can) that she has shared residency 50/50 with you.

OddBoots Tue 01-Oct-13 22:35:37

We had to show the child benefit statement here to prove address but each area is probably different, what address does her GP have for her?

OddBoots Tue 01-Oct-13 22:36:56

(GP as in doctor not grand parents)

Ragusa Tue 01-Oct-13 22:43:37

I would get something in writing from the local authority admissions , stating the rules in relation to shared parenting.

If it is a church school you will presumably need to get the signed form from the priest.

What are the exact oversubscription criteria for the school?

admission Tue 01-Oct-13 22:46:17

There are a number of strands to this. The first is that I would question any advice you get from the Council or the school unless it is in writing, because somewhere along the line you potentially will end up with arguing your case for admission to an appeal panel or somebody who is trying to remove your place offered. You need to keep all written correspondance.
Under normal circumstances the address that you need to use is the address where the child wakes up to go to school for the majority of the school week. In other words when you say it is 4 days and three days then the opposite way round, is there a pattern to the days that are when the child is with you. So if the child is always with father on friday, saturday and sunday night, then they will always have one night (the sunday) when they will wake up to go to school at father's address and it would be two nights alternate weeks. However under the same circumstances you will always have the child either four or three nights when they go to school the next morning.
If you say there is no fixed pattern we just decide as it happens then I think that most admission authorities would then fall back on the Child benefit address. I can confirm that I know that Liverpool LA have used child benefit address in the past, so would have real concerns over the advise you were offered
If you are correct that it is an over-subscribed school and you are already in a position that the church think you still live local when in fact you don't, I would suspect strongly that somebody will snitch that you are not living at father's address, if you are offered a place on that basis.
Don't think you can afford to fudge this, you need to be absolutely sure of the right address. You also need to be careful over dates if you are thinking of moving cut off date for in time applications is 15th Jan 2014. Liverpool do allow some time for moves to be completed after this cut off date and you need to check that date on the LA website. Any move after that date will mean you could be considered a late application depending on the exact circumstances.

mummytime Tue 01-Oct-13 22:46:36

What exactly are the entry criteria? I would assume they are: looked after and statement, then of religious faith, then maybe siblings, then other by distance.
Would you get in from your address because of the faith grounds? Is there a closer to you school of your faith?

curlew Tue 01-Oct-13 22:49:05

So you want to use his address and your church attendance......? hmm

teatimesthree Tue 01-Oct-13 22:51:15

Can you put the CB in her dad's name for a while?

NewYorkDeli Tue 01-Oct-13 23:08:10

Thanks for replies.

GP address has never been changed. Always stayed in Dad's address, so has mine. Really good GP surgery, would hate to change it.

Criteria is children in care, then siblings, then children whose parent's worship at the church on a regular basis and are on electoral roll.

With the council telling me two different things, it's worrying me. I have to get this right.

Not changing CB to her dad. He's not a christian, she won't get in through him.

tiggytape Tue 01-Oct-13 23:19:16

You need it in writing.

Whatever criteria the council choose to apply in a genuine 50/50 split case, you need to have it confirmed before you apply and you need it is black and white in case they try to accuse you of fraud or deny you a place later on.
Most councils choose child benefit as the tie breaker because (wrongly or rightly) the system just isn't set up to recignise a child having 2 genuinely shared homes and CB is a definitve thing that can be proved - no grey areas.

You cannot afford to accidentally use her Dad's address if this isn't allowed because, if you are reported by another parent, you could have the place taken away. If it is a hugely popular school with disappointed applicants there will be people who report anything suspicious at all.

Sometimes the people answering admissions calls at the council are front desk staff not dedicated admission staff. For this reason, you need to put your query in writing (and email is fine) to Admissions and ask for a written reply that clearly tells you which address you must use. My feeling is that you will have to use your own address not her Dad's BUT you can still apply as a Christian worshipping at that church and possibly get a place that way. The criteria you listed doesn't mention distance as being a problem.

I would let the church know about your new address though as they will have to sign the form and you can't really ask them to sign a form if it includes any out of date information.

sashh Wed 02-Oct-13 06:34:37

Use dad's address.

You sound so honest it hurts, so let her have an extra night at dad's so that out of 365 days she has been at his most.

I would also add a note that you do 50/50 parenting.

lougle Wed 02-Oct-13 06:45:18

I agree with admission and tiggy. This is crucial. Also, I have to say that if I were on an appeal panel I'd have a hard time accepting that you choose to use his address but your church attendance. It's a bit like having your cake and eating it.

DiaryofaHollandParkParent Wed 02-Oct-13 06:58:14

From the perspective of an appeals panellist, just a word of warning. We had a case where an applicant used two different addresses, one for each parent. The LEA opted for the CB address as there was no other evidence except verbal. The appeal failed.

I agree with what others have said about studying the admissions criteria in detail and getting the LEA's agreement about the nearer address being valid.

Zingy123 Wed 02-Oct-13 07:02:27

Our council uses Child benefit to prove address. You say your child will be with you more in the holidays surely that means overall it isn't a 50/50 split. You must get it in writing otherwise you stand to lose any place.

AuntieStella Wed 02-Oct-13 07:02:47

Why can you not change CB to her father? Is it because you need the NI credit?

What exactly is on the SIF form? If it includes qualifying option of the child going to the specified church, then could the whole form be filled in by her father.

curlew Wed 02-Oct-13 07:20:31

"You sound so honest it hurts"

Really?

LittleRobots Wed 02-Oct-13 07:30:30

If you are likely to get in under church criteria you won't need the dads address.

You can check the previous years admissions statistics (ours are online but you can ask). All the church criteria applicants got in, although I accept that might not be the case for your school.

I'm only a lay person but I think you either have to have living with you and church on your application or living with dad and not church.

pinkdelight Wed 02-Oct-13 08:53:44

"So you want to use his address and your church attendance......?"

I don't see what's wrong with this in the situation described. The child is resident at the dad's address 50/50 and the mum does attend church. They are both the parents. Put the dad's address and use the mum's church attendance. It's not the DC's fault that standardised systems don't take account of her precise arrangement. If the custody wasn't 50/50, then I'd see a problem. Do you have legal documentation to prove the 50/50, OP? If so, I'd use that as proof rather than CB, if anyone asks.

Pizzahutlover Wed 02-Oct-13 09:19:47

You dont need dads address as you have clearly stated that the admission critera is children in care siblings AND PARENTS THAT ATTEND CHURCH REGULARLY, you fit this critea whether you are with the dad or not and their is no mention of address so this is not even considered as part of the admissions critea so what you worried about.

tiggytape Wed 02-Oct-13 09:22:37

pinkdelight - That is very bad advice. OP cannot just choose - she has to stick to the rules. Proof of shared care won't help her if she gets her place removed for not declaring the correct address on the form. Following advice to just do what suits her could lead to her child having no school place next year.

For admissions purposes a child cannot have two homes.
In reality OP's child does but the council must tell her which tie breaker they use to decide which address to use. OP cannot choose this. Most councils use CB as their tie breaker.

If OP applies using church criteria and Dad's address, she risks getting her application rejected or getting her school place removed at a later date. It is taken very seriously and therefore she must be sure that the address she writes on the form meets the council's written policy on shared care. That is why she needs to speak to an admissions person at the council not a receptionist and why she needs them to put it in writing before she applies.

Pizzahutlover Wed 02-Oct-13 09:42:26

You need to speak to school and get something in writing from council if address is also considered in offering places to people but i was under the impression with these faith schools that its how long you have attended the church for, as many of these faith schools have a min on the amount of years you have gone to a certain church for. if you fall under that you likely to not be offered a place.never thought it was based on address as i have one of the top church of england schools near us and their admission critea is
Church of england children in care
Families that are in active membership with a certain church of england church
No mention on address all children get in under this critea no one else does get in i think you dont need his address

Pizzahutlover Wed 02-Oct-13 09:44:10

I mean if you fall under the amount of time that they said you should be attending for your likely to not get a place

curlew Wed 02-Oct-13 09:44:48

You need to speak to the local authority and find out how they determine a child's main address. There is no provision for exactly 50/50. There will be something they use to decide. And it's usually the address CB is paid to. Don't make any decisions until you know that.

NewYorkDeli Wed 02-Oct-13 14:48:30

Thanks for all replies.

I'm going to put my address, i'm the one that receives CB so it makes sense. I'll attach a letter stating DD's other address. I'll just have to hope for the best.

The council don't seem to have a bloody clue and keep giving me conflicting advice, they need to make it much clearer to parents.

NewYorkDeli Wed 02-Oct-13 14:53:33

Another question though, if my daughter gets into a school where i'm living now (will have to put 2 other schools down close to my address) and i move in say, July (that's when i'm hoping to move) will they kick my daughter out of the school because we've moved? If I move in July, she'll be starting school in September.

tiggytape Wed 02-Oct-13 14:55:05

No - you will keep the place.
Once a place is offered it cannot be taken away again unless the place was obtained by fraud.

curlew Wed 02-Oct-13 14:55:57

Have you looked at your LEA website? They are usually pretty good.

Our council uses CB or NHS record address when there is a case of over subscription. They asked for proof of residence and would accept either.

racmun Thu 03-Oct-13 17:02:00

I think you need to be careful it sounds as though you need to use dads address because its closer but rely on your church involvement, but you don't live close enough. Sorry to be harsh but it sounds as though you want to have your cake and eat it.

Also looking at it over the year she'll stay at your house more due to the holidays do not really a 50/50 split. Also does any maintenance exchange between you and get dad?

I would want something in writing from the LA admissions manager advising which address up use after explaining in full the set up.

ModeratelyObvious Thu 03-Oct-13 21:27:50

OP, if the school is oversubscribed then is distance a tiebreaker between people of equal church attendance?

Why wouldn't you transfer child benefit to your ex?

ModeratelyObvious Thu 03-Oct-13 21:28:25

...is it because you wouldn't trust him to pay it on to you?

ModeratelyObvious Thu 03-Oct-13 21:29:50

RAC, I don't think that's having her cake and eating it, presumably the criteria is that one parent worships regularly as if both were required OP would be out of the running anyway.

NynaevesSister Fri 04-Oct-13 02:32:17

Racmum don't be so judgy when you don't know the law. School holidays don't count. Child's residence is based on the residence where they leave for school the most mornings. In this case that's half and half.

Admissions and PRH7bridge I am interested to know if there is a requirement for the parent who meets the church criteria to be the resident parent/parent who lives at the address on the form? It doesn't seem fair if it isn't to me as many families have one parent who is religious and one who isn't. Just because the parents have split doesn't mean they don't want that child to have a religious upbringing.

tiggytape Fri 04-Oct-13 07:28:28

No - normally church criteria is separate from address so as long as the child is taken to church as often as the school want them to be, they meet the criteria. Sometimes it is the grandparent for example who takes a child to church or mass each week, very often only one parent is relgious and the other isn't. That isn't unusual even if they all live in the same house.

So the criteria might say priority is given to children who worship at St Andrew's Church or any church in a certain parish or any church at all. It might say children who go weekly get more priority than children who go monthly.
Only if there are dozens of people who worship at the correct (qualifying) church might distance be used as a tie breaker since in those cases not all church goers could get given a place.

More rarely the criteria will say "children who worship at St Andrew's and live in the Parish of St Andrew or St. John" Again in those cases home address could rule out some church goers but those admissions criteria aren't very common. Normally just going to church is enough.

The net result is that some church schools fill up with church goers who live much further away than the local children who cannot get a place - which is bad for local children but good if like OP, you meet the faith criteria but happen to live outside the area.

fuckwittery Fri 04-Oct-13 07:32:10

Pizzahutlover. If there are 40 church goers and only 30 places, the spaces will then be determined by the next criteria on the list which is probably distance from the school.....

EssexGurl Fri 04-Oct-13 13:46:22

Our LA send out admissions forms according to the address you are at registered with GP surgery. I think it is to cut down on people using phony addresses. Where did the application paperwork come to? You or ex?

Our school is a church one like yours and makes its own admissions decisions. We have to complete an additional questionnaire regarding church attendance, why we want to go to the school etc. I would make the 50/50 split very clear on that, if you have one. If not, write to the school outlining your situation so they are clear when they make their decision.

You and ex do need to decide where letters etc get sent and be clear on this from the word go.

prh47bridge Fri 04-Oct-13 14:44:11

Most LAs don't send admission forms proactively to parents. You have to get them yourself.

Saracen Sat 05-Oct-13 09:49:02

"The council don't seem to have a bloody clue and keep giving me conflicting advice, they need to make it much clearer to parents."

I suggest that you write to them by recorded delivery asking for written clarification, and go by what they tell you. If they don't respond, or if they give you a waffly answer, just do what you think best as long as it appears to fit in with the guidance published on the council website and supplied with the form (if you use a written form).

What I'd do if I expected to get no answer from an unresponsive bureaucracy is to outline all relevant information and then say, "I understand that it is acceptable for me to provide the father's address as the child's main place of residence. If this is not correct, please write to let me know" and then if they don't respond, they are effectively agreeing to what I have proposed.

Nobody could later argue that your application was fraudulent if you had first sought clarification from the council on their policy and complied with all information given to you. What more could you reasonably be expected to do? You cannot comply with a policy if they won't tell you what it is!

As others have said, make sure you have written proof of what you asked the council and how they responded (if at all), bearing in mind that you may later be asked to prove that you did the right thing.

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