Any real moral difference between a short term let for admission purposes or permanently moving

(267 Posts)
OhDearConfused Wed 12-Oct-11 17:43:10

Question says it all really.

A short term let or a more permanent move, in either case to get you into catchment for admissions at a popular school, still has the effect of reducing the catchment area, increasing housing prices, disadvantaging the poor, and so on.

Is there a real difference?

Struggling with this at the moment, as in catchment for a not-particularly-attractive school, when many others are doing one or the other to get into another school a little further away.

Just wondering what other's views are?

soonbesailing Wed 12-Oct-11 18:11:34

Personally, I think there is quite a difference.

If you rent you have no intention of getting involved with the area and as many school have a sibling policy, you can rent for one year then get all of your children in. Where I live there are several houses very close to our school, that every year has another family with a 11 year old, who then move out for the next lot, this has been going on for years and many children at the local primary can not get in to the school, yet the siblings of theses children who live well out of catchment keep on getting in to the school.

I don't think it's the same if you actually buy in the area as your children are then really local, the benefit of that being local friends, walking to school and a real engagement with what is going on in the area.

Of course it isn't fair that house prices are pushed up as a result of small catchments, but I do think local children should be able to get into their local schools.

I live in London where the situation re schools is really pressured, and personally I would get rid of the sibling policy at our school, but that's just my view and I do think it is different if you live in a more rural area.

slavetofilofax Wed 12-Oct-11 18:12:06

Morally, there is a big difference.

Getting a temporary address just for the forms does not compare to moving into an area and becoming part of a community. I don't believe it is morally right to lie on official forms.

But, I would do the short term let thing if I had to. The whole admission system is just a lottery, and you have to play along. Morally wrong maybe, but my child is my priority, and everyone else is free to play teh game and take their chances if they want to.

Ds 2 goes to a school in a different village, he would never get in nowadays, but living in another villiage has never been a problem. You only get one chance at educating your child, do what you have to do.

EldonAve Wed 12-Oct-11 18:27:08

I don't think it matters

Here the distances to get into the sought after schools are so small that most people will still be in the area and part of the community even if they move "away"

prh47bridge Wed 12-Oct-11 20:13:37

In my view there is a huge moral difference. By engaging in this kind of behaviour you are depriving children of school places that are rightfully theirs.

There is also a practical difference. If the LA find out that you have done this they can withdraw the offer of a place even after your child has started at the school. Indeed, if you let somewhere whilst continuing to own or let your current home, there is a decent chance the LA will find out about it before offers are made in which case it will have done you no good at all.

I am all for doing the best you can for your child but not in ways that disadvantage other children.

twinklytroll Wed 12-Oct-11 20:19:54

My daughter cannot get into the village school because there are no places. It is the kind of school that people rent temporarily to get into. I just want my dd to go to the village school regardless of its results or oftsed rating, to have friends in her village, cycle to school etc but she can't because the school us full, no doubt with children whose parents played the catchement game.

admission Wed 12-Oct-11 20:42:24

Where this situation is rife the admission authorities are getting quite cute at knowing what is going on and doing something about it. I know of at least 1 LA that has lists of houses that are known rental houses within catchment for sought after schools. Any admission applications from these addresses cause lots of red flags to appear and will be investigated, to ascertain exactly what the situation is.
Also some LAs now have conditions attached around the need to stay at the address for a set period of time. Personally I am not sure how legal that is but the very fact that they are wanting to apply it, says that they wil take action.
Whether it is morally right to rent shortterm is really for you to decide, but if you abuse the system sometimes it is going to come back and bite you.

rosycheeksandasmile Wed 12-Oct-11 20:47:17

Yes there is a real difference - morally not good at all to take a short term let to get into a catchment area. It may (and does) deprive children who live permanently of a place at their local school.

Dozer Wed 12-Oct-11 20:54:06

The argument can easily be made that short-term renting is morally better than purchasing. Both approaches are using money to play the system. But renting is less costly and frees up property annually, making it an option open to more families than could afford to buy. If the presumption is that money should not buy access to state schools, then it follows that renting is the more ethical option, simply because it requires less money.

With regard to the argument that people who short-term rent are depriving someone else of the place "that is rightfully theirs", what is the basis of any child's right?

slavetofilofax Wed 12-Oct-11 21:07:53

The problem is that it could be OP's local school too, it's just that some school require you to almost live on their doorstep.

I really do hate to disagree with Prh47, as I have a huge amount of respect for his opinions, but disagree I do! I don't think one child has more right to a space in a particular school than another, and I don't see this as someone taking a space away from another child at all. All children should have equal right to a place at the school of their parent's choosing, but unfortunatly, that makes no difference to the fact that schools only have a limited amount of space.

But why should one child be given a place when another has to travel across town to the school in special measures? Lets face it, that's what it often comes down to, and it is equally unfair whichever child it happens to.

rosycheeksandasmile Wed 12-Oct-11 21:12:28

to give an example - what is happening in the area we live in is that people are taking a short term let and not selling their old house (therefore not freeing up housing). Then moving back to their old house and busing/driving their children in. One school near us felt so strongly about it that they took two families to court.

troisgarcons Wed 12-Oct-11 21:36:43

Hmmm have seen parent 'split' cough to rent a flat within catchment. So long as the council tax is paid, the school is satisfied. Come 3 march, when places are allocated and signed and sealed, parents reconcile and the rental flat is let go.

Much cheaper to do that than actually move house.

prh47bridge Wed 12-Oct-11 22:48:50

As far as I am concerned the children who have a right to go to a particular school are those who qualify under that school's admission criteria. Renting somewhere short term so that you can pretend to live somewhere you don't is subverting that process. Every year I come across parents on here and in real life who have missed out on a place at their local secondary school (or primary school in some cases) because others have lied about their address, in some cases using short term lets to do so. I regard that as unfair.

The information given out by LAs is clear that you must apply using the address where the child genuinely permanently lives. Anything else is not "playing the system". It is cheating. I understand that some people manage to convince themselves that it is ok to lie on the application form but I disagree. Thankfully, as Admission says, LAs are getting increasingly smart about this so that fewer parents get away with it but it still happens.

I have a lot of sympathy for the child who ends up travelling a long way to a school in special measures regardless of whether that is because the local schools were full or because the parents were unrealistic in their preferences. Unfortunately that is likely to happen unless we get a lot of spare capacity in the education system.

TheWomanOnTheBus Thu 13-Oct-11 07:22:52

Yes, in London, you can still do this and remain local. Take SW London for eg, and Graveney. Catchment of 500-700 yards! (and school has itself weakened the "local" link by having selective admissions for 25% of entrants.

SoupDragon Thu 13-Oct-11 07:32:23

Well, one is lying and the other is moving house. hmm

GetDerridaThePeskyLurkers Thu 13-Oct-11 07:36:47

'I don't think one child has more right to a space in a particular school than another,'

Yet you're willing, Slave, to buy your way in, jump the queue...so your child apparently has more of a right to the place than some other kid, in your estimation.

I think it's a dreadful thing to do. It's the ultimate in 'I'm alright, Jack' and you ought to be ashamed.

'Morally wrong maybe, but my child is my priority, and everyone else is free to play teh game and take their chances if they want to.'

No, they're not. Some can't afford to, and most will have a better moral stance than you do.

Can't believe you're trying to justify this

SoupDragon Thu 13-Oct-11 08:14:27

Short term renting is not playing the game is it cheating/lying/fraud.

Yes there is a moral difference. Buying and moving to a catchment area is moral. You join the community and your children have a life and friends there.

Short term renting to get a place is immoral.

There is no justification for it. Would you like a politician to be caught out doing something like that? Probably not. If you were poor and missed out on a place in a decent local school because someone with more money rented a place that much closer would you like it? No, you'd say it's immoral.

I'd add disgusting.

I think there is a significant difference - moving permanently means you are making full use of the actual rules for entry and the principle behind them (children who live near the school getting priority). A short-term let means you are lying about where the child lives in order to get what you want, which is against both the letter and the principle of the rules.

People make their own decisions about whether the rules are "fair", and also about whether, fair or not, their own child's benefit is more important than the rules, and more important than the competing interests of other children.

But abiding by the rules vs lying to break the rules are not morally the same, whatever decision you reach about what you/they are going to do about it.

slavetofilofax Thu 13-Oct-11 09:00:57

Lurkers, I don't disagree with you, and it sounds like you feel more strongly about this than I do.

What I'm saying is that I can understand why people do it. People want to do the best they can for their children, and the school they go to is an important thing.

When someone is renting somewhere extra from their house that is out of catchment, then that is much worse than when someone who is in catchment, and is very local, does something to guarantee a place because they live 100 meters to far away to get into their own local school.

I agree with Prh that children have a right to places based on the school's admission criteria, I hadn't thought about it quite like that. Sometime people are justified in feeling that the admissions criteria is unfair though, like when you have the situation where children that live far away get a place above someone who lives close because of the sibling rule. Personally, I agree with the sibling rule, but it's understandable that people don't.

SoupDragon Thu 13-Oct-11 09:06:38

"children who live near the school getting priority"

Unless, of course, your local school operates a Feeder School system whereby children further away than yours actually get priority.

BoffinMum Thu 13-Oct-11 09:12:52

Short term let is fine if it is properly drawn up and legal, and you actually move in and live there properly. There are all sorts of reasons that families move around like this.

However doing it in name only without actually moving in is well dodgy IMO.

Personally I don't think it's any worse than craftily getting one sibling into a school, then immediately moving miles away so the subsequent 2 or 3 siblings can benefit from being there for the next decade or so. I have seen very many incidences of that in a number of schools, and nobody ever seems to question the fairness of such a setup in terms of depriving other more local families and children of places in the nearest school (a particular problem in my village, where some kids end up being taxied miles away and never really knowing their local neighbours as a consequence).

Ultimately I would like to see the Victorian "closest school" policy ditched, and catchments opened up quite a bit more and linked with sensible school transport policies so it was less of a nightmare for parents wherever they sent their children. But I can't see that happening in my lifetime.

Bonsoir Thu 13-Oct-11 09:15:10

I think that a short-term let when you have no intention of permanently settling within the catchment of the school is not really on. But moving permanently into the catchment of a good school is absolutely fine.

GetDerridaThePeskyLurkers Thu 13-Oct-11 09:25:05

Slave, I am not sure why you think we agree. You stated that it is morally wrong, but you would 'do it if I had to'.

My position is that it is morally wrong and thus I wouldn't do it.

slavetofilofax Thu 13-Oct-11 09:39:50

We agree because we both think that people shouldn't do it.

The difference is that I can understand why parents who have been forced into the position where short term renting is the best option they have to get their children a good education at their own local school, would decide to do it.

The other difference is that you seem to think there is something outrageous about putting the welfare of your own child first, but I'm not at all ashamed to say that I would put my own child first. You call it an 'I'm all right Jack' attitude, I call it being a parent. Who else is going to consider what's best for my children if I don't?

Personally, this is not something I would do. I would move permenantly. So maybe that makes it ok. I can afford to take the moral high ground if I was faced with this situation. Some people can't afford to do that, and I don't think anyone should be blamed and held up as some unfeeling selfish liar because they want the best they can get for their children.

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