should I grass up the new neighbours?

(175 Posts)
sybilwibble Thu 27-Dec-12 10:40:28

Met the new neighbours at another neighbours drinks party. Lovely mum and daughter, plus granny. Ask Mum, as you do, Where have you moved here from? Her response was that she only lives about a mile away, where they have a lovely family home, now sat empty, but they've rented the house in our road as it's right in catchment for the great local secondary. They've been here a month, and will find out on March 1st whether their dd will get a place (she will) then they will move back in a year.

Granny then tells me seperately, that they will be moving back in March, as soon as they get the letter from the great senior school, as they have not been successful in finding anyone to rent their family home from them. Either way, I'm a bit hmm. My dcs are younger so we're not applying this yr, so doesn't directly affect us...but would feel very sneaky calling the local authority... wwyd?

FestiveElement Thu 27-Dec-12 20:25:37

I wouldn't say anything. The problem isn't with families that have to take these measures to get their children into a good school, the problem is that some schools are so bad that families feel they have no choice.

They are doing the best they can by their child and providing her with the best education they possibly can. I don't see why they should be criticised because they are forced into this position.

admission Thu 27-Dec-12 23:32:34

Timechild,
None of your list surprises me. One of the quirks of places being withdrawn is that the parents have the right to then go to appeal over not getting a place at a school.
I count three of your list where these have come up at appeal and the one defining point in all three cases was the "brass" of the parents in admitting they had done it but they still thought it was OK, because they were different and the rules did not apply to them.
Mutteroo you are completely correct that they are at present not officially doing anything wrong and if they can show that the rental is for an extended period of time, then the LA will probably accept it as their current address for the purposes of admission. The problem is that this family are not making any secret of what they intend to do to others and if the LA get any whiff of that conversation then they will make start to make assumptions about their motives.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Thu 27-Dec-12 23:35:50

I would tell.

They are wealthy enough to rent a home and pay bills for two homes, so their child can get a place in a school, thus depriving a less wealthy child for a school place.

Dromedary Thu 27-Dec-12 23:40:04

At the end of the day they are stopping another child, who genuinely lives near the school, from getting in. That child will have to travel to another school, away from their friends.

jinglebellyalltheway Thu 27-Dec-12 23:48:44

nope my neighbours house swapped with the grandparents temporarily to get the DD into a school that the GPs lived in... 2 years later they're still there, they decided not to move back and stayed in the catchment once the DD got into that school

the family are actually living there, not falsely using the address

and ironically that school is now way below our catchment schools in league tables and no longer over subscribed, like our local ones have become (which they house-swapped away from)

And the GPs are actually quite nice neighbours, much more friendly than the family! grin

BabylonElf Thu 27-Dec-12 23:54:51

My parents bought a second property to get me and DB into the right school.

Did I ever live there? You bet I did, rented the studio apartment bedsit off my parents as soon as I finished 6th form and got a job wink

jinglebellyalltheway Fri 28-Dec-12 00:14:38

blame the game, not the players I say!

OhDearConfused Fri 28-Dec-12 10:03:38

blame the game, not the players I say!

If the ref doesn't spot the ball clearly going over the line, do you not draw his attention to it!

its against the rules, so it's not the game's fault, it's the players that are breaking them (deliberately and indeed boastfully so without any shame - like a Ronaldo wink to the camera after getting Rooney sent off)....

tiggytape Fri 28-Dec-12 14:25:43

But they're actually living in their rented house, so they're not actually doing anything against the rules, right?

Not true - it has to be your permanent address. For most people whether their house is rented or mortgaged makes no difference since most of us don't have 2 or 3 homes to choose from.
If for any reason you do have 2 or 3 houses to choose from you have to apply from the one that is permanent. The one that is registered with the primary school / Dr surgery / DVLA / child benefit etc. You cannot rent just for catchment purposes even if you physically live in the rented house for a little while.

And you can prove that can you? That they are moving back in March?

You don't need to prove it. You tell the council and they will do an extra check in March and September to see where they are living. If this family stay in the rented house, the girl will keep her school place. If they move back to their 'real' home she will lose it.

The chances are it may get picked up anyway. Councils aren't daft and can access all sorts of records to check where people are actually living and for how long. Once upon a time people got away with this as councils were genuinely baffled that people seemed willing to spend the money and hassle doing this. They have got a lot wiser to it recently.
It is definitely not within the rules to do this and if the family move back to their 'real' home after receiving an offer they have commited fraud. You may or may not think that this is any of your business but it is still wrong. And you may live close enough that people cheating like this won't cost youa future school place but what about your neighbours or your friends' children. Do they all live close enough that they are not in danger of people cheating depriving them of going to the same schoo as your DD and the rest of the class?

tiggytape Fri 28-Dec-12 14:35:17

And for all those who say blame the system: It is true there should be no schools which are so bad people cheat to avoid them and if we had an American system (where a school has to take everyone who lives in a designated area) I might even agree with you that it is fair enough to do this to get a place.

But we live in a country where the system is limited by numbers not distance so if people cheat it isn't the schools who suffer by having to make room for one more pupil, it is one child who suffers by losing out on a place at their local school as a direct result of somebody else cheating to take it away from them.

And the ability to cheat comes with money which makes it worse - if you have enough money, you can oust somebody from their place at their local school and replace that child with your own. We all want to do right by our children but this shouldn't be at the direct expense of another peerson's child. Cheating school admissions isn't a victimless crime - it isn't even a crime against the system. The only people who suffer are poorer children who live on the fringes of catchment areas - being too poor to necessarily live right next to the good schools but still close enough to get a place provided nobody richer than them pays for a short term rent very close to the school.

lljkk Fri 28-Dec-12 15:06:45

I would grass them up.

lljkk Fri 28-Dec-12 15:07:05

and if they can afford all this renting 2nd home malarky, they can afford private school for the child, no?!

tiggytape Fri 28-Dec-12 15:25:01

I guess a second home plus bills for a year is a bargain compared to private school fees for 7 years but it boils down to the same - using money to buy an advantage at the expense of another child.
And usually the losers in all of this are those with less money. The people least at risk of cheaters are ones who live right nextdoor to a fantasici school where house prices are generally higher. Those with less money who can only afford to live on the fringes of a catchment area are the ones most likely to lose their place to cheating.

chloe74 Fri 28-Dec-12 16:04:45

Talk about big brother and the secret police... Quite ironic that the OP plans to send her kids to the school (and lives closer) but is debating grassing someone up for trying to get their kids into the school. Unless you hear the 'other' side of the story I don't think anyone has a right to judge. Maybe they genuinely planned to rent and make it their permanent home. Maybe they tried to sell their original house and couldn't. Maybe they tried to buy closer to the school and couldn't afford to. We don't know the FACTS. So NO they shouldn't be 'grassed'. Its not a criminal matter and adults should know better!

What would be funny is if the OP told tales, they turned out to be unfounded and it got out, amongst other parents at the school, that she was a snitch. I think many people would have hostile feelings about 'her' and make 'her' time at the school very uncomfortable.

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Fri 28-Dec-12 16:05:54

The problem with the "none of your business" attitude is that a child who genuinely lives within the correct distance to gain a place at the school will miss out because a child had gained a place under false pretences.

If that were your child I suspect you might feel differently.

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Fri 28-Dec-12 16:07:21

Some of you clearly haven't read the OP where the mother in question was completely upfront about what they are doing.

chloe74 Fri 28-Dec-12 16:23:53

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn - the OP gave her opinion of what was happening based on comments at a drinks party. I suspect if the accused was posting here they might have a different view about the whole scenario. If the mother in question felt she was 'breaking the law' then she might have been a bit more circumspect about her intentions. Which leads me to suspect she isn't. Either way we do not live in Stalinist Russia, so I don't think it is the OP job to report other parents to the authorities. How would the OP like it if she was fined because her neighbor reported her for putting the wrong litter in her recycling box? Or for paying her car tax a day late, or any other non criminal offense. What kind of world would we live in if neighbors couldn't trust each other because everyone is a spy for the government.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 28-Dec-12 16:28:02

If they're breaking the rules then I'd report them.

DD missed out on a wonderful school by .3 of a mile, she was 4th on the waiting list.

There are lots of people every year who rent a house out in the town for a few months. They don't even bother moving in and carry on living 20 miles away. It makes me so mad that dd didn't get a place when people who can afford to do this did.

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Fri 28-Dec-12 16:29:40

No, she didn't give her opinion, she related what the mother and the grandmother had said.

^ I suspect if the accused was posting here they might have a different view about the whole scenario^

Yes, she would probably think it was absolutely fine and "just playing the game"

Your comments about "Stalinist Russia" are, quite frankly, hilarious.

TimeChild Fri 28-Dec-12 17:07:09

OP's neighbour sounds naive being so up front about her plans. Given that there's such a bunfight to get into popular schools, some one will report her. Not stalinist Russia, just human nature.

The next county to us has Grammar schools, all comps here but good ones.

Even so it's very common for people to do this kind of thing. I can think of several people I know who bought a property in the Grammar catchment to live in until their DCs were in. It's easier to get in the nearer you live apparently. I guess not many people do report them as it seems to be an open secret?

ItsaTIARA Fri 28-Dec-12 17:40:32

Agree that it's naive - for all they know the OP might well have her twin sister sobbing on her shoulder on 2nd March because DN has missed out on a place at that school - presumably OP would shop the neighbour in a trice at that point.

sybilwibble Fri 28-Dec-12 18:08:59

Hi all, sorry to be have been away for a day - christmas family things going on. Just to clarify a few things, I didn't make any assumptions whatsoever. The family in question were very open about their plans, asking all the neighbours with kids - " Are we close enough -will we get in?" They wanted affirmation that they were close enough.

I thought it bizarre because, this school is a great school and always has been but the school nearest their family home has always been good too, but in recent years has been steadily progressing to the point that some local parents who live amid the two are genuinely quite torn about which one to list as first choice. So it's not like they are in a desperate situation of great school v sink school.

Other parents on the road appear to be quite aghast, ones whose children ARE applying this year. I guess it could well be one of their children's classmates who get pushed out or wait-listed as the result of such actions. I think I'm going to leave it to them to deal with as it does directly affect them.

Thanks thanks to all who responded - a whole mix of "a Mum's gotta do what she feels is right" through to "akin to benefit fraud.." and I can see both sides, which is why I posted in the first place.

Over and out. sybil

tiggytape Fri 28-Dec-12 18:20:50

It is a serious matter - it is fraud. It is lying on a signed declaration in order to gain an advantage to something you would not otherwise qualify for or be entitled to (and I mean entitled in a legal sense - not in the sense of morally entitled. Morally everyone is entitled to a good school but not everybody will get one)

And the two sides to a story are not hard to figure out. Some people live near a crap school and wish their children could go to a better one. This is unfair. No school should be that bad. But some are. And places are so short that somebody's children will have to go to the bad ones. Is it morally more acceptable that those with parents rich enough to cheat can deprive those who are poorer of their places? Is it morally better that parents who care very much about getting a good school have priority over those who just about live close enough and don't care enough to cheat or report those who do.

Secret Squirrels - buying a house in a good catchment for 2 or 3 years is perhaps morally suspect but is not against the rules. You can live wherever you like for as long as you like. But what you can't do is rent an extra house just for admission purposes. You can't rent a little house nextdoor to a grammar school or any other school and live in it just for the duration of the admissions process whilst hanging onto your 'other' home elsewhere. That is blatant cheating and fraud.

As it happens, councils are much more savvy about this than they were even 2 or 3 years ago. Many now have in depth checks of council tax histories and follow up any suspicious moves eg they can ask your primary school which address they have on record for Year 4 and Year 5 and ask for Dr, child beneft and DVLA address histories too.
Just to be clear though - reporting her won't get her into trouble if she does nothing wrong. If she genuinely stays in the rented house then the council won't take her place away. But they will investigate and if she does move back home in March then quite rightly she will lose it. There's nothing Big Brother about that. They do it to protect all children from parents who have the financial clout to buy their way into good schools that they don't otherwise qualify for.

chloe74 Fri 28-Dec-12 18:23:29

Very different argument to say report them so you can get your child a place, but lets be honest about what your doing. The reason you would report is to give yourself and your kin an advantage, selfish but understandable. In this case the OP isn't doing that and would report for entirely different reasons of morally questionable judgement. Who's to say the next person on the waiting list isn't doing something worse and by being a spiteful neighbor actually lets a less deserving child into the school. If its an open secret at the school that this goes on, then why does this parent deserve to be grassed and the hundreds of other parents not.

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn - unless OP recorded the conversation then it is her opinion about what was said of a second hand conversation, by a grandmother who could have a hidden agenda, and were spoken at a drinks party. In court such testimony would be ripped to shreds.

Why is it morally right for rich middle class parents to buy expensive houses in the area of a 'good' school and try and exclude less well off parents. Yet it is morally wrong for a less affluent family to rent in the area to get their child in. The truth is there is no difference and its wealthy middle class selfish snobbery pulling up the ladder and shutting the hatch in the glass ceiling. Who is playing the game?

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