Moving into rented accommodation in the catchment area-when can I safely move back?

(257 Posts)
enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 01:00:03

I am thinking of renting a property in the catchment area of a secondary school. Once I have done this and my child is given a place (presuming everything has gone to plan and the catchment area has not all off the sudden become even smaller etc), how much longer do I need to live there before I can move safely back to our house outside the catchment area? As soon as I have filled in the application? As soon as my child is offered the place? As soon as my child has actually started in September? I actually called the LEA to ask this question and they were not sure. I asked a different LEA the same question about another school and they said that I could move out of the catchment area as soon as the application form was received! They seemed puzzled by my question though, understandably, and not sure if I trust their answer.

K8Middleton Wed 10-Apr-13 01:14:28

Puzzled by your question? Do you mean they couldn't believe your brass neck?

You're a cheeky madam asking how to defraud someone else's child out of a place so yours can have his/her place.

ihearsounds Wed 10-Apr-13 01:17:02

Never. You have to stay always in the catchment area.
If you do it to play the game that is really bang out of order for the honest people that live within the catchment area.
thankfully councils are getting wise to this horrible practice, and revoking the place, even when the child has been attending the school.

sydlexic Wed 10-Apr-13 01:17:03

Unbelievable.

deleted203 Wed 10-Apr-13 01:22:44

I think you need to bear in mind that if you do this then you are depriving a child who is genuinely entitled to be there to a place in this school. Perhaps this doesn't concern you.

In which case you need to be aware that this is not going to be as simple as you think. You will need to physically move into the rented home for quite some time. If you keep your old house and do not rent it out the LEA can check council tax records to make a decision about which is your true address (and may well decide that suspiciously renting in catchment just before applications are due makes this a false address even if you are actually living there full time).

They can also ask for which doctor you are registered with to check you are not really still living in your 'old' area.

Most LEAs state that the address on the form must be your child’s permanent place of residence. It should not be a business, relative or child minder’s address. You are not permitted to use a temporarily rented address to secure a school place for your child. It is fraud.

The LEA will investigate any cases where there are any doubts - such as recent moves.

Any application that uses false information may be subject to legal proceedings. If an application is found to be fraudulent after a place has been offered, the place will normally be withdrawn.

The school would be well within it's rights to withdraw the place they have offered your child if you move out of the catchment area even once they have started school. Schools are well aware of parents who try stunts like this to get into a 'good' school - and are on their guard against it.

I don't know who you spoke to at the LEA but it sounds like whoever answered was puzzled and wondering 'why is this woman asking me about making what is clearly a false application?

JakeBullet Wed 10-Apr-13 01:31:39

I feel for you OP as you just want the best option for your child. You will get a kicking for asking this though. What you are intending to do will deprive another child who genuinely lives in the area of a place.

If you were saying that you would be renting and living there for the duration then fair enough...you would be living in and contributing to the community. To just rent until you have the school, place is wrong.....and the place CAN be withdrawn if the LA find you are living elsewhere before the place is taken up.

If you do elect to do this though then you are looking at renting for at least a year...at the very least until your DD starts at the school. After that I am guessing it won't matter if you move.....sometimes things change and people DO move but elect to leave their children in a school for continuity...especially if they have settled.

Are the schools any nearer especially dire? I honestly DO feel for you as it's easy to judge other people's actions when you are not in the same situation. I am fortunate to have a reasonable choice of schools locally and not have to worry about this.

enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 01:33:22

The whole education system is an ethical minefield. Even the widely accepted practice of paying for private education to give your child a (presumably) better education is unfair. It all, including what I am considering to do, promotes inequality. However, I think that it all reflects an underlying dysfunctional education system. If only it didn't matter which school you go to (sometimes I relax and I think it doesn't), then we wouldn't have private schools, tutoring, buying houses in catchment areas, renting houses in catchment areas etc.

K8Middleton Wed 10-Apr-13 01:35:35

Yeah your a real hero of the people hmm

K8Middleton Wed 10-Apr-13 01:36:16

Your You're

See I'm so incredulous I can't even post straight

JakeBullet Wed 10-Apr-13 01:43:08

Are the schools near you really awful? Bear in mind that schools scoring less than "good" via OFSTED" are now deemed to need improvement. So if a local school is "good" via OFSTED it should in theory be okay.

It is a minefield....I am in an area where a third of schools have been in special measures but are being improved. One school had a massive jump in GCSE A-C passes over two years with a new head.

Have you looked at results over the past few years in any local schools to see if there is an upward trend? You might be surprised.... Or you might not if they really are dire.

enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 01:51:26

Thanks Jakebullet and sowornout. Sounds I won't be able to pull of this grand plan.
About the LEA person, I obviously did not tell them my exact plan. Made it sound more natural (moving into London, renting first, when can I buy and move into a house which may or may not be in the catchment area).
Although my plan is obviously not in the spirit of the law I though it was still legal and that it did not matter that it was a rental for a relatively short time for a specific purpose. I though that as long as I actually live there (change GP etc) for the required time, than they can't do anything. That does not seem the case after your detailed explanations. Is it too late to christen her quickly and go to church? ;-)

Is there not someone at the LEA you could bribe? That might be cheaper than renting? Or try Catholicism?

Cross posts.

doubleshotespresso Wed 10-Apr-13 02:23:13

Threads like this make me so sad.......

We would all move heaven and earth for our kids , but really? You must know this is wrong?

barnetmum2 Wed 10-Apr-13 07:48:06

OP you must be desperate. Is the 'EN' in your name a clue to the post code? If so tread carefully, there have been many places taken away ( quite rightly) after offer, once the school investigate the addresses further, inc. how long renting before & after with some (repeat offender) addresses having already been blacklisted by the school !

This could mean ending up with no offer/offered a school that is worse than your (true) local would have been.

I do sympathise but I think you are naive if you think this is a straight forward solution.

JakeBullet Wed 10-Apr-13 08:25:24

Many Catholic schools require baptism to have taken place within three months of birth. My son is Catholic but on that basis it wouldn't be enough as he was not baptised until he was 9 yrs old. As our local Catholic secondary takes a large number (about 40%) of non Catholics this will be okay but I am aware that the very popular London Catholic schools are very over subscribed so do enforce the baptism rule. Where about in the country are you currently? Does it have to be London?

Yes it's still legal for you to do this...many parents do it either by buying in the catchment area or renting. I think the local authorities are cracking down on those who rent just long enough to get a place. Some though just rent a flat etc and never even live there...that is more likely to be detected. If you live somewhere for year though and are paying council tax there etc it wouldn't be detectable I wouldn't have thought.

NotMostPeople Wed 10-Apr-13 08:33:47

In this area if you are renting you have to prove you have a minimum of a two year tenancy. Fwiw I think what you are proposing to do is very wrong.

meditrina Wed 10-Apr-13 08:34:54

OK - you need to move before the date when applications close. I'd allow a good two months before that, to ensure you have changed all admin, reregistered at doctors etc (councils in areas where this is a common attempted ruse will check all sorts of stuff, so you need everything to this address). Ideally, your DC moves school, but you can probably swing the 'excessive disruption' card for a child in year 6. But you need to apply for places local to new address for all younger children at the time of your move (and this will be readily visible to admissions office).

It will help if you can show that you have totally relinquished old address, so quitting old tenancy completely is definitely necessary, and if selling ideally that would be complete before deadline too (how well does property shift in your current area? Might want to get on with marketing now, if you will be applying in next round).

You need to stay at the new address throughout the applications process, and beyond (as you can be stripped of a place if the move is adjudged fraudulently temporary even after DC has started. I'd say for the whole of year 7 as a minimum. By which time, you may as well stay, especially as sibling priority isn't a given for secondaries.

Samnella Wed 10-Apr-13 08:50:33

How far away is your house from the secondary school? I don't believe you have to stay in catchment as presumably that catchment changes each year but I would imagine you would need to be a reasonable distance away. Personally, I would stay for at least year 7.

A question to those of you saying how wrong it is - do you happen to have a good local secondary school? If not, what do you plan to do? I understand what drives people to this. It really isnt so different to the other ways people get their children into good schools - whether that be by relegion or £.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Apr-13 09:29:26

It really isnt so different to the other ways people get their children into good schools - whether that be by relegion or £.

Except it is. It prevents a child who is genuinely entitled to a place from getting in. It is using ££ and dishonesty.

Sparklingbrook Wed 10-Apr-13 09:37:17

shock

CountingClouds Wed 10-Apr-13 09:37:41

Several posters seem against this proposal. But I have met parents who used to think like that, and as soon as it came to forcing their own children to go to a local 'less than good' school, guess what happened? Their views flipped as fast as a pancake.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing everything within your power to get your DC into a good school and I would say its your morale responsibility to do so. Its essentially an active protest against the state who are trying to force children into a sub-standard education.

Who's to say you are taking a place from someone who 'genuinely' deserves it? How many other family's have used money to live in the area? Its really the teachers, head, school, council or governments fault for not providing a good education to all children. It certainly isn't the parents.

As someone has already said this is no different than parents who use religion (genuinely or not) to abuse the system and get their children into good schools. That's a bigger scandal.

OFSTED reports are not currently a good guide to how schools are doing, unless its from this year. The inspection has just been changed to a more rigorous one, so you cant compare schools until they have all been redone. The previous system seemed to hand out good and outstanding ratings to schools that were only treading water.

I would rent out a few months before you fill in the application and stay until a few months after your DC starts the school. Don't tell the school your new address until the year after, they only ask for your it once a year anyway. Despite all the scare stories no one is going to pull your child out of a school they are already in, just because you decide to move house.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Apr-13 09:51:18

As others have said, you would need to stay long enough to satisfy all the LEA's anti-fraud checks. And, frankly, unless you sell your current house, that may be never.

OhDearConfused Wed 10-Apr-13 09:55:05

Even if OP moved permanently, she would be "depriving" someone else from a place....and if the house prices go up the nearer you get to the school gate then the richest can buy their way in to the detriment of those in cheaper houses on outskirts of the catchment.

Moral minefield!

(But short term rent is fraudulent, that said. Just not sure it is morally more suspect than other practices.)

Booyhoo Wed 10-Apr-13 09:59:53

hilarious that you actually called up two LEA's to ask this question. i hope gave them your child's name so they know to bin the application when they get it.

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