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

(303 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.

meditrina Sun 17-Apr-16 10:33:58

You only get to chose from the (limited) options given to you (max 3 these days, isn't it?) It's nothing like a free choice, and you could never be sure where any of those options would be. So not remotely plannable by the family themselves, not least because they have little to no input into what options they get. And there won't be funded moves unless the reasons for it are beyond the family's control.

And yes, you do have to move even if your DC is in exam run up. That's why CEA is paid so families have the option of boarding for any years where they think continuity is important.

goshnotme Sun 17-Apr-16 09:22:55

The thing is meditrina, they do get to choose - they are given a number of choices, some of which are less attractive/suitable than others, and sometimes go for the less attractive/suitable option if it is in catchment of their preferred school. They do then move.

And they don't have to move every 2 to 3 years if one child is coming up to GCSE age. At that point, they ask the school to write a letter explaining that a move at this stage will be detrimental to the child's studies, and in that way, they can keep things stable.

meditrina Sat 16-Apr-16 21:15:56

"Or to accept military quarters which are smaller than your family needs in order to gain a place for one child in your preferred school, and then to move to a more suitable quarter, out of catchment, and thereafter use the sibling rule to get your other children in?"

Given that military families move on every 2-3 years, this is unlikely to be a major issue as most won't still be there by the time next sibling needs a a place.

Also, they don't get to choose where they are allocated their accommodation.

goshnotme Sat 16-Apr-16 20:15:56

I am actually the admissions officer in a large state secondary school. Is it any less ethical to rent a house in the catchment of your preferred secondary school than it is to rent a house in the catchment of a particular primary school because it is a 'feeder' into the preferred secondary, and then to move back to your original home which is perhaps some 4 or 5 miles from said secondary, thus depriving someone who actually lives an awful lot closer to the secondary, but cannot get in because they do not attend a 'feeder'?

Is it any less ethical than it is to get a signature from your head of religion, be it priest, pastor, imam or otherwise, when you do not believe yourself, in order to gain a place for your child in your preferred school?

Or to accept military quarters which are smaller than your family needs in order to gain a place for one child in your preferred school, and then to move to a more suitable quarter, out of catchment, and thereafter use the sibling rule to get your other children in?

These things happen all the time. There are myriad ways to circumvent the system, and often the admissions team have no real way of checking. We cannot work on rumour and hearsay and even if other parents subtly try to grass up the offending parents, there is no real way to prove that someone has moved into catchment specifically for the purpose of gaining a place at a school, even when they telephone a month or so after offer date to say that they have moved house, oh and interestingly, it's quite some way out of catchment! It's a done deal by then.

I have thought and thought how to make it 'fair', but aside from dropping the 'feeder' school system, we'd be back to distance from school as the crow flies, and you'd still get people moving as close as possible just for the application process and then moving back out again. It would be discriminatory to specify a minimum residency in catchment of, say, two years, because then how to deal with children moving in and out of care, or military families, or refugees. So we are stuck as we are.

Of course, none of this would be quite as emotive if school places were not so over-subscribed in certain areas. If everyone who wanted a place stood a good chance, then people wouldn't resort to the trickery described above!

minifingerz Thu 14-Apr-16 12:35:54

"In too many cases, the schools offering a poorer standard of education and support to our youngsters are situated in the financially poorer areas of the country - as a former teacher myself, I simply don't believe that one should follow the other. "

I'm not sure I agree. It's a cultural thing.

Go to, oh, I don't know, a poor part of Mumbai, or Soweto, and set up a free school as well resourced as even the least successful UK state primary, and the children would THRIVE. That's because in other cultures all most children need to succeed educationally is properly trained teachers, well equipped schools, and access to decent learning materials. The other part of the equation: burning ambition, a belief in the importance of hard work, and parents who are desperate for their child to succeed academically are already in place.

Not so in the UK. We have a culture of low aspiration among some sectors in the UK where there is a fundamental disrespect for education and widespread lack of engagement, regardless of how hard the teachers work or how good they are at their job.

ourhomein Wed 13-Apr-16 20:56:15

Indiatherene: "ourhomein so you've just joined MN to revive a 3 yo Zombie thread. Why?"
My first answer is why does it matter? I've spotted something that I feel very strongly about and wish to comment.
The matter is still just as relevant today as it was 3 years back.
It is particularly relevant to me at the moment as I'm in the same position, confronted by a very uneven and fragmented system whilst trying to find my child a school place. It wasn't relevant to me 3 years ago. It is now.
Also, I'd heard Mumsnet was a place where people share ideas openly and support each other and was quite surprised at the anger and negativity directed towards the Original Poster.

Minifingerz: "Would add that anyone can fake religious commitment, but only m/c parents can easily rent or buy houses temporarily in catchments. I belief in equal opportunity cheating!" I take your point and it's well made, and I think this backs mine up, actually: the state education system is meant to be for the benefit of all, but as clarinsgirl points out, it is only the wealthier who tend to stand up to the system, even if this is by cheating their way through it. So it follows that the wealthy are ultimately favoured. All of this said, I still feel 'fraud' and 'arrogance' are very strong terms to use for the actions of parents desperate to give their kids the same chance as people living elsewhere. The original post might have been clumsily worded, but as swingofthings points out, the one brave or foolish enough to stand up and be counted is the one at the receiving end of the rotten tomatoes, where many thousands get on with it quietly and behind the scenes.

Drinkstoomuchcoffee: I very much like the banding idea too: it does seem to return some justice to the selection process.

It strikes me that a succession of British governments have caused the schools system to fragment into a bewildering array of different types of school leading to a far less accessible set-up for the majority. In too many cases, the schools offering a poorer standard of education and support to our youngsters are situated in the financially poorer areas of the country - as a former teacher myself, I simply don't believe that one should follow the other. It is perfectly possible to inspire disadvantaged youngsters to find the greatness in themselves, not necessarily by putting all your focus on historical literature or academia like the previous education secretary was particularly keen to do at the expense of practical, field or vocational studies that can electrify young people of all backgrounds. Anyway, this is digressing a little.

Education should be open to, and inspire, all. Until it does this, it is failing.

Thanks for all your comments.

Bashstreetmum Wed 13-Apr-16 19:30:20

Counting clouds you really think that parents are not responsible for education as well. Of course they are. They are responsible for socialising their child so that they are able to learn and allow others to learn in the class. You have them under your wings way before schools do. Surely!!!!

swingofthings Wed 13-Apr-16 17:31:52

What OP is doing is happening in most areas in this country. The difference is that OP is opened about it when most others keep it quiet, or make up a story to justify their intentions.

In my previous area, the difference between the local secondary school and the two religiously affiliated ones were massive. It wasn't a case of the local comprehensive being ok and the others fantastic, but a case of the local being under remedial measures and in total disarray. Considering the fact that local primary schools were achieving quite well, it is no surprise that so many parents got very anxious at the prospect of their kids seeing their ability/enthusiasm to study go down the pants.

So yes, it's amazing how many re-discovered faith in year 4/5. It was laughable really how they tried to justify it when everybody (especially those doing the same) knew it was only for the purpose of gaining a place at the other schools. However, I could understand their desperation.

I personally get more annoyed with parents who will do anything so that their perfect, worthier child can get into a selective top school when the local one is absolutely fine just because they are persuaded that little Johnny deserves it more than anyone else.

minifingerz Wed 13-Apr-16 13:27:51

"Hypocrisy at its best."

No.

Hypocrisy at its best is when people say they support equality of opportunity, and then send their child to a private school which takes NO poor low ability children at all. Which is basically 100% of all private schools.

Given that 99.9% of non-selective state schools take children from the most disadvantaged groups (ie low ability children from unsupportive and dysfunctional families) where as 100% of mainstream private schools exclude this type of student I don't think they in any way comparable when it comes to fairness.

minifingerz Wed 13-Apr-16 13:18:53

"who get their DCs into the most sought after state schools in London -( Blair, Clegg - London Oratory, Cameron - Greycoats) - because they would not "go private". Wonder why you never see any politicians DCs at the less sought after London schools. I have far more respect for Diane Abbott!"

Absolutely NONE of those politicians you mention has made an open commitment to only use state schools!

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Wed 13-Apr-16 10:51:09

@schools madness: It's a bit like our politicians - of all parties- who get their DCs into the most sought after state schools in London -( Blair, Clegg - London Oratory, Cameron - Greycoats) - because they would not "go private". Wonder why you never see any politicians DCs at the less sought after London schools. I have far more respect for Diane Abbott!

schoolmadness2016 Tue 12-Apr-16 22:48:42

This thread reminds me of a very "liberal" family we were acquainted with - very wealthy but "morally opposed to private education" because they wanted their daughter to have friends from various socio-economic backgrounds - you know - to give her the "right perspective in life". So while fixing up their very lovely spacious new home in a more central but less than stellar catchment, they rented a small flat on the same street as the most oversubscribed school in the area. Worked out perfectly for them in the end - their kiddo is happy as a clam at the lovely school and they feel good about supporting their socialist beliefs and not succumbing to private education - lest the elitism rub off on their offspring.
Hypocrisy at its best.

Indantherene Tue 12-Apr-16 17:48:32

ourhomein so you've just joined MN to revive a 3 yo Zombie thread. Why?

DarkBlueEyes Tue 12-Apr-16 17:34:46

Be careful. If you own another property most councils will count the property you own as your actual address, no matter where you are renting.

clarinsgirl Tue 12-Apr-16 17:26:52

In my opinion the whole schools admissions process is unfair. Admission on the basis of religion is just wrong, it's discrimination and is tolerated in no other walk of life. The rest of the system favours the wealthy and those educated and confident enough to tackle the system. What we need is an education system where the resources are distributed fairly and all schools are good (if only)

In the meantime however, it's what we've got and committing fraud to secure your preferred place is just wrong. The kind of arrogance shown by the OP is astounding. If you don't meet the admission criteria then you need to choose another school or move permanently to the catchment. You shouldn't need a bunch of strangers on the Internet to point this out.

minifingerz Tue 12-Apr-16 16:24:36

Would add that anyone can fake religious commitment, but only m/c parents can easily rent or buy houses temporarily in catchments.

I belief in equal opportunity cheating!

minifingerz Tue 12-Apr-16 16:22:14

"If the education system was working properly, wherever you lived, you would know that there was a suitable school nearby that was going to do right by your child"

Really - not so.

Schools may end up at the top or bottom of the league tables, and be more or less desirable on the strength of their intake above all else.

meditrina Tue 12-Apr-16 10:34:46

ZOMBIE THREAD!!!!

Also, VA schools are schools owned by the religion, which are currently operated as part of the wider maintained sector. They are not state-owned schools.

So to remove them from the maintained sector and replace them with state-owned schools is do-able, but I doubt affordable right now.

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Tue 12-Apr-16 10:19:55

I think the only fair solution to this problem is banding - which is now being introduced in bigger cities. All students take a test in Y6 - and each school takes 20% of students in each band. This tends to equate to at least 20% of advantaged students in each school and no more than 20% disadvantaged. After a couple of years all schools in the area have a similar intake and fair comparisons can then be made between them. There are no more wonderful schools and no more swervable schools.
I am strongly in favour of this at primary too - maybe based on family income. More logistics problems at this age perhaps - but no worse than those already faced by some families.

ourhomein Tue 12-Apr-16 09:32:09

I've only just stumbled on this thread and I'm totally amazed at the level of anger expressed towards Enlondon for their original post.

Hers is no worse than all the other forms of deception people are forced by an unfair education system to use to secure a place for their child, not least lying about being a church-goer, which strikes me as far more heinous a crime.

The fact is that none of us should be forced to jump through such hoops.

If the education system was working properly, wherever you lived, you would know that there was a suitable school nearby that was going to do right by your child. We are all subject to the same taxation system that funds education, so why should we suffer if we happen to live in an area where the school isn't up to scratch or isn't right for our child in another way, such as putting in place a stipulation that they have to have been baptised under a certain religious denomination within minutes of their birth or else they don't qualify. EVEN THOUGH the given school is publicly funded, paid for by money from each and every one of our pockets.

Frankly, the whole catchment area system is failing and is creating a situation that stands in total contradiction of the principle behind comprehensive education. Those that are lucky enough to live in the right area, often the wealthiest areas or those with a particular religious affiliation - these are the cats that get the cream. That is plainly wrong.

In the absence of a particular government having the courage and the principle to set up a better system once and for all, I hold no grudge against anyone wishing to play the system as the lady who started this thread - and many others - are sadly obliged to do.

piefarmer Thu 17-Sep-15 12:43:23

This comes up every year, so posting for anyone reading.

Yes, it is unethical. You harm another family directly by trying to benefit your own family. It also undermines community cohesion by having schoolmates not live nearby, and it harms the environment as larger distances need to be travelled.

But really, it is wrong because you hurt someone directly for your own child's interests. Caring for your child is not an excuse to directly hurt another child and take from that child what you want for your child. Period.

And to those who say 'but everyone is doing it' or 'likely to take a spot from another renting family' - That is an attempt to justify your situation and downplay your ethical dilemma - its a natural response to your cognitive dissonance - you don't want to think of yoruself as a bad person. But it is not true, an it is not helpful.

Not everyone is doing it. Some of us beleive in respecting our neighbours and others and won't directly hurt them to benefit our own kids. And what kind of moral code do you follow anyway if you truely believe that if many peopel do something unethical then its OK for you to do so as well?

It is also incredibly unlikely that you take the spot of another strategic renter. Less than half of the spaces will be taken up by strategic renters we can guess. And those renters won't be renting on the edge of the catchment, they'll rent as close as possible to be certain. You will take a place from someone on the edge who likely has been living there a lot longer and deserves the spot.

Its worse though - you are likely to be able to afford private school, or to move to another community altogether where schools are more to your liking. The person you take this space from probably can't. So you likely give them fewer options than you have by doing this to them.

So not only are you taking from someone what they should have because you want it for your kid, but you leave them with fewer options than you would have if they are not as wealthy as you (most likely the case).

The statement above that it 'might not be in the spirit of the law' but is legal is damning - if you admit it is not in the spirit of the law then you are admitting it is unethical and wrong. Yes you can get away with it in some places. But please admit you are being unethical and hurting someone - stop denying it or making excuses like 'its ok if its for my child'. Its not OK to take something away from someone else if it is for your child. Please recognise that.

tiggytape Sat 30-Aug-14 11:08:29

Lavender - there is no difference between renting or buying a home in catchment. Both are absolutely fine.

However it is fiddling the system to leave a family home empty for a year to rent a flat inside the catchment area of a good school and use the flat's address on the school application form.
People do this to get the best of both worlds: a lovely, affordable home outside catchment area PLUS a place in a school that their normal home address wouldn't enable them to access. This takes places away from the people whose genuine homes (rented or owned) are inside the catchment area all along.

Beastofburden Sat 30-Aug-14 10:37:17

But lavender there is nothing wrong with renting in catchment. Most ppl rent in expensive areas. OP wants to rent for literally a week or something, just until the application is in, and then move out again. Which is the issue.

The difference between buying in catchment and paying fees is that when your kid leaves school, you still own a house in catchment and you can sell it for super bucks to the next family. Ppl buying in catchment make more money, but those houses can be unaffordable, even to families who can manage school fees.

Lavenderhill Sat 30-Aug-14 10:30:25

So a child whose parents come to buy a house to be in the catchment area is entitled a place and a child whose parents come to rent to be in the catchment area is a cheat? Seriously? I don't see why some mums call renting "fiddling the system". Not all familly can get a mortgage, especially in a good catchment area. This debate is ridiculous, and some mums really need to open their gated house to the real world.

tobysmum77 Tue 19-Aug-14 08:27:17

but then if you sell the house again you may end up making money that way. private school fees you don't get back.

interesting thread: how good a school is has nothing to do with the children in it. Perhaps but it does have a lot to do with the parents of the children.

Also someone with a 2yo worried about a secondary school being in sm. Erm it won't be in 9 years confused . Equally schools are only 'outstanding' till the next time they are inspected (by which time the goalposts have moved) OFSTED is not only a complete load of bollocks but the ratings change.

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