I've heard from a reliable source that a local family has just done this over the last half term. Their son, who was on the waiting list for their preferred school, jumped to the top of the list and has now been offered a place.
Would the LEA normally look into a change of address before offering a place? Our LEA 's website just says that the parents need to provide evidence such as a rental agreement in the event of a move. I think that in this case the family also owns a house close by but the place was offered very quickly, so it seems unlikely that any further checks were made to see if the move would be considered suspect.
It may well be that the move is completely legitimate, but it does sound as if it's worth a few questions. Would they do this if I report the case? We are in West London.
I feel very strongly that this is potentially cheating the system and cheating other children. I know of several children still on the waiting list. And before anyone asks, yes, this does include my own child who was no 9 on the list in April but no 13 in June! She has a decent 2nd choice but I would still prefer her 1st choice.
My child is top of waiting list. I know that a local family has let out their own house & rented right next to the school. They did this within last 6 weeks & were given a place off the waiti g list. So without them, we would have a place.
I've reported this to the council because I don't think it's fair. They said that if a family moves they only have to check that there's a rental agreement & council tax for new address & that family occupies new address. They insist they are not required to look t whether the move is a short term plan just to secure a place.
I asked them if we could also do this and they said yes. I am a bit shocked really. I thought moves which were temporary & solely to get a place were against the rules.
I'm surprised the policy isn't tougher. Other areas have been wise to this for some time and eg will state that if the home that is owned/mortgaged by the applicants is less than x miles away, this disallows attempts to jump up lists by renting out the family home and then renting in the preferred catchment.
Wilfer - They don't have to check. Some councils are pretty lax, particularly if they haven't had a problem before. However, if you have lost out and you have evidence that the family's move is temporary you should appeal on the basis that you have been deprived of a place by the council's failure to carry out proper checks.
prh47bridge Thanks. How could I prove the move is temporary? I've heard it's a 2yr let but how will anyone know this is temporary (unless the family admits this) until the 2yrs are up & they move back? By then it will be much too late!
The distance moved is no more than 1 mile & the move took place in May or June when their child was below mine on the waiting list. The child's place was offered very soon after the move.
What really upset me in talking to the council is that they appear to be condoning this practice; they said I was open to do exactly the same thing and as long as I actually moved & let , they would have no issue. I can't see how that can be reasonable - if this becomes more widely known then surely the system will totally break down. Those with means will be able to buy an advantage.
Just looked again at admissions booklet. Address for admissions is referred to as 'child's permanent address' but they don't appear to define anywhere what permanent means. From what they have said on the phone, they don't give any consideration to whether a move is permanent- they only check actual address.
Wonder if I have case for appeal? I think I need to act fast before someone else moves in & knocks us further down!