School admissions help

(47 Posts)
Mumofmanychores Sun 20-Dec-15 06:38:26

I have recently moved area and borough although not to far from previous house. My dc is currently at an independent school and due to various reasons we are not in a position to keep them there after July. We have a fantastic school where we live 0.7 miles which we would have been well in catchment if we applied during the normal round.

My reasons for applying is because for 1 we can no longer afford to keep him in private and is currently in yr9 so important to be settled into a school gcse kicks in. The school specialises in sports, math and IT which are his favourite subjects, single Sex school, walking distance and I feel that as we are new to the area and know nobody would be good to go to the local school as the catchment for the school is only 1 mile so nearly every child walks to school meaning it will help him settle in as well as make friends locally.

Spoke to the school and they said the is no point appealing because you won't win. They also sent an email saying this;

"I can confirm that although the school has a relatively small in-take per year of 210 boys, we are still a larger than average Secondary School with 1,690 pupils on site (which includes our Sixth Form of which there are 625 girls and boys). In year 9 we currently have 215 boys, which is above our published admission number, therefore, even if we were to lose one or two boys we still wouldn’t be replacing them. Our SEN total for year 9 currently stands at 53, of which 14 are fully Statemented, with the rest needing teaching support for minor learning difficulties. Class room sizes vary, but in the main we try to stick to about 26 to 28 per class, although the more challenging classes will have fewer pupils.
This Year because the Borough have struggled to find enough places for children going into Secondary School, we have had to take on a bulge class of an additional 30 pupils for year 7. Therefore, as you can imagine, we are bursting at the seams and even if you decided to appeal, the outcome does not look promising. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m afraid there is no point appealing as you won't win and don't want to waste either of our time."

So to keep it simple does that mean it's pointless applying. I have spoken to the La and they have said there are no school places available in the borough and they mentioned the fair access protocol but nothing will be done until he has officially left his current school meaning if he left in July he would be out of school in Sept until a school is found

Does anyone have any advice what to do

Pepperpot99 Sun 20-Dec-15 07:33:46

If the school is full, it is full. Unless your ds has an SEN then all you can do is go on the school's waiting list. You will have to put him on the borough's waaiting list and accept the first allocated place in whichever school comes up, unless you decide to home ed.

TranquilityofSolitude Sun 20-Dec-15 07:45:16

I think you have to apply. What are the alternatives?

If you apply you're at least in the system. If the school is indeed full the LA will come back and say so. In your circumstances I would then appeal. The school may be full but it doesn't sound as if you have an obvious alternative. The school are saying that they'd be disadvantaged if they had to take an extra pupil, but your argument is that your son will be disadvantaged if he doesn't go there. The appeal panel will decide which of you should be disadvantaged.

Personally, I don't think I could not give it a go. Having said that, it really depends what other choices you have. I have won a secondary appeal (for Yr7) but it was a stressful process and the uncertainty was a struggle for all of us.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

OddBoots Sun 20-Dec-15 07:46:58

The school is giving you the case they would give to an appeal if you decided to appeal the place, they are doing so because they have very strong grounds not to accept any more children so they don't want to waste your time or their own.

In your situation I would forget this particular school and start looking at other schools. Do the LA know his current school is independent? You should be able to apply now even when he is there although it may mean you have to take up an offered place before September - that may not be a bad thing to allow him the longest time to settle before GCSE though.

prh47bridge Sun 20-Dec-15 08:24:09

there is no point appealing because you won't win

They really shouldn't say that. They cannot be certain how an appeal panel will view your case. They have a strong case for refusing entry but if the panel thinks your case for needing a place at this school is stronger you will win.

You need to apply. Once you have done so the LA is required to come up with a place for your son somewhere even if that means forcing a school that is already full to take him. That may not be at your preferred school but it will be better than nothing. Applying also gives you the right to appeal.

Note that if the school offered is more than 3 miles from home by the shortest safe walking route your son will be entitled to free transport to and from school.

Kuppenbender Sun 20-Dec-15 09:48:05

Call me cynical, but I reckon that the school are telling you not to appeal because they are worried the appeal will be successful. I say call their bluff.

Kuppenbender Sun 20-Dec-15 09:51:03

From the figures they have given you (5 above their published admissions levels in Y9) it would seem likely that they've already lost 5 appeals.

meditrina Sun 20-Dec-15 09:54:24

Yes, it's worth an appeal. But be realistic about your chances of winning.

The school is already over numbers in his year, and is over numbers even more drastically overall because it's taken a bulge class.

So they will be able to put up a fairly strong case for why they cannot admit more pupils.

The only way you can win in to show that the negative effect on your DS by not attending outweighs the detriment to the school and its existing pupils by adding another ('balance of prejudice').

All schools offer sport, maths and IT. So what is it about your DS that makes those subjects extra important for his education (can you show high level participation etc) and what is unique about this school's provision (only one that offers Olympiad, maths society, a particular sport etc)

swingofthings Sun 20-Dec-15 09:54:54

They are trying to help you not raising your hopes up which is probably better long term. You can always put your son on the waiting list, even if they won't be taking new pupils for some time though.

A friend applied for a place at a very popular school. Didn't get a place, appealed, failed, and resorted to going on the waiting list despite being something like 10 down. She forgot about it and her son settled in the school she didn't want for him. Then out of the blue, about 8 months later, she was offered a place. It was a stressful time because she only had a few days to make up her mind and by then, her son had settled and she wasn't as unhappy about the school as she had expected. Still, after talking it over, they decided to take the place. He's been there for two years now and very happy.

Also, I experienced moving to a new area pass application stage and wasn't offered a place at our local school. It came as a surprised as although it is a very popular school, it is a very large one and therefore didn't have a waiting list until recently. We discovered why, the other next to school had been put on remedial measures, resulting in many parents taking their kids out for the other school. Inevitably, the only space given to my child was that school. It seemed ridiculous to have to travel all that way when he could have walked to the local school in 10 minutes for the benefits of the kids living close to the other school, but there was nothing we could do. As it is, the ofsted report prompted the school to dismiss the Head teacher who was replaced by a brilliant new one. The school totally turned around and was brilliant. DS finished Year 6 with excellent results, wonderful friends, and good standing with the teachers. In the last 3 years, the school had better SATs results than the local one. It was a nightmare logistic-wise, but I am delighted he went to that school.

meditrina Sun 20-Dec-15 09:58:46

"From the figures they have given you (5 above their published admissions levels in Y9) it would seem likely that they've already lost 5 appeals."

Possible, but it might also have been an appeals panel deciding that it was reasonable for the school to admit above PAN, to a maximum of 5. In which case those 5 appellants with the strongest case for admission will have been admitted.

It does not mean they can keep adding more pupils.

It might mean that if one leaves, the case not to replace is harder to make. But that hasn't happened (yet).

PettsWoodParadise Sun 20-Dec-15 12:23:22

Bear in mind that if you do go on a waiting list it doesn't always go in order of application. It depends on the school's oversubscription criteria. If someone moves closer to the school than in most scenarios you then you move further down the list, if a LAC requests the school they may have to be admitted which again makes cases for other children harder.

Hope you find a resolution but suspect it won't be an easy path.

llhj Sun 20-Dec-15 12:28:09

You're on a losing wicket anyway until your son is actually without a school place. Why don't you move him now?

tiggytape Sun 20-Dec-15 12:50:05

They are wrong to tell you not to appeal - it is your right to apply and to appeal if you believe the school is best suited to DSs needs and interests. No parent should be told there is no point appealing - the school have no say n the decision of the appeal body at all. All they can do is put their case just as you will put yours.

215 for a year group of 210 is over numbers but not massively so. It means they aim to have 7 form groups of 30 boys but 5 of them already have an extra boy. And they cope with this so perhaps the other 2 form groups with only have 30 boys at this stage could also increase to 31? It certainly isn't beyond all possibility.
If they were a small school of 60 per year group then 6 extra pupils is loads (but still possible - classes of 33 definitely exist) whereas 6 extra spread over 7 form groups is far less of a big deal.

As with any appeal though, you need to focus on why this school meets your child's needs and why it would be a disadvantage to him if he could not be offered a place.

TeenAndTween Sun 20-Dec-15 15:25:53

Am I right in thinking that if the OP applies now, is turned down, appeals and wins then her son would be expected to start within 4-6 weeks? So she would have to take the hit on paying school fees she wasn't using?

But then she could have another bite of the cherry from ~June applying for the next academic year, from then the LA would have to find a place somewhere (using fair access protocol) , and then the OP could appeal again for same school for next academic year?

admission Sun 20-Dec-15 20:52:37

The school are way out of order with their reply. They cannot tell you things like you will not succeed at appeal and what has happened this year in year 7 has no direct bearing on year 9 admissions.
The school is saying they have 1690 pupils and 625 are in the 6th form. That means there are 1065 pupils in years 7 to 11, when they have to take against the PAN of 210, 1050 pupils. So they are not over full in years 7 to 11. What actually is overfull is the 6th form. If every pupil in year 11 went into year 12, then the 6th form would be 420 strong. In other words the school is importing pupils from other schools into the 6th form. The fact they get more funding for years 12 and 13 could have something to do with that.
I think that as somebody else said, I would have real concerns whether this is a school I would want my child to go to. But if you think it is the best school then I would formally apply for a place. They will presumably reject the application and then you appeal for the place. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain.
Another consideration is that most schools will only hold a place open for half a term maximum, so you need to think about whether son would start ASAP or only in September. That will dictate when an application should go in - think in terms of 2 school months for an application and an appeal as a minimum amount of time to allow for.
You also need to consider other schools and check out what places if any they have.

Mumofmanychores Sun 20-Dec-15 21:00:28

Thank you for all your replies and advice.

If a school becomes available before the end of the academic year then I will take it. His fees are paid up until July. The La will not find him a place until September and the time it will take to find him a place will depend whether their is a space in a School in the borough or not.

I will put his name in the waiting list for the 4 nearest schools although 3 we are not in catchment so would probably be lower on the list but fingers crossed something will come available.

The plan is to apply for all 4 schools, see where I am on the waiting list and appeal each one. I know I don't have a strong case to appeal but I believe children shouldn't have to travel too far to go to school despite the free transport. 2 miles max but that's just my opinion

prh47bridge Mon 21-Dec-15 01:20:19

Don't base your appeal case on distance to the school. That is very unlikely to be a winning case. You need to concentrate on the ways your son's education will suffer if he is not admitted to the school in question. What is it that school can offer him that is missing from the alternatives.

Mumofmanychores Mon 21-Dec-15 04:57:41

So when appealing I need to look at what this school offers that his current school doesn't. It's that right. Or does it not matter about the school her is in.

AngieBolen Mon 21-Dec-15 06:43:40

I would base the appeal on what this schools offer which the others don't.

Pythonesque Mon 21-Dec-15 06:55:00

It's an aside to the thread really, but just checking that you have discussed your situation with the bursar at his current school, in case they are able to help him stay there. (I appreciate that you may have already done that in order for him to finish this year; often independent schools will prioritise their help in changed circumstances to children in the middle of GCSE or A-level years, till those exams are done)

Hope you get a sensible outcome.

prh47bridge Mon 21-Dec-15 08:26:44

So when appealing I need to look at what this school offers that his current school doesn't

The comparison you really want to make is with whatever school the LA offer you. They can't force you to keep your son at an independent school so that comparison is not as important.

AnotherNewt Mon 21-Dec-15 09:00:59

"His fees are paid up until July."

At risk of stating the obvious, have you also given formal written notice to quit? You don't want to find yourself forced to cough up another term for want of the correct paperwork.

purpledasies Mon 21-Dec-15 11:41:09

I don't think it's correct that you have to have removed him from his current school before you can apply. I moved my DD mid-year from one school to another (both state schools) and I didn't have to do that. She stayed at her current school until the new place was confirmed, then had to move within a few weeks, so did it mid-year. If you apply whilst he's still at his current school and you're lucky enough to win an appeal for the school you want - or anther one that you'd accept, you'd be wise to take the place even though it's mid-year. It would mean he'd get a chance to settle in before GCSEs start, which would be a good thing. The fees you've paid are paid already, so there's no point keeping him there for the sake of it.

If they offer a school you don't want, you can then turn down the offer and keep him at his current school whilst you reconsider what to do, if necessary applying again in July. You won't be forced to take a place you don't want, and nor can they refuse to consider an application from a child who's currently at a private school, as long as you're in their borough.

prh47bridge Mon 21-Dec-15 13:46:45

I don't think it's correct that you have to have removed him from his current school before you can apply

It definitely isn't correct. Parents can apply for any school at any time. However, that doesn't appear to be what the LA is saying. They appear to be saying that the OP's son can't be considered under the Fair Access Protocol until he has left his current school. That is correct. So once he leaves his current school additional options may be available as the LA can use the FAP to force a school that is already full to accept him.

Mumofmanychores Mon 21-Dec-15 17:15:37

Yes I have given notice that he will leave end of term.

The La is not saying that I can't apply until he leaves. I can apply anytime I want but there are no schools available in the borough so none would be offered. My son would have to have physically have left the school before a school is found by whichever force because then he would be a child in the borough without a school place.

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