Help! Have you relocated with children? Missed the boat on admission to schools in Warwickshire

(20 Posts)
Nelly321 Sun 28-Feb-16 11:22:35

Be very grateful for any advice please, feeling a little overwhelmed with choices to make... Have you relocated with children? How???!!

DH has new job in Coventry; currently we live in Yorkshire. DS is in Year 6, about to go up to secondary and DD is in Year 2 about to go to Juniors. We can relocate to anywhere nice that's easily commutable to Coventry by train but are used to living in a big village and don't want to live in a city suburb. I looked at Rugby town on line (not been to look yet but seems not too big) and spoke to admissions but seems I have next to no chance of getting DS into Ashlawn School (or in fact DD into a good primary there either as all full!). And I'm starting to think I have no chance for any good school in Warwickshire! We don't have the 11+ here either so DS has missed doing this.

I don't want to uproot the kids to send them to a potentially bad school that I didn't choose just because it had a place (I'm also worried the school they get might be miles away from where we get a house). I hate having to uproot them so I'd like it to be a one time move into a good school (If we're making them leave their friends and all they know the least I can do is make sure the pay off is a great school!). DH can just about commute for now but we'll need to move at some point soon.

I just don't know what to do - or how to pull this off. Does anyone have similar experiences of relocating? Very interested to hear how anyone manages to move with children! It seems a lot more difficult than I appreciated... confused

PatriciaHolm Sun 28-Feb-16 13:08:56

Well, realistically, unfortunately you aren't going to be able to have a lot of control over the situation I'm afraid as you can only be offered what there is available.

When you move and have an address, the LEA will offer you places. If there are spaces available at the schools of your choice now you must be offered them wherever you live, but you would need to be able to take them up in the next couple of weeks (so years 6 and 2).

For September, moving into secondary and juniors (though I don't know the area, some areas have separate juniors and some are mostly all through primaries); As you are aware you have missed the application rounds so you'll be offered spaces where the spaces are, which could be at the schools of your choice or could be at 2 completely different schools some distance apart. You can ask to be put on waiting lists, which are ordered in terms of how well you fit the admissions criteria not when you joined the list. If you turn the offers down, the LEA has no responsibility to offer another.

You do have the option of appealing though, if your applications are turned down; you would need to prove that the detriment to the school of admitting your child would be less than the detriment to your child of not being admitted. It's certainly possible to win appeals for these year groups. You could also potentially home school until an acceptable place comes up on waiting lists, but that would be dependent on you being able to do that of course.

Scone1nSixtySeconds Sun 28-Feb-16 13:32:26

<waves from South Warwickshire>

Hello! There are lots of lovely places to live within commuting of Coventry - my DH drives there everyday from our village between Warwick and Stratford and it takes him about 25 minutes, but to some extent it depends which part of Coventry he'll be based in.

It's a bulge year here in the south and I know that my DDs high school is taking extra DC - I will pm you the name. Admissions are normally quite friendly but they are going to be busy after Tuesday when the offers come out - I would call them tomorrow.

tiggytape Sun 28-Feb-16 13:40:59

I do see your point but unless you can identify a school you like that has quite a few spaces in the year groups you need, it is possible you may be allocated a school (or schools) either some distance from home or less popular. There isn't anything you can do about that initially because the council can only make you offers from what's available and in many areas, popular schools are full.

Once you have moved though, you can be added to waiting lists of schools you prefer at a position that reflects how close you live to them in your new home (including secondary schools as by that point allocations will have been made) and you can appeal for places too as Patricia said.

BabyGanoush Sun 28-Feb-16 13:48:49

Hi, we did this but to another area.

We had a tick list in order of importance, think it was:
1 Commutable (train station)
2 Nice schools with a chance of getting in (ie not wildly oversubscribed grammars)
3 house affordable within catchment of these schools/the station

We spoke to some schools directly an one offered to put us on waiting list even though we had not moved yet.(speak to admissions officers)

We also sent DH on a reconnaisance trip to visit schools and meet heads, and we actually liked a school that required improvement but had good new senior staff and a good atmosphere. We did not like the "outstanding" school that much. ( Ofsted and Times rankings etc are a good place to start, but IMO are not the be-all-end-all)

Good luck!

MozzarellaFitzgerald Sun 28-Feb-16 13:48:57

We're going to be relocating in the next year and this is already worrying me too.
It's a minefield, finding a decent school and an affordable house and be in a nice area and be able to get to work. I don't know the answer, sadly. Moving and then hoping you get a school place seems incredibly risky.

Isoldeonetwo Sun 28-Feb-16 13:54:51

You might want to consider Lutterworth . It's over the border in Leicestershire . You can still commute by train via Rugby . The public transport links are less frequent but they are there The high school has a good reputation and the college has just switched to 11-19 . People in Lutterworth shop and work in Rugby , Coventry and Leicester . Interestingly enough it's not unknown to see the odd Ashlawn pupil commute from here but some children bus up to Leicester grammar too Then you also enjoy the benefits of nearby towns such as market Harborough which is much nicer than Rugby town centre . There's a good stock of new build housing too. As Lutterworth doesn't have a picture post card town centre it gets dismissed but there is a great sense of community and .... Drum roll a Waitrose !

BabyGanoush Sun 28-Feb-16 14:33:41

Yes, we somehow managed to get a school place before we got a house. The head of the local primary had a space, it was quite lucky I guess?

Also, a county with a comprehensive system (for secondary) might be easier, as less stress about 11+

Nelly321 Sun 28-Feb-16 14:59:47

Thanks everyone.

Really helpful to know tiggytape that the waiting list isn't done just in the order you joined it. So I guess if we got on a waiting list and we were in the catchment we'd jump ahead of people on it who weren't? I just assumed we'd go to the bottom of the list. Does anyone know if you can appeal at any time of year for a place? So if we ended up moving mid year we could send in an appeal for a place?

I have considered home schooling PatriciaHolm until I get a place but that would mean not working for a while when we move and I don't think we could then afford the houses down there! Oh dear. It's all so complicated.

BabyGanoush - my criteria is pretty much the same with the added thing of it being commutable for me to also get to a job! Glad you got sorted. The 11+ is completely new to me! Yes, maybe over the border in Leicestershire might be better.

Thanks Isoldeonetwo, I've heard Lutterworth is very nice but DH wants to commute in by train so we discounted it - will look at how long it would take.

It's all a bit of a catch 22 too isn't it - I can't secure a place if I do find a head who'll let us in with an outside address as we've got to sell the house and who knows how long that will take. So I could end up with a house and no place, or a place and no house!

I just never really thought it would be so difficult and I think it's only just hitting me now how making everything fall into line at the right time is going to be tough. sad

PatriciaHolm Sun 28-Feb-16 15:47:12

You can appeal at any time after you've been refused a place, yes, and yes you would leapfrog others on the waiting list if you fit the admissions criteria better.

trinitybleu Sun 28-Feb-16 15:59:18

I was going to suggest Lutterworth too, as the High School is good.

Or, we live in Rugby but DD is at a village school in Leicestershire. There's also a free school opening in Rugby in September which might be an option for your older child - this sister Primary school is doing well and getting good feedback from parents. Ashlawn is v popular but the other senior schools are also good.

Rugby is a nice town ... Everything you need but not too big, and also close to Leicester, Coventry, Northampton etc too. Drop me a PM if you want more help!

trinitybleu Sun 28-Feb-16 16:02:55

And you don't need 11+ for them all - just Lawrence Sheriff and then there's a grammar stream at Ashlawn, the rest is done on normal admissions criteria. And yes, the waiting lists are based on who lives closest not who joined the list first.

Isoldeonetwo Sun 28-Feb-16 16:22:26

It's a about a 10-15 minute drive to Rugby station. You can avoid the m6 junction , some congestion at a5 with a couple of cross country routes (Newton, Clifton upon Dunsmore) / Pailton . Public transport is the x44 Leicester to Rugby . You'd alight at Lawrence Sherriff school and walk up / down the long hill to station( Murray road ) ( at least 10 min walk) . Door to door from Lutterworth to say IKEA Coventry by car and rail is about 40 mins with the right timings. There's plenty of parking at the station .

Hth

If you lived in Rugby - say Hilmorton ,and used public transport to get to the station you may find its the same timings as coming from by Lutterworth by car .

ivykaty44 Sun 28-Feb-16 16:51:02

Both Warwick and Leamington have train stations to commute to Coventry

Can you ring up to find out whether north Leamington school or trinity have any spaces? AylesFord is OK for Warwick.

tiggytape Sun 28-Feb-16 18:17:23

if we got on a waiting list and we were in the catchment we'd jump ahead of people on it who weren't? I just assumed we'd go to the bottom of the list.
Yes. Theoretically you might jump right to the top of the list. If you live very close to the school, you might beat all of the others who are waiting.

if I do find a head who'll let us in with an outside address as we've got to sell the house and who knows how long that will take.
If a school has a place, they have to offer it to anyone who asks for it in the correct year group. So in theory, you could apply for schools from your current house and, if they have a space with nobody else waiting for it who lives closer, they have to give it to you. You cannot really do this though until you are very ready to move since, once accepted, you need to take up the new place in a matter of weeks to secure it. You cannot just hold on to it until the move is finalised.

It is a bit chicken and egg but for most people it does work out O.K despite not being able to absolutely guarantee all the things in advance of the move which can be a bit scary.

Nelly321 Sun 28-Feb-16 19:16:33

It's little overwhelming really as its such a wide area that we could potentially move to - trying to narrow it down is hard. We're going to drive down and have a look around a few places at Easter and see where seems nice. Our half term is different so we could potentially even call into a couple of schools too. Thanks for the advice everyone - hopefully we will sort it all out eventually!

HRHsherlockssextoy Sun 28-Feb-16 19:19:06

Have you looked at Solihull? I lived in Hampton in Arden, and that was about 20 minutes to Coventry on the train.

Few great secondaries and primaries in Solihull.

BabyGanoush Sun 28-Feb-16 21:09:00

We ended up renting for 6 months between buying/selling new house.

That was the only way we could make it all work

Nelly321 Sun 28-Feb-16 21:27:14

Hi BabyGanoush, Yes we are thinking we might have to do that but we have a dog, cat and two kids! Landlords don't look too favorably on us! grin

Ninjagogo Sun 28-Feb-16 21:43:50

Hi OP, we have just done this from the south to Yorkshire! We came up a few times for a reccy, then when we had decided on an area started looking at schools. I rang a few, established that spaces were available, then got hold of the admissions team. Within 2 weeks the head had phoned me to confirm the places, and I had an email from the admissions team too. Best of luck.

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