Graveney - Renting in catchment for admissions purposes

(307 Posts)
StockwellLiving Thu 07-Jun-12 17:31:16

I am thinking about renting for a 12 month period or so from this summer to cover up to beginning of Y7 for DD in Sept 2013. And then moving back out.

I know (most people think) renting is wrong (and often discussed here). I actually also think its wrong, but I also know others do it (and not sure why we should be the only one not "playing the game", and I do want to avoid my local catchment school (have no religion, no money (for indies), average DD with no chance of her passing selection tests).

I am not starting this thread to get into the rights and wrongs of it - I only want to ask the very specific question: Do "renters" get caught and are places actually withdrawn?

I am asking about Graveney, not in general. I know from threads on MN that some LAs do try and look into short-term renting. But somehow I think that this particular school and this particular LA don't really care (happy to have aspirational middle classes moving into catchment) ...... so do they look into whether the rental is permanent or not, whether the renters have an owned (proper) home (rented out for a year)

Just wondering as it seems its increasingly popular to do this ....

tiggytape Thu 07-Jun-12 23:27:14

Merton has a specific rule that you cannot rent for the purposes of school admissions.

When you apply the council will request your council tax form and run checks to make sure you own no other properties (you are allowed of course to own other properties but then they will check if the address registered at Primary School matches the one on your application form - which it won't)

And then your application will be rejected.
I guess if there was some way of renting right now and getting the address at the Primary School changed before the end of term you might just manage it but basically no, Merton do not welcome middle class aspirational people cheating to get a school place and the combination of Council Tax history and primary school records will quickly show what you are up to. Merton are hotter on the issue than most other boroughs in fact.

bibbitybobbityhat Thu 07-Jun-12 23:29:04

You are very cowardly aren't you?

I hope they do look into it and offers are withdrawn.

They do it for our selective, you have to live within a certain postcode, before you can even take the test, many parents rent in catchment, they get caught by various ways, owning another property, going to primary schools 90 minutes away, using grandparent address

And offers are quite rightly withdrawn.

tiggytape Thu 07-Jun-12 23:35:04

Not sure who that is aimed at bibbity but I came back to tell the OP the rule Merton has in its admission policy:
"It is not acceptable for a family to use a temporary address, rented or otherwise, to secure a place of their preference"

Not many boroughs spell it out like that but Merton does as they have massive pressure on places. And the reason you don't hear of loads of people getting caught is that it happens quietly between the forms being submitted in October and places being allocated in March. There are no big prosecutions or anything, the council will simply tell you that they do not believe the address you claim as your home is actually your permanent home for admissions purposes and they tell you they won't be using it to make an allocation from there.
I am not saying nobody gets away with it - that will always be the case but a 1 year rent in one of the stricter boroughs is probably a high risk strategy.

LocalSchoolMum Thu 07-Jun-12 23:42:24

I don't think it's a great idea, especially as your DC will have to commute to school once you move back, but I personally know 2 families who did it and I think you're right - the school is perfectly happy with this arrangement. It cuts down on their local families who may have chiildren who won't reflect well in league tables. My ds goes to our nearest school, can get there in 10 mins and is thriving, but if you're afraid of mixing with the locals, go for it. You're unlikely to be caught out.

Oh yes silly me, god forbid local children should go to local schools.

As for being afraid of mixing with the locals, what the actual fuck ?
Are you for real??

Surely that's a wind up?!?

wimbledonian Thu 07-Jun-12 23:47:13

Tiggytape, Graveney falls under Wandsworth rather than Merton. I don't know what the Wandsworth admissions policy is like, though.

basildonbond Fri 08-Jun-12 04:32:13

In answer to the op's specific question, as things stand at the moment, then no, you won't get caught. We know several people who've done this - there's one street locally which is known as the Graveney rentals street as there are so many houses rented out for 12 months.

However, a few things to think about....

Wandsworth is changing its admissions criteria so that the 'catchment' area for all schools will change - we are currently in the Graveney catchment (i.e would get in on distance) but are not sure how we will be affected in future.

Graveney is now an academy so might change the way it does things in future so just because people have got away with it in the past is no guarantee that you will in the future

Is Graveney the right school for your child? To be honest, I wouldn't want a child of mine in middle and even the upper classes can be quite disrupted - extension classes seem to be very well behaved and they go through subjects at a frenetic pace - but you say your child isn't academic enough for extension. It's very much two schools in one building. It's also huge and so individual opportunities can be quite limited (e.g. Access to school trips etc) and the classrooms are small and quite cramped. My ds's Y7 class has 33 children in and I don't know how they manage to squeeze them into some of the rooms. Graveney was the right school for my ds as he's in extension and made the transition with all his friends from the local primary and it's a 5 minute walk round the corner, but it's not the right school for everyone.

Finally, you would be taking a place away from a local child - you say you don't want to get into a debate about the morality of your decision but there's no getting away from the fact that its WRONG! If you're so desperate for your dc to go to Graveney, why don't you come and live in Furzedown permanently? It's a lovely area and then you could contribute to the life of the community rather than parachute in for a year

didofido Fri 08-Jun-12 06:05:59

It really makes me cross that people say that it's wrong! As a parent your duty is to do whatever you reasonably can to ensure the best for your child. The OP pays the same taxes as anyone else and is entitled to the best state school to which her DC can gain admission.
I have a brother, an atheist, who lives in an area where to get into a good school you must, he says, 'pay or pray'. He's politically opposed to private education so they have been going to church for the last 18 months. It worked. and DD1 is off to the church comp this Sept. Now the problem is - keep up the church -going for DD2 or rely on the sibling policy...
I am a regular church-goer who uses indies where I can and it amuses me.

Needmoresleep Fri 08-Jun-12 07:38:04

I'm with dido here. With kids now in Secondary there are very few I knew from playgroup days who can claim much moral high ground. It has been pay, pray, tutor, rent or move.

I know of at least half a dozen who rented, including within the Graveney catchment. It is a big disruption to family life but I dont know anyone who regrets their decision. I also dont know anyone who was "caught".

Dido's post made me laugh. I knew one couple who went to church to get that school place and ended up devout pillars of the parish.

Perhaps that is what deterred my husband. We paid instead. Worked for us as we were never that bothered about new cars etc. But just as unacceptable in MNland.

meditrina Fri 08-Jun-12 07:47:05

It's Wandsworth, not Merton, and they don't have catchments (it's straightforward distance to the school). The admissions footprint is tiny all properties that close to the school will have a hefty premium.

It'll probably be (fractionally) easier to get into Graveney (assuming Bolingbroke does actually open).

But how are you planning to explain to DD what you are thinking of doing, both in terms of integrity and in terms of separating her from all her primary school friends?

FrankWippery Fri 08-Jun-12 08:05:17

Firstly it's Wandsworth. Secondly they absolutely do care and thirdly they have cracked down heavily on this in the past few years.

And, of course, proximity to the school is last on their list for criteria. Unless of course your child is one of the 67 who gets an amazing score in the Wandsworth test.

Not forgetting also, of course, that there were 2,006 applications for 240 places.

whyme2 Fri 08-Jun-12 08:06:36

Your tale about your brother made me laugh dido He is politically opposed to paying but not morally opposed to lying. How did he work that one out?

As a parent you also have a duty to teach your Dc right from wrong, morals and ethics, not "I don't agree with the rules so I will lie and you, FB must also lie and pretend we live in the area"

*dc, not FB obviously smile

dexter73 Fri 08-Jun-12 08:42:57

That made me laugh too whyme2!

creamteas Fri 08-Jun-12 08:53:26

didofido it is wrong because it means that those with resources can take state provided opportunities they are not entitled to and deprive others of them. It is no different in moral terms to me as benefit or tax fraud and I really wish it would be treated the same in law.

Seeing a few parents threatened with prison for making false statements on their admissions forms might bring some sanity back to the whole issue.

I totally agree with it being on a level with benefit fraud etc.

If you know from year 4-5 that you do not like your local schools then FFS make a conscious decision to move into the area AT THAT TIME. Become part of the community, make friends in the area, commit to living there because you feel it's best for your Dc

Otherwise it is fraud, pure and simple.

janinlondon Fri 08-Jun-12 09:32:16

Am ignoring entirely the question of moral rights and wrongs, and also whether this is the right school for your child. I know of people who did it two years ago for Graveney. They rented out their own house (only a few streets away) and the entire family moved to live in a flat. I also know of families who have swapped houses in adjacent streets for two years to get into Graveney. But I think you may have missed the boat - the rental people usually get in well before the 1 year mark. It is big business. I doubt it will continue much longer.

gazzalw Fri 08-Jun-12 09:48:50

It's simply not fair - we live close to Graveney but not quite close enough to get a place on distance. DS did the exam and did very well but it was his fourth choice so he didn't get a place. It is a highly emotive issue and you may find that someone 'shops' you anyway. Just because other people do it doesn't mean it's right!

I think you need to move lock, stock and barrel or grit your teeth and do the test for selective entry.

Why not move to Sutton where all the schools are generally better than they probably are in your neck of the woods?

Ladymuck Fri 08-Jun-12 09:52:37

What would you plan on doing with your current property?

Given how fluid the rental property market is in London, if you already rent, then what you're thinking of is fine, provided you can afford a local rental. And are happy to accept the risk that it still won't get you a place. Unless you are getting a council or housing association tenancy then no rental is "permanent" in that sense.

If you own, are you selling? If not, then you will have a much harder job to prove that what you are doing is a legitimate relocation. As a minimum you would need to ensure that you were no longer responsible for council tax on your owned property. It only takes a few minutes to check an applicants address for primary school, and check whether they are still paying council tax.

I know plenty of families who are selling up when their dcs are in Year 5 in order to give them the flexibility they need in finding a suitable location for secondary schools.

StockwellLiving Fri 08-Jun-12 10:00:19

Thanks for your comments.

tiggytape: Thanks, Graveney is in Wandsworth. Graveney/Wandsworth – I think (hence my post) doesn’t check any of the stuff which Merton does. I certainly can’t see in their admission policy a statement such as that which you quote for Merton. "It is not acceptable for a family to use a temporary address, rented or otherwise, to secure a place of their preference". So I’m not even sure (despite the morality question) whether there would be a lie on the form. At the time of application the rental property would be our home.

LocalSchoolMums: but the commute we would have is no worst than many others in London who avoid catchment schools to go private, religious or selective. Yes, agree that my sense is that Graveney doesn’t care it is happening.

tantrums, most MNs participating in this forum (ducks and waits for volley) want to avoid kids from the estates and so on – if they are honest. Just look at most of the threads (mostly all about indies, or selectives, and other “desirable” schools”). It will be dressed up as “what’s best for my DC”, “great academic results” (ignoring that that is largely a reflection of intake), “he/she is really a sensitive soul and needs great pastoral care”, “so gifted”, and so on... but in reality it is all just trying to get kids into a school with similar kids. And that is just what we are about: we want our DC to get to a nice middle class school for any of those reasons. But again – not really wanting to get into any of that on this thread. Lets start another one!

basildonBond - thanks. Curious about Wandsworth admissions change – any one know more? But in any case as Graveney is an academy, it sets its own criteria (I believe). (I was a little modest when I said DD was not bright – I think she has a good chance of getting into the top set – but the 98% pass mark to do get through on the test – does seem like a bit of a lottery. But even if I move permanently, I would still be taking a place away from someone who is already local

didofido, NeedMoreSleep: agree!

meditrina: I think as quite a few people are doing it (and it doesn’t seem to be lying – as mentioned it would be our “home”) – it is an easy explanation: we moved to get into the school. The school allows this..... (as I think is the case – hence my starting this thread to see whether that is right).

FrankWippery - ah so maybe I’m wrong and they do care/check! You seem the only person so far to have said so – do you know of people who had places withdrawn. Where they people who genuinely moved (albeit only for a year – changed council tax, primary school address etc) or people that simply rented an address with no real living there?

janinlondon - thanks. Interesting that they only moved a couple of streets!! So they are still contributing to the community by doing the rental thing. (pace tantrums). Why do you think it won’t continue much longer?

gazzalw - agree none of this is fair. Do you know of people who have been “shopped” and places removed? (We will try the test of course as well.)

All who expressed disapproval or indeed any who think it’s not wrong : as I said, I didn’t particularly want to get into the rights or wrongs of it, it is often discussed. I am only interested in the question posed in the OP.

As a parent of a kid from an estate well 3 of them actually, you would find it difficult to avoid my eldest 2 who are at selective schools.

Dc3 being less academic will go to the state secondary in 2 years, in an area we live in, even though there may well be better middle class schools as this is where we live.

But just for the record 3 pupils at ds1s school took the test, got good enough results to go onto second stage but got place withdrawn due to renting in catchment.

tiggytape Fri 08-Jun-12 10:08:38

Apologies - my geography is wonky!
As it happens though, all applications, even for academies, go through the local councils. Graveney don't get involved at all with checking addresses or spotting false applications so they have no discretion to turn a blind eye even if they wanted to. The authority is totally responsible for all of that.

If people are cheating to get a place it is because the local authority is not doing a good enough job of weeding out false applications it is not because Graveney embrace the policy. All councils have the ability to check council tax history and enquire at your current Primary School which address your child was registered under. All school applications give the name of your current primary school which, if you're cheating, may be a suspiciously long way away and merit closer investigation. If the LA isn't picking up on this then you may well get away with cheating but of course, the more people that have got away with it to date, the more likely they are to spot the problem and have a crackdown.

It happened in Merton which is why I had thought of it. People get away with cheating until suddenly the catchment areas are ridiculously small, parental complaints are through the roof and the LA are scratching their head wondering how come so many children are without a school place and where all these extra children appeared from anyway. So then the next year they clamp down on it.
You may be lucky though, the situation of allowing this may continue. Under the admission rules of Wandsworth it is not allowed because it states clearly you must use your permanent address so if you get caught you would have the place withdrawn but it is up to you whether you think Wandsworth will miss these checks for another year or another two years or however long it takes to get in.

gazzalw Fri 08-Jun-12 10:18:29

No I don't know anyone who has been shopped but it's a highly emotive issue as you can see from this thread. I do have to say that if our DS had missed out on a place because of this type of educational 'gazumping' and I knew about it I would be tempted to 'shop' the family.

Mind you it's not really any different from going to church to get one's children into the best church school in the area....

Some people do play by the rules - our DS initially missed out on his preferred choice school because other children lived closer even though they'd all scored the same in their 11+ - you just have to accept it. He did get his place after a short wait!

At the end of the day I feel your pain. We were lucky with DS that he is bright and we knew we had the option to consider selective schools - and he got in to one. It might be a different story for his younger sister who is not currently looking so academic. I know that we would have been a lot less comfortable about where we live if we'd had to consider the local comps as some of our six CAF options.

I would suggest you consider moving...but other posters are right about Graveney. We went to open days two years in a row and I got the decided feeling from the parents that the focus is on the brighter two streams and not the other two.

The Michaela Academy looked as if it would be an attractive (and local) alternative to Graveney but nothing has been heard about it since they failed to secure the site they were after....

FrankWippery Fri 08-Jun-12 10:37:41

Stockwell I do know of quite a few people who have been shopped and either not made the first post, or had their place removed fairly swiftly after the offers went out. My three older children are 18, 17 and 15 and between them have a lot of friends at Graveney - mine aren't there though. I also know a lot of other children there from Y7 up (mostly siblings of my children's friends). I am currently looking at Graveney as a Sixth Form option for my DS for next September too, though I believe this easier at that stage. Bloody hope so anyway!

I also agree with PPs that, while it is an excellent school, they do seem to focus more on those in the top couple or three streams. I do totally get where you're coming from, but at the same time I am extremely uncomfortable with the knowledge that people will deliberately move to an area with the specific knowledge that they will not stay there once their child(ren) have got their places at a particular school.

Wandsworth are most certainly changing their admissions criteria and when I can find the wretched (and enormous) book I've received, I will post the relevant bit on here for you. I am approaching the horrendous job of finding a primary school for my youngest DD for next September. My older three went to Honeywell which is a fantastic school, however I almost literally need to live on one of the building's chimneys to guarantee a place grin. My two nearest primary schools are, frankly, crap. I don't go to church and nor am I about to start, so the faith schools on my doorstep are also out. I am dreading it...

As an extra point, I would have a look at Bolingbroke too. I have 9 friends whose children will be starting there this September and they are all really positive about it. By the time my DD3 is ready for Year 7, the school will have been running with all years for a couple of years, and it is certainly one that is at the top of my future lists for her.

BeingFluffy Fri 08-Jun-12 10:41:17

I know someone who teaches there - they are apparently going to give teachers' kids priority over the distance criteria applicants from next year. Her kids are still quite young so she hasn't decided whether to send them there. She does say that the top streams get more attention than those at the bottom but that is the case with my DD's comp as well.

If you have a look at the new admissions criteria on their website it does say something about reserving the right to check applicants addresses against the electoral roll and the address held by the primary school. Perhaps as an academy they no longer have free access to the council tax registers? Just speculation - also don't know if they mean the public electoral roll or the one held by the council which includes those not publically visible - but it seems to be a heads up that they are checking.

StockwellLiving Fri 08-Jun-12 10:49:14

Frank - Thanks. People in my area do it and get in and not had places withdrawn (so interesting to hear about places actually being withdrawn). Why are some people then caught and not others?

Bolingbroke is a non-starter unless you go to one of the "feeder" schools .....

gazzal2 - Thanks. Yes, I understand that. If I missed out I'd shop someone too....

BeingFluffy - there was a thread a while back as to whether teachers' DCs taking priority would make that much of a difference (given the size of the school and the number of teachers likely to have age 11 children each year). I can't find it now, but think the consensus was it wouldn't make much difference.

tiggytape Fri 08-Jun-12 11:02:28

Children who are adopted will also get priority from next year. Previosuly it was just looked after children but now it will also include children adopted at any age. The numbers involved aren't likely to be high but it means adopted children from any distance now get priority and in London lots of people will travel. As of next year, the 1st priority after the test will be:
"(i)Children Looked After or children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order)"

The teacher priority will probably have more of an effect in years to come when teachers start to take jobs based on favourable admission arrangements in good schools. It is unlikely to have much immediate effect because it has been introduced on quite short notice so anyone with an 11 year old is too late to move.
But it could mean in future years teachers only stay at the good schools long enough to get their older child in and then are free to move job and rely on sibling policy for all younger children. Therefore instead of X number of staff = X number of potential applicants, the numbers could balloon as staff leave and new staff take their role (and their admission priviledges).

gazzalw Fri 08-Jun-12 11:05:05

Sorry I sound really harsh and I don't mean to be, but I think that there is so much angst in London, particularly about securing a good secondary school place for one's child, that people will behave in a manner that doesn't really fit their normal behaviour patterns!

Have you considered somewhere like Greycoats in Victoria - for girls? Isn't that supposed to be good?

FrankWippery Fri 08-Jun-12 11:07:20

Luck of the draw I guess. I really don't know.

Actually 5 of the children I know who are going to Bolingbroke are not from any of the feeder schools. Three are from preps around Wandsworth/Clapham, one is from a Tooting Bec primary and the other is at a Balham primary. All were offered places at the first doling out time.

Certainly from my older DDs years, between 50 and 60% of their classmates went into the independent sector at Year 7. I know this unusual and I'm not entirely sure what the case is now from Honeywell, but I do wonder.

I also know a few teachers at Graveney. Some have their kids at the school, some don't. But they're all older children so I think they would have gone through the 'normal' admissions channels back then.

FrankWippery Fri 08-Jun-12 11:08:16

Oh - and yy to Greycoats - excellent school.

gazzalw Fri 08-Jun-12 11:23:47

You could try for Bolingbroke - it's quite possible that until it has really made a name for itself there will be more flexibility in terms of admissions and therefore getting a place! Nothing ventured nothing gained!

good to hear that Greycoats is still a good school.

I wouldn't fall into the trap of thinking that Graveney is the be all and end all.

What is your daughter interested in as other options might suit? Is she arty/into performing arts/musical

As I've said the comps in Sutton are generally well-regarded

Think you need to think creatively and if at all possible think in a way that is not going to land you in deep water....

ElizabethSwann Fri 08-Jun-12 11:32:59

Gosh the horror of having your child mixing with a child like mine ( council estate).

Good to see that he is already condemned before adulthood as a "to be avoided" type courtesy of his address.

Isn't life (and utter snobbery) grand?

That's my volley - hope you ducked! Please don't necessarily condemn us all based on where we live.

twoterrors Fri 08-Jun-12 11:35:58

The OP is talking about moving her permanent address, albeit for a short time.

So if she said she was moving for 3 years or thereabouts, or even moved intending to stay but then needed to move again to be closer to work, there would be no problem? If so, what is an acceptable length of time to have in mind when you move? And doesn't that standard rather favour people who don't plan ahead and move a lot, because they can say honestly that when they move in they plan to stay? A lot of people rent very close by, get their first child in, then move just slightly further away for a bigger house (well within what could be seen as the school's local community and natural catchment) - where does that score on this scale of wrongdoing?

Surely the only real standard should be whether you fill in the form accurately and truthfully. Not what is in your head at the time you fill it in.

(my heard agrees with all the contributing to community, having local friends stuff, as I am sure the OP's does - I just don't see how anything is relevant really other than whether you tell the truth on the CAF - the OP is being very honest about what is in her head, others may not be, or may not think so clearly).

As to how long you have to stay to make it count, I think you will know what when the times comes, but it could be more than a year. Or you might decide to stay anyway!

The op is talking about renting for a year and then going back to her home.

So that's not permanent is it.

elizabethswann same as my DCs, god forbid any middle class children should mix with my council estate dwelling working class children....oh wait,but they do, at their selective schools, which they got into with zero tutoring and no lying about where we live.

I guess we must have slipped through the cracks, funny how they are doing so well despite their terrible start in life.

I'm sure your dc just like the majority of estate living DCs is a wonderful child and all the better for not been bought up thinking people are beneath him and he should do everything in his power to avoid a certain class of people.

tiggytape Fri 08-Jun-12 12:15:58

twoterrors - The OP is talking about moving her permanent address, albeit for a short time.

That is a contradiction in terms. It is not a permanent home if you keep your old house and don't sell it. The definition of "permanent" isn't just about time frames.

A permanent home is where you live with the intention of either staying or moving if you do move oneday, moving to a new house altogether. Having your old home (your real home) in reserve to return to, by definition, makes any time you stay in a rented house only temporary.

And this is the purpose of electoral role and council tax checks when they are applied. If you rent a new house and don't sell your old house at just the time school applications are due then the council can refuse to accept this rented address as your permanent home.
You might have special circumstances to explain the reason for doing this (eg your family house has been condemned as unfit for habitation and you've had to move out for a year while the damage is repaired) in which case you'd have to prove all this to the council for them to accept it as your proper address.

BUT if you basically hang on to your family home and rent a new one for a year or so, the rented house never becomes your permanent home because you still have the old one to go back to. Councils don't need to prove you are in the wrong when they refuse your application on these grounds. The burden of proof is on you to show your rented home is your real one and that you have good reason for still owning your old 'out of catchment' house too. That of course assumes the council finds out about your real house which is the risk that anyone takes when they do this.

In short - there is no legitimate way to rent a house just for school places. Some people do it and get away with it. Others do it and get caught. It is always against admission rules so it is always a risk but in some areas it is less risky than others purely because less checks are made.

gazzalw Fri 08-Jun-12 12:44:54

Er I don't think this is a class issue per se.... plenty of good people live on council estates just as plenty of not very nice people live in privately owned dwellings.

But at the end of the day we all want our children to get the best education possible. I do think that if the Govt put a selective intake in all secondary schools they would be more appealing to local parents and there wouldn't be these vast chasms in the intakes/perceived quality of the schools.

At the end of the day most parents look at the results of a school rather than the demographic of children attending. Sometimes there is a correlation and sometimes there isn't - we are generally all out to find the best options for our child(ren).

Incidentally living on a council estate in London does not demographically label you anyway....know plenty of degree-educated people living in social housing in the capital

But some schools are just plain rough and unsafe unless your face fits. With the best will in the world if one can avoid them for one's child one will - and I grew up on a Council Estate albeit a small and nice one.

StockwellLiving Fri 08-Jun-12 13:04:41

tantrums second time you mentioned that now. I am sure the rest of the cohort (or their parents) feel very smug at how socially mixed the school actually is - given how you did in fact slip through the cracks. smile.

tiggytape I think you must be right on "permanent" - thats' the key word. REntal place would be my home, but I'd move out after a while that's true. So perhaps I would be lying after all....

What gazzalw says really (have a couple of friends who live on an estate - nice cheap non-commercial rent - allows them to engage in lots of nice middle class stuff like ski holidays .... If there were truly comprehensive local schools (in both ability and social class) in inner London then I (we all) wouldn't have to do this: I'd be fine with a mix. It just doesn't exist. Even at DCs primary, middle class kids are distinct (small) minority. Fine for primary (we made that chaoice), but for secondary, the reality is that in inner london the middle classes generally (almost all) move out, rent, find religion, go indie, (tutor and) go selective. I'd rather not move out but do want to avoid the local catchment secondary. I will certainly reconsider the renting strategy if (for this school!) it turns out it may not work - but at the moment, it doesn't really sound as if Graveney/Wandworth are that hot at checking .....

The op was the one who said she wanted a nice middle class school.

I understand wanting your Dc to go to the best school, I understand that there are some schools that most parents irrelevant of class will go to great lengths to avoid but there are so many local children ending up at these rough schools because their parents play by the rules and don't catchment rent, they should be the DCs that are going to the schools that can't because people like the op catchment rent.

We live in muswell hill where there are some very good primary schools and places are being taken by DCs who live miles away but catchment rent a flat, use the documents to get their DCs into the schools and then rent out the flat to someone else.

My next door neighbours DS goes to school in wood green, despite actually living in muswell hill as all the schools are over subscribed, but 6 DCs in my DS yr 3 class live in crouch end, wood green and tottenham and have gained their place by catchment renting, the parents are quite proud of this and happy to tell anyone.

Quite how they think they will get them into the secondary schools I don't know, I dare say by catchment renting again.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 08-Jun-12 13:14:58

Most MNs participating in this forum(ducks and waits for volley) want to avoid kids from the estates

Bollocks.

Some schools are quite rough, if your face doesn't fit; gazza is correct there. Although inner-city comps don't have the monopoly on that ime.

Op, when I applied online last October part of the process was a declaration that I was applying using our permanent address. I imagine the process is the same nationwide so yes, you'd be committing fraud.

doggiemumma Fri 08-Jun-12 13:15:41

So what the OP is saying is, that she wants to rent a SECOND home in order to secure the best school for her child? biscuit

OhDearConfused Fri 08-Jun-12 13:17:00

Living also in SW london, I know of parents at our local primary (nowhere near enough to get in otherwise on distance) also rent to get into Graveney. Some are open about it (others - the suspicion in the playground is - lie and say the (not super-bright) DC got in on "selective" basis). Interestingly, there is no real criticim of those that do: more a general sense of its what you need to do.

But back to the OP, I know of noone who was found out. I agree it seems as if you can get away with it in Wandsworth.

And this is just my opinion, and a lot of people might not agree but do you not think the reason there is no mix in schools is because people catchment rent?

I know it's unrealistic but if everyone who did not go down the private, selective route went to their actual local school then there would be a mix wouldn't there?

I don't know, there are some excellent state secondaries in north London that do GENUINLEY have a mix, and do very well academically, not all of them obviously, I would just love to see a system where catchment renting doesn't happen but I guess it's unrealistic.

I suppose there are just too many schools people want to avoid but I just think, if you know you are in catchment for a school you hate, then move. But actually move.

FrankWippery Fri 08-Jun-12 13:22:09

OhDearConfused...I know of a fair few over the past 7 years who have been found out - at Graveney and a couple of the primaries too. And certainly before that when my older three were at Honeywell four families were affected at there alone. I say affected - they got their places fraudulently and thus withdrawn, so karma I guess.

doggiemumma Fri 08-Jun-12 13:24:43

If this government had any spine at all it would take steps to ensure that there isnt a tiered education system dependant on how much money your parents have. It seems to be based on whether you can afford school fees (most can't) then if you can buy into a posh catchment area then "the rest". It is plain wrong. I wonder what Mr Cameron would be doing now if he were born to poor parents who couldnt afford a decent school or even to be able to send him to university?? Now don't get me wrong, i dont have a problem with private schools - but i have a massive problem with catchment lotteries.

OhDearConfused Fri 08-Jun-12 13:39:34

tantrums - never going to happen ... as you know. I've always hoped that everyone would stay put, but slowly everyone is preparing (my DC still in primary) to move/go church ...

doggiemumma 13 yr of a labour goverment - big improvements - but still the stratified educational system. It won't change under the condems (only will get worst). I actually think the way to remove is is to get rid of selectives and privates (Finland did that years ago) and move to a lottery system. Your point about Cameron is spot on. If the "ruling classes" for want of a better word would have to use genuinely comprehensive schools then they would be great and not something to avoid. Behaviour would be sorted, there would be proper setting, and proper provision for all bents. But, at the risk of repeating myself: "never going to happen". We are left with having to move, pay, cheat, or "making do". OP doesn't want to do the latter ....

doggiemumma Fri 08-Jun-12 13:42:42

She is lucky that she doesn't have to!

tiggytape Fri 08-Jun-12 13:44:55

doggie - I do agree with you. The situation is very unfair but the only solution is to force people to go to their local school which would be hugely unpopular to many who don't want their well behaved / bright / motivated / non street-wise kids fed to the lions (as they'd see it) to drag up standards (as they’d also see it).
People would also hold their hands up in horror at the lack of choice but choice is an alien concept in the London school system anyway. If you don't live in the school playground and don't have a sibling, you can't go to a school you like no matter how much you think it suits your child (unless you cheat of course).

I must admit we've seen a few schools implement sudden changes to admission criteria with next to no notice which has helped in our area.
If Graveney applicants suddenly all faced vetting of their entire council tax history as of October this year with no prior notice, it would probably sort out the problem for future years (with a high casualty rate for the year of the clamp down). Ditto if they shifted the sibling link or changed the testing procedures. Making it unpredictable makes people less able to hone in on one school to aim for and makes it more likely they will get a local school instead. Some schools do this eg suddenly changing the sibling criteria to make 'out of catchment' siblings a lower priority than local children (especially where renting for places has been an issue in previous years). It reduces the motivation or ability to cheat or to move for places. It keeps everyone on the back foot a bit and stops people planning a cheat years in advance. It also stops people moving legitimately just for catchment areas because who’s to say they won’t change the admission criteria again or introduce banding or a lottery system or change the sibling link again?

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Fri 08-Jun-12 13:51:58

I have very immediate experience of this: my neighbours. We're in Merton and they did exactly this 18 months ago - rented out their house then rented nearer to Graveney. Son got in. Unfortunately for them, someone found out, shopped them and the son's place was withdrawn shortly before Christmas. They then struggled to find him a place somewhere and he's ended up at an academy quite some way from home. To be fair, they knew it was a risk and I'd done my best cat's bum face when she told me they were doing it. But we're delighted to have them back next door as they're a lovely family and the South Africans they'd rented out to rather like a party!

StockwellLiving Fri 08-Jun-12 14:04:05

TheReturn etc - yikes! "Shortly before christmas" presumably meaning (at risk of stating the obvious) that the DS had actually started at the school. How dreadful. I somehow thought that if you were caught out, then to be have the place removed it would have to be before the DC had started .....

StockwellLiving Fri 08-Jun-12 14:04:54

... but of course .... they were going to move back anyway once they got the place, so you needn't have missed them too long.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Fri 08-Jun-12 14:08:03

Well, their plan was to stay away for 2 years, I think. But yes, the poor boy had actually started, got to know the school, made friends, etc. Not that he seems unhappy now, but his parents certainly wanted a "better" school for him.

Someone mentioned Greycoats earlier in the thread. Their DD is there (she's 15).

StockwellLiving Fri 08-Jun-12 14:12:04

Yes - Greycoats is a possibility - and am of course going to digest all this and rethink the renting strategy. But we would also hope to get my DS into same school (cue: debate on fairness of sibbling policy.....) smile

Needmoresleep Fri 08-Jun-12 14:22:43

Sorry to disappoint you, but Greycoats is tough as well.

I know people there who again did not meet the stringent religious or other criteria and so ended up needing proximity...eg renting.

crazymum53 Fri 08-Jun-12 15:02:01

If you were to sell your current house and buy a property nearer to the school that would be fine, of course, if you could afford it. Then a few years down the line you could sell the new property and move further away again.
Renting closer to the school would only really work if you were already living in rented accommodation.

didofido Fri 08-Jun-12 15:02:56

I don't agree that the child who lives next door is any more 'entitled' than one who lives 5 miles away. As I said before, all parents pay through taxes and all (well, most) try to do what they perceive to be best for their own child. Life's like that.
Doesn't actually affect me because (a) I live in an area where there are places to spare at most schools, and (b) I use indies for part of my children's education. As for community - if you live in a village where everyone knows everyone else's business, or makes it up if they don't know, well, you can have far too much of it. Miss Marples Wotsitmead has nothing on it!

tiggytape Fri 08-Jun-12 15:33:36

dido - a lot of people might agree with you but it is different if you live in an area, unlike yours, that has all over subscribed schools. In areas like this, when people start moving about short term for school places it leaves some people with no space at all or a place miles from home.

When you have 2000+ people applying for about 200 places then most people are not going to get the school they want no matter how much tax they've paid. There has to be a way of deciding who gets the places (or in other words how you choose the 90% of applicants who are going to be disappointed).

The problem with people cheating on distance is that if a family genuinely live 800m away from a London school and fail to get a place, because other people have rented closer than them, then they have no alternative schools to go to. They'll get allocated one miles away from home.
The people who rented short term do have schools near their own homes that would take them but they just don't want to go to them. So the short term renters in effect turn their back on their local option and buy themselves somebody else's local option instead. Which causes that displaced person a lot of grief because their second nearest and third nearest schools will be too full to take them and therefore they won't get a local school at all.

In London it is not just about good schools and bad schools. It is also about schools becoming full to capacity within tiny catchment areas which, if artificially shrunk further by people renting close to schools, will exclude some people from getting any local school place at all. Lack of places in general is such a huge issue in London that I am glad councils and schools are clamping down on this and that some people are getting caught. It doesn’t have to be everybody but if more and more get thrown out of the school every year, hopefully it will make people think twice about taking the risk.

tiggytape Fri 08-Jun-12 15:45:21

That sounded meaner than I intended - sorry.
I wouldn't wish getting a place withdrawn or being thrown out of school on any 11 year old. It isn't their fault if their parents cheat and to lose their place in the first term must be very upsetting for them.

I just meant that in a general sense, if other parents know it sometimes happens then hopefully it would reduce the temptation to cheat which it turn would have a positive effect on other 11 year olds who suffer because of cheating. Some children will miss out if others cheat and as a result potentially be left with no option but to travel miles across borough to get to school or have to leave Year 6 without any of their friends going to the same school as them.

StockwellLiving Fri 08-Jun-12 15:59:06

tiggy - I understand all that, and didn't really want to get into the rights and wrongs. However, when you write:

The problem with people cheating on distance is that if a family genuinely live 800m away from a London school and fail to get a place, because other people have rented closer than them, then they have no alternative schools to go to. They'll get allocated one miles away from home. The people who rented short term do have schools near their own homes that would take them but they just don't want to go to them.

The same can be true if someone moves permanently to get into the school (planning to say for 7 years or whatever), the person 800m out loses a place. And they are still left in the "black hole" you (very correctly) describe. Morally superior perhaps (the mover over the renter); but the consequence on those near the boundary are the same.

Having said that - definitely rethinking this all... Thanks for the thoughts.

A number of LA are now explicitly stating that if you rent a home and own a home then home you own will be treated as your address. So if you own a home relatively near where you rent I think you may find the council don't accept the rental property as your permenant address for admissions purposes. If you sold your home and then rented you are fine.

tiggytape Fri 08-Jun-12 16:22:56

fair enough Stockwell - its not a great situation for many people which is why I guess these things can descend into the moral argument but I know what you mean.

Putting that aside and just looking at it purely as a viable / non viable option, I guess the consensus is that a few years ago it would have been easy to get away with it, more recently some people have been caught and in future therefore a risk exists by doing it that you'd have to factor in.

I guess if your local school is truly awful and always has dozens of spare places that they can't fill then you might decide you have nothing to lose. But if you have any O.K schools near your real house that you stand half a chance of getting into then renting and applying to Graveney would mean losing all chance of getting a place at those should your Graveney place later be withdrawn and then you'd face being sent to a school miles away that was probably not on anyone list.

Hardboiled Fri 08-Jun-12 16:53:34

@gazzalw I always like what you say.

gazzalw Fri 08-Jun-12 17:02:24

Thanks blush!

StockwellLiving Fri 08-Jun-12 17:05:16

Thanks tiggy. Yes I wanted to put the morals to one side and look only at viability (for Graveney). You (and others) make some good points here that I will certainly dwell on.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 08-Jun-12 17:28:51

cue: debate on fairness of sibling policy.....

Well I can answer that. At secondary level, in an urban environment with half-decent public transport, there shouldn't be one. hth grin

gazzalw Fri 08-Jun-12 17:41:20

I've previously said that....they don't need to be at the same schools and often aren't if they go to single gender schools anyway....

Ive always thought that, not a popular view though tbh

gazzalw Fri 08-Jun-12 17:45:12

I think at some stage the sibling policy will go out of the window...in a way it discriminates against families with single children......

That's so true, there used to be a sibling policy at DDs school which has been phased out now.

mumwithtwokids Fri 08-Jun-12 17:49:26

We live in a borough where the majority of our primary and secondary schools are massively oversubscribed. Yes you got it, many local kids miss out due to tactics of this nature.

The sooner the council and schools crack down on this behaviour the better. Why should local children be denied access to local schools just because they happen to live in borough with good schools which everyone else wants access to? I know it's not what you want to hear and I’m not having a pop at you but I've just gone through the secondary school allocations experience which was super stressful. Whilst it worked out for us, I can tell you that there were many who didn't get the news they were hoping for despite meeting the criteria.

Everyone wants the best for their children, that I can relate to but I find this tactic very underhanded, selfish and completely inconsiderate. If yourself and other parent's aren't happy with the performance of school's within your area then you should start making some noise. I can tell you that up to 3-4 years ago many of the local comps in our area were poor however that has now changed dramatically.

twoterrors Fri 08-Jun-12 18:58:56

OK, so the definition of a permanent address is what is in your head at the time you move out?

I still don't think that makes sense, sorry. I do agree about the morality of all this, I just don't see how that definition sticks.

If you rent out the house you own, rent somewhere else, change electoral roll address, council tax, utilities, everything, are people really saying it is not permanent from the POV of the CAF because of what was in your head when you moved?

I just don't see how that can be - not least because life is not that certain. You might never move back because you fall in love with the new area or one of its inhabitants!

Surely the council has to define a permanent address as for example the electoral roll one?

And yes, people who move around a lot have a succession of permanent addresses. And a right to school places.

Needmoresleep Fri 08-Jun-12 19:01:26

What is fair or not fair has become very blurred.

DD did not get a place at our nearest school five or so minutes walk away because it is a sought after church school, we are not religious enough and we live the wrong side of the borough boundary. Children commute from across London to this school.

I would be surprised if all the pupils were as religious as they claim to be. Would I criticise any of my neighbours if they rented a flat in the right borough to be sure of a place? No. DD did not get any of her choices, and was offered a troubled school some distance and a difficult journey away. We had anticipated the problem and she had a place at an independent school. But what about those who can't afford to pay.

tiggytape Fri 08-Jun-12 19:43:46

twoterrors - the word permanent is pretty clear. If you rent house B a few months before the admission deadline yet have a mortgage on house A and have lived at house A for the previous 5 years and have not sold house A and are registered for primary school under house A then you're going to have a pretty tough job convincing anyone who investigates that your permanent address is suddenly house B!

At the end of the day, the council doesn't have to define permanent address in terms of black and white criteria. We all know very well what it means. If they defined it as electoral roll address, the number of cheaters would triple or quadruple overnight. Suddenly everyone would be registered to vote at Granny's house!
The fact that the onus is on the applicant to prove themselves is what makes the system fair (and uncertain for cheaters). It works on the basis that if the council doesn't believe you, it will force you to prove your case or not have your application under that address processed. There may be cases where people genuinely own one house and rent another that is nothing to do with schools admissions. In that case they are allowed to submit this evidence.

Needmoresleep - I agree it is not a fair system because most London schools have more applicants than they can deal with so in effect the whole process is geared towards choosing who loses out. But that doesn't mean introducing cheating makes it more fair. It isn't the system though that loses when people actively cheat - it is individual families and often poorer ones or more vulnerable ones (people living on the outer fringes of catchments in cheaper housing are more likely to lose out to cheaters in London than wealthy people who can afford to live safely in catchment). Whoever you displace by cheating is a child no less deserving than your own. And cheating is not some strike against the unfair system - it just harms somebody else's child and family life.

twoterrors Fri 08-Jun-12 20:32:27

But none of those things prove you intend to move back do they? Loads of people round me move - really permanently, totally legitimately - to get their older child into catchment and rather than disrupt their younger children put up with schlepping them to primary till they leave. None of them as far as I know have been challenged. If they decide they hate their new area and move back, are they legit because that was not in their head when they moved?

Yes, a few months looks dodgy, but how do they prove you don't intend to make it permanent? I don't see how someone can be asked to prove what is in their head. You may not sell your house because market conditions are bad, or you are becoming a landlord for income, or investing in property, or many other legitimate reasons. Cheaters will be able to make a case on this basis, in the same way tat they find loopholes elsewhere, surely?

I don't think it is as black and white as all that, if you do all the paperwork and actually live in the rented house for, say, two years?

We can all agree that it is not a fair system, nor am I defending it, just curious about this 'thought crime' aspect of the CAF that has passed me by......

OhDearConfused Fri 08-Jun-12 20:33:21

tiggy I know (we all know) people who own a house and also have an investment property. If you move to house B (say, renting whilst shopping around or saving for the "catchment premium" smile) and keep house A (and rent that out as investment property) and do all the things to make your address house B, ie a genuine move (whether it is permanent or not really then does turn on the intention at the time - which a council can never find out). I know that is not OP's position, but the criteria you are describing also captures this type of person genuinely moving who also keeps the old place.

Good point re putting the onus on the applicant, though, I suspect this is the only solution.

OhDearConfused Fri 08-Jun-12 20:34:03

Same type of thought twoterrors at the same time!

twoterrors Fri 08-Jun-12 21:02:40

Almost exactly same thought!

Thing is, putting the onus on the applicant just seems to me to be back to the most plausible liars, the people that think far ahead about how to cheat (a family of five, say, moving into catchment a good year ahead of time, and staying say till oldest in year 8, next four children can occupy spaces for next oooh 15 years perhaps?), people that can play the system still get to play it?

I'd be interested in an example of the wording where councils have attempted to specify what a permanent address is other than on utilities, council tax etc etc.

teacherwith2kids Fri 08-Jun-12 22:07:52

twoterrors,

Our local 'desirable' school
a) checks address on application, address known by primary school, address on entry to the school and address at Easter of Year 7. Any discrepancies create a query...and quite a lot of people don't make it through the screening, some leaving mid-way through Year 7..
b) removed its sibling priority (and replaced it with 'siblings in catchment only') with the minimum consultation period required by law....
I notice that it's tweaked its admissions criteria again a bit this year - basically it seems to aim to create a climate of sufficient uncertainty that deciding how to play the system too far in advance conveys little advantage.

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 08-Jun-12 22:25:30

Scrapping the siblings rule will sort out an awful lot of this corrupt jostling for position.

I can see virtually NO argument for siblings getting an automatic place at any secondary school.

AngelEyes46 Fri 08-Jun-12 22:45:33

Bibbity - would you not want your dcs to attend the same school? My ds' started primary and we then moved to a bigger house which as the crow flies was about a mile away from the school (our old house was 0.9 miles away). The house we are in now is just out of catchment but due to being a different area, houses were cheaper hence as being able to move. As the sibling rule applied my dd got in but she wouldn't if she did not have any siblings. If the 'sibling in catchment' rule applied, then people would be loathe to move (other than in their immediate area). It would have been a nightmare for me to have dcs at different schools in primary (in secondary a completely different story).

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 08-Jun-12 22:50:23

My dc will not be going to the same school - they are not the same sex and we do not have the choice in my neck of the woods. If my dc can manage then I don't see why everyone else's shouldn't.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Sat 09-Jun-12 05:33:57

Angel, we had children a couple of streets away from their nearest school having to travel a few miles instead because so many places were taken by siblings whose parents moved somewhere nicer once their pfb was safely in their chosen primary.

It caused a lot of resentment. The rules have changed now and are much fairer; usual looked after rule, in catchment sibs, catchment non-sibs, out-of-catchment.

At secondary it should confer no advantage at all -why on earth should it?

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Sat 09-Jun-12 05:36:28

Sorry Angel, I see you acknowledge the difference between primary and secondary blush

ripsishere Sat 09-Jun-12 06:45:03

I am in a tricky position. I have just returned from London where I attempted to rent a house.
The estate agents had bugger all to show me because 'a lot of people have rented them out in order to have an address to get their children into a decent school'.
IMO, that is immoral. I did manage to find one house and, fingers crossed it is ours. I now have the unenviable job of finding a school for my DD.
She is 11 and will go into seniors this year.

AngelEyes46 Sat 09-Jun-12 08:32:22

It is difficult re: siblings. I think I am still leaning towards the sibling rule should apply for primary but not secondary. As per my example, we had to move (2 bed house for 5 of us) but if we had stayed in the 'correct' area, would have cost us an addt 20K. As for the OP's initial question, if she looks at ripsi's comments, she may see the unfairness. However, what she's asking is whether she will get away from it and she may very well do so!

twoterrors Sat 09-Jun-12 09:37:38

Thanks for that example teacherwith2kids. That is the sort of thing I have seen before, and that applies around where I live, so nothing about your intention at the time of moving, or where you think of as your permanent home: it is down to actually living at the new address at certain times, and getting your paperwork in order. And if you moved for a couple of years you might well be fine. I take your point about moves to create uncertainty but I do think those will be hard to make fair in the long run, as people may well be able to come up with plausible - or indeed truthful - reasons for frequent moves, and some will be better at that than others!

On siblings, I agree with many here but also think that it is reasonable that families should be able to move to bigger houses as they grow (which often means moving off the doorstep of popular schools); and I think it is good for communities and for schools for families to have some certainty about schools so they can put down roots: would it work to define an area around the school that is a bit larger than that from which people usually get in, and that includes a good mix of housing, and say people can move within that and retain the sibling advantage, but if they move outside it, they take their chances with everyone else?

tiggytape Sat 09-Jun-12 09:54:05

twoterrors - frequent moves aren't a problem. People who rent often have to move frequently as landlords are liable to kick you out after 6 months.
It's having a "real" home sitting in reserve that makes any rented house a temporary one not a permanent one! Why would you hang on to your mortgaged, out of catchment house unless you planned to return there once you'd got a place using your rented address? And if you have a good answer to that question is negative equity or an uninhabitable house then you can prove this to the council.
You don't have to prove the contents of your head just hard facts about what innocent reason you would want to have 2 separate homes all of a sudden just as school admissions start.

teacherwith2kids - That's what our local schools have been doing too - changes to admission policy with the minimum consultation required by law. One school proposed the changes just before Christmas (too early for new pupils to be looking, too late for the new Year 7's to care) and it was all agreed by early Spring and came into effect the next September.
So in the space of 9 months they'd turned admissions process on its head and prevented a lot of people cheating from out of area to get a place.
I think it is a good idea. There is no way to stop people cheating really except making sure a % of them get caught and lose their places as a

Sibling policy is encouraged in schools but often abused in oversubscribed areas. There is a difference (morally) between moving slightly further away as a family grows and intentionally living in a studio flat just to get the oldest child into school then promptly moving 4 miles away to a bigger and cheaper property and sending both younger siblings to that school over the next 4 years.
In primary it causes huge issues - people living 400m from their nearest school cannot get a place as 25/30 places go to siblings. Which is fine except the next nearest school cannot take them, or the third nearest school. Some people end up being allocated their 10th or 15th closest school because of the sheer number of siblings getting priority. There used to be overlap - many siblings would also live in catchment but now many siblings live way outside catchment leaving no room for local children at all. Again there has to be a balance between what is fair for existing children and solving the problem of some local children without sibling being sent many miles away to school.

teacherwith2kids Sat 09-Jun-12 09:56:53

Twoterrors,

Your point on siblings - the 'priority admissions area' [= catchment, but worded to make it clear that people living in it are not guaranteed a place] around the school is, in fact, larger than the usual admissions distance [though this year, being a low number year locally, the two were more or less identical].

So yes, 'siblings in this priority admissions area' are very likely to be admitted from a slightly larger area than 'other children in this priority admissions area' in most years. It is quite possible, as long as the rules remain the same - and that is what I mean by creating uncertainty, there is no indication that the rules WILL remain the same - to move out to the edges of the priority catchment area and still get siblings in under this rule.

It is a secondary school, though - and I take the point above that the arguments for a sibling rule at primary are MUCH stronger than for secondary.

teacherwith2kids Sat 09-Jun-12 10:03:07

Tiggy - cross posted.

One thing I did not make clear in my first post was that the secondary school reuqests ALL addresses of that pupil during primary school, not just at the point of leaving. In the case of 'suspicious' moves - ie a family which has lived in a large family house for 6 years suddenly moves into a small flat next to the deisrable school just in time for applications to go in - then they investigate whether the family still owns the previous house, and that is one of the common reasons for a child whose place was obtained fraudulently being turned down or removed from the school.

tiggytape Sat 09-Jun-12 10:22:10

Teacher - That is a very good policy and hopefully one more schools and councils will adopt.
We were told that the address regsitered with the primary school could be checked but I don't know if they check every single address used throughout the pupil's time at school. Either way it is a good idea. The catchment areas are just so tight that it really isn't fair on the majority of people who play by the rules and take their chances (not to mention people in social housing who can't move and people too poor to rent an extra home for a year).

All it takes is for a few people to get caught and have their places withdrawn during Year 7, as has happened at Graveney and other popular schools, to make parents in subsequent years decide not to risk it (or to move house properly not just rent an extra home).

twoterrors Sat 09-Jun-12 12:02:49

Teacher, thanks for explaining.

I still don't think it is that black and white. What is one person's good reason may be another's idiocy, so I do think it could come back to a thought crime. I wonder whether deliberately creating uncertainty over the rules and then removing places because in the council's view the family's explanation fr their moves was not adequate, has been tested legally?

gazzalw Sat 09-Jun-12 12:07:11

Er I would actually say that people in social housing have more options to move than those of us who have our own houses but don't have the spare cash to move on a whim.

A lot of the children at DCs' school who live in social housing always seem to be house/flat swapping.... but strangely they don't seem to do it with an eye on the good schools - it seems to be about living closer to their families/in a larger house etc....

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Sat 09-Jun-12 12:13:24

Maybe where you live gazza hmm

You can (and likely will) wait years to exchange, unless you live in a particularly desirable place, in many, many areas.

gazzalw Sat 09-Jun-12 12:24:27

This is in London - it seems to happen frequently and I'm not exaggerating. I can recall thinking that theoretically it would mean that people in social housing could move to the areas with better schools if they so wished but as I said I've not noticed that they use it for such underhand school gazumping practices - that is obviously a middle-class fraud!

Granted I don't know how long it takes although with families from school the moves have happened within one-two year time-frames I would say - judging by conversations and when the moves happened.

tiggytape Sat 09-Jun-12 12:38:04

twoterrors - it is about being fair. What possible good reason could someone have for renting a house in catchment when they already own a family home elsewhere and have lived in it for years right up until school places become an issue?

It isn't about thought crime.
Its a bit like saying you are not allowed to walk along the road with a baseball bat and if you do you will be arrested BUT if you can prove that your reason for carrying the bat is entirely innocent no action will be taken against you eg you can prove are a world class baseball player carrying a signed bat to a charity auction.
You could say merely carrying a bat along a road is not a crime because nobody can prove what thought is in your head when you carry it. But the law says there's unlikely to be an innocent explanation for having a bat so you're not allowed to do it and if you do then you'd better be able to prove it is for a good reason.

It is the same with rented 2nd houses and school places. Why would you rent a 2nd home in a school catchment area unless it was to cheat and not declare your 1st home? If you have a good answer to that question the council will act on that. If not, it is assumed you are cheating because of course you are!

teacherwith2kids Sat 09-Jun-12 12:59:05

Twoterrors,

As tiggy says, there are quite a lot of situations in which things are forbidden by law because of the likelihood that the intention of the action is unlawful or likely to lead to harm even if the unlawful act or harm has not yet occurred.

In those cases, as in the case of fraudulent moves for school entry, the onus is on the person who has carried out the act to prove why the act is innocent.

Note, having a succession of rented addresses of which the last is in catchent is not going to pose any kind of problem. Nor is selling one house and buying another in catchment. Nor is owning a 'buy to let' property in one area while actually living in catchment. All of those are, upon investigation, absolutely fine though they may initially be flagged up on the 'this looks odd' list. The specific scenario where intention of fraud is assumed until proved otherwise is the rental of a property in catchment while retaining a family house elsewhere, especially where no other reasons such as change of place of employment or change of family circumstances exist.

twoterrors Sat 09-Jun-12 13:39:45

Really? You can be arrested and presumably charged for walking along the road with a baseball bat? I had no idea. What is the crime?

Yes, I can see with a lot of the examples you give that it would be clear cut but what I am trying to say, clearly not successfully, is that there could be a grey area. Lived outside catchment in family home for 3 years, move into catchment for 2, move out again, for example.

I dont want to hold up an interesting discussion though, so without any actual examples of admission policies that specify these criteria (ie well beyond proof of address at various points), let's leave it.

teacherwith2kids Sat 09-Jun-12 14:09:08

Absolutely appreciate that there could be a grey area. The aim is to make that grey area as small as possible.

For example, for the school I have experience of, your example of a move into catchment for 2 years would ONLY work if the family home was sold or if it was clear that there was no intention to move back (e.g. permanent conversion into flats for letting as an investment, or if the family home was at such a distance that the commute was unfeasible, as would happen if a family moved into the area from another part of the country and rented in catchment because they needed somewhere to live in that town but had not yet had time to sell the old house) - as otherwise the trail that showed a continuous mortgage or other paperwork at the out of catchment house would be sufficient to trigger an investigation and possible removal of the child from the school.

gramercy Sat 09-Jun-12 17:38:01

But surely the admissions order is siblings IN CATCHMENT, then those in catchment, then siblings out of catchment? So it would be pointless moving out of your rental after having got child no. 1 in, because your younger children would not leap-frog over anyone who lives in catchment. They would get priority over other out-of-catchment chancers, but would not trump anyone living near the school but who had no older sibling.

OhDearConfused Sat 09-Jun-12 17:46:15

Not in many (most) schools. And certainly not in Graveney. Siblings in Timbuktu would take priority over local kids smile

gazzalw Sat 09-Jun-12 17:53:29

Well Graveney has recently stopped the siblings of extension-entry pupils getting a rite of passage into the school - which is good....

tiggytape Sat 09-Jun-12 18:14:54

No gramercy - not all schools have the same admission rules. In some schools you can get the older child a place and then move miles and miles away from the school and still get all your younger children an automatic place.

Schools can choose how they operate the sibling rule but the more the sibling rule is abused (or the more local children there are with no place) the more likely it is that they will introduce the rule you have which is in catchment siblings first then local children then out of catchment siblings last.

gramercy Sun 10-Jun-12 10:25:49

I stand corrected, then.

Hampshire operates the catchment over siblings out of catchment rule, which makes sense. The dcs go to very oversubscribed schools, and it would be bedlam - not to mention carnage - if siblings out of catchment got a look in!

gazzalw Sun 10-Jun-12 11:05:46

This is why Graveney has a catchment area of 800 metres (or so)! Since the siblings of extension-pupils have been excluded from automatic entry (unless of course they live in catchment) I think the catchment area has extended by 100 metres or so - no doubt it would extend significantly further if the school operated a no sibling policy....

twoterrors
The baseball bat could be caught under s1 Prevention of Crime Act 1953 - carrying of an offensive weapon without lawful authority or reasonable excuse where an offensive weapon is defined as
"“offensive weapon” means any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him "

In the case of the baseball bat, it is your intention for carrying it that matters as it is not an article made or adapted for causing injury but it is something that could clearly be used to cause personal injury if you wanted.

There other similar offences like s25 Theft Act 1968 - Going equipped for stealing. Which is why the police could stop you and ask why you were walking down the road with a crowbar even if you were just going to a neighbours to help them unjam their shed door.

irisjohnson Sun 10-Jun-12 12:04:54

gazzalw, I think Graveney is re-introducing sibling policy regardless of catchment from 2013. They are also changing the way they measure distance so it is done as a straight line rather than walking route. All of which from my point of view is fabulous and perfect timing, as someone who was a few metres outside catchment area when ds1 got in last year and therefore dependent on younger siblings doing equally well in the test. (Actually we were well inside the distance this year so maybe we would have been lucky.)

I appreciate that this means the distance will probably shrink again so more local children will lose out but I'm at that point of just being happy that it looks as though we will be OK.

It is a real shame though that children come from so far around. My son's friends in his class all live miles away so there is no popping in and out of each other's houses in the way that his old primary school friends who are in upper or middle and got in on distance can.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 12:24:56

You are right iris about them prioritising all siblings again and measuring in a straight line for 2013 applicants.
They've also added a bit about verifying addresses with the primary schools so hopefully even if catchment doesn't increase, cheaters will be weeded out at an earlier stage (before they even get an offer).

Its actually these kind of changes to admissions from time to time that help to deter cheaters in the first place because if you're not sure from one year to the next which siblings or distance criteria will be used then you are in less position to plan a cheat in advance. If everyone just has to take their chances it is much fairer. In your case it has worked out well but why shouldn't it work for you? You live close to the school and without the sibling changes (and the checks on primary school records to verify address), you would be very vulnerable to losing your place to people cheating by renting a bit closer. That obviously wouldn't be a fair outcome.

I don't think anyone minds the catchment area being small if the people getting places are those who are genuine applicants who happen to have met the admission criteria.

DownTheRoad Sun 10-Jun-12 12:31:09

OP, if your name gives the right clues, I would also be wary of your closest Academy.

However with a middle-performing child I would be asking whether Graveney is any better than any other school. It's results come from the selective streams. It has had it's fair share of bad behaviour reports including drug use.

Clapham Academy is well liked by many parents, it just hasn't developed the competitive buzz, Elm Green has excellent pastoral support, uses setting rather than streaming and has a great reputation, and have you looked at Dunraven and Chestnut Grove? Transport wise you could also have the option of entering the Kingsdale lottery.

All these options would have bigger catchments, involve cheaper temporary rental agreements and less chance of getting shopped.

Graveney isn't the holy grail!

teacherwith2kids Sun 10-Jun-12 12:32:08

"I don't think anyone minds the catchment area being small if the people getting places are those who are genuine applicants who happen to have met the admission criteria."

I think that is very true. In the past, before they changed the sibling rule and became so rigorous in chcking addresses, our local comprehensive had a large number of dissatisfied parents who felt that the system was unfair and favoured those 'abusing the system'.

This year, almost exactly the same children have got in as did in the past (all siblings in catchment, everyone else in catchment, siblings out of catchment who live in what used to be catchment until a couple of years ago (ie just outside the current catcment area)). However, because a very few children didn't get in who were very obviously 'playing the system' - siblings from a long way away, and those whose addresses didn't match up over the long term - and because the new system is so much more rigorous, pretty much every parent I have spoken to is happy with the system and perceive it as fair - even if they didn't get in.

gazzalw Sun 10-Jun-12 13:01:20

I wonder why they've decided to change the admissions criteria again?

No I don't mind at all if everyone's application is above board.

However, it's our closest school and we are still too far away by a matter of several hundred metres...It hasn't been an issue for DS as he ranked the grammars above Graveney on his CAF and happily got into one. However, we might be a lot more hmm when it comes to applying for secondary schools for DD - by which time the baby boomers will be hitting secondary school big time and getting a place at any half-decent school will get a whole lot more difficult (as if it's not difficult enough already!).

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 13:32:03

gazza - I guess any the time that distance siblings rank above test siblings there is a temptation to cheat to get a place.

A school which priorotises siblings of those who qualified on distance offers a massive insentive to cheat because it encouarges people to rent 200m away just to get a place and then return home to enjoy the sibling link for all future applications.

It might also put people off sitting the test if they think only one sibling could pass and that gaining a place on distance crieria carries more benefits. Some people have a very hard time getting a school place for their older child and know its probably only going to get worse in future years. This puts them off applying to schools with no sibling advantage (depending on where they live and what other local options are like).

As such they would rather their older child goes to a decent local school with future priority for younger siblings rather than perhaps a better school which won't then take their younger child at just the time when applications numbers are soaring and a sibling link would be more valuable.

The Grammar schools aren't allowed to give sibling priority at all so people who apply there do so knowing that a younger child isn't guaranteed to follow. But that's fine because the children who get a Grammar School place are exceptionally able and would not necessarily have their needs met at any other school. This makes the choice easier for their parents.
Graveney isn't quite in the same league as the Grammars so doesn't have that same appeal but it is able to offer a sibling link. Maybe they feel this will give them the edge on attracting people who want a semi selective education but also some kind of future security for younger children. It is also generally recommended that schools encourage siblings to stay together and is seen as more of a community friendly move if they do this.

twoterrors Sun 10-Jun-12 14:17:05

Chasz, thanks for the detail on that.

But I assume that means the police/Crown would have to have reason to think, and then to prove, that I had intention, not the other way round? For example, if I had been heard to make threats about someone?

My question all along has been how can you prove what your intention is, ie what is in your head? But others have now said that that yes there is a grey area, albeit a smaller one than under other systems, so that answers the question.

I am also curious about whether there have been legal challenges to admissions criteria that are deliberately left vague to avoid parents' gaming the system, given the requirements of the Admissions Code. Or is the vagueness in what is defined as a permanent address kept out of the actual admissions criteria?

I think it is great that your new system is perceived as fair teacher, that makes it much less divisive and also allows parents to plan properly and legitimately for their family's future.

OP, you could also seek at specialist places at schools like Chestnut Grove. Distance will be a secondary consideration then.

I think some authorities are seeking to reverse the burden of proof so you have to prove that you didn't suddenly rent out your family home and rent within catchment to gain an advantage in the admissions process.

This is from West Berkshire Council's admissions booklet
"Please note:
if you own a house and are renting another property, your owned property is considered as your permanent address
if you own two or more houses we may ask for evidence of your previous and current Council Tax bills to determine which is the permanent address"

see page 8

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 14:46:10

No twoterrors. You aren't getting it - sorry to be blunt but you have a fixed idea of what you think is right and aren't accepting that this is not how it works.

Doing something like carrying a knife / baseball bat / crow bar makes you guilty of an offence unless you can prove you have an innocent reason. The police can charge you just for carrying it even if you don't threaten anyone at all.
Laws about offensive weapons and going equipped to steal don't rely on the police seeing you do anything wrong. They rely on the police seeing you carrying something that you have no good reason to carry - that's it. That is the offence.

And so renting a house in catchment of a good school when you own a perfectly good house out of catchment makes you a cheater unless you can prove you are not.

I know you don't like this idea
I know you think it is immoral to punish people when you cannot prove their intentions (thought police and all that)
But that's the way it is both in law and in school admissions.
And the reason for this is that most people doing suspicious things like carrying crow bars in public or renting second homes near to good schools are doing so for dishonest reasons and the rules recognise this.

twoterrors Sun 10-Jun-12 15:46:11

Tiggytape

Actually, I really like the idea of a system that is fair and seen to be fair. Hence my curiosity about how it works in practice, and whether it has been challenged at all, legally, especially if the council are keeping the criteria deliberately vague.

As far as the baseball bat goes, your first quote said it either had to be a weapon OR there had to be intention. So I assumed that in the case of a non-weapon, intention would have to be proved, and that the onus would only be on the person carrying it to prove a reason if it was a weapon.

And my questions were about how intention is provable - or not - not whether I like the idea - as I say I like pretty well any idea that makes the system fairer and visibly so. Most councils seem to operate the utility bill etc system, presumably because it is clear cut (even if cheatable), so I don't think my curiosity is unreasonable. You have made assumptions about why I was asking these questions.

twoterrors Sun 10-Jun-12 15:53:42

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/offensive_weapons_knives_bladed_and_pointed_articles/index.html#a07

Explains exactly what I meant. If the intention line is used, it has to be proved. If it is a weapon or adapted for use as a weapon, intention does not have to be proved. That is what the CPS says.

EDUcrazy Sun 10-Jun-12 16:00:48

Quick Question: When one purchases a home in the catchment area of a 'good school', a home they wouldn't have otherwise have purchased, is that not also a lie? People in social housing don't have the privilege of manipulating the system in the same way as those from the middle classes, which is equally unfair.

SoupDragon Sun 10-Jun-12 16:03:15

"When one purchases a home in the catchment area of a 'good school', a home they wouldn't have otherwise have purchased, is that not also a lie? "

Not if they buy it with the intention of living in it.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 17:03:27

twoterrors - I am not sure whether you think the principle is unfair or whether you don't believe that it is not allowed but, if you own a lovely family home in Stockwell (for example) and then you decide to rent a home next to Graveney School without selling your family home this is cheating.
You cannot name the rented house as your permanent address all the time that you have a mortgaged house somewhere else. It doesn't matter at all about what intentions you have.
And you will lose your place at Graveney if they find out that this what you have done.
And they are more likely to find out now because they have introduced checks on the addresses you use for primary school and your council tax records.

A rented home can never be defined as a permanent address all the time you have a mortgaged house elsewhere except in very rare cases which you will be asked to prove (eg you have converted your family home into flats and are renting them out or your family home is unihabitable and you cannot go back there or your family home is in Scotland and there is not way you could move back and still commute to Graveney).
If you can prove any of these rare exceptions then you would keep your place at Graveney.
If you cannot prove a good reason for living in a rented house near to Graveney when you own a perfectly good house sitting empty in Stockwell then you will lose your place at Graveney because the only logical reason for your actions is fraud. The council don't have to prove you did it to cheat. You have to prove you didn't (you'd have to go to the LGO once your place was withdrawn to prove you are innocent - if indeed you are)

EDUcrazy - If you want a place at Graveney you can sell your home in Stockwell and move to a house (rented or purchased) near Graveney School. That is acceptable. It may be morally no better but it is within the rules.
This does make it hard for people in social housing BUT by clamping down on people who rent short term and cheat, it keeps the catchment areas bigger and helps poorer people.
Generally the houses right next to good schools cost a lot of money
Those further away might cost a bit less.
When people cheat, it is children on the fringes of catchment areas whose places are lost. By clamping down on cheats, the people on the fringes have more of a chance of getting a place because the catchment area isn't being artificially shrunk by people renting flats 200m from the school gates.

twoterrors Sun 10-Jun-12 17:22:55

"A permanent home is where you live with the intention of either staying or moving if you do move oneday, moving to a new house altogether."

This was your definition tiggytape. I have questioned all along how intention can come into it.

I think neither of those things. As I have said several times. You said the definition of a permanent home involved intention. I asked how this could be proved, on either side. Instead of answering you have become rude and provided what in fact turned out to be incorrect information about a marginally analogous situation.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 17:35:09

I am sorry if you think I am being rude. I cannot think of another way to say if you own one house and you rent another house the council will not believe the rented house is your permanent address. That's all really.

You are right. Some LA's spell it out in black and white (there's a quote below from one). Some LA's seem more lax about it. Generally the higher the pressure on school places in an area the tougher they are on this issue. Here's an example of how they spell it out to cover all angles that you think might be grey areas:

- If you own a house and are renting another property, your owned property is considered as your permanent address
- If you own two or more houses we may ask for evidence of your previous and current Council Tax bills to determine which is the permanent address

We will not accept the following as a permanent address:
- an address where two or more families claim to be living together in a property which is not suitable for the number of adults and children present
- an address for which there is no formal agreement e.g. tenancy agreement
- temporary addresses such as a short term move for the child unless this is part of a formal fostering/care arrangement

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 17:42:38

And a lady further up the thread had already explained how Graveney is in one of those areas where it is being clamped down on. You are genuinely not allowed to rent a house and keep your old one just to get into a good school. I messed up when I used the word intention. The council do not have to prove intention at all:

"I have very immediate experience of this: my neighbours. We're in Merton and they did exactly this 18 months ago - rented out their house then rented nearer to Graveney. Son got in. Unfortunately for them, someone found out, shopped them and the son's place was withdrawn shortly before Christmas. They then struggled to find him a place somewhere and he's ended up at an academy quite some way from home. To be fair, they knew it was a risk and I'd done my best cat's bum face when she told me they were doing it. But we're delighted to have them back next door as they're a lovely family and the South Africans they'd rented out to rather like a party!"

ripsishere Sun 10-Jun-12 18:04:35

Good. Very glad when people get caught. I don't even want Graveney.

EDUcrazy Sun 10-Jun-12 18:18:34

@Soupdragon but what we're talking about here is morals, and it is morally wrong that money is once again able to dictate the quality of a child's education. It's effectively a loophole that the middle classes can take advantage of, is it not?

@tiggytape atheists praying at church week in week out to guarantee a place at the 'good church school' is also effectively taking away opportunities from genuine, perhaps poor, kids. There is no rule preventing that from happening either. Nonetheless, it is legal yet morally wrong.

Personally I think there are lots of lies flying around, some more 'legal' than others. I just don't think many are in a position to judge when they too are using what resources they have to manipulate the system. Perhaps, and I stress perhaps, the issue lies with the schools, government, poor heads and not the parents in desperate situations trying to avoid tragic outcomes they're destined to based on where they so happen to live - that to me is terribly unfair. It's a postcode lottery.

twoterrors Sun 10-Jun-12 18:22:02

Tiggytape, you said this:"sorry to be blunt but you have a fixed idea of what you think is right and aren't accepting that this is not how it works." So, yes I did think you were being rude when in fact your assertions were incorrect (given what the CPS webpage says, and what you are now saying). Even if you had been right, I still think it is rude to answer questions in that tone.

Yes, I have seen these sorts of criteria, and am capable of reading and understanding them, thank you, without your help. It was you that said intention came into it, and I was questioning how that worked, in practise and legally.

I think it is a good idea to specify that an owned house will trump a rental one. There will be anomalies but no system is perfect, and at least that is very clear, provable and predictable.

As others have said in the particular case of Graveney, people do seem to get away with short term lets near the school when they own a house elsewhere. I have just checked the Wandsworth booklet and it does not define a permanent home in owned vs rental terms, merely saying: "The address you give must be your child’s permanent address on the closing date for applications. This must not be a business address, childminder’s or relative’s address, or any address which is not the child’s permanent home."

Blu Sun 10-Jun-12 18:38:26

Graveney Admissions criteria for admission 2012 states: "Distance is measured by Wandsworth Borough Council on behalf of the school, using the GIS computerised system. The distance is measured from the applicant’s home to the gates of Lower School, Welham Road, using the shortest route along a recognised public highway. It does not take into account pedestrian short cuts. The child’s home will be deemed to be that of the principal carer. The school reserves the right to verify applicants’ addresses with primary schools and electoral registers. "

However they are changing it slightly, thus: "(v)Distance is measured by Wandsworth Borough Council on behalf of the school, using the GIS computerised system. Measurements produced by alternative measuring systems will not be taken into account in any circumstances. The distance is measured from the applicant’s home to the geographical centre of the school, using a straight line measurement. The school reserves the right to verify applicants’ addresses with primary schools and electoral registers. "

AND if the new draft is agreed will now be prioritising the children of staff at the school over proximity, making the geographical catchment even smaller sad

bibbitybobbityhat Sun 10-Jun-12 18:43:13

I've been on a lot of these threads on Mumsnet.

Getting rid of the sibling priority at secondary level would cut out so much of this temporary renting problem in over-subscribed school catchments (not all but a lot).

I don't understand why its not possible to lobby/push for it.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 19:00:55

twoterrors - I think people have definitely got away with it in the past.
The OP asked if she was likely to get away with it too (putting morals aside).
Most people felt she was less likely to get away with it now because recently some short term renters have been caught and had their places taken off them at Graveney.
And also Graveney can now ask the primary schools which addresses they have registered for applicants (which might flag up if you have a second home). This is also in the booklet (under the part about individual schools)
That doesn't mean she will definitely get caught.
But if they find out she is a renter who also owns a home elsewhere she would lose her place. A mortgaged home always trumps a rented home when it comes to defining the word permanent (that is how LAs work) unless you have special reason to prove otherwise. This is evidenced by the fact that people who rent AND own at the same time lose places at Graveney and many other London schools.

And that is a good thing surely? It is good the LAs assume the worse if you are found to have 2 houses.
We don't want a situation where for £2k a month people can literally buy their way into good schools and then be able to go back to their old home out of area and send all out of catchment siblings there for years to come. That would be very unfair and unsustainable in London where there aren't enough places as it is.
Even very local children can't get a place so you can't have a system that lets people from far away cheat their way to a place.

EDUcrazy Yes it is permitted to attend church for 3 years and get your child baptised just to get into a church school but even faith schools in oversubscribed areas are working to tighten up criteria to make it fairer. They can choose to be very strict eg requiring baptism before 6 months and Holy Communion at 7 weeds out any people who find God just in time for secondary school! Quite a few London faith schools have super strict criteria like this to prevent people cheating on the religious criteria.
I guess the only moral difference is church is free. Not many people could afford £2k rent a month just because they really wanted a good school but anybody in theory could jump through religious hoops to get a church school place if they really wanted one.

Blu - The new Admission Code published in February 2012 makes provision for schools to priorotise staff if they wish to. Quite a lot of good schools have decided to do this. It probably won't have an immediate impact but in years to come teachers may well choose to work / stay working at certain schools just to guarantee a place for their children. The new code also forces schools to give priority for any children who were adopted out of care at any age. This might have more of an impact as, if people are willing to travel, they can apply to any school and get a place.

twoterrors Sun 10-Jun-12 19:30:57

Yes, I said it was a good thing, tiggytape. I agree. And obviously some people get caught and some don't.

But the Wandsworth booklet is not as explicit as the one you quote, and I think perhaps it should be (if as you say all LAs apply the rule that an owned house always trumps a rented one, even if they don't mention this rule - do you have a source with evidence that all LAs work like this?).

I know people lose places and I know how the normal criteria work, what the pressures are on places, and how people get round the problem, and the sometimes desperate situation of those who cannot. What I did not understand was how intention came into it - and that turns out not to be true - so please don't feel you have to spell everything out for me.

I have a feeling that years ago teachers' children got priority in some LEAs (as they were). Does anyone else remember this?

EDUcrazy Sun 10-Jun-12 19:44:44

@Tiggytape - I do hear your point, don't get me wrong. Paying figures like £2k a month to secure a place leaves me dumb struck - it's outrageous. Indeed, some of the good faith schools require baptism for up to 12 months, so still quite accessible to less genuine applicants. I think my problem is this, we were one of the lucky ones, as we were eligible for an incredibly over subscribed school and got allocated a place. A friend of mine wasn't as fortunate, didn't get any of the schools on her ds's lists and has been allocated a school with a Ofstead report that reads like a horror story. The teaching is poor on just about every count, classes disorderly and there's a resident police officer. He's a lovely bright kid like my own and just as deserving of the lovely school my son has been offered. If a similar school was your local school, I can't help wondering if it's a parents natural maternal instinct to effectively save the kids life and through desperation, resort to lying to have their child in an environment that's more conducive with learning? Personally I would struggle to live with it and can't begin to imagine the pressure one would be under on a daily basis for having to worry constantly of the place being withdrawn. A recipe for grey hair I'm sure.

I so favor lottery systems that at least goes some way into providing a more fairer system.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 19:45:38

You are right - not all boroughs spell it out like that and give examples of what they mean. I do agree the wording should be the same on all of them but some boroughs explain it more clearly perhaps because they have more problems than others. Certainly a lot of areas used to ignore the problem because it was fairly rare and small scale. Now with school places in short supply and renting for places more common, some seem to be clamping down on it.

Merton says: "It is not acceptable for a family to use a temporary address, rented or otherwise, to secure a place of their preference"

Sutton says: "The address on the form must be your child's permanent place of residence. It should not be a business, relative or carer/childminder’s address. Nor is it permitted for you to use a temporarily rented address to secure a school place for your child. The address will normally be the parents’ address. If the parents do not live together, it should be the parent with whom the child spends the majority of the time. This will normally be the main address held by the primary school and the address of the parent who receives Child Benefit in respect of the child."

And yes staff did get priority for school places once upon a time. The old Admission Code banned this practice totally. The new one allows schools to adopt it again if they wish (with some provisos about minimum contract and hard to fill roles).

EDUcrazy Sun 10-Jun-12 19:50:14

@twoterrors So the future holds a system where all the best teachers, who will also probably be aspirational, seeking jobs in the better schools whilst leaving even more of the less able ones in schools that are already performing poorly. If this did exist in the past, it would be interesting to know why they stopped it. I don't agree with it at all.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 20:00:08

Out of curiosity I have looked up Lambeth who don;t give any extra guidance about addresses and Barnet who have a lot to say about it (but then they have trouble with shortage of places too):

The child’s address must be the child’s permanent address and cannot be a childminder’s or business address. It should be the same address given to us by your child’s primary school. We will not accept applications from parents who reside overseas in advance of a planned move to Barnet, except in the case of UK service personnel or other Crown Servants.
Proof of address:
If your child does not attend a Barnet primary school, you will need to send us two items as proof of your address (photocopies please).
These can be: two utility bills, or one utility bill and a copy of this year’s Council Tax bill.
If your address has changed in the last two years, we may ask you for further proof that your current address is your permanent home address.

It is important that our admissions criteria are applied fairly. In recent years, some parents have supplied false or inappropriate information, for example, a temporary rented address or the address of a relative to try to gain an advantage in obtaining a place at a particular school. It is important to understand that it is only the permanent address of the family that we will use for the allocation of school places.

Please realise that:
- if you deliberatley give false address information to obtain a place at a school, you must expect the offer to be withdrawn
- any information and/or supporting documentation which is false or deliberatley misleading may lead to the offer of a place being withdrawn, even if the place has already been accepted
- rigorous checks will be carried out to ensure that applications are not fraudulent
- a percentage of home visits are carried out each year to verify addresses. These are selected at random.

I think Barnet have it toally sewn up and that all boroughs should just copy their wording!! They'd certainly be no grey areas then. But unfortunately the reason Barnet has had to go to such lengths to explain the rules is that they are an area where a lot of people are tempted to break them because the school place situation is very difficult.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 20:03:56

EDUcrazy - on a positive note they need only stay long enough to get their older child a place and then they are free to move schools and use the sibling rule to get all younger children in.

That's a positive as far as freeing up good teachers go.
I am not so sure it is a positive in terms of the number of children who will get places out of catchment by virtue of having a French teacher for a mum. Nobody really knows if it would be attractive to many people or how many schools will choose to adopt this new policy.

Blu Sun 10-Jun-12 20:12:14

Lambeth only has 3 secondaries for which it is the Admissions Authority.
The criteria for one popular secondary says
"“Home address” is the address at which the child should live permanently and full time as the principal
residence. It does not include short term rental or lease and does not include the address of a relative or
carer, unless they have legal custody of the child"
and you have to supply a current Council Tax bill with the supplementary application form and the name - and Head's signature - of the current primary school.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 20:19:38

In that case Blu, Wandsworth is still the only one I've found that doesn't spell it out and just relies on one word (permanent) to convey the whole thing.

(but I must confess I've only looked at a few - I was just curious how vague some are and how specific others are even though the rules are all the same pretty much).

twoterrors Sun 10-Jun-12 22:07:34

Sorry, wrote a message and then lost it!

I think the variation is striking: most leave temporary/short term and permanent undefined. If you move somewhere for two/three years, and move all paperwork, everything, and say it is permanent (maybe it is?), you'd pass most of these tests. Even the owned trumps rented one: what about holiday home owners or people whose house sale and purchase fell through at the wrong moment?

The more you think about it, the harder it gets.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 22:34:16

I guess the answer is that if anyone is renting but is also found to own a house they come under closer scrutiny than all other applicants. It is suspected they are up to no good but they have a chance to prove they're innocent of cheating.
So if they have a holiday cottage that they owned but rented out, they would be able to provide tax / maintenance / account details going back many years to prove they never actually lived there and therefore the council had no right to treat this as their permanent home even though they owned it.

Ditto uninhabitable houses. There was a lady last year I think on MN that rented rooms because her house was uninhabitable. The council wanted to use the house she owned not the rented address for school purposes (her rented address was in catchment but her mortgaged house wasn't).
She had to provide extra documents to prove her mortgaged house was condemned and unfit for human habitation. She had to provide council tax documents to prove she rented at the new address and genuinely lived in it (which was a problem as the land lord was being iffy because he was trying to claim he lived alone for a discount on his council tax). The council asked for loads of proof basically because she owned an out of catchment house but rented in catchment which is very suspicious even though this lady was totally innocent of any wrong doing and had no house fit to return to. I think she ended up having to go to appeal because they still refused to use her rented address rather than the address of the house she owned but couldn't live in.

As teacher said earlier on the thread there are other cases where you can prove rented trumps mortgaged. If a parent rents a new house, converts their old house into 4 flats and rents them all out to students they can pretty much prove the new rented house is their real home as its unlikely they'd return to the property they own and live in a bedsit with students.
Ditto if you leave your home in Scotland unsold after a year of it being on the market and move to London, rent a house and get a school place. There's no way they can suspect you of only moving for temporary reasons because how on earth would you move back to the home you still technically own in Scotland and commute to school everyday?

All applications are taken at face value. Only if something shows up on your council tax records or on the address the primary school supplies (or if a cross parent grasses you up) would the council perhaps suspect you.
At that time they ask for more proof and, if you are found to have a mortgaged property elsewhere they will tell you this is to be classed as your permanent address unless you can explain to them why it should not be (like it is a holiday let and you have all the paper work).
Not everyone gets caught of course but generally mortgaged trumps rented where you have two properties on the go at the same time especially if they are relatively close togetehr - even a 2 year rent can't out weigh a 25 year mortgage (unless there is good reason that you can prove).

twoterrors Sun 10-Jun-12 22:48:02

Tiggytape, all that makes sense. But it is not what the owned-trumps-rented criterion you posted says - that left no room for special cases eg holiday homes - is there more that you did not post? Otherwise, this is all sensible speculation and interpretation, but may not be what actually happens.

I suspect this is why it is difficult. It is like code breaking. You come up with what seems like a common sense fair system, people find ways round it, you add in stuff, people find ways round that, and you are off towards the opaque, inconsistent and often unfair system that we would all like to improve (apart from the current government, which seems to want to remove oversight and allow even more variation).

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 23:13:21

You're totally right two terrors. And I suspect in reality this is the reason many councils don't list the rules and merely state one rule or one word (permanent) then leave it to their own discretion to apply it.
Can you imagine how many scenarios they would have to cover if they had to state comprehensively what is allowed and what isn't?
And of course as soon as you define it people can side step it just as you said. If one year rents aren't allowed how about 2 or 3 or 5?

Simply to state the rule and then enforce it without any way for the parents to refute the decision until its too late and places are allocated is a rather nifty way of getting around the problem of having people arguing back at you all the time on technicalities about what your rules do or don't cover (the appeal process can only be started after March 1st when you are officially denied a place by which time everyone else has theirs so its pretty scary to be left hanging for a decision all that time)

All I know is that people do get caught and get their place taken off them at Graveney just as they do at other London schools (well it is more common they get caught at application stage long before the places are allocated) so the rules are enforced but how often and evenly nobody knows. The guess is more often than was once the case.

People can cover their tracks and there must be grey areas and people being given the benefit of the doubt as well as people who openly cheat but never get caught. It isn't an exact process but then that also adds to the risk and parents wondering if they get away with what they plan to do (and perhaps deciding not to risk it). If they try and fail, suddenly they are left in a very precarious position. You'd have to be quite brave or desperate to risk it because the consequences of the council deciding you've cheated are potentially very bad and hard to fight against (sent to worst school miles away as its the only one left with a space to take you). Of course if you live next door to the worst school miles away you might decide you have nothing to lose (but that's getting back to the moral thing).

StockwellLiving Mon 11-Jun-12 10:04:54

@irisjohnson (Sun 10-Jun-12 12:04:54) gazzalw, I think Graveney is re-introducing sibling policy regardless of catchment from 2013.

If this is correct, it’s just the sort of thing which leads me to believe that the school really doesn’t care too much about inclusiveness of local community and is quite happy to be a magnet for the middle classes. And by extension more or less to turn a blind eye (perhaps except in some cases) to renting short tem. I don’t read this change the way tiggy does as something done in order to make it more difficult for cheaters. The change has come about (I think) because of the ConDem relaxation of admissions rules (Labour had banned siblings for selective places).

@DownTheRoad Sun 10-Jun-12 12:31:09 I would also be wary of your closest Academy.

Yes, my name does somewhat give it away.

Clapham Academy is well liked by many parents, it just hasn't developed the competitive buzz..

I’d be interested to know more about Lambeth Academy, but I got the impression its completely shunned by the aspirational classes and don’t perform too well (although do great for middling and lower achieving kids). I did have a look around, and there wasn’t the same buzz as you get in Graveney. I know nothing about Elm Green and Chestnut grove, and was also considering moving (renting) for Dunraven – but as that’s Lambeth not Wandsworth – I got the impression they were hotter on looking into it – so hit upon Graveney as more likely to be ok (as I say, am reconsidering anyway). Curious that you say less chance of getting shopped.

Kingsdale lottery is just that – a lottery (as is Graveney selection test!).

@EDUcrazy Sun 10-Jun-12 16:00:48 Quick Question: When one purchases a home in the catchment area of a 'good school', a home they wouldn't have otherwise have purchased, is that not also a lie?

Agree that it’s morally equilavent – in both cases someone else (perhaps someone long established in the community) is displaced - but buying seems not to be cheating – there was a thread on this distinction before. Can’t find it right now.

@tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 17:03:27 by clamping down on people who rent short term and cheat, it keeps the catchment areas bigger and helps poorer people.

But if I rent to get into Graveney, I am freeing up a place at my local school and allowing the catchment of that to get bigger – hence also helping someone else who might otherwise be in a blackhole and have to travel across a borough. smile

@bibbitybobbityhat Sun 10-Jun-12 18:43:13 Getting rid of the sibling priority at secondary level would cut out so much of this temporary renting problem in over-subscribed school catchments (not all but a lot). I don't understand why its not possible to lobby/push for it.

ConDems will never do it (Labour never did it) its too useful for the middle classes. Schools themselves could do it – but as I’ve made the point before – Graveney is very very happy for the middle classes to congregate there …. And they set their own policy since they are now an academy* (even if Wandsworth wanted to change it, they can’t)

@EDUcrazy Sun 10-Jun-12 19:44:44 I so favor lottery systems that at least goes some way into providing a more fairer system.

Agreed! I read in Freaknomics that Chicago moved to a City-wide lottery system, and results went up through the roof – as there were no sink schools anymore, all had a fair share of DCs with aspirational parents (and troublesome DCs), so behavior got sorted to the benefit of all – a truly comprehensive system. Sadly, will never happen in London – with the free for all of all boroughs (and now pretty much all schools) setting their own admissions policies.

So consensus seems to be that although I thought not Graveney do check up on this (I think there was only one poster who had direct knowledge of someone they knew). I know many others who have got away with it though. Makes me wonder therefore whether they seem that they have to "catch" one or two every now and again but turn a blind eye the rest of the time.

twoterrors Mon 11-Jun-12 10:41:56

StockwellLiving

I think you are probably onto something there. Try googling Graveney and Schools Adjudicator!

I think the siblings policy does cause problems but can also benefit schools and communities. Dunraven, for example, seems to have lots of families who feel very linked to the school. It's not about transport but a sense of belonging, schools being a wider family, continuity, organisational memory and so on. I don't know where the balance should lie, but I do think those things are important in inner London with its mobile and diverse population.

Could you actually, really move (sorry, you may have answered this)? If so, a couple of miles from where I guess you are now, you'd probably be in line for both Dunraven and ElmGreen, and could still try for Kingsdale, Graveney and any other selective/random places you wanted.

DownTheRoad Mon 11-Jun-12 10:55:03

"I got the impression its completely shunned by the aspirational classes and don’t perform too well (although do great for middling and lower achieving kids)." I believe that the occasional aspirational mc class has a middle achieving kid - even some MNers! It hasn't got the buzz because the aspirational classes are very competitive about getting into the school that is the one to be seen at, regardless of actual performance in relation to entry level ability.

Arguably a school like Dunraven which has no selective stream, and a mostly genuinely community intake does better: it has very good results especially set against context: Dunraven has twice the % of pupils on FSM, and 40% against 56% 'high attainers' in the intake. But the very fact that Graveney has a competive intake defines the attraction for competitive aspirational parents.

Elm Green's first results are out this year, I think - but in the way of things may not reflect the potential of the school since the first year's intake will not have included families chasing the hallowed places in Dunraven, Charter, Graveney etc. It is now an over-subscribed school with a shrinking catchment. As is Chestnut Grove, recently dubbed Outstanding.

I know a barrister with a high achieving child at Lambeth Academy, and a family with 2 G&T children doing very well at Elm Green.

I would think that those schools would hold a lesser chance of getting 'shopped' precisely because there is less middle class frenzy around them, and no long term history of entry via a rental loop hole.

Yes, Kingsdale is a lottery, and a reasonable back-up chance as such. Especially if there is a possibility of a scholarship to increase the chances.

I am sure Graveney is a good school, but it's partial selective status brings the worst of all worlds, really. Increasing the reputation for all and thus pushing out local families who would otherwise be in catchment. At least the grammars are more defensible as a genuine meritocracy (judged on one day).

EdithWeston Mon 11-Jun-12 11:16:38

Graveney has its draft admissions code on its website. Rules for siblings are unchanged, and the school does not have a catchment.

I expect Bolingbroke will rapidly become THE middle class magnet in that area (120 places per year group?) and that should widen Graveney's admissions footprint quite a bit.

BTW - does anyone know if results in Brighton have shot up (like in the US example cited above)? I seem to recall that there hadn't been any real impact at all. In which case, there really is no argument for introducing it London-wide (or even borough-wide in London) where rush hour journeys are already hell.

EDUcrazy Mon 11-Jun-12 11:23:50

A system such as grammar schools where money can buy you the best tutors 2/3 times a week, or prep schools that prepare extensively for the test is by no means meritocratic. The sheer small number of kids on FSM is evident of that fact. I'm a huge fan of the concept of grammar schools, the problem is however, like purchasing homes and renting additional homes, money can secure you a place. I think we all need to accept that we are simply living in a world where pound notes can get you just about anything you want and the majority are using whatever resources they have to get the outcome that provides the best environment for their kids. For some, that is allocating the time too, which in itself is money. Time is something for example, that say a single parent wouldn't have. It all comes down to money. It's outrageous, unfair but true.

EDUcrazy Mon 11-Jun-12 11:41:02

@EdithWeston I just think that regardless of the impact on results and indeed traffic, easily resolvable by school buses - it's a fairer system and one not influenced by your bank balance. There would be no point moving, renting, praying (if it's not truly your faith), or otherwise as your name is simply pulled out of a hat making it too much of a long shot to make it worth your while cheating, or at least feeling desperate enough to consider it. When ones local school has pupils that look more like convicts, with police standing outside and lessons reminiscent to St, Trinians, who knows what people are tempted to do. I just think it's a fairer system.

StockwellLiving Mon 11-Jun-12 11:43:16

@twoterrors I think you are probably onto something there. Try googling Graveney and Schools Adjudicator!

I did, but only found the stuff from 2002/2004 when there were arguments about levels of selective entry (not read it!). Did you have something else in mind - or was that it?

Blu Mon 11-Jun-12 11:49:34

EdithW: The siblings policy has changed slightly:
Admission for 2012 criteria:

Category 2
187 places allocated in the following order:
(i)Children Looked After
(ii)Applicants not admitted under Category 1 who have a sibling attending the school on the date of admission, and whose sibling was:
(a)admitted under Category 1 or Category 2 before September 2008;
(b)admitted under Category 2 from September 2008;
(c)admitted under Category 1 from September 2008, but whose address was within the distance from Graveney School which would have qualified for a Category 2 place

Draft for 2013:
Category 2
187 places allocated in the following order:
(i)Children Looked After or children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order)
(ii)Applicants not admitted under Category 1 who have a sibling attending the school at the time of application.

So last year siblings of any Category 1 (selective) students would NOT have been admitted unless the category 1 sib had been in the school since before Sept 2008. Now, all siblings will be admitted.

twoterrors Mon 11-Jun-12 12:52:41

StockwellLiving, that's basically it but the different spats go back further than that (to 1999, I think, with a ruling in 2000 on proportion being selected) and I think there are more recent ones (although possibly with a different body, not the SA). But when I read them in the past (am not doing so again either, once was enough!), I was left with the impression that Graveney has always fought hard to maintain or increase the proportion of selective intake, despite a fair bit of local opposition, some political, some because of the effect it has on other schools and the difficulties faced by families living close to the school but too far for a distance place.

Likewise, my understanding - possibly wrong - is that it was forced to change the rules on siblings of children who got in via the selective route, and it sounds like it has taken the first opportunity to change them back (cleverness tending to run in families).

OhDearConfused Mon 11-Jun-12 13:18:11

StockwellLiving: "Agree that it’s morally equilavent – in both cases someone else (perhaps someone long established in the community) is displaced - but buying seems not to be cheating – there was a thread on this distinction before. Can’t find it right now."

Yep - I started a thread about that last year here. And it comes up a lot on these threads. (Some if not all) MNs seem less inclined to criticise others who start praying (or start praying more intensively), have their DCs learn an instrument, tutor, move, and so on, all (apart from the praying bit) using financial muscle to get an advantage for their DC (necessarily over and above someone elses). But, oh dear, OP, if you start renting for that .....

EDUcrazy Mon 11-Jun-12 15:40:58

@ohdearconfused. Couldn't agree with you more. My point entirely. And with all due respect, even the extensive church chores many of the the Middle Class mums embarked on in order to secure a place in some of the top faith schools, has also been deemed as elitist and banned as a criteria from many of these schools also (Coloma being the most recent www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2011/11/coloma-accused-of-unfair-admissions-rules/). It was deemed that all the extra involvement in the church can only be made by well off parents where wealthy dad is at work looking after the whole family, giving mummy plenty of time to do the church chores - something a single mother, for example, wouldn't have the time to do. Financial muscle at play once again. And literally, I had a friend who sold her house when her ds started in year 5 and bought a house a couple of streets away from Langley Boys. Low and behold, got offered a place, this year. There are some stained halo's I think.

Not sure what you meant by your last line though...*'But, oh dear, OP, if you start renting for that .....'*

OhDearConfused Mon 11-Jun-12 16:20:01

I meant: if you starting renting short-term (OPs question) for the advantage conferred by all these activities, then the criticism comes ....

btw: your link didn't work. Fixed it here

EDUcrazy Mon 11-Jun-12 16:48:40

@ohdearconfused: Oh I see...yes of course, that's right.

I know of a parent wanting to get their delightful ds into a particularly great primary school, just three streets away from where she lived (the poorer part of a lush area). For her child to be deserving of a place there, would have taken three times the amount of her current property. For those with the financial clout however, they buy homes next door and get a place. Where is the morality in that?

Thanks for fixing link btwsmile

AngelEyes46 Mon 11-Jun-12 21:36:49

There is always going to be people that will abuse the system but maybe we should be pleased that our schools have diversity. By the way, Coloma has changed their admission policy this year by missing out 'what you do for the church etc' although I don't think it is just for middle class mums - there is loads that can be done within the church community. I work full time but read at mass and also look after the little ones at liturgy. I'm not a single mum but my dh is an athiest so it's up to me to take dcs to mass etc. and get involved in the church community.

EDUcrazy Mon 11-Jun-12 22:29:14

@AngelEyes46, even though hubby's an atheist, there are still bits he's keeping balanced at home emotionally and financially allowing you the time and the brain power to do the things you do at church. Often with the mental stress and the financial hardship involved in raising a child/ren single handily, there's only time to get to church weekly and collapse on your knees to pray for help before rushing back home to juggle life in preparation for the toxic hours of the Monday morning - single handily. PS: One way to get up the nose of a lone parent is to even think that because your husband or partner doesn't get involved with one aspect of family life, that your pressures, challenges and issues are comparable in some way.

AngelEyes46 Tue 12-Jun-12 08:02:29

yes - see your point although I have got single parent friends who do manage to do something like 'help at scouts functions' - her ds attends scouts so does fit in. I think the advantage the 'middle class' family has is that they know the game. As in above, move to the 'right' area when applying, move wherever after and yeehah for siblings, do 'just' enough in making yourself known to the church and you're in at your faith school. Tutor your kids (even if you do it yourself) and better chance in attending grammar.

mumwithtwokids Tue 12-Jun-12 10:32:47

@EDUcrazy and AngelEyes46 - There is a boys secondary school near me and the priest is required to fill in a form outlining mass attendance. Regular mass attendace results in better chances of getting a place.

Last September the headmaster asked boys within the school to raise their hands if they regularly went to mass. It transpires that most of the boys in the school did not take part in regular attendance (including those who had just joined). As I understand it parent's do not fill in these forms but seems that some of the forms are not reflecting the true picture.

Whilst I agree that there are a number of people out there who abuse the system which I completely dissaprove with, in this case it seems that it's not just parent's who are at fault.

EDUcrazy Tue 12-Jun-12 11:24:56

@AngelEyes46 For sure, some single parents have better support networks than others. Just having a read through the lone parent section is evidence of that. Some with no family support and no contact with dad resulting in only 2 nights out in the last four years to those having Mums that live locally. Nonetheless, I know of one mum with her mum living just a five minute drive away who works full time and permanently has grooves in her forehead from the pressure of it all - especially if you still want the best for your kids. In fact she has recently been signed off from her high powered job with stress.

But yes I agree, it's simply the middle class mums who knows how to play the system. It was a stay at home middle class mum who gave me the list of activities she was doing at her local church to get her ds into the likes of The London Oratory. However, she had overlooked, until the open evening, the need for her ds to be baptised before he was six months old, so went private.

@Mumwithtwokids Are you serious? That's outrageous. Usually you have to sign a book on attendance, or the priest really does have to know you well. Equally I know of a mum who put in that she attended weekly and her priest refused to back it up. She had a real tussle with him but he wouldn't back down.

mumwithtwokids Tue 12-Jun-12 11:48:53

I'm totally serious and can give you countless examples.

Blu Wed 13-Jun-12 10:11:56

So what are you going to do, StockwellLiving?

Needmoresleep Wed 13-Jun-12 12:35:38

Educarzy are your sure:

"it's simply the middle class mums who knows how to play the system"

Do you live in London?

My perception is that middle class families with a SAHM can afford, as we did, for the mother to go back to work to buy their way out.

The scramble for places in decent schools is often by the less well off working families often, though not necessarily, recent immigrants, who are determined to do the best for their children despite limited resources.

So plenty of kids at a popular local primary "living" with grandparents and a lovely Latina mum we saw at the bus stop who tried for years before getting a place at a sought after out-of-catchment primary. When transferring the child, other parents were curious why she would take her child across town rather than attend the school down the road. Hard to explain that it was this very lack of ambition that she wanted her child to escape.

StockwellLiving Wed 13-Jun-12 12:50:46

@Blu - still mulling it over, but I have sort of concluded the following:

i. Graveney/Wandsworth don't really care about people doing what we are thinking of doing. They are happy to be a middle class magnet (see recent change on sibling rule allowed even for selective students - most of whom have been tutored to kingdom come and are very middle class!)

ii. A couple of posters mentioned some occasional people being shopped/caught/places withdrawn. But as these posts are anonymous and somewhat contradicts the word in DCs' playground am not sure really if that is a real risk (bearing in mind point i).

iii. If people are caught every now and again its - I think - Graveney/Wandsworth simply trying to placate the (justifiable) local anger and their heart is not really into it.

iv. People have rightly pointed out Graveney is not the holy grail and there are other arguably better schools (unless your DC is in the top stream), but any other within a commute seem to require a move/rent also. I have no evidence for it, but my guess is Dunraven (Lambeth not Wandsworth) will care more and more likely withdraw a place.

So still on the cards, but a little wavering.

I'd really like some reliable stats on how many places are withdrawn (compared to number of cheats). Perhaps I'll ask the school - but time is short - and as they won't know the number of cheats not a good guage of the real risk either.

As I say, didn't want to get into morals ....

Blu Wed 13-Jun-12 13:16:42

I wonder if there are any such stats?
Of course there won't be about ratio to 'system players'.

I have heard of children being hoiked out of playgrounds in Southwark, but have never heard of a place at Dunraven being revoked. Or in any Lambeth school.
But then I hardly ever hear about any places being withdrawn or refused on these grounds. Probably Dunraven's requirement that you provide a Council tax and utility bill at application stage offers some protection.

BeingFluffy Wed 13-Jun-12 13:38:53

I think there is a risk that this thread has alerted the school and potential local applicants to what is going on. If I was a local family who just missed out on distance, I would certainly ask the admissions authority on appeal just what they had done to address the risks of short term renters taking places.

OhDearConfused Wed 13-Jun-12 13:48:28

As OP points out, I think the school already knows this goes on (and likely doesn't really care). Local applicants will also already know .....

tiggytape Wed 13-Jun-12 13:52:33

Stockwell - I think you are probably right on several points but of course you can never know. If the area has a crack down or someone reports you, your individual chances of getting caught could become 100% overnight.

There is a thread here where one of the admission experts posts to say:
"The number of parents detected making fraudulent applications for schools in Wandsworth each year is comfortably in double figures. I am not saying they catch everyone but they certainly catch a significant number. Such cases generally get no publicity."

This was in response to a poster who, like a lot of people believe Wandsworth are one of the easier targets for admission fraud or actively turn a blind eye to it. Maybe they do compared to other areas but certainly they do detect a fair few and you'd have to conclude that all the peopel they catch are attempting to get into schools like Graveney (because who on earth bothers to cheat to get into an unpopular school?).
It also explains the reason nobody hears much about it - people are generally caught long before school places are allocated and there is no punishment except the council allocates them a school based on their real address not their rented one and that's the end of the matter.

StockwellLiving Wed 13-Jun-12 14:41:26

Thanks TiggyTape - yes lots more on the morals there, and intersting what expert says re Wandsworth ....

Interesting debate also as to how long a move needs to be before its considered "permanent" - if you wanted to live in the catchment school for say 5 years (until GCSE) it would seem to be permanent. However, at the time of application (if you are still keeping your old house) how can local authority distinguish the two (it can't look into the future)? Rhetorical question - discussed above - they don't! Instead, you need to persuade them that you really are planning to stay that long. I know that's not me, but then that seems unfair on the person who was genuining moving for that period (but keeping old house as a rental property or whatever).

Perhaps I will move permanently (but then what if I can't sell in the next six months or so)?

BeingFluffy Wed 13-Jun-12 14:45:43

I heard a rumour recently about someone who had moved their child's school and rented a flat to try and get into Holland Park School (Kensington & Chelsea). The admissions criteria is sibling, then RBKC primary school and distance. I found it unbelievable but perhaps it is true. I know the council are alert to cheats for certain primary schools but I wonder if they are looking at secondaries too.

teacherwith2kids Wed 13-Jun-12 14:59:32

Here, a house move is considered permanent IF the old house is sold or if it obviously not returnable to e.g. divided into student flats, condemned as unfit for habitation or 150 miles away.

It is considered suspect - in the same way as short term renting is - if the house is relatively local (but less favourable for school admissions). As I have said above, for the school I have knowledge of they have not 'codified' it into 'renting when you own another house is not allowed', but collect information about all addresses - during primary school + through year 7 - and investigate any changes of address which appear to play the system, in particular to determine wheher a previous address is still owned by the family. The onus is on families investigated to provide evidence that the move was for other reasons if a previous house is still owned.

Selling a house outside catchment and buying a new one within catchment IS, however, regarded as a permanent move. Yes, such a move could be done 'for a good school' BUT to move everything, become part of a local community and then go to the local school is not the same as moving while retaining another local house. If it became against admissions rules to buy a house in the vicinity of a school when you have nowhere else to live, then families who have to move due to job changes etc would be in a very difficult situation!

tiggytape Wed 13-Jun-12 15:04:21

I suppose the thinking is that nobody rents a house when they also own one for no good reason. It is just too expensive. So if you had a good reason you'd be able to prove it when asked. It might be that your house had a flood or that your real house is 500miles away but you got a new job with an immediate start or something else. If the real reason is purely schools based, there's not really a line you could feed the council to explain such and expensive move so then they feel justified in using your real address for allocation purposes.

Blu Wed 13-Jun-12 16:11:35

StockwellLiving - given what BeingFluffy says about alerting the school, did you not consider using a less specific title, username and keeping the school name disguised? One might think that this whole thread would undermine the success of any attempt to slip through a loophole....

StockwellLiving Wed 13-Jun-12 16:22:19

I did actually (I don't really live in Stockwell wink - so sorry to those would-be cheaters who do ....), ....

But impossible to get info on Graveney (specifically) by being general - so alerting them (hmm) is a risk I had to take ...

I don't really think (with all due respect to the power of MN) that this thread will lead them to be more vigilant. grin

BeingFluffy Wed 13-Jun-12 17:49:19

StockwellLiving - no offence meant to you as I know you are trying to do the best for your child. However if I was a parent who just missed out on distance and was appealing, I would be grilling the admissions authority on exactly what they had done to weed out those living at temporary addresses.

EDUcrazy Wed 13-Jun-12 18:17:09

@NeedMoresleep I defo am a Londoner, through and through!!! There's an article here that better explains the MC's SAHM's ability to better play the system in terms of securing a place at the top faith schools, for example www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1325596/Faith-schools-biased-middle-classes-using-points-based-admissions.html. There are many more. Moreover, I have two groups of Mummy mates, so to speak. The ones form my sons school, who would be better described as Working Class and those from my Son's Football team, who are defo more MC's. I am passionate about education and could have endless conversations on the topic, especially leading up to secondary school, with the football Mums, whilst amongst the school mums, I was deemed as the obsessed one on the topic (I'm sure secretly they would dodge me during the months leading up to selection and the d-day results). I would suspect also that just because two middle class parents are working, in this day and age, it still doesn't mean they can afford to go private to buy their way out - just a thought. Remember too, middle class is defined as a mindset, the actual money in the bank is a small contributory factor.

It was a MC SAHM mum from the football crew who was reeling off to me her long checklist of the activities she and her peers were doing for the church in order to secure a place at one of London's top faith schools. They still had to end up going private mind you (without going back to work herself) as they had overlooked the age he got baptised at which wasn't early enough.

The immigrant story is a different case entirely. Their success and aspirations defy all known statistics relating to those on low incomes and their success when it comes to education. There are some interesting articles here 1. www.jrf.org.uk/publications/educational-attainment-poor-children 2. www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/mar/29/homework-linked-better-school-results. Immigrants too, take nothing for granted and grateful for the educational opportunities here that many take for granted. The long and short of it is that aspirations is the key, not money or class, which is largely resident amongst the MC's and immigrants.

@Stockwell - quick question (possibly a silly onesmile, if the only groups worth getting into at Graveney is the top two steams (which I must admit I too have heard over the years), why the hassle of going there? Why not just tutor your kid to within an inch of his life (probably necessary to get the 100% needed to secure a place) and get a legit place that way. PS. Remember, I'm the one not passing judgement either way, more asking to save yourself the headache and the worry of getting the place whipped from under your feetsmile

EDUcrazy Wed 13-Jun-12 18:44:25

@teacherwithtwokids My issue with those that think it's moral to purchase a home in order to get into a new school is that financial muscle was used to secure a place, something those living in social housing, for example, wouldn't be able to do. Therefore making it unfair and as such, morally wrong. For that reason only, I think that those who purchase homes within a year before entry, for the sole purpose for getting into a school, should be under scrutiny and levels of investigation of those who rent - simply because it's unfair, inflates property prices in the area and impacts diversity.

I would appreciate also if someone can help me out with all this talk about being involved in the 'COMMUNITY' which many feels constitutes the right for a place at a school over and above another child. There was a report earlier this year which stated that unlike the olden days, we no longer even know the names of our next door neighbors (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2127019/Love-thy-neighbour-We-dont-know-names-.html) and feel that this community that everyone's talking about doesn't actually exist. My son will be traveling out of the local community, so to speak, to get to school in September. A legitimate case I hasten to add. His community, I suspect, will be his school community. At weekends, he'll still be laden with his extra curricular sports activities and to see his mates, they'll pop on London transport. I'm quite pleased to know too that he'll realise as a result, that it's a big world out there. I suspect however, that I'm missing something in terms of what is commonly being referred to here as community and would love to be enlightenedsmile

teacherwith2kids Wed 13-Jun-12 18:55:55

EDU - I think my post was unclear, apologies.

My intention was to say that those who buy in catchment AND those who rent in catchment in the year or so before school applications are BOTH under scrutiny locally.

In both cases, having a newly rented / owned property (if of a suitable size for the family and if the family is actually living there) is fine AS LONG AS no other family house is owned at the same time within commuting distance of the school.

So family owns big house across town, buys tiny property in catchment for purposes of admissions - will be investigated as possibly fraudulent and child is likely to lose place if paper trail shows that big house remains liveable in by a family and owned by them.

Ditto family owns house and rents property in catchment.

However, family owns big house in Scotland, has to move to other end of country at short notice and ends up in a rented or bought property in catchment while not yet having sold old home- would be flagged up by address trail BUT the fact that the family could not possibly return to the old family homw and commute to that school will mean that the child keeps the place.

Yes, it remains unfair that some families can choose to move house (properly, ie selling one property and buying another) while others cannot (though private renting in fact makes moving easier and cheaper than a family selling and buying). Equally, it remains unfair that some schools are better than others and not everyone has a good local school to go to.

twoterrors Wed 13-Jun-12 19:39:21

Stockwell Living - if you are prepared to look at moving permanently, maybe find out about that aspect - you would need an address by the end of October, but maybe it is doable?

Could you ask the LAs themselves what happens if you are in process of buying and selling, genuinely and can demonstrate this, but have rented short term in the meantime (if you are able to do so) so your child can apply for a place in your new area? I suspect the devil will be in the detail here, given the lack of definitions in Lambeth's and Wandsworth's stated policies, so there is no point in speculating here as common sense may not come into it.....

If you don't love where you live now (wherever that is smile), it might be worth it.?.....you could pick a well endowed bit of South London and have a choice of one or two good comps, say, and the same random stab at Kingsdale/Graveney/selectives the others as anyone else.

The odd thing about S London is you can move a mile or two down the road, and the educational map seems completely different, as catchments are often so tiny.

basildonbond Wed 13-Jun-12 19:50:47

funnily enough, Furzedown, where Graveney is situated, has a very strongly developed sense of community and so the issue of people parachuting in for a year purely to get a place at the school is probably more keenly felt here than in other more anonymous areas of London.

The area is very well defined geographically being bordered by Tooting common, the railway and Mitcham Lane and has two primary schools plus Graveney, lots of 3-5 bedroom houses which suit middle-income families with children, and because it's not on the underground there aren't many people passing through

Local children who don't get into Graveney on distance are in a bit of an educational black hole and several get sent to schools which are miles away on the other side of the borough, which intensifies the feeling that short-term 'school' renters are cheating local children out of a place.

DownTheRoad Wed 13-Jun-12 20:35:02

EDUcrazy - Interesting about your comments and links on immigrant families. This definitely fits with my observations of children in DCs school. But it seems to me that the mc frenzy is partly to do with looking for schools with a demographic with a low ratio of EMA / ethnic minority / refugee families.

OP if you are looking for a school which is cynically determined to attract a certain demographic you could move to Herne Hill / N Dulwich and try for Charter, which has finally been caught out mis-applying it's travel route measurements in order to preclude a council estate. It claims to be demographically representative, but it's FSM % is roughly in line with Graveney's and way below the borough average.

As for 'admissions renting' and community - people may well find that their child makes relationships in extra curricular contexts, but as in areas of bedsits and fast rental turnover of itinerant young singles, it is far harder for long term residents to hold long term community driven aims if all the families in an area turn up for a bit and then scarper. How do you put a sustained critical mass of pressure on your local Cllr without a stable consistent local voice? How do your build and establish a street party if all the residents ? Build grassroots initiatives when the ratio of true stakeholders is diluted? If people were conducting signifiant levels of this kind of renting in my area and my LEA was not vigilant, I might well turn vigilante in their place. (not with guns at high noon, but with evidence sent straight to the LEA and the schools ajudicator, perhaps).

EDUcrazy Wed 13-Jun-12 20:45:55

@teacherwithtwokids thanks so much for clarifying, I'm so pleased that is the case. Must admit, it also explains why someone I knew sold and purchased their property about a year and a half beforehand to secure a place a Langley boy's this yearsmile. I couldn't agree you more re the unfairness of the whole good school/bad school bit. Locally for me the disparity between the two is huge. Lottery allocation is the only way forward which would resolve this, but like a previous poster rightly pointed out (think it was stockwellliving) it's unlikely to happen with most schools picking their own admissions criteriasad

EDUcrazy Wed 13-Jun-12 21:09:30

@Downtheroad - Thank you for clarifying this 'community' bit. I just couldn't get my head around what everyone was up in arms about. I recently moved from a lush area where my ds and the next door neighbors dc, who primarily boarded, would speak over the fence!

All this talk about socially mixed schools is a bit of a fallacy too. I've heard that at Kingsdale, the MC mums from Dulwich stick together like superglue and there is little actual social mixing going on. I remember all the going on's with charter - was that the end result! Too funny they got caught out.

DownTheRoad Wed 13-Jun-12 21:29:43

In our S London (in the general area under discussion) there is plenty of 'socially mixed' community, PTA and children's friendship activity. But then we're not Dulwich, and it isn't a school that has a Graveney level of frenzy (despite delivering an excellent education across the full range of ability).

EDUcrazy Wed 13-Jun-12 22:10:17

Oh really, that is lovely. I guess everyone's experiences is different. TBH, I went to a school far away from home myself, so I guess I'm not looking out for it. I guess too any sense of community I achieved so far was from from the schools he's attended (as long as you fit in that is. The first one was great and in the current one I don't so much). Yet for all I know, where I live now, being still S London, it may well exist and I just need to keep my eyes open a bit. But then where would one look to find it if not at his current school, which is definitely local? Done the PTA bit for a while and I definitely wasn't one of the gang. We still just go to our old church too, which is a million miles away. Yet I don't feel that we're missing out on anything, either. Nonetheless, I can at least appreciate why it's important for somesmile. My priority for picking schools was faith first then results driven. Locality was the least important, but now appreciate, thanks to your explanation why it's important for many. Having said that, I would have been over the moon if the school we got was down the road!

animula Wed 13-Jun-12 22:53:07

Agree with what basidonbond said.

I'd add that there is quite a community bond amongs the children at Graveney. Most are Furzedonians, and they socialise locally, often in each other's houses. It's rather nice.

And I've noticed that, because most of the parents really are genuine Furzedonians, they are also friends - so there is an informal information and support network established - very useful at secondary school age.

These are real advantages of a real local secondary school, and you (and your offspring) will lose out on these if you just parachute in and out.

gazzalw Thu 14-Jun-12 07:45:00

I think that's what we'd all like for our children (and us) - to have a community feeling and a sense of belonging. Unfortunately we can't all afford to move to middle-class enclaves of London to achieve this.

I'm sure that the Bolingbroke Academy will develop a similar feel in time, particularly with most of the children coming from local feeder schools...but strangely that's situated in a very middle-class area too...

Just an observation....

animula Thu 14-Jun-12 08:17:51

gazzalw - I take your point and it's a fair one. Though <small voice> to be fair, the Graveney catchment/Furzedonia is nothing like as middle-class-enclave as the Bolingbroke catchment is set to be. Bolingbroke is going to be ... interesting, imo. I think slightly dark thoughts when I think about that ....

There is also the fact that there will always be areas that fall outside any direct connection with any secondary school, just because of the size of secondaries, the enormous concentration of housing in London, and the fact that schools are often located in places due to historical reasons, and the councils having access to land in some places and not others.

But I mentioned the "community" thing because I wanted to point out its not an entire myth about Graveney being a local school; to reinforce basildonbond's observations; and to remind people of why a local school (rather than a randomly assigned one) is an ideal. When it works, it works admirably. Obviously, as you point out, that can be simply annoying if you're somewhere where if just isn't working.

EDUcrazy Thu 14-Jun-12 10:04:38

@animula and @gazzalw Quick question guys; This whole community thing, although I now understand why people find it important in terms of lobbying local government, street parties, etc., is it not also simply just a lifestyle choice to want to be part of the 'community', bearing in mind some people are less sociable than others? At the end of it all, even if schools are socially mixed is it not inevitable that pockets of social classes will be formed, as part of the 'birds of a feather flock together', sort of thing? I cited the situation earlier at say Kingsdale where all the MC mums stick together like glue despite there being quite a diverse population.

I simply ask this as there does seem to be a sense that a child should have a given right to attend a local school because of community. Whereas I've always thought a child should have a given right to attend whatever school they want, in any part of the country, that's conducive with their parents values. I then feel that those places should be allocated in a way that financial clout is unable to influence their chances. Am I missing something?

StockwellLiving Thu 14-Jun-12 10:30:29

@EduCrazy .... why the hassle of going there? Why not just tutor your kid to within an inch of his life (probably necessary to get the 100% needed to secure a place) and get a legit place that way.

Because the selection test is a lottery. Even if tutoring – you only need a bad day, a silly mistake, and so on, and then DD is out. sad

I'm the one not passing judgement either way, more asking to save yourself the headache and the worry of getting the place whipped from under your feet appreciate it thanks thanks

TwoTerrors If you don't love where you live now ... it might be worth it?.....you could pick a well endowed bit of South London and have a choice of one or two good comps, say, and the same random stab at Kingsdale/Graveney/selectives the others as anyone else.

But actually, we do live where we live here, vibrant, near the centre of London and so on. Its just that we don’t like the local comps here (since they have largely been abandoned by the MCs – and there are is not the “immigrant” community aspirational parents that is discussed also in this thread – but absent from these parts of Lambeth, more or less.

DownTheRoad But it seems to me that the mc frenzy is partly to do with looking for schools with a demographic with a low ratio of EMA / ethnic minority / refugee families.

Yep that is it. Funny how our (pre-school) friends who live near nice cosey MC primaries have no problem with state education, but if there is a big FSM/EMA and so on, then (other friends) really prefer the better “education” offered at a prep. I know this sounds crass: we don’t mind the mix (DCs are really in a minority of white, relatively wealthy), but the ratio is going to reduce even more dramatically as most (if not us) want to escape to Kent or the suburbs or whatever. Don’t want my DCS to be in a school where the number of kids with aspirational parents can be counted on one hand. I know also its a vicious circle, and for the last five years I had been hoping that that circle would break (turn into a virtuous circle) and the “flight” out what cease. Sadly it hasn’t....

Re Charter – thanks for that suggestion, we know people who have bought/rented there too. But I don’t really want to move “permanently” that way either.

You mention in later post the social mix in your S London school (could you share name?). There was a study a few years ago (could have been Sutton Trust – can’t find it now) about how in some comprehensives where the MCs were a minority (largely abandoned by the MNers of this world, but attended by people who – unlike me of course – stuck to their principles) but all the kids just remained friends together amongst their “kind”: white MC kids mixing with white MC kids and so on. (Actually, I notice that at our primary - our group of friends are almost all MC). Its just that at secondary I don’t – repeating myself here – want my DC to be in (such a small) minority both for academic reasons but also social reasons (the only one in a class who goes on ski holidays, theatre trips, and so on). My DS (2 years below DD) is the only white MC boy in his primary class!

animula you (and your offspring) will lose out on these if you just parachute in and out. Yes we will lose out on that sense of community. We will also lose out of course if we get in by Graveney selective lottery or Kingsdale lottery or (if we could afford it) go private and travel far.

EDUCrazy 10:04 Agree – wish I could find that Sutton trust study I just mentioned – that there is not that much social mix between the different groups even if the school has a wide variety of group...

twoterrors Thu 14-Jun-12 10:48:13

Fair enough, SP, it's just lower down you mentioned possibility of moving permanently, and depending where you are now, you might not have to move far, and it would solve a lot of problems because the good school places are not evenly distributed.

If you don't want to, and you really don't want your local options, then I would also start combing the admissions booklets for specialist places and so on, where distance is not an issue. But it will be a white-knuckle ride.

Completely agree about Graveney and tutoring - absolutely no guarantee there.

Very good luck to you, your dilemma is one that many share I am sure but are often less open about, so thank you.

animula Thu 14-Jun-12 11:24:57

StokwellLiving - I think you're in for a bit of a shock as to the intake at Graveney. Trust me, you may well find there aren't that many children that your little one can find to swap skiing anecdotes with ...

animula Thu 14-Jun-12 11:34:27

OK. I know this is going to be deleted, and I don't care.

Stockwell - those attitudes you express are exactly why people should be banned from renting-and-parachuting.

Local schools in Furzedown are much like what you describe, disparagingly. Those are our children you're talking about. And most of those will go to Graveney - except for the ones who don't get a place because someone like you has used their money to parachute in.

I really hope that someone prints off this thread, works out who you are, and sends it to the Admissions Secretary at Graveney. Who is actually a rather nice, sensible woman. Not some social-engineering loon who dreams of a school stuffed with children-whose-parents-only-want-them-to-associate-with-children-who-are-white-middle-class.

Astonishing, really.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Thu 14-Jun-12 11:40:27

I hope it isn't deleted, Animula. I see no reason for it to be.

Blu Thu 14-Jun-12 14:08:59

For me, the community aspect is about stable communities where families live. So an area of constant short term rents will have less community cohesion than one where families put down roots. The school may have a community within and attached to it it, no matter where the children come from, but in terms of the locality, short term renters will affect that.

I live in the Elmgreen / Dunraven catchment. I would say there is a really good social mix in lots of ways, a friendly feel, the leaders of various community events are certainiy not Cath Kidston Inc, the street party I attend is very racially and socio-economically mixed, so are school events. DS's friends are a cross section in every way. DS is a complete minority in his class, but then lots of the children are - it has a diversity of diversity!

I recognise many the older children walking to the secondary schools (and so do all the other parents in the area) because we have seen them at primary school for years. We recognise or know their parents, because they live near and were at the school gate. This has a huge impact on community safety. Teenagers smile at and say hello to DS in the local shop and park because they went to the same primary.

It isn't perfect, there are phone muggings, occasional 'bad acts' but as a place with a looked-down-on reputation and a lower housing cost than comparable areas close to transport and schools it has a great community feel and a wonderful choice of schools. IME and IMO.

Needmoresleep Thu 14-Jun-12 15:25:59

Thanks EDUcrazy. I find the MN need to knock middle class mums a bit odd. It is about aspiration, and suspect the presence or absence of aspiration whether teachers, student or parents is a big factor in success or failure.

I am also not sure what class is. I am happy to tell my bus stop friend that I am lucky to be able to pay for school fees as she tells me her concerns about the secondary allocation process, knowing full well that if she could afford to pay she would. I would also hope/expect that her kids will go to similar universities to mine. The fact that she lives in a Council flat and I don't does not have much to do with it. She is as concerned for her children as I am for mine. I would not see myself as any "better", in the same way as I would not automatically see someone richer or with a title as better than me. I would hope she feels the same.

In terms of moving/renting we had always assumed that had DS got a place at Tiffin (he did not) we would have rented our house and rented somewhere in Kingston, at least for the first few years. We would not have wanted to move permanently, and this approach would have avoided us paying stamp duty and other costs. No one would have questioned this, and we would have been part of the school community. What would be wrong with a similar approach with Graveney?

I suspect the admissions secretary has seen everything already. Overall the thread has been civil and interesting. School provision in Central London, certainly in Stockwell, is really patchy and Lambeth traditionally have not had enough places and have had to "export" students. As OP said, she wanted to discuss practicals not morals.

twoterrors Thu 14-Jun-12 15:51:21

I think all the OP said is that she didn't want her child to be in a minority of one, animula. You may think that this concern is unfounded, either because her dd won't be in such a small minority, or because you don't think it matters if she is; but this concern is not that of a "loon". And I am not sure the OP has talked about anyone's children disparagingly.

People's concerns and experiences about these sorts of issues are worth discussing seriously and openly, I think.

animula Thu 14-Jun-12 16:01:00

To be clear, I really wanted to avoid a knocking middle class mums things too but OP's last post went into class/race territory. Read it back. And I was a bit shocked to find my children in the group of undesirables. And I answered impetuously.

I am, believe or not, actually quite sympathetic to those who rent-for-a-bit. If you find you are out of range of a school that you know would suit your child and either in range of another that really won't, or no school at all, it is beyond frustrating.

I remember living near a secondary that specialised in ping pong. Ping pong was compulsory. My son would have hated that. We would have argued constantly about why he should attend. I'm not exaggerating: he's like that. I was delighted when we moved to a school with a clearly-stated academic focus, and with grammar schools. He's academic - those schools suit him.

London has a lot of children and a lot of schools. They are all pretty different: like little countries, really, with different customs, feels - almost a national character. There is something a little crazy-inducing when you realise entry to schools is allocated by geography not elective affinity.

Renting-for-a-bit is on the same moral continuum, really, as purchasing in an area for a school place. We kind of did the buying-for-a-school, and a. I'm not sure school places should only go to those who can afford to buy or b. the moral high-ground magically disappears after people like me.

As this thread has examined, there are differences. It's murky.

Shagmundfreud Thu 14-Jun-12 16:09:37

"except for the ones who don't get a place because someone like you has used their money to parachute in"

I'd consider doing what the OP has done.

My dd went to the local school,which just happens to be bloody hideously rough, because the area we live in is bloody hideously rough.

She's out now - it was a total disaster and I don't know what we're going to do next.

At the moment she's having one to one tutoring for 10 hours a week at a tutorial centre in exchange for me teaching 10 hours of one to one with some other children there. That stops at the end of term and we have no idea what will happen in September.

I just want my dd to go to a school which isn't disproportionately full of very disadvantaged teenagers. The ONLY way we can manage this is to try to get her into a school which isn't close to where we live. And the only way to do this would be to move (temporarily) into the catchment area and apply. Unfortunately we couldn't afford to buy in the catchment area of any of the more popular and socially mixed London schools, or even rent a home big enough to accommodate all five of us. We would not get a church school place as are not church goers, can't afford private, and dd is not clever enough to get a scholarship or bursary or a selective place at a state school.

Those of you who have come down so hard on the OP - what would YOU do in my position? If you were determined not to play the system for the sake of those children living in the catchment area of popular schools?

Shagmundfreud Thu 14-Jun-12 16:16:34

Should add, that my children's primary is only half a mile from dd's secondary but has a different intake. Not in terms of race (both schools are about 80% non-white intake), but in terms of social class.

I have no problem with my children going to school with disadvantaged kids, or to schools which have a high proportion of children with SEN. I just want them to be in schools where they ALSO have very bright and ambitious children from families who hugely value education.

animula Thu 14-Jun-12 16:37:36

"Don’t want my DCS to be in a school where the number of kids with aspirational parents can be counted on one hand. [. . .] Its just that at secondary I don’t – repeating myself here – want my DC to be in (such a small) minority both for academic reasons but also social reasons (the only one in a class who goes on ski holidays, theatre trips, and so on). My DS (2 years below DD) is the only white MC boy in his primary class!"

You'll notice that OP has revealed that "aspirational", for her, actually means ski holidays and theatre trips. You lot have read Bourdieu, yes? We are none of us naïve about the social communication and reproduction embedded in "leisure" activities? I don't have to produce statistics at this point to suggest that these two activities are pursued largely by higher-income families, with enough surplus income to pursue these?

Please don't go saying that your friends in council houses like nothing better than copious theatre trips and ski holidays. These things tend to get coded as middle-class pursuits precisely because it requires a certain level of disposable income to enjoy and pursue them on a regular basis. I would argue against any interpretation of them as a. inherently containing some level of pleasure that attracts those of a middle-class persuasion and b. that there is anything of "moral uplift" or "aesthetic value" in them in greater degree than other, cheaper, pursuits.

Nor is there is anything, per se, linking aspiration, academic or otherwise, to ski trips and theatre - that, frankly, is about income.

Are you all on this thread, taking your children to the theatre and on ski trips all the time? I somehow doubt it. That means that you (and your children) also fall into the class of undesirables. Just bear that in mind.

A higher income is not a sign of aspiration other than that of income-based exceptionalism.

Being poor is not necessarily linked to anything other than being a major inconvenience and hobbler in a capitalist society. It is not an indicator of low aspirations or moral inadequacy, in and of itself.

As you point out, needmoresleep, your council-house living bus-stop friend is not low on aspirations (even to having a higher disposable income) just because she lives in a council house. She might be a little hurt, however, if you were to tell her that you don't want your child in a minority at school surrounded by children who don't go on ski trips and to the theatre regularly.

I'm guessing you would never actually say something like that, though, because it would be crass, hurtful and rude. Probably even untrue.

Why is it OK to write something like that here? What on earth is the OP frightened of?

I thought this thread was going to avoid nastiness - but the nastiness was embedded deep in that post, if you read it carefully. I think it slipped out, underneath all the abstract talk about very abstract, poorly defined "aspiration".

I have so much sympathy with people who find the state system a bit constrictive. I am so in favour of it, but it is a system that necessarily is not going to give an individual fit. It can drive you bonkers. It can, at its worst, give children a completely crap experience of life/education.

I agree that having your child be a minority, of any kind, is usually horrible and can be pretty destructive. Not always, but often.

I find it tragic that there are many children in schools with problems of disadvantage/lack of care that schools necessarily have to deal with but are not given the resources to deal with.

So I guess I was angry when it became clear that OP's supposed views are actually masking a lot of same old, same old. Why do well-off people have such a hatred and fear of poorer people? Has anyone read "The Grapes of Wrath"? There's a bit where Steinbeck describes the eyes of those who have managed to scrabble a house together, eyeing the incomers with hatred, seeing in their eyes the hungry look that they initially arrived with. And they clutch their guns more prominently to them as the y look at the newcomers. Is that it?

I hoped this thread would avoid the class/race nastiness. I'm cross it didn't.

But don't get huffy just because I actually do the OP the compliment and the justice of reading what she writes rather than what I wish she would write.

Blu Thu 14-Jun-12 16:40:39

<<Applauds animula>>

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Thu 14-Jun-12 16:47:01

<<stands and joins applause>>

StockwellLiving Thu 14-Jun-12 17:08:53

Wow – seem to have provoked a reaction there.

twoterrors - thanks, yes the views I’m expressing I think underlie a lot of aspirational parents (MNers) desires to get out of what they see as undesirable schools. Everyone knows results are more or less a product of intake. (Thanks for agreeing I didn’t disparage anyone or their children.)

animula (post of 11.34) not sure where I disparaged anyone. None intended. Certainly not your children who I clearly don’t know, but who I am clearly happy with my DCs to mix with if they got to Graveney. The (primary) school I was describing (very very mixed; MCs in a minority) was the excellent one my DCs go to and the secondary I describe is one I wish them to avoid. As do most MNers (evidence how often on these threads they are recommended hmm)

twoterrors got it it right: I just don’t want my DCs to be in a versy small minority.

Shagmundfreud I just want my dd to go to a school which isn't disproportionately full of very disadvantaged teenagers

Exactly. And “disproportionately” is the important word.

want them to be in schools where they ALSO have very bright and ambitious children from families who hugely value education.

Likewise agree. Point I’m trying to make …

animula (post of 16:37) Wow. No, really WOW. I didn’t know I could insert so many sub-texts in something I wrote so quickly. I must have a very rich literary minds.

I won’t go to town: You focus on the social reasons (and of course skiing is not that important smile), but ignore that I first said educational reasons (in the text you quote).

Not frightened of anything : except child being in too small a minority socially (only child who DOES go skiing - or riding or whatever) or academically (only child – or one of only a minority - who does have educational aspirations foisted upon them by DPs (perfectly accept that this is nothing to do with wealth, class or colour))

Thanks though for ”the compliment and the justice of reading” my post, and helping me understand myself. I never knew I was racist and classist. Or nasty.

sicutlilium Thu 14-Jun-12 17:09:10

animula - skiiing holidays may be expensive, but theatre need not be. Tickets for Antigone or Timon of Athens at the National Theatre are from £12 for adults and £5 for 16-25-year-olds. You can see the RSC's production of Twelfth Night at the Roundhouse for £12.

IAmTheWifeOfMaoTseTung Thu 14-Jun-12 17:22:49

I agree animula. My very MC white British DCs go to a very non-MC very mixed primary school. They have heaps of friends with aspirational parents from all sorts of cultural backgrounds. Their aspirations are not expressed by going to theatre and ski trips, but they are expressed by going to libraries and free museums, and, in some cases, by doing a load of extra-curricular homework.

The genuine problem preventing us from choosing our (actually rather good) local comp is that all these aspirational local parents are avoiding it by whatever means necessary. Literally none of the parents whose values I share will be going there.

Money is a separate issue. I don't mind my DC being in a small ethnic minority at school as long as everyone else is in a small minority as well (local schools are a mix of roughly ten groups and they seem to make friends based on interests and personality not background). But when it comes to money, it can be uncomfortable being a long way outside the norm, and what is a minor social awkwardness at primary can lead to real problems at secondary (we don't go skiing, but things like living in a house with a garden, and speaking in a "posh" BBC accent are difficult to conceal). It's not the end of the world though, and on its own it wouldn't stop us choosing the local comp.

Blu Thu 14-Jun-12 18:04:15

It's just that there are so many assumptions - and I am talking about MN broadly here..
Only one child in DS's class has, as far as I know, gone ski-ing, and he is from a black british working class family.
Race is not automatically conflatable with class or any level of advantage.
Neither is aspiration.
I talk with black parents who are terrified of what secondary school could bring, because of all the children who could be disadvantaged by not meeting their potential in secondary school or going off the rails black boys are maybe the most vulnerable. They are the group most likely to be victims of crime, most likely to be unemployed, most likely to under-achieve. And often most feared as classmates. Just by being listed as a statistic on the school roll - not because of who they are intrinsically.

DS is the only asian kid in his class, one of about 2 or 3 in the school - makes no difference because across every class and race in his class there are some kids doing well. And amongst the less focussed, less enagaged, troublesome quota there is also a wide diversity of background incl white mc.

I absolutely understand parents wanting there to be kids with the same educational values as thier own. And teachers who will support high achieving kids to do their thing whatever else everyone else is doing. Every other categorisation is pretty much irrelevant.

twoterrors Thu 14-Jun-12 18:18:38

Animula, thank you for explaining exactly what you meant. I agree with where you and Blu are coming from, particularly Blu's last line, but I read that bit of the OP's post somewhat differently: SP doesn't want her child in a minority of one (she may be wrong to be worried about that, although it probably depends on the school, but I don't think that concern makes her racist); and, separately, she wants some aspiration and ambition around her child (again, she may be wrong that there is little in her local school but I don't think wanting some is unreasonable). I really don't think she was conflating race/class with aspiration.

And I agree: the most fearful parents I have met are black parents of boys.

I think Dunraven runs annual ski trips doesn't it? So doing its best to ensure diversity on the ski slopes too? smile

Shagmundfreud Thu 14-Jun-12 18:52:16

"My very MC white British DCs go to a very non-MC very mixed primary school."

And so do mine. (well, my kids aren't white, but whatever). Their school is 80% non-white and there are many disadvantaged children there.

However, there are also the children of university lecturers, teachers, lawyers, bankers at this school.

The problem is when you get to the year 4, and then in our area what happens is this.

Anyone who has money pays out shed loads for 11+ tutoring for the last two years of primary in hope of getting their children into the local grammars.

Or they remortgage the house and send them private for the last two years to improve their chance of getting into a selective school at the age of 11.

Or they up sticks and move to the south of the borough which is more expensive and where the intake for schools is much more m/c.

Or they apply for church schools. There are two or three fantastic church schools in the south of the borough and many children from my dc's schools go to these. As many of the (mostly African and West Indian) parents at the school are devout members of evangelical churches this is a viable option for them.

And those (like mine) who don't have the option of doing this go to the local comprehensive, whose intake is massively, disproportionately deprived, and where the social environment is incredibly tough and scary. There is a massive problem with gangs in my area and the school has not been immune from the problems these bring.

These schools are very, very hard places to learn and to teach. The children keep their heads down and try not to attract attention to themselves. My dd was sexually harrassed (verbally) in the most disgusting way within weeks of starting in year 7.

As a naturally articulate and reasonably bright middle class kid she was allowed to get away with MURDER academically and did no work through the whole of year 8. Because she was in class with her hand up and was able to talk her way out of trouble. But her written work was non-existent and nobody seemed particularly bothered by it. As long as she was there and joining in.......

Blu Thu 14-Jun-12 18:58:26

Have a look at Stockwell Park's stats

More than half the intake are middle or high attainers , with middle attainers being the biggest group - although maybe this is always so statistically? And higherst attainers is the smallest group - but overall the stats for students achieving 5 or more A-C GCSE grades inc maths and english is between 68% and 70% every year for the last 3 years. Which I not bad at all, I think?

And yet it is, I would say, a school many Lambeth parents would put low on their list of choices and avoid if possible. I feel lucky and maybe complacent because I have what I consider to be a good choice, and there are schools I would feel much less happy about. Don''t know what I would do if Stockwell Park was my local school and none of my parent friends were choosing it - it does take a strong sense of objective detatchment to separate out reputation, peer influence and actual facts. The school has within it's catchment some of the most difficult areas for gang actiity - but of course those are the young people who are not AT school, or who have been removed to PRUs etc, usually!

It has 58% on FSM .

twoterrors Thu 14-Jun-12 19:13:19

That is fascinating - but its reputation has improved greatly in the last five years, despite I think taking a bit of a fall when the stats including English and Maths were published, and people are much more likely to consider it now if they have (or think they have) a choice. I have heard really good things about it.

The stats are good - but if I have read rightly, out of 94 high and middle attainers, only 9 entered the subjects that would make up the ebacc (none from the low attainer group but maybe that is to be expected). Now I know it is an arbitrary measure - but 9 (5%) in an entire year group doing english, maths, science, a language and a humanity (albeit arbitrarily defined) - what were the others all doing? Preumably not all RS - does this say something about the aspirations of the school?

Blu Thu 14-Jun-12 19:26:02

I don't know - I think schools have been slow to catch up on measuring / doing the EB? I haven't got to grips with this EB business yet!

I had a look at Lilian Baylis - even their GCSE A-C inc Eng and Maths are only 0.1% below the national average, and that is a school derided publicly by some government minister, if I remember rightly.

All Lambeth schools seem to do v well aganst national averages, and from what I have seen the behaviour in schools has improved no end. My secondary school teacher friend says that schools where chaos reined in the 1980s just wouldn't happen now - a superhead would be put in etc. The new schools in Lambeth have stringent discipline structures, some have compulsory long days with extra curricular activities and homework until 5pm, etc.

Reputation lingers a long time.

I too have heard that Stockwell Park has been improving like mad.

Dunraven had a v bad reputation a generation ago.

twoterrors Thu 14-Jun-12 19:33:41

Mmmm, schools don't measure the EB though or "do it" - it is just a measure of the children doing those subjects from those five academic groups. Yes, I am sure they will change their policies, but I do wonder where such low figures are coming from. If they are taking so many bright and average kids, why are almost none doing a fairly standard combination of academic subjects (after all GCSEs are not meant to be the preserve of the brightest - they replaced O levels and CSEs)?

It was Lilian Bayliss - but he was an idiot.

I know about the improvement in standards, and you can tell just from being out and about. It is striking. Lambeth - the polite borough.

IAmTheWifeOfMaoTseTung Thu 14-Jun-12 19:52:51

Stockwell Park appears to be an excellent school in many years. But the more clued-up parents of black boys just want them out of the area, by whatever means necessary - they see it, with some reason, as a matter of life and death. And that fear spreads.

Durand primary, practically next door to SP, wants to build a weekly boarding school in Surrey in order to keep its boys away from SP.

Blu Thu 14-Jun-12 20:30:17

Is that about the school, or the estate, do you think?
Evelyn Grace Academy is keeping kids in school til tea time to cut down the amount of time they may otherwise spend in the proximity of at-risk behaviour on nearby estates.

Really good people, good ordinary famlilies and fabulous young people make great communities on those estates, but they have all this to deal with.

lambbone Thu 14-Jun-12 21:34:51

Just to go back to Graveney for a moment- the school will be able to find out quite easily who moved house while they were in year 7 , and where from and to, so anyone who really wanted to find out how much of a problem this is could always ask them for numbers. Probably more reliable than the rumour mill. Could be massive, could be tiny- but it is knowable.

gazzalw Thu 14-Jun-12 21:43:28

The new Registrar at Graveney used to be the Registrar at Sutton Grammar School and is very, very helpful so she would probably give you these figures if you ask her nicely!

IAmTheWifeOfMaoTseTung Thu 14-Jun-12 21:43:33

Oh I'm sure it's the estates and the gangs, not the school Blu.

twoterrors Thu 14-Jun-12 22:02:54

I'm betting ten jammy dodgers that she won't give out that information......

gazzalw Thu 14-Jun-12 22:15:16

Well if you ask her precise information she might give it - she might give figures about who has moved out of Borough/catchment....and trends....

Shy bairns get nowt...you can but ask ;0

scummymummy Thu 14-Jun-12 22:15:28

I think Stockwell Park and Lilian Bayliss are both massively on the up.smile I have worked obliquely with both quite recently and was very impressed. The staff I came into contact with were very caring and on the ball. Those results are great too. Better than some of the schools mentioned as desirable on this thread.

SummerExhibition Thu 14-Jun-12 22:18:22

I am not at all surprised that Wandsworth BC seem to be the only authority (according to the experts up thread) with such wooly wording in their policies and who don't actually seem to care about this sort of practice. Having spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of years trying to work 'in partnership' with Wandsworth on a project in a disadvantaged, I can say with some confidence that this is not a council that prioritises these groups. Keeping the families in million pound homes (i.e. those also able to short-term rent in high-cost areas) happy to the detriment of everyone else is precisely their modus operandi. I hope someone from the Council reads this thread and begins to appreciate what the majority opinion about these practices is.

OP - Chestnut Grove is definitely worth looking at. I know some people (who meet all of your acceptability criteria grin) who are very happy with it. It is a much improved school.

mummytime Thu 14-Jun-12 22:30:07

Lilian Bayliss has had a lot of help to improve, and from people who are really doing it with a desire just to see kids get a better education.

lambbone Thu 14-Jun-12 22:45:10

Go for it Twoterrors! I'd do it myself out of sheer curiosity but don't have a shred of a reason for enquiring-live far too far away to even think about considering it. Do know people with kids there though (legit!)

I'm glad to hear Stockwell Park is improving - DH (and most of my friends) went there in the 80's and frankly I don't think it could have got much worse. It was scary and bloody abysmal. Having said that, as Blu said, Dunraven had a similar (deserved as I understand) reputation at the time. My DSs are there now and I couldn't be happier.

Someone mentioned Skiing trips? They do do one every year (just under £800 for a week) and every year it gets spread out amongst a couple of year groups because they can't fill the places from just one -both DS1 (yr9) and DS2 (Yr7) could have gone together this year, if I'd sold DD to pay for it... It's way way out of our financial league.

EDUcrazy Thu 14-Jun-12 23:05:32

The more I read this thread, the more I can't help wondering if in fact the real issue is actually one of race as opposed to wanting a better 'educational environment for your kids.

The huge number of stereotypes and assumptions littered throughout these posts, is simply astonishing.

Here are a few facts:

1. Overall, pupils of Indian and Chinese origin, out-performe both the average and the scores of white pupils.

2. Not all blacks are 'running for their lives' to avoid gang culture. Many, just like MC MNetters, simply want a decent education for their kids for decent educations sake. You only have to look at the intakes in private schools such as Whitgift and Trininty and something like 20% of the intake at Dulwich College as evidence of that.

3. The lowest academic achievers as we speak is amongst the white working classes.

4. Check out Nubian Ski and Ski Fest - two ski groups with predominately black members. Although, I doubt the OP had that knowledge when she made the comment. The assumption, I suspect was that is was a white MC pursuit only and the sheer mention of it makes me rather uncomfortable TBH. Is it that the OP really wants is a school where the majority intake is white MC as opposed to what I originally thought, which was simply an environment conducive with learning? I sincerely hope that I'm wrong however and that her true concern was indeed one of academic achievements, REGARDLESS, of the colour of one's skin.

5. Another sensitive area worth considering is that extensive research in Birmingham showed pupils at the starting age of 5, of African-Caribbean decent were doing better than the average white pupil. Heaven knows what is happening in the average state school that eventually impacts those figures.

Nonetheless, in all of this, I still respect the OP for her honesty in the first instance. More so in fact, for the other buried issues that have raised their ugly heads in the process.

EDUcrazy Thu 14-Jun-12 23:06:37

Ignore spelling of perform - Must preview before I sendsmile

EDUcrazy Thu 14-Jun-12 23:33:34

In fact, thinking about it some more, what the OP is possibly really looking for by mentioning skiing, is that she's looking for schools where the kids have a similar culture?

Shagmundfreud Thu 14-Jun-12 23:57:45

EDU - Caribbean and African girls do routinely better than Caribbean and African boys. And earn more in their lifetime than white women from similar social backgrounds. Basically because they are more likely to work full-time after having children.

Caribbean boys do ok in primary, but often perform very badly in secondary stats.

I used to teach GCSE English retake in an FE college in South London. My class was full of black boys who were bright enough to pass GCSE English but had done bugger all work in school for years. Many had poor basic skills.

Someone mentioned the mothers of these boys being strict. Well yes, they were all frightened of their mothers, who would berate them in front of me in parent teacher meetings. Did it make any difference to their willingness to get their heads down and do some work? Errrr, no. It was profoundly depressing.

gazzalw Fri 15-Jun-12 06:30:40

Maybe the schools, dominated by white middle class teachers, inadvertently and subliminally turn boys from Afro-Caribbean boys off education?

Have heard it said before that women from Afro-Caribbean backgrounds outperform all other groups in terms of earnings and achievements - so one gender is switched on to achieve and the other is switched off achieving....hmmmm

I wonder how well schools like Graveney and the Bolingbroke Academy will reflect the cultural diversity of London and do working class white boys and Afro-Caribbean boys (both groups appearing to be disadvantaged by the current system) who are at these much sought-after secondaries outperform peers at less prestigious secondary schools?

On other issues the "birds of a feather" scenario is I'm sure true - children (as generally adults) with similar backgrounds/outlooks/experiences will cluster together.

Personally, I do think a lottery system is highly desirable though - for all non-selective secondary schools. All children deserve the best education available not just those whose parents have the money and/or know-how to play the system to their DCs advantage.

What I think is a crying shame is children in care who are the first priority for entry to a lot of secondary schools. They deserve and need the best education to off-set other disadvantages stacked against them and yet I wonder how many children in care are at the best secondary schools in London - do the children themselves determine what secondary school they attend or do their guardians, based on locality of schools etc...?

EDUcrazy Fri 15-Jun-12 09:11:14

@Shangmundfrued Thanks for the further statistics which I wasn't aware of. I do quite a bit of voluntary work in diverse primary schools hence my interest. The strict parenting thing is quite true. What is also true, based on research, and little is mentioned about is that their educational expectations for their kids, is also extremely high. When I spoke to a friend of mine who is black and runs a Saturday school, his view is that the parents of the kids who don't do well, similar to those from the lower working class white groups, are simply too trusting of the teachers/school system and are under the illusion that the work they do in school is enough to make a change. The thought is that good parenting is deemed as the kids being clean and tidy, not allowed to stay out late, and having nutritious meals. There is less parental involvement from these two groups, which as most MC parents know, accelerates learning. Compare that to say Indian parents where there culture as such where your success as an individual is sole based on your education success, means that their kids doing 3/4 hours extra work after school, especially if the aim is Grammar school, is not unusual. The Chinese Tiger Mums, I remember reading, wrongly or rightly (that would of course depend on your values), with exception to Music, care little for creative subjects such as Art and Drama, for example.

@gazzalw Thank you too for your post which was also really enlightening. Too many great points to mention. I think there is a self fulfilling prophecy happening, fueled by the media which impacts, teachers and peer groups. I remember one Mother of a young black boy telling my about her son who'd won numerous awards for his reading ability in his previous private school. She had to move him to a state school, where his fabulous reading, a good 4/5 years ahead of his 8yr old self continued and congratulated by a fab teacher. When he moved into the next year however, the teacher put him into the middle ability group for reading. When she questioned the teacher as to why, she freely admitted that she hadn't even heard him read, but made the decision based on the size of the huge novel she saw him with, which she felt, at his age, would have been far too much for him. So put him in a lower group so he could build up to it. She of course wondered that if he had been white, if she would have made the same assumptions? Had she not been on the case, only heaven knows what other assumptions/holding back would have happened.

Equally, I agree too that from my experience, the secondary schools being selected by those that need the most help and especially from these two groups is often based on locality as opposed to academic achievements/pass results etc. Often too, they will pick the 'church school' because it is just that, a church school. Unfortunately however, there are good church schools and poor achieving church schools.

EDUcrazy Fri 15-Jun-12 09:21:20

@gazzalwForgot to mention too - Honestly, like you, I agree the lottery system is the only method that will bring about fairness and a change. I simply would never have been able to afford an expensive house near a good school, which means for someone like me who values education but who is also far from wealthy, under the current system of most schools, based on catchment alone, my ds would suffer.

In the schools interest, I would have thought that it must reduce the number of appeals also, because the system is so much fairer.

EDUcrazy Fri 15-Jun-12 09:56:24

Compare that to say Indian parents where there culture as such where your success as an individual is sole based on your education success, means that their kids doing 3/4 hours extra work after school, especially if the aim is Grammar school, is not unusual.

Oh geez, should have read...Compare that to say Indian parents where, their culture determines their individual success, based on their educational success, which means, their kids doing 3/4 hours extra work after school, especially if the aim is Grammar school, is not unusual.

Shagmundfreud Fri 15-Jun-12 15:03:34

"There is less parental involvement from these two groups, which as most MC parents know, accelerates learning."

Often because the children spend very little time at home with their parents because the parents are out at work ALL THE TIME.

So children are going to after school club, breakfast club, being picked up by grandparents, aunts, siblings etc.

Also many West Indian and African children being bought up in single parent households, far more than the average (46% of children in Caribbean households as opposed to 25% average). And very high percentage with working single mothers.

I see these women at the school gate occasionally and honestly I don't know how many of them cope with their lifestyles. They work SO BLOODY HARD. Yes, they may have good networks of extended family support, but even so, I imagine it's a struggle. Particularly when the culture their young people are often buying into is so violent, so materialistic, so highly sexualised. sad

OhDearConfused Mon 18-Jun-12 09:42:31

Going back to OP's issue. She seems to have choices of schools which may be one or other of the two schools that had DDs involved in a brawl last week BrawlThread

What should she do if she likes the area she lives in but wants to avoid these schools (and can't afford to pay)? Would any of the people critical of her decision to rent short term like to swap school places with her DCs?

Blu Mon 18-Jun-12 10:12:22

Do we know which schools the brawlers were from or which High St?

BeingFluffy Mon 18-Jun-12 12:25:39

OhDearConfused -would it be more moral to push another child who lives near Graveney out because OP has the money to rent a property there? No.

I have posted on another thread but repeat here - I have previously seen girls from Greycoats which I think it is desirable school brawling with Westminster choir boys. At my DD2s school the behaviour was appalling a few years ago, but has now improved thanks to a robust head.

Did anyone here actually witness the brawl? Yes there may be a disruptive minority but there may well be at Graveney and most other London schools. How the schools deal with it going forward is the main thing.

OhDearConfused Mon 18-Jun-12 12:33:43

Blu: The two schools were Lambeth Academy and Chestnut, at least one of which I am guessing is one which OP doesn't like the sound off ...

Witnessed by my DH, who is now adamant that we should not consider these schools further. As I said in the other thread we will see what other options are achievable for us. OP didn't seem to have the money to go private though.

Not saying its moral of course ...

Blu Mon 18-Jun-12 15:54:56

aha. On reading the OPs responses I don't think it is these schools.
And anyway, Chestnut Grove is really competitively sought after now, and I know families who are really happy there - though I don't know it myself - and locally Lambeth Academy doesn't have a bad reputation. It isn't discussed at dinner parties as a top one to go to, afaik, but it isn't viewed with horror, either!

S London has a highly mixed population. Where in London would ANY school have a catchment that didn't include some badly behaved kids as well as some paragons of academic virtue and innocence?

Needmoresleep Mon 18-Jun-12 18:19:43

I agree. My guess had been Stockwell Park, which seems to have resorted to advertising on the back of buses, and Charles Edward Brooke and maybe one or two others.

Chestnut Grove is not in Lambeth and someone from Stockwell would be doing well to get a place.

OhDearConfused Mon 18-Jun-12 18:34:29

I thought (at least some parts of) Stockwell was within catchment of Lambeth Academy (but of course not chestnut). But perhaps wrongly ....

twoterrors Mon 18-Jun-12 18:58:00

I have been very pleasantly surprised by how good the behaviour is, on buses and out and about, of children from all the local schools, especially when I was grappling with small children.

Chestnut Grove has (or had, I have not checked recently), specialist places so it takes children from a wide area. But I am not sure the speculation about which schools the OP was referring to is helpful, to anyone here or to the schools so fingered.

Kellamity Mon 18-Jun-12 19:00:33

I'm afraid I haven't read all the replies to the OP so apologies if the conversation has moved on but I just wanted to say that this happened in my county last year and yes they were found out and yes the school in question withdrew the place.

Blu Mon 18-Jun-12 19:12:31

Because of her comments about Lambeth Academy, I assumed she meant Stockwell Park and then either Lilian Baylis or Evelyn Grace depending on which direction. Actually she only talks about one catchment school she has doubts about.

It's funny - my friend put Chestnut Grove as top preference and was hmm to have been offered Dunraven, as her 4th choice after Kingsdale and Elmgreen - she had heard one story of bullying a few years ago and discounted it. Another put her super bright top scoring DC into the Graveney test as a contingency against not getting into her nearest comp, Dunraven, her first preference.

Different poeple, different views, different hearsay.

twoterrors Mon 18-Jun-12 19:23:14

Everyone has different buttons I suppose, and information about schools dates fast, and is also complicated. I have heard hearsay go round the block and come back very different, but recognisable in peculiar little details....

OhDearConfused Mon 03-Sep-12 06:52:13

Just wondering if OP did in fact move to within catchment?
Are you there now?

catwoo Mon 03-Sep-12 07:50:45

Well i did it. But we actually moved into the house lock stock and barrel and let out our 'real' house on a 6 month let.A friend just moved out and didn't let the 'real house'. It is perfectly legal and morally fine too I think because you are actually living where you say you are.
I don't understand the bit abut the primary school address being different? Why wouldn't you give the primary school your new address too?
I don't know how the council can check what other properties you own because as far as I know you can't search the land registry by owner.
All they asked for was to send Council tax bills, NHS cards and utility bills (showing fuel usage) at the new address.

LocalSchoolMum Wed 05-Sep-12 10:34:19

Just to let the skiing enthusiasts know, Lambeth Academy does offer a skiing trip - last Easter they went to Andorra and shared a coach with Kingsdale School. They are planning to go to Andorra again next Easter.
As to Chestnut Grove, people from further away can get in because they have a music and language special selection test, so they select a number of kids that way. It certainly has plenty of kids from Clapham going there.

StockwellLiving Thu 06-Sep-12 00:35:44

That would be telling.
Actually, I will admit that I called Wandsworth as part of my research, and they confirmed that all they do is check that you are in fact living in the rented house (as catwoo says). None of this checking whether you retained ownership of an old address and so on, which other posters suggest above.

BeingFluffy Thu 06-Sep-12 08:32:26

I am surprised that Wandsworth don't take a more robust approach. My own borough (RBKC) clearly state in their secondary transfer booklet that moving to a temporary address and using that for application purposes, while retaining a permanent residence elsewhere is against the rules! They also ask for details of all properties owned or rented.

I am not sure if LA have access to Experian or the Stamp Duty Land Tax database but those are very easy ways of checking residence or ownership of various addresses.

gazzalw Thu 06-Sep-12 08:37:25

Wandsworth probably turn a 'blind eye' because it suits their purposes. I'm sure if you did a maping exercise of socio-economic backgrounds of the pupils attending the state schools in Wandsworth they would be very skewed!!

Does anyone know if the Bolingbroke Academy is up and running yet or is it due to open next academic year?

BeingFluffy Thu 06-Sep-12 08:53:23
gazzalw Thu 06-Sep-12 09:52:34

Not surprised as they only started the building works about two months ago!

Oh dear! Does that mean you have DC(s) attending the Bolingbroke Academy, BeingFluffy? Rather disruptive for them....

BeingFluffy Thu 06-Sep-12 10:05:24

No - thankfully. Found it on the internet. DH has an interest in the area as he works for the LA and hears all the gossip.

Needmoresleep Thu 06-Sep-12 13:53:18

Fluffy, I suspect the two authorities have different approaches for historical reasons. RBKC is really short of school places, and even shorter of sites suitable to build secondary schools. Wandsworth 15 years ago probably had more than enough places and was happy to take a number of students from Lambeth and other boroughs, with the probably assumption that pupils willing to travel into the borough would tend to be the better motivated. (Some over-lap with "middle class" but not entirely. There are plenty of less well off including first generation immigrants who want the best for their children and a clear pattern of pupils travelling to Battersea Park School away from Stockwell Park and Lilian Baylis when the latter schools were at their most troubled.)

A few things have happened since then. Demand in Wandsworth has grown:
1. generally population, and birth rates, in London have grown.
2. People started moving to Wandsworth because of their good quality primary schools. Not for nothing was Wandsworth the original nappy valley and a decade ago it was said that Wandsworth had the highest proportion of under 5s anywhere in Europe. This pipeline is now feeding into its secondary schools.

The casualty has been Lambeth, who historically exported a large proportion of their school population to local boroughs, at both primary and secondary level. As boroughs like Westminster, Wandsworth and Southwark have faced increasing demand from their own residents there are fewer places for Lambeth residents and with its own population increases Lambeth has the double whammy.

The catchment for Graveney is now tiny. However the good news is that Chestnut and Ernest Bevin have really benefited from a settled population who have been in the Wandsworth School system from the start and are heaps better than they were.

Sorry for the long and slightly nerdy post. A long time ago I was involved in a campaign to prevent Lambeth closing a school and selling off the land. Such a proposal would be unimaginable now even to the most cash-hungry council and it did not take a lot of vision even back then to realise this.

Blu Thu 06-Sep-12 17:00:41

NeedMoreSleep - the final double whammy for Lambeth has been that Lambeth schools have improved so much over the last few years at primary and secondary level, that more parents are choosing to stay, rather than move to Surrey or go private - demand has risen hugely.

Victims of their own idiocy (I know exactly the school sale you talk of), and then success!

But they have also managed to open 2 new schools over the last 5 years, and have another big secondary opening in 2013.

Needmoresleep Thu 06-Sep-12 18:16:07

Agree. Part of this is because whilst a decade or so ago it was reasonably easy for a motivated Lambeth parent to get a place in an out of borough school and other boroughs liked to take this group it is now much harder. So people are staying within borough and previously very challenged schools who offered very limited subject and level choice, now have a more comprehensive intake with a good cohort from the upper end. It is not for nothing that Stockwell Park is advertising its "grammar" stream on the back of buses.

Schools improve and demand increases. Anywhere but Lambeth this would be seen as a virtuous cycle. I suspect they are still short an awful lot of school places. At one point a few years back I was told off gently by the then Executive Member for Education, who I knew, for sending my son private. I pointed out that Lambeth had failed to offer us any school place at 11+. (It had been a notoriously difficult year.) He did not disagree and suggested that Lambeth were short over 20 Primary Schools and several secondaries.

Demand for Private overall is increasing. Lambeth has very few (is Streatham High the only one?) However I suspect that this demand is generated by the increasing numbers of very rich living in London and many better-off middle-income Lambeth residents have been priced out. So you are right. Another whammy.

arniesidd Sat 22-Sep-12 21:13:29

I phoned Graveney school admissions dept, and spoke to the admissions secretary (this was two years ago, admittedly). she told me she was aware of the problem of people renting locally only for them to move out of the area. She said to me that there was nothing they could do about it, and what did i suggest? I was pretty taken aback, as it's pretty obvious what they could do. For starters, every child should have a local address, not just the eldest child. I know of a wealthy family who did the "Graveney Shuffle"as it's known around here - ie rented for six months to get eldest child into Graveney. (They have four children). In the interim they spent over £100k doing up their house in SW12. they could have afforded to send their children to private school, but instead chose to play the system and cheat a local child out of a genuine change. Whatever the defenders of this system say, it is morally indefensible to do that IMO. While I could have done the same thing, I just couldn't bring myself to do it in the end, tempted as I was. We ended up paying for dS to attend a private school, which we can ill afford to do (neither of us being City workers). Thank god Bolingbroke has opened up, where our younger son has just started. But it's shameful that this still goes on.

BeingFluffy Sun 23-Sep-12 09:55:46

I emailed Wandsworth admissions about this issue as I feel very strongly that renting temporarily for the purposes of school admission is morally repugnant. I got an email back saying they check addresses thoroughly. If the school/LA are tacitly encouraging this practice, I hope it blows up in their faces. If I lived locally I would be straight onto the local councillors and MP.

mrsmilk Fri 22-Feb-13 10:17:43

Hello I've just found this v old (and vv interesting thread!) and hope that some of you might still be available for wise advice on this matter!

We are also thinking of moving to FD to get our eldest DS into Graveney but please hold your fire.....!!

We really truly want to move into the community and stay there! We will sell our current home to buy in FD and that will be that. No more moving....

My question is ... how close is close enough? Some of you have referred to friends who lived 'a few streets away' and still didn't get in but what exactly does that mean. I've looked at the WBC brochure on secondary entry for this year and, if I'm reading it right, children up to 913m were offered places last year. Does that sound right? And are there any particular factors (eg changes in admissions policies) that are on the cards that would make a massive difference to that?

Many many thanks in advance....

MM

Classicsgirl Fri 22-Feb-13 11:50:59

Hi - I don't have any inside knowledge, but I would expect the distance to shrink because the admissions policy has changed for this year ( and probably the future but who knows?) Last year and the year before siblings only had priority if they were siblings of the non-selection places, which meant there were fewer siblings overall and therefore more places awarded on distance. This year it changed back to the previous policy of all siblings having priority, which means a number of siblings who would not have priority before will now get places. I would therefore expect the overall number of siblings to go up and the distance places and distance catcent to go down,IYSWIM.

irisgrey Fri 22-Feb-13 11:56:32

I would go for around 600m to be absolutely sure, depending on when you want to get your eldest child in. Two years ago we were outside the area at just under 800 metres. Last year we would have been well inside but as Classicsgirl says the area is going to start shrinking again. They have also changed the way they measure this year (now doing it in straight lines rather than walking routes) so maybe you can be a little further as the crow flies but I'm not really sure what effect this change will have. If you are going to all the trouble of moving, make sure it is really close!

basildonbond Fri 22-Feb-13 14:58:18

Bear in mind that the catchment area will not only shrink (because of the siblings rule) it will also change shape because of the way distances are measured

Some streets which have usually been considered 'safe' will be out - the gains will be generally made on the Church Lane side of the catchment - traditionally Graveney renters and buyers have moved into the rather naicer streets around Moyser Road but this side will probably be the disadvantaged side

mrsmilk Fri 22-Feb-13 19:20:52

Ladies thanks so much for your replies. Yes irisgrey it's a v big financial decision we really don't want to get wrong! I wonder if Wandsworth would let us into their 'straight line measurement' tool!! We've driven round the neighbourhood and are really excited about the potential move.

I'd kind of heard about the ups and downs in the sibling policy but wasn't sure where it was right now. I guess that expanding it back to include siblings of all children ever admitted on the basis of the test will have a major impact on the catchment area. Did they implement that rule very long ago in the first place? Just wondering if I should check out what the catchment was back then if not too long ago....

My DS is in Yr 4 just now so would not be entering for another two years. The thing is we need to sell our house for financial reasons anyway...husband losing his job and wants to work for himself so all a bit scary and risky and we think we should downsize house now to feel a bit safer....so we are wanting to make the move as soon as .. really. Plus there are the obvious advantages of feeling well settled in the area before he starts, and obviously NOT looking like we've parachuted in temporarily!

Thanks again for your help and advice. I greatly appreciate it.

Best,

MM

Schmedz Fri 22-Feb-13 22:38:51

WOW! Have just done a search for properties near Graveney school which are for sale. The cost of those homes would pay my two children's private school fees many, many , MANY times over!
Very best of luck to get into the area you are hoping for (and then to also get a school place).

Southwest Fri 22-Feb-13 22:52:26

Something has happened recently in the larger area there has been another massive jump in prices look for previously sold prices on the same streets, some have gone up by 50% ASKING price in less than 1 year (and no not home improvements)

will be interesting to see what happens to them

lambbone Fri 22-Feb-13 23:07:31

MrsMilk, you might want to consider that the younger siblings of clever kids are often (but not always I know) pretty smart themselves, so many of them could get in on the test, and not need to rely on the fact that they are siblings.So sibling category may not be significantly affected.

Call Graveney after 1st March to see how far out they are going-a lot of guesswork at the moment with the change in measurement. Then come back and tell us!

Southwest Fri 22-Feb-13 23:10:28

But surely the test is so tight, it must be just 1 question in it for most of the kids, maybe even 1/2 a question

BTW I was told distances will go down when it comes to straight lines

lambbone Fri 22-Feb-13 23:20:55

Yes, the address that was 913m away by shortest safe walking distance works out as about 650m in a straight line (it was on display at the last open day).

CecilyP Sat 23-Feb-13 00:06:11

lambone, the younger siblings of clever kids may be clever themselves, but they are unlikely to take the test if they get in automatically as siblings. Which means that the kids that get on via the test will be new kids without older siblings, so the change will shrink the catchment.

basildonbond Sat 23-Feb-13 08:38:12

Siblings will be given a place anyway so it means that even if they do take the test (as all Wandsworth pupils do), it doesn't matter what they get

The end result should be that the cohort of high achieves at the school is larger - let's face it, children scoring on the 97th percentile are still very bright but would not get a test place. The downside for local, averagely achieving children is that the catchment will get smaller. It will also mean that house prices in streets which are in the very immediate surrounds will start fetching silly prices ...

It's important to remember that IMO while Graveney is an excellent school if your child is in the top two streams, it doesn't serve the lower achieving children as well, so I wouldn't move just to get into the school unless I was pretty sure my child was a high achiever

gazzalw Sat 23-Feb-13 14:28:37

If my memory serves me correctly, the Admissions Lady at Graveney (who used to be at DS's school) is lovely and very helpful and I'm sure will be very reasonable about sharing collated information on distance etc....once the hysteria of 1st March is done with.

Presumably if it's being done on straight distance now, you could probably do a DIY job with a pin and a piece of string/thread to get some idea of what might/might not be in catchment....?

Aren't the Graveney teachers' children also factored into the admissions criteria now, so that could potentially skew chance of getting a place for one's DC somewhat - or not....

lambbone Sun 24-Feb-13 12:34:20

CecilyP, everyone applying to a Wandsworth school has to take the Wandsworth year 6 test, so if a sibling gets in on test, the fact that they are a sibling doesn't come into it.

basildonbond Sun 24-Feb-13 12:43:33

Yes, but that's not going to make a huge difference to numbers - what the school is hoping for is that they'll get a lot of bright siblings who just miss getting in on the test but still get very high scores

There's not going to be much incentive for children to try as hard as they possibly could if they know that whatever score they get they'll still get in...

Of the children I know in extension, very few of the guaranteed to be in catchment children scored high enough marks on the test to get on as one of the top 63 .. However they are now more than holding their own against out of catchment children who'd scored 100%

irisgrey Sun 24-Feb-13 13:00:15

That is exactly what has happened with my ds2 who scored quite highly but nowhere near enough for a selective place. Why? Because he knew he was getting in anyway so did about a quarter of the practice his older brother did. He is no less intelligent.

CarlingBlackMabel Sun 24-Feb-13 22:09:10

Given the considerable effect of the significant selective intake, is Graveney performing any better than other reputable comps? With the more average spectrum of intake? I'm not saying it's a bad school, but isn't it's reputation down to the super-selective places? The new admissions policies seem to be support keeping the results up by influencing the intake.

If you are moving specifically for a school I would move somewhere with a good back-up plan. Are the other local schools good? Do you know that Graveney will actually suit your child? (as far as such a prediction is possible)

Reading down this old thread - interesting to see the comments on Stockwell Park which is now called Platanos College, is 'outstanding' and had excellent results in the last round!

aidaweb01 Mon 25-Feb-13 22:00:32

My daughter currently lives with her Mum (561 metres away from Graveney - based on the Wandsworth GIS). I live just less than 300 metres away. We jointly own the house my daughter lives in and my father and I own the house I live in. Both my kids spend at least 1 day a week with me and most weekends, but their mum is the primary carer (as she receives the child benefit). Based on my research I'd guess that 561 metres is just about on the cusp of getting in based on distance and that 300m is well within, but my question would be - which address should we apply from? All thoughts gratefully received

titchy Mon 25-Feb-13 22:41:36

You have to apply from the address your daughter lives at most of the time during the school week, so use her mother's address. Using your address would be fraudulent and could mean the offer of a place is withdrawn.

tiggytape Mon 25-Feb-13 22:42:14

Under the rules, you have to apply from the address that the child lives at on most weekdays in term time. This is her mum's address as weekend days do not count for school admissions.

If there was a genuine 50:50 split on weekdays, then the deciding factor is the address where child benefit is paid but this is just used as a tiebreaker for families where a child spends an exactly equal number of weekdays with each parent.

Either way, it definitely has to be her mum's address in this instance.

With luck though, your DD will be fine on the distances. Last year 561m would have got a place relatively easily (the last distance offered went up to over 700m but of course things can and do change year to year)

FillyPutty Mon 25-Feb-13 23:03:59

London is such a shithole with kids.

Sorry, as you were. biscuit

FillyPutty Mon 25-Feb-13 23:14:23

"Given the considerable effect of the significant selective intake, is Graveney performing any better than other reputable comps? "

Yes:

www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=137005

55% high achievers, but

Average D- per GCSE for low attainers, 6.2 GCSEs per candidate
Average C per GCSE for medium attainers, 9.1 GCSEs per candidate
Average A- per GCSE for high attainers, 11.5 GCSEs per candidate

Compare, Platanos:

www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=136450

Only 11% high achievers, and

Average D-/7.1 GCSEs low attainers
Average C-/8.8 GCSEs medium attainers
Average B-/10.6 GCSEs medium attainers

Ernest Bevin:
26% high achievers
Average E-/3.9 GCSEs
Average C-/7.7 GCSEs
Average B-/10.9 GCSEs

So the top stream, which is more than half the school, perform very well - as well as at a normal (not super-selective) grammar school (A- average is usual at grammar schools).

aidaweb01 Tue 26-Feb-13 07:59:13

"My daughter currently lives with her Mum (561 metres away from Graveney - based on the Wandsworth GIS). I live just less than 300 metres away......."

Thanks for your advice. I figured that would be the answer, but wanted to check!!

One other question to pose to the group - If myself and the ex decided to switch properties (which we have talked about a number of times) - In the groups opinion, does this constitute 'cheating'?

tiggytape Tue 26-Feb-13 08:13:18

It depends whether it was a genuine change or a temporary one to get a schol place. If it was a genuine swap, with all that entails in terms of changing the names on the deeds, council tax and everything else so the houses genuinely change ownership, it would probably be allowed (but I am sure it would raise enough suspicion to be investigated so everything would need to be totally genuine and completed).

If you mean packing up each of your things so DD's mum lives in a house owned by you and your Dad and you and your Dad go to live in a house owned by your DD's mum and yourself, then no that's not allowed. It would be seen as a temporary arrangement to optimise DD's chaces of a school place which is cheating. If found out, you would lose the place which is a silly risk to take since DD has a good chance of a place from her mum's address anyway.

Many parents ask how would the council know: Any change of address near a very oversubscribed school now triggers at least a cursory investigation in most cases. Any change of address from 500m to 300m will be viewed as even more suspicious (unless the move is perhaps from a 1 bed bedsit to a more suitable family property) because why else would you do it?
People ask how the council can 'prove' it is only temporary: The council don't have to prove anything. Suspecting it is enough for them to make the application invalid or withdraw the offer later on. If parents feel unfairly judged, they can then go to appeal and state their case to prove why the council's suspicions were wrong. But in a house swap case, a panel is going to take a lot of convincing that is a genuine, permanent house swap. If your Dad's name is still on the deeds for example, it is going to look like a cheat.

CarlingBlackMabel Tue 26-Feb-13 10:00:51

"London is such a shithole with kids."

No, it isn't.

Of course the top stream does extremely well - it is not just ordinary high attainers but the higherst attainers of a catchment that stretches way, way across S London. And in addition to the 2 super-selective classes they have the high attainers from the geographical intake.

OhDearConfused Tue 26-Feb-13 10:08:35

Do DCs who enter through the selective mechanism end up in the top stream automatically (thus not allowing those that get into through other means to enter that stream)?

Or is there an assessment by the school. Also, how does movement between the streams work as years go on?

CarlingBlackMabel Tue 26-Feb-13 10:12:50

It's all re-arranged according to actual ability once they are in the school. So yes, kids who get in on distance or as siblings will be in the extension class as ability allows.

This is interesting. We live out of catchment (probably about 1.5km), but it has been suggested by current headteacher that DS (quite bright) could do the WW test. Our neighbours' daughter is there, and is very bright.

We have a couple of years to go before a decision needs to be made, but interestingly some friends have decided to put Dunraven down No 1 this year over Graveney- and their children are bright. Their view was that Dunraven is on the up, while Graveney is coasting. We are (I believe) well within catchment for Dunraven.

CarlingBlackMabel Tue 26-Feb-13 11:53:54

I know some extremely high achieving children who go to Dunraven.
And some middle attainers who are flying.
And one low attainer / borderline SEN child who is being extremely well supported.
The behaviour is good too. (I am in the area where they are on the bus).

I have only heard positive stories about Dunraven. Clearly they are also getting a lot of investment. Will visit later this year with interest.

KandyBarr Tue 26-Feb-13 16:20:22

Blimey, I visited Graveney and Dunraven three years ago and at that time they were worlds apart.

The standard of year 6 work on display and the topics covered at Dunraven were nowhere near the standards at Graveney extension and upper streams. The school was tatty, the children showing us around were indifferent, the teachers were distracted, so we dismissed it. Perhaps the facelift has changed things.

KandyBarr Tue 26-Feb-13 16:21:00

Year 7, not year 6 - sorry.

CarlingBlackMabel Tue 26-Feb-13 16:55:01

We visited Dunraven 2 years ago, the students showing us round were really engaged, the teachers were mostly very imaginative and energetic, the Head's talk gave loads of detail about the various exam courses on offer, not just GCSEs but BTecs and things to suit a wide range of kids. I loved the art work.

Corridors a bit poky, but actually the whole school is being re-built as far as I can see. We would have been very very happy with it, and will probably choose it for 6th Form.

KandyBarr Tue 26-Feb-13 17:47:37

What really concerned me and stood out about Dunraven - admittedly three years ago - was the year 7 English work. Then, we were told, the entire year was reading Stig of the Dump in classes of mixed ability. It's a challenging book for some, but for many of the bright kids in year 7 it would have been old ground and unchallenging. I wasn't convinced by any means at that time that they served all kids well. But schools change, of course, so perhaps things are different now.

ClutchMyPearls Tue 26-Feb-13 23:23:28

I thought Dunraven has been streamed for ages?

This year's top stream Yr 7s have done Oliver Twist, The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson and are now doing 2 tales from the Canterbury Tales. Starting with the original middle English version. And are really enjoying it.

florencerose Wed 27-Feb-13 00:16:24

really are yr 7 reading the whole thing in middle English?
how long do they expect to take on that?
how much experience does the teacher have in middle English?

(idle questions really it's not that i dont believe you Im just surprised)

gazzalw Wed 27-Feb-13 08:58:42

We didn't do Chaucer until A Level I'm pretty sure..... It's a bit full-on for 12 year olds, isn't it????? Especially as Middle-English is such a hybrid it's not really very intelligible to modern people....

ClutchMyPearls Wed 27-Feb-13 09:01:01

So far they have done at least two sides of A4 looking at the Middle English, doing their own translation, with help. I think it was the character descriptions from the Prologue. or maybe the opening. Then they are doing 2 contrasting stories. Or maybe they are just doing two contrasting characters from the prologue.

I have an English lit degree and we did a Middle English module, so I imagine most English teachers would be at least that competent? Middle English isn't as hard to get to grips with as Old English.

I did a Shakespeare in Yr 7, we really enjoyed that.

ClutchMyPearls Wed 27-Feb-13 09:02:12

I did a Chaucer at O level (reveals age)

SavoirFaire Wed 27-Feb-13 22:20:14

I did a couple of Canterbury tales in either Y7 or Y8. I remember it as being really entertaining and engaging. Wife of Bath and another.

Do many children travel from the north of Wandsworth to Graveney? I realise that they would have to be the winners in the WW test system, but just curious if many kids do this?

mymeatballishorse Wed 27-Feb-13 23:30:44

I think the stories as stories are fine/usual /OK (whatever) for yr 7 I am just surprised at a child being able to read the stories in middle English in yr 7
with no experience.

At university and year 12 of course (or even for a good old fashioned O level wink)

I have found from my own dcs education that the school says we're doing x and I think oh how wonderful and super educational and academic and old fashioned etc etc

then when I am actually aware of what they are doing it is nothing like the standard I was led to expect, I rather expect reading 2 of the originals in middle English at Graveney would fall into that bracket.

My Mother is an English teacher and speaks a variety of middle English, old English, Anglo Saxon etc (and I mean really speaks not just reads) she has just told me that she thinks top set grammar school would like the challenge at the age of 14.

(I actually found myself googling houses on rightmove in the catchment earlier grin)

Savoir yes quite a few there was a ruckus on a local mums site about just that a while ago, one grandmother got very irate that people in Balham weren't using Chestnut Grove!!!!!!

ClutchMyPearls Thu 28-Feb-13 11:23:50

savoire - children travel from several adjoining, or even ajoining the ajoining boroughs to Wandsworth to get to Graveney,
and
Chestnut Grove is now reputed to be an excellent school with an Outstanding status. I know parents with kids there who are extremey happy with it.

RE Chaucer in yr 7 - MyMeatballs - this is at Dunraven, not Graveney. Anyway, I have taken a closer interest. They studied part of the the opening and two character descriptions from The Prologue. They studied the original language and translated it, with help. DC did 2 homework essays based on this: one about what information about pilgrimages and poetic pastoral language could be gleaned form the text - including supporting evidence with quotes in ME. The second comparing the characters, especially morality, and with supporting quotes in ME, and saying which you would prefer as a travelling companion.

This links to the rest of the year's work as follows: In Oliver Twist they also looked at character analysis and finding quotes to support your conclusions. So a through line about character study and using quotes as evidence.

They are now doing 2 sonnets - one Petrarch, one Shakespeare, again looking at pastoral poetic language. They have apparantly studied a section of Beowulf (that passed me by) , and are looking at the evolution of language over Beowulf, TCT and now the sonnets, all describing the same sort of stuff.

So, no, not the GCSE curriculum of studying the texts in depth, but using the texts to develop building blocks of literary understanding. And I think it is good to encourage children to see a wide variety of texts as accessible and not daunting from early on.

They didn't read the whole of O Twist (though DC did), they read a series of key narrative chapters.

Meanwhile a mixed ability group (or rather students who are good at readiing books from a range of ability streams) are all reading the same 3 books for a borough reading challenge competition between several schools - debating the best book, or something - for World Book Day.

whistleblowers Tue 19-Mar-13 19:34:14

Typical right wing behaviour manipulating the system and then cutely behaving as though it's slightly "cheeky" and not really fraud.

prh47bridge Tue 19-Mar-13 20:33:53

Do you seriously think this is about politics? Do you really believe that left wingers don't try to manipulate the system?

gazzalw Tue 19-Mar-13 21:55:07

I wonder what StockwellLiving did in the end and if her DC got in?

And you are right prh47bridge. When it comes to education principles seem to fly out of the window regardless of ideological stance. I wonder what the Millibands will do when they get to that point in time??? Hmmmmm.....

SWandStressed Wed 20-Mar-13 10:51:34

I suppose we will never know - but we all know people (perhaps one is SL) who have done that. I just asked Graveney Lady in the othe thread about whether Graveney ever does withdraw places.....

tiggytape Wed 20-Mar-13 11:20:00

Graveneylady is new to the school having only joined in the last academic year but there have been past cases where places are removed (one poster here had their neighbours sheepishly return from the rented house minus the Graveney place they'd been after although they were very philosophical about the whole thing)

I don't expect they catch them all or perhaps even most of them. I expect a lot of people go to great lengths to cover their tracks.
But even if they only catch a few and strip them of their places, the consequences of losing a school place and then having no offer are so awful that hopefully it would make many parents think twice even if the risk of being caught was small.
The risk depends on whether others will find out / suspect and report you more than the school / council checks being brilliant so it is a nail biting ride. And the place can be removed even after September so it is a long term risk too.

pot39 Sat 05-Apr-14 18:47:59

Graveney is fine if you are very bright.
Only average if you aren't
I think someone earlier pointed this out.
We live 2 miles away in S london and in 2005 our ds scored 97% in Wandsworth Test and failed to make it in to the extension class and therefore Graveney as a whole as we were beyond its catchment area.
Would never have done the Graveney shuffle for moral reasons.
He WAS accepted by one of the outstanding schools in Wandsworth and has loved every moment, and his brother followed on sibling policy, loves it too.

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