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

(282 Posts)
enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 01:00:03

I am thinking of renting a property in the catchment area of a secondary school. Once I have done this and my child is given a place (presuming everything has gone to plan and the catchment area has not all off the sudden become even smaller etc), how much longer do I need to live there before I can move safely back to our house outside the catchment area? As soon as I have filled in the application? As soon as my child is offered the place? As soon as my child has actually started in September? I actually called the LEA to ask this question and they were not sure. I asked a different LEA the same question about another school and they said that I could move out of the catchment area as soon as the application form was received! They seemed puzzled by my question though, understandably, and not sure if I trust their answer.

K8Middleton Wed 10-Apr-13 01:14:28

Puzzled by your question? Do you mean they couldn't believe your brass neck?

You're a cheeky madam asking how to defraud someone else's child out of a place so yours can have his/her place.

ihearsounds Wed 10-Apr-13 01:17:02

Never. You have to stay always in the catchment area.
If you do it to play the game that is really bang out of order for the honest people that live within the catchment area.
thankfully councils are getting wise to this horrible practice, and revoking the place, even when the child has been attending the school.

sydlexic Wed 10-Apr-13 01:17:03


deleted203 Wed 10-Apr-13 01:22:44

I think you need to bear in mind that if you do this then you are depriving a child who is genuinely entitled to be there to a place in this school. Perhaps this doesn't concern you.

In which case you need to be aware that this is not going to be as simple as you think. You will need to physically move into the rented home for quite some time. If you keep your old house and do not rent it out the LEA can check council tax records to make a decision about which is your true address (and may well decide that suspiciously renting in catchment just before applications are due makes this a false address even if you are actually living there full time).

They can also ask for which doctor you are registered with to check you are not really still living in your 'old' area.

Most LEAs state that the address on the form must be your child’s permanent place of residence. It should not be a business, relative or child minder’s address. You are not permitted to use a temporarily rented address to secure a school place for your child. It is fraud.

The LEA will investigate any cases where there are any doubts - such as recent moves.

Any application that uses false information may be subject to legal proceedings. If an application is found to be fraudulent after a place has been offered, the place will normally be withdrawn.

The school would be well within it's rights to withdraw the place they have offered your child if you move out of the catchment area even once they have started school. Schools are well aware of parents who try stunts like this to get into a 'good' school - and are on their guard against it.

I don't know who you spoke to at the LEA but it sounds like whoever answered was puzzled and wondering 'why is this woman asking me about making what is clearly a false application?

JakeBullet Wed 10-Apr-13 01:31:39

I feel for you OP as you just want the best option for your child. You will get a kicking for asking this though. What you are intending to do will deprive another child who genuinely lives in the area of a place.

If you were saying that you would be renting and living there for the duration then fair would be living in and contributing to the community. To just rent until you have the school, place is wrong.....and the place CAN be withdrawn if the LA find you are living elsewhere before the place is taken up.

If you do elect to do this though then you are looking at renting for at least a the very least until your DD starts at the school. After that I am guessing it won't matter if you move.....sometimes things change and people DO move but elect to leave their children in a school for continuity...especially if they have settled.

Are the schools any nearer especially dire? I honestly DO feel for you as it's easy to judge other people's actions when you are not in the same situation. I am fortunate to have a reasonable choice of schools locally and not have to worry about this.

enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 01:33:22

The whole education system is an ethical minefield. Even the widely accepted practice of paying for private education to give your child a (presumably) better education is unfair. It all, including what I am considering to do, promotes inequality. However, I think that it all reflects an underlying dysfunctional education system. If only it didn't matter which school you go to (sometimes I relax and I think it doesn't), then we wouldn't have private schools, tutoring, buying houses in catchment areas, renting houses in catchment areas etc.

K8Middleton Wed 10-Apr-13 01:35:35

Yeah your a real hero of the people hmm

K8Middleton Wed 10-Apr-13 01:36:16

Your You're

See I'm so incredulous I can't even post straight

JakeBullet Wed 10-Apr-13 01:43:08

Are the schools near you really awful? Bear in mind that schools scoring less than "good" via OFSTED" are now deemed to need improvement. So if a local school is "good" via OFSTED it should in theory be okay.

It is a minefield....I am in an area where a third of schools have been in special measures but are being improved. One school had a massive jump in GCSE A-C passes over two years with a new head.

Have you looked at results over the past few years in any local schools to see if there is an upward trend? You might be surprised.... Or you might not if they really are dire.

enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 01:51:26

Thanks Jakebullet and sowornout. Sounds I won't be able to pull of this grand plan.
About the LEA person, I obviously did not tell them my exact plan. Made it sound more natural (moving into London, renting first, when can I buy and move into a house which may or may not be in the catchment area).
Although my plan is obviously not in the spirit of the law I though it was still legal and that it did not matter that it was a rental for a relatively short time for a specific purpose. I though that as long as I actually live there (change GP etc) for the required time, than they can't do anything. That does not seem the case after your detailed explanations. Is it too late to christen her quickly and go to church? ;-)

Is there not someone at the LEA you could bribe? That might be cheaper than renting? Or try Catholicism?

Cross posts.

doubleshotespresso Wed 10-Apr-13 02:23:13

Threads like this make me so sad.......

We would all move heaven and earth for our kids , but really? You must know this is wrong?

barnetmum2 Wed 10-Apr-13 07:48:06

OP you must be desperate. Is the 'EN' in your name a clue to the post code? If so tread carefully, there have been many places taken away ( quite rightly) after offer, once the school investigate the addresses further, inc. how long renting before & after with some (repeat offender) addresses having already been blacklisted by the school !

This could mean ending up with no offer/offered a school that is worse than your (true) local would have been.

I do sympathise but I think you are naive if you think this is a straight forward solution.

JakeBullet Wed 10-Apr-13 08:25:24

Many Catholic schools require baptism to have taken place within three months of birth. My son is Catholic but on that basis it wouldn't be enough as he was not baptised until he was 9 yrs old. As our local Catholic secondary takes a large number (about 40%) of non Catholics this will be okay but I am aware that the very popular London Catholic schools are very over subscribed so do enforce the baptism rule. Where about in the country are you currently? Does it have to be London?

Yes it's still legal for you to do this...many parents do it either by buying in the catchment area or renting. I think the local authorities are cracking down on those who rent just long enough to get a place. Some though just rent a flat etc and never even live there...that is more likely to be detected. If you live somewhere for year though and are paying council tax there etc it wouldn't be detectable I wouldn't have thought.

NotMostPeople Wed 10-Apr-13 08:33:47

In this area if you are renting you have to prove you have a minimum of a two year tenancy. Fwiw I think what you are proposing to do is very wrong.

meditrina Wed 10-Apr-13 08:34:54

OK - you need to move before the date when applications close. I'd allow a good two months before that, to ensure you have changed all admin, reregistered at doctors etc (councils in areas where this is a common attempted ruse will check all sorts of stuff, so you need everything to this address). Ideally, your DC moves school, but you can probably swing the 'excessive disruption' card for a child in year 6. But you need to apply for places local to new address for all younger children at the time of your move (and this will be readily visible to admissions office).

It will help if you can show that you have totally relinquished old address, so quitting old tenancy completely is definitely necessary, and if selling ideally that would be complete before deadline too (how well does property shift in your current area? Might want to get on with marketing now, if you will be applying in next round).

You need to stay at the new address throughout the applications process, and beyond (as you can be stripped of a place if the move is adjudged fraudulently temporary even after DC has started. I'd say for the whole of year 7 as a minimum. By which time, you may as well stay, especially as sibling priority isn't a given for secondaries.

Samnella Wed 10-Apr-13 08:50:33

How far away is your house from the secondary school? I don't believe you have to stay in catchment as presumably that catchment changes each year but I would imagine you would need to be a reasonable distance away. Personally, I would stay for at least year 7.

A question to those of you saying how wrong it is - do you happen to have a good local secondary school? If not, what do you plan to do? I understand what drives people to this. It really isnt so different to the other ways people get their children into good schools - whether that be by relegion or £.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Apr-13 09:29:26

It really isnt so different to the other ways people get their children into good schools - whether that be by relegion or £.

Except it is. It prevents a child who is genuinely entitled to a place from getting in. It is using ££ and dishonesty.


CountingClouds Wed 10-Apr-13 09:37:41

Several posters seem against this proposal. But I have met parents who used to think like that, and as soon as it came to forcing their own children to go to a local 'less than good' school, guess what happened? Their views flipped as fast as a pancake.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing everything within your power to get your DC into a good school and I would say its your morale responsibility to do so. Its essentially an active protest against the state who are trying to force children into a sub-standard education.

Who's to say you are taking a place from someone who 'genuinely' deserves it? How many other family's have used money to live in the area? Its really the teachers, head, school, council or governments fault for not providing a good education to all children. It certainly isn't the parents.

As someone has already said this is no different than parents who use religion (genuinely or not) to abuse the system and get their children into good schools. That's a bigger scandal.

OFSTED reports are not currently a good guide to how schools are doing, unless its from this year. The inspection has just been changed to a more rigorous one, so you cant compare schools until they have all been redone. The previous system seemed to hand out good and outstanding ratings to schools that were only treading water.

I would rent out a few months before you fill in the application and stay until a few months after your DC starts the school. Don't tell the school your new address until the year after, they only ask for your it once a year anyway. Despite all the scare stories no one is going to pull your child out of a school they are already in, just because you decide to move house.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Apr-13 09:51:18

As others have said, you would need to stay long enough to satisfy all the LEA's anti-fraud checks. And, frankly, unless you sell your current house, that may be never.

OhDearConfused Wed 10-Apr-13 09:55:05

Even if OP moved permanently, she would be "depriving" someone else from a place....and if the house prices go up the nearer you get to the school gate then the richest can buy their way in to the detriment of those in cheaper houses on outskirts of the catchment.

Moral minefield!

(But short term rent is fraudulent, that said. Just not sure it is morally more suspect than other practices.)

Booyhoo Wed 10-Apr-13 09:59:53

hilarious that you actually called up two LEA's to ask this question. i hope gave them your child's name so they know to bin the application when they get it.

whokilleddannylatimer Wed 10-Apr-13 10:05:41

You would need to move, rent your old house out and live there until you have a written offer AT LEAST.
Even then the LEA will be suspicious and imo if your going to do it you need to move back when she has actually started.

I will be honest, we moved here for school, I intend moving as soon as dd has a place at secondary. The local option where we lived has a 14% pass rate for gcses and major behaviour/management issues (I used to work there).

The schools where we live now all three are best in the borough.

Having said that we have been here a year, I work in the community and we have no other property.

notcitrus Wed 10-Apr-13 10:09:05

Just to point out that for some people this can be a genuine worry. My SIL lives with just her ds. About 6 months before she had to apply for schools, her landlord put up the rent to affordable levels so she had to look for a new place to rent.
Obviously school places were going to be a huge factor in her decision. Thing was, all local schools would withdraw the place if you were further away in the Sept when the children started school. And while some landlords would agree to a year contract, none wanted sign up for 18 months to an unknown tenant, especially an unemployed single mother with small child!

Eventually we found one who agreed to an 18 month initial term though with break clauses, as at least that signalled her intent to stay. Required DH being a guarantor and 2 months rent in advance though.

Given the crapness of the landlord in doing repairs etc she would have preferred to move again but wouldn't risk her son having to move school.

The school has removed places before. Dn is one of 3 non-siblings in his year of 60.

Tw1nmummy Wed 10-Apr-13 12:26:52

I moved to get my kids into a good school - I went through all the hassle, expense and abuse...and I would do it all again. The way I see it - I wanted the place more than someone else did and if the government can't provide adequate good schools then its up to me to find have to do what's right for your kids - there are no second chances.

OhDearConfused Wed 10-Apr-13 12:57:03

Actually you might not have wanted it more than someone else, you might just have had more money.

prh47bridge Wed 10-Apr-13 13:13:56

If you rent near a popular school and still own another house the LA is likely to regard this as suspicious and may treat your application as if it was from your permanent address. If you return to your permanent address after getting a place at your preferred school (or, indeed, if anything else happens that makes the LA think you gave misleading information on the application form) the LA is entitled to withdraw the offer even if your child has already started at the school.

You may get away with it but the risks if it goes wrong are high. You could find that your child ends up at a much worse school than would have been offered if you had been honest about your address.

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 13:58:01

You do realise this isn't allowed don't you? And you've just tipped off the LAs about your plans too! I suspect they'll have a big flag on any application you submit.

You can rent near a good school - of course you can. Lots of people live in rented accommodation. That's fine.

But if you keep hold of your 'real' home at the same time as renting another one just for schools then the rented house isn't your permanent address and cannot be used for admission purposes.
There are rare exceptions to this of course and the LA will check to see if they apply eg your real house is gutted by fire so you are in a rented home for ages whilst it is rebuilt or your real home is 300 miles away and you are selling it and anyway wouldn't be able to commute from it to the allocated school you want.

As prh says, LAs have council tax histories. If they suspect fraud they can also get lots of other evidence about your addresses too from lots of other sources.
If they find out about your 'real' home, they will ignore the rented address you use on the form and allocate you a place near your real home
If they don't find out about it at first but another parent grasses you up after allocation day (don't underestimate the anger this causes), they can take the place away at any time. Even after your child has started at the school.

Lots of peopel ask 'but how can the LA prove I only rented for schools?' The answer is they don't have to. They will investigate anything suspicious but can decide against you just on circumstantial evidence. It then becoems your problem to prove to an appeal panel that you weren't committing fraud (which if you have, you're not going to be able to prove). Apparently most people in these cases go to appeal and try to justify why they lied and why they're a special case but obviously don't get very far!

Badvoc Wed 10-Apr-13 14:01:35

Well, what are suggesting is illegal and the LA will find out eventually (someone will report you)
And then you will have to explain your actions to your dc.
Great parenting there!

SavoyCabbage Wed 10-Apr-13 14:03:08

Did you give them your name?

To the poster who said they will not remove the child from the school. They can and will.

3 children in DS1 year 7 class started school and then had their places withdrawn and had to leave.
2 children in DDs year 7 class had their places withdrawn.

This was due to fraudulent claims ie renting a house in catchment and not actually planning on living there.
Our LA is very strict on this as it happens a lot

They no longer just accept that people live where they say. They investigate any application where the family has moved to the catchment area within 6 months of the application deadline.

If the OPs user name reflects where she lives, it may be the same LA.

prh47bridge Wed 10-Apr-13 14:59:43

CountingClouds - You say, "Despite all the scare stories no one is going to pull your child out of a school".

You are wrong. As other posters have pointed out it happens all the time.

Of course some people manage to cheat the system successfully but many do not. In a typical year LAs in England detect around 1400 fraudulent applications.

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 15:07:29

It is true - some people get their Year 7 places taken away from them in every year group. Do not underestimate how angry it makes other parents if a child turns up in September (or to the July induction days) that they know cheated to get a place. People do report it and LAs are a lot wiser to it than they once were.

In most cases though there is no dramatic stripping of a school place. The LA scrutinises applications and realises long before offers are made that some people are using false or temporary addresses. In those cases, the LA simply ignores the address written on the form and uses the genuine one. So when parents get their offer, it represents the school near their 'real' home not the one they want near their rented address. And of course the parents wouldn't have a leg to stand on at appeal if they complained.

FairyJen Wed 10-Apr-13 15:09:00

When we moved from the midlands to London we had to provide our old tenancy and council tax info an the new stuff to prove that it was a genuine relocation not to get into a good school. Dd had to wait another 3 weeks after term restarted before she was allowed to join the school.

During this time I was constantly ringing school an council for updates and we were being checked by the la to assess our application.

If you are in London tread very very carefully.

expatinscotland Wed 10-Apr-13 15:11:32

Why not sell your home and buy another one in the catchment area?

enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 15:16:04

I did not give them my name, of course not. I may be deprived of any moral compass but I am not stupid! Quite pleased to know that some of you at least think this is not that much different from all the other tricks; religion/private school etc.
Tiggy tape; 'but how can the LA prove I only rented for schools?' So what if I rented for that purpose? As long as I live there what does it matter what my motivation was? People who live in owned property in the area for years and years might have chosen to live there for the school. I am not saying this is not different. Morally it is different but legally it isn't. Or is it? I am not planning to only pay the rent, I am actually going to live there.
I have looked at some other boroughs's school websites. Some state that you have to give evidence that you are no longer attached to the previous property etc. This particular school does not say anything about that.
Having said that, I will most likely not go through with it all. Not for any ethical concerns by the way. Purely because of the risk that she might be chucked out of school after having started!

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 15:21:15

expat - that is entirely allowed.
Anyone who rents or owns a house is perfectly entitled to move as often as they want.
And they are perfectly entitled to move for the sole purpose of getting into a good school.
What you cannot do however is leave your family home (either rented or purchased - it makes no odds) and then live in a rented house close to a good school for a bit before moving back to your original home again. That's why the council checks if you have 'disposed' of your old property i.e. sold it or ended the tenancy on it.

Moving isn't a problem. Renting isn't a problem. It is just renting in catchment whilst still hanging on to your original property elsewhere that's not allowed for very obvious reasons that it is out and out cheating.

No wonder the 2 LAs OP rang up sounded surprised and a bit uncertain. I bet they don't get many people ringing them for advice on how to cheat for a school place!

umbrellahead Wed 10-Apr-13 15:26:57

If you're able to live in the area for up to two years, why don't you just permanently move to the area with the school you want your children to attend?

Booyhoo Wed 10-Apr-13 15:27:17

You sound nice hmm

Wecheated Wed 10-Apr-13 15:58:39

Ok, En we did exactly what you're thinking of and we know several other families that have done the same.

To answer your question - we stayed in our rented property for about a year and a half (from before application to after starting school). Ds had been attending the school for more than half a term before we moved back (as our own tenants had moved out and our landlord wanted to sell up). I don't know how much difference it would have made but I wanted ds to be actually settled at the school before moving back.

We also tried (anonymously) to find out how long we needed to be living there and were told it was only the address on the actual date of school offer that mattered in our area (not London).

I don't disagree with those outraged at how we maniplulated the system but I am clear on some issues:
1. We didn't lie. We only ever told the absolute truth about where we lived and dates etc. (unlike the many many families in our area who lied about their religious beliefs, their main place of residence, or their child's primary carer.)
2. We followed the rules which the system allowed us to do. In our area there were no rules about renting, reasons for moving or dates.
3. Our dcs didn't carry the guilt from our choice. I always made it clear to the dcs that we, their parents, made the choice to rent not them, so they had no moral responsibility for those who didn't get in to the school. We did.

I'm not defending or regretting our decision. I'm just answering the OP's question.

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 16:07:42

If it was a while ago and / or not in London, the chances of being able to do it successfully get away with it are very different. There are parts of the country where over 90% of people get their first choice school and such issues aren't even considered whereas London is ridiculously competitive for schools and councils are more switched on. They have to be else it would be carnage - on average about a third of London children don't get the school they want so if you allowed people to rent to overcome this it would be absolute chaos.

I am not denying, even in London people do get away with it but less so. Things like council tax history checks for example show up other recent properties and raise questions on those. The councils don't just take at face value the address you live at when you apply or the one you write on the form, anything suspicious they check.

whokilleddannylatimer Wed 10-Apr-13 16:26:42

Im a bit torn tbh.
We are in the faith school system with very oversubscribed schools.
friends with older dc just applied for secondary.

Child one baptised at birth never been to church since.
Child two goes to mass every week but his mum didnt have him baptised as they joined the faith a few years ago and wants to let him decide.

Child one got a place at the Catholic school as baptised, child two despite church backing didnt.

So who rightfully deserved the place?

Bakingnovice Wed 10-Apr-13 16:31:07

Where I live this is very common and places are never revoked on the basis that families had effectively falsified their main residence. I've known families who signed tenancy agreements in catchment areas and never even moved. What it means is that my ds is very unlikely to go to
Our local school. Ironically, no one wanted to come here a few years as it was failing. A new head and injection of cash has transformed the school.

It's really really sad as like you all I want the best for my kIds. However, what it has made me do is appreciate that today's failing schools could well be tomorrows sought after ones.

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 16:36:11

Deserved doesn't come into it. You cannot possibly expect schools and councils to scrutinise each family and judge their worthiness for each school. Just as no parent can say they want or deserve a place more - they don't know who else is applying and who misses out.

The way it works is strict rules are laid down about the address you must use, the definition of a sibling, the definition of a medical need etc.
And then criteria are drawn up that are applied to every child equally. So if baptism at birth is the number 1 criteria, all baptised at birth get in first.
If church attendance is the criteria, all who go to church get in first.
If distance is the criteria, all who live 400m away get in before those who live 500m away.
Whatever criteria is used, many or most children will be rejected.

If you get into the area of 'deserved' it is impossible. You could equally say:

Child 1 lives 358m from an outstanding school and has millionaire parents who could easily afford to send him to private school

Child 2 lives 457m from an outstanding school and has very poor parents who can't even afford the bus fare to get to their next nearest school.

Child 1 got a place and child 2 didn't. Who deserves the place?

OneMoreMum Wed 10-Apr-13 16:46:27

Well in that case child 2 would be eligible for free transport to the next nearest school...

It's very difficult as all our kids deserve a decent school

OneMoreMum Wed 10-Apr-13 16:49:39

Posted too soon- meant to say all kids deserve a decent school wherever they live, just because you don't live in the right area (often good schools are in well-to-do areas) why is your child less entitled to a decent education?
That said I would try my best to work the system eg actually move if necessary, but wouldn't risk breaking the rules completely.

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 16:57:44

No free transport if the school is less than 2 miles away (it is often sod's law that people get allocated one 1.89 miles away - too far to walk with a 4 year old but not far enough for free travel).

I agree with you though about each child should have a decent school option or options. Not everyone can move even if they want to (work reasons or in social housing) and as the numbers applying go up and up, so the competition for places gets worse. More schools and more school expansions are desperately needed in many areas but it all happens far too slowly.

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 16:59:19

It is 3 miles for secondary but still too far for even an 11 year old to walk. In London they get free bus transport anyway but it is a problem elsewhere or if they need to go by train.

NotMostPeople Wed 10-Apr-13 17:00:34

No children are eligible for free transport to school here, regardless of distance. It used to be over three and a half miles, but it was charged last year to cutbacks. It will cost me £80 per month in September for my two dd's to go to school and £120 the year after when DS goes.

Coconutty Wed 10-Apr-13 17:00:44

Someone in the local paper did this and the kid was kicked out in year 9.


nancy75 Wed 10-Apr-13 17:01:47

If you own the house you live in at the moment you would need to rent it out and then rent in catchment until your child had started school. We moved to get my dd into a school ( we rent so not so tricky) we had to provide all final bills for the utilities in the old house as well as bills for the new address. We do legitimately live at the new address, which is good because we had somebody turn up on the doorstep to check that we live here. Whether you get away with it probably depends on how common this is in your area, there is a school near us which has 1 form entry & is very popular, some years the admissions team turn up at the houses of every child that got a place.
if it came to it I admit I would do the same to get dd into a good school.

OneMoreMum Wed 10-Apr-13 17:02:34

I was thinking about secondary where of course they could walk but I take your point.
The only fair situation is for there to be enough decent schools for everyone, but that's a bit of a pipe dream in some areas.

VenusRising Wed 10-Apr-13 17:09:20

I moved and had my dd christened as well, just for good measure to get her a place in our preferred school. Paris is worth the Mass, but I hate living in this area.

I don't know about the ethics of lying about living somewhere you're not living in order to be eligible. I don't think I could be dishonest like this. Play dates would be off the menu for a start, wouldn't they?

It's a difficult ethical question, as, yes, all children need a good education, and deserve it too.

LadyStark Wed 10-Apr-13 18:39:15

Isn't everyone who buys in the catchment 'buying' a place? They've just had a bit more foresight than the OP.

Everyone moving into the catchment of a good school - and for most parents this is an important consideration in any house purchase - is pushing up house prices, depriving children further away of a place etc. It's the system that's dreadful. I wouldn't do it but I think the moralising on here about it is a bit OTT.

prh47bridge Wed 10-Apr-13 18:41:14

As long as I live there what does it matter what my motivation was

It matters because living in temporary accommodation in order to gain admission to a school is not allowed. You are required to use your permanent address when applying for a school place. If the LA thinks you have moved into rented accommodation in order to get a school place they are legally entitled to regard your application as fraudulent and use the address of the property you own for admissions purposes.

Yes, you may get away with it. Some people do every year. But, as I said previously, a large number of people who try this get caught. You won't get prosecuted if you are caught - only one prosecution has been attempted and the LA withdrew before it reached court. But you may find your child misses out not only on the good school you were after but also on any decent schools near your real address, ending up with an unpopular school that you really don't want.

soundevenfruity Wed 10-Apr-13 18:57:49

There were quite a few threads like yours on mumsnet. What can count against you is if you own a house and are renting a flat at the time of application you might need to provide a credible explanation for that. Some councils do check where the applicant's parents pay their council tax. I am not sure they can check property ownership. Secondly, you can't talk about it because if this information gets out there (you don't know whose friend's children missed out on the place) the place can be withdrawn. Thirdly, there are addresses that are blacklisted by LEAs if there are multiple cases of renting them to get into the school. This is from the practical point of view. Morally, it is a minefield. I am not sure where it stands comparatively to becoming a church goer without actually believing or postponing buying a house and renting in the catchment area until your firstborn gets into a preferred school or paying for private education etc.

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 19:00:37

LadyStark - that is all very true.
But whilst morally both might be wrong or unfair, for admissions purposes only one of them is not allowed.
So putting morals aside, the OP asked how she could do it and people have explained that she can't without risk.

As prh says, the risk is greatest if you get caught after March 1st rather than having the error cheat spotted before then.
After March 1st, all school places have been allocated so when you get your offer formally withdrawn, no decent school anywhere will have places left for you to go to.
You'll then have to wait and eventually be allocated a potentially much worse school than the one you were trying to avoid in the first place or an equally bad one but a great deal further away from home.

tiggytape Wed 10-Apr-13 19:06:33

I am not sure they can check property ownership.
They can and do in cases where they are suspicious.
If you rent near a popular school but have another home elsewhere, you can expect a lot of questions to be asked. They can check a great deal more than just council tax and land registry too: DVLA, the address you use at primary school, Dr surgery address and any other sources if they are not satisfied.

And that is only fair. There cannot be a situation where people can spend several thousand £ renting a little flat near a lovely school, getting a place and then swanning off back to their family home out of catchment leaving people living close to the school no local place to go to and no alternative either.
As I said, in London one third of parents don't get the school they want. If you let them all rent a flat for a few months to overcome this, it would be horrendous trying to get into any school.

teacherwith2kids Wed 10-Apr-13 19:51:23

As far as I remember, for DS's school any move up to 6 months prior to application is regarded as potentially fraudulent, and searches are done to check whether you also rent or own another address. Addresses are checked again on school entry, and places are often withdrawn at this point. And all potentially fraudulent moves brought to the schools'a ttention at any point are fully investigated and places withdrawn.

Basically, any move into accommodation - especially rented accommodation - near the school within the 12 months before entry, whether it is discovered during the application process or at any point while the child attends the school, is regraded as potentially fraudulent unless proved otherwise (e.g. if the permanent address is 100 miles away and there is a clear reason for the move to do with a parent's work). Places can be and are removed retrospectively, so there is no point at which it is 'safe' to move back, because the simple fact of dual property ownership / rental is seen to be potentially fraudulent.

MintyyAeroEgg Wed 10-Apr-13 19:55:05

Haven't read the whole thread, apologies, I usually do.

Most schools in London have cottoned on to this scummy practice, so I would live in your rented house for 2 years at least.

NotMostPeople Wed 10-Apr-13 20:37:33

When we accepted dd2's place for September we had to send three utility bills inc council tax and a recent letter from Child Benefit bods.

whokilleddannylatimer Wed 10-Apr-13 22:10:53

My dd was at one point the only c of e childin a Catholic school. All the others were baptised Catholic. When it came to confirmation in year four priest asked why dd was not being confirmed and I explained why.

Both the priest and the head called me in school and advised me to have her confirmed with the others so she could get into the catholic secondary with her friends and have the best support socially and academically (she is unstatemented sen) He even helped with extra preparation.

The priests view was that she had been taking part in mass and services at school and was c of e anyway and it was in her best interest.

His actual words were "even if you only do it to get into x school"

In the end I let dd chose, shes quite religious and wanted to do it.

This means if we chose x school for dd she will technically have taken a place from a non Catholic child in Catchment.

But so has every other child who's parents could afford to move into our area too.

whokilleddannylatimer Wed 10-Apr-13 22:11:55

Only c of e child in her class not school!

admission Wed 10-Apr-13 22:25:03

Just so we are clear, the LA that I live in has a nice long list of houses / flats / apartments that are rented out and are in the catchment for "wanted" schools. In effect there is a great big red flag on that application as soon as it is inputted to the system, as it is known to be a residence rented out on a short term basis.
The LA will look with a jaundiced view point at any such application and if they have any belief that you are trying a fast one and have another property then you will lose that place in the school.

enlondon Wed 10-Apr-13 23:03:15

It sounds that the only way I would stand a chance is to stay in the rented accommodation in the catchment area for long enough (through the whole of year 7) AND to let our current house. Anything else and the risks would be too great.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 10-Apr-13 23:27:02

There's a boy in my dds class who lives about eight miles from our primary. His initial application was turned down, his mum was furious and appealed and he got in. There's three other primary schools between our village and theirs. A little girl who lived about a mile down the road and literally just over the village border and therefore technically out of catchment, didn't get a place. Her mum appealed but was turned down. Now that is wrong. The boys mum should have been made to take him to a closer school. Takes the piss out of the whole catchment selection process and in this case really did mean a local child missed out on a place at her nearest school. (Her catchment school was actually further away than ours, down lots of narrow lanes).

whokilleddannylatimer Thu 11-Apr-13 00:18:02

Surely if they both appealed though and the one 8 miles away got in and the one mile away didnt I am guessing they had a pretty convincing argument at appeal?

sashh Thu 11-Apr-13 07:18:38

If all the parents who could do this put the same money and effort into improving their local school there would be no 'bad' schools.

It's fraud. You are teaching your child to get ahead by cheating.

IMHO if this is found out the child and any siblings should be removed even if they are half way through GCSEs.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Apr-13 07:23:33

It is fraud. I would hope that you have to stay there for the entire school career.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Apr-13 07:25:34

Of course they were puzzled by the question- if people commit fraud they don't tell people first and ask the advice of the person/institution they are defrauding!

Moominsarehippos Thu 11-Apr-13 07:27:46

It sounds like a risky plan to me. I know people who have been in the fortunate situation to be rich enough to up sticks and buy on the doorstep of their chosen school and walk in. I can't think that's much worse than renting, its still playing the game.

It is a bloody minefield and in London the number of kids getting into first choice school is what, one in 3?

mummytime Thu 11-Apr-13 07:45:03

BTW lots of people near me walk 2 miles (or nearly) with their 4 year old, and with younger siblings in the buggy.

OP you need to: be in the new address when you apply, still be there on offer day, still be there when your child starts school, be paying council tax there, have rented out/sold your own house. Then you should be okay. However to do all this you need to be really really sure that this is the right school for your child, and be willing to put up with how awkward their social life will be for you, as their friends will all live in another community.

Whatever the individual schools admission arrangements may say, you also need to know what the LA's say. It has been known for LAs to employ private investigators to "stalk" suspected fruadulent applicants.

XBenedict Thu 11-Apr-13 07:50:40

Some near me did this (although I am not sure they lived in the rented accommodation just rented it for an address) and they were kicked out.

pipsqueak Thu 11-Apr-13 08:29:34

I work for an LA . other parents whose child's place has been denied because of this will complain to the LA . We would investigate and if you have moved temporarily simply to obtain a place by fraud we would withdraw your child's place even if they have started at school and you would end up in whatever crap school still has places at that stage and well deserved IMHO .

racmun Thu 11-Apr-13 08:46:43

OP I think trying to justify your potential fraud by drawing a comparison with an 'unfair system' created by private schools is outrageous.

The parents sending their children to private school pay a heavy price for the privilege many of whom sacrifice nice cars and family holidays etc.

It's ironic that you're moaning about a system where the same schools stay shit and its the same ones everyone wants. Behaviour such as you're suggesting exacerbates the problem as if the schools represented a true mix they would probably all be good. (Excluding the parents who pay private of course).

Blu Thu 11-Apr-13 08:51:07

Do you know the basis of the appeal ? It may have been allowed on social/medical need, for example.

OP what explanation will you give your DC for moving house? Will you lie to them, or tell them the truth and expect them to maintain secrecy or lie to friends?

Moominsarehippos Thu 11-Apr-13 09:05:33

On the application forms does is come out and specifically ask if you have another residence?

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 09:33:17

If someone won an appeal for a school 8 miles away, there's a good reason. Basically the parent has been able to prove that the child needs to go to that school. It might be a medical issue or a social one. It might be something special only that school can offer (a language unit or dyslexia support that others don't have).
Like school admissions, appeals are heavily regulated, follow set procedure and have to be 'fair'
Of course not everyone will win and those who lose will feel it is not fair but appeals look at need and look at evidence.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 09:36:11

On the application forms does is come out and specifically ask if you have another residence?

Some do yes. Other LAs use your council tax number to trace your address history. Other LAs have 'flags' so certain addresses will trigger an investigation because they known to be in catchment and rented out. Other LAs will have time limit flags - so anyone moving into the area of a popular school 6 months before applications will be suspected of fraud and extra checks (land registry etc) will be done on them.

JakeBullet Thu 11-Apr-13 09:44:19

With regard to appeals son is autistic and as such we dont have to go through this. His sxhool is 3 miles away but he will gwt a place. Likewise if I choose the extremely over subscribed school two miles away he would take some priority. ...providing the schools concerned can meet his needs.....or are considered the best place for him.

So yes sometimes there is real need for a child to attend a particular school.

happygardening Thu 11-Apr-13 09:51:41

OP I feel sorry for you. You've just been honest enough to write down what many people do in secret or wish to do. Now you're being attacked for it.
I fortunately know nothing about complicated admissions into state schools for yr 7 but I do hope you sort it out.

BettyandDon Thu 11-Apr-13 10:00:36

Personally I find the distance system quite unfair when the distances are very short say less than 1km.

Really there is no good reason for a child who lives 450m to get into a school more so than a 600m child. It's bollocks to say otherwise.

This is what is happening in the borough we are in.

I think a fairer system would be that children who live in one borough or say within a 1km radius (possibly what is considered a good walking distance) are included and there is a lottery on the places.

FairyJen Thu 11-Apr-13 10:01:45

To clarify when we moved I had a visit and several phone calls checking up on the address etc.

Quite drastic given we had moved from the midlands, apparently I'm that post no other schools would have done! grin

FairyJen Thu 11-Apr-13 10:02:05

*that posh

FairyJen Thu 11-Apr-13 10:06:40

enlondon on a side note I really hope the people you called are not reading this thread as your buggered!

Did you with hold your number when you called? Most councils see and record the number you call from.

I contacted the la from my partners phone but left mine as contact number iyswim. They called back on his phone as tey had recorded it. If you called from a landline tey will be able to trace you to your precious address when you make your application and they will spot that you called asking how to successfully commit fraud...

FairyJen Thu 11-Apr-13 10:07:23

* previous address, blooming phone!

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 10:10:08

Betty - some areas do have a lottery system. It has downsides too.
In your example: if your nearest school is 400m away and your next nearest school is 1.1km away, you'd only be in the priority lottery draw for one of the schools and you might not get it.
Whereas someone living 600m from each school would have an equal chance of getting either school and may 'win' your local school leaving you with no place whereas they could just as easily have got to the other school instead.

People who live near Kingdale have this. It is their nearest school. They might not be close enough to any other school to get a place. Yet people from a long way away can 'win' one of the Kingsdale places in the lottery system. This leaves some people near Kingsdale with no options and the person from further way away (who had alternative schools close to their own home) can get Kingsdale places.
It is just down to luck and many parents also don't like the fact that there child might be the only one in Year 6 who doesn't get lucky in the lottery and gets split up from all their friends.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 10:26:42


CountingClouds Thu 11-Apr-13 10:35:36

Its interesting most posters claim the 'punishment' for committing fraud to get into a good school is being forced to go to a s**t school. The scandal here is that there are s**t schools!

Another interesting claim is that there would be no s**t schools if middle class parents were forced to send their children to such schools. What a load of c**p. Schools are not bad because of the kids in them, schools are bad because of the head, the teachers, or maybe even the LA.

A parent is not doing anything morally wrong trying to get their child a good education. Its a an inherent evolutionary drive of all human beings. If this causes an outrage it should be directed at the education system we have and attempts to reform it made.

prh47bridge Thu 11-Apr-13 10:53:55

I am not saying it is the 'punishment'. I am saying it is a possible outcome. I also regularly make the point on here that an unpopular school is not necessarily a bad school and a popular school is not necessarily good. If a parent is thinking of breaking the rules in an attempt to get a place at a 'good' school they need to understand the possible consequences.

On the more general point, there will always be good schools and bad schools. No reform is ever going to change that.

Schools change. The school that was outstanding when you chose to send your child there may stop performing and go into special measures a year or two later. Equally the school you avoided like the plague may become the top school in the area.

It would be great if all schools were consistently outstanding but realistically that is never going to happen. That means there will always be a small proportion of parents who attempt to fiddle the system.

You say "A parent is not doing anything morally wrong trying to get their child a good education". I would agree provided they stick to the rules. You would not, I hope, condone a parent robbing a bank so that they can pay the fees to send their child to a top independent school. So clearly some actions a parent may take are morally wrong even if they are motivated by trying to get a good education for their child. What the OP is proposing involves lying on the application form. As far as I am concerned that is morally wrong whatever the motivation.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 11:01:29

Its interesting most posters claim the 'punishment' for committing fraud to get into a good school is being forced to go to a s**t school. The scandal here is that there are s**t schools!

Well not quite.
If you cheat there is now more chance of getting caught early in the process so the punishment is a very upset child who thinks they'll be going to a school but then has the offer whisked away.
Or worse - a cheat that gets discovered after March so the punishment is a child who starts at a new school, makes friends and is then booted out.

The reference to s**t schools is about distance. If you are tempted to cheat because you think your local schools are rubbish, the risk you take if you get caught after March is that you'll be sent to an equivalent school but miles away from home. The only London schools with places left after March are often the very worst ones (as opposed to the 'not ideal' school you were seeking to avoid in the first place which is in fact not so bad).

I agree changes need to be made. There need to be more places at the popular schools and more measures to make them expand even if they don't want to. Parents should not be in a position where they have a default option of only one bad school.
Of course this means accepting that great schools will become less good in some ways (loss of sports fields and specialist classrooms) and bad schools will be closed because when people aren't forced to go there, they won't have enough numbers and will close if they cannot achieve rapid improvement. I for one could live with both of those things but I know some who prefer it as it is.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 11:08:42

I agree with prh too though about the labels attached to good schools and bad schools. Some people would seek to avoid an Ofsted 3 school like the plague and do anything it takes to get an Ofsted 1 school and not look beyond that.
That's not what I mean when talking about avoiding 'bad' schools.

I mean the ones that dip in and out of Special Measures, have 3 Heads in as many years, have staff turnover to such a degree that the GCSE students have had 5 different science teachers and endless supply ones, where the Ofsted inspection mentions high levels of disruption in many classes and wholly inadequate teaching in many others.. that sort of bad.

Many people define 'bad' school as being not the best one in their area which they'd ideally like. There is a world of difference between not the best one and a genuinely bad one.

tinytalker Thu 11-Apr-13 15:31:39

Harrow Council took a mother to court who fraudulently applied for a school place for her son. She was not prosecuted in the end but her photo and details where all over the local/national press and the internet. Her son's place was withdrawn and she became a social pariah.

OP proceed with extreme caution. The truth has a way of outing!!

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 17:01:23

tiny - It has been pretty much agreed that prosecutions won't happen again. It is much easier (and cheaper) for councils just to act on the grounds of reasonable suspicion than go to court. If they suspect fraud they can remove the place and ultimately that is a bigger punishment than legal proceedings (unfortunately though it punishes the child as well as the parents).

pansyflimflam Thu 11-Apr-13 17:06:23

Wait until the child starts and then not technically fraudulent.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 17:49:29

pansy - we've covered that one. It is fraud. The bit that's fraud is when you fill out the application form using your rented address not your real one.
For admissions purposes, the address you must use on the form is the house you own somewhere else not the one you are living in for a few months just to get into a school.

That is why places can be taken away from a child even after they have started (children are actually made to leave their school in year 7 if such a fraud is discovered). It doesn't stop being fraud just because there is a delay in finding out about it.

pansyflimflam Thu 11-Apr-13 17:55:51

If you lived there it is not fraud. Renting somewhere and not living there and then it is fraud. Not commenting on the morality of it just saying if you lived there at the time of the application and to be safe after they start school you are free to do as you wish

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 18:06:11

pansy - it is fraud and it is not allowed.

Just like moving in with your mother or best friend or whoever for a few months and using that address for a school place (whilst genuinely living there) isn't allowed. It has to be your 'real' home. Only if you have sold off or 'disposed of' your old home can you use thenew rented one as your address for admissions. Otherwise you can't.

All LAs have booklets that define things like the word 'sibling' and the term 'home address'. Most say soemthing like:

If parent and child move to a different address, but have not sold or given up the tenancy of the previous home, this will not be considered to be a change of address.
If you allow your child to live with someone in a different catchment area, the child’s usual home will be taken as your home address.
Children whose parents have shared responsibility will have the address at which the parent who is in receipt of Child Benefit used as their home address.

In London, they say:
"It is not acceptable for a family to use a temporary address, rented or otherwise, to secure a place of their preference"
and they check you don't own any other homes apart from the rented one you declare on your form.

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Apr-13 18:11:23

If you can afford to keep two households wouldn't it be cheaper to go private?

pansyflimflam Thu 11-Apr-13 18:11:52

I'd be fucked then as I own five houses.... so technically if they look at ownership then that counts out a lot of people and they would have a very very hard time proving it. I am not saying it is right (but in the scheme of things I cannot get that worked up about it - same thing with people going to church etc) But seriously if you lived there for several months, which you would have to, probably a year in fact and rented out the original home then it is not fraud and nothing could be done. You would just need to make sure you swapped council tax, electoral role and child benefit to the address and technically it would be legal. Wherever you are registered to vote is technically your home and if the original home is rented to someone else what could be done.

People just hate this sort of thing because they perceive it to be unfair that someone can essentially buy a place.

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 18:19:58


Owning another home is OK AS LONG AS the reasons behind it stack up - e.g. owned in previous home for previous job, moved to new town for new job, for example, or a property owned but rented out over a sustained period...

However, if the ownership of multiple addresses is manipulated in order to obtain a place - e.g. moving from a house that you have lived in for a long period to one of your rental properties because it happens to be in catchment - then that would be treated as fraudulent misrepresentation of your permanent address, causing a loss of or failure to gain a place.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 18:20:16

MrsDeVere - School fees in London top £15k a year so the renting scam was definitely cheaper than 7 years school fees.

I think the normal scenario used to be:
- Live in a lovely family house in a rubbish catchment area.
- Move to a tiny rented flat next to a good school in Year 6
- Even staying for a year costs less than a year's school fees at a London private school.
- Get a place in March at the good school
- Hang around for a few months so it doesn't look too suspicious
- Move back into the lovely big family house with the terrible catchment area whilst keeping your place at the good school you wouldn't normally have got into.

And it used to work. Councils really didn't see it as a problem because who would go to such lengths? Now they've wised up to the fact a lot of people would consider doing it if they wouldn't get caught and they've clamped down on it.
When they check on such a family, they will find out about the big house 4 miles away that they have a mortgage on and will refuse to regard the rented flat as their real home for admissions purposes.
Which is a good thing for everybody really.

tethersend Thu 11-Apr-13 18:26:15

Just out of interest, does anybody know how this affects homeless families living in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs?

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 18:26:52

pansy - if you own 5 houses, then they'd ask for other evidence to determine which was your 'real' address for admissions purposes:
child benefit, DVLA, the address registered with a Dr, the address you used for primary school.....
They don't just boot you out for no reason but you would be required to prove that you are using your genuine address not just picking one of the 5 chosen because it is nearest to the school you want rather than being the one you live in.

But seriously if you lived there for several months, which you would have to, probably a year in fact and rented out the original home then it is not fraud and nothing could be done.
No - this is exactly the sceanrio that would lose somebody their school place if discovered. The council only have to have a reasonable suspicion. They don't have to prove anything in court.
If they suspect you are renting just for a school place they will remove your offer and you have no control over that decision.

If you are outraged and feel they have ignored a genuine reason for renting and not disposing of your old home then you can appeal and explain your case to an independent panel with a view to having your place reinstated. Obviously though if your reason for renting was to get into a good school, the panel will not allow your appeal.

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Apr-13 18:27:14

I am a bit clueless about these things I will admit.
Bit out of my sphere of reference
I have to send my children to our local schools and hope any good ones have not been taken by families with a hell of a lot more choice than us.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 18:28:36

tether - most people only have one home on the date they apply and that's the one they use no matter how long they intend to remain.

People who have more than one home to choose from are the ones who have to prove themselves in terms of which is the 'real' home and which isn't.

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 18:32:07

"But seriously if you lived there for several months, which you would have to, probably a year in fact and rented out the original home then it is not fraud and nothing could be done."

Round here, that is exactly what leads to your child's place being removed (even after they have been at the school for some time, though they seem to be getting better at weeding out the dubious applications in advance now)

expatinscotland Thu 11-Apr-13 18:41:29

I still don't get why you don't sell your home and buy another one in the catchment area you want.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 18:41:40

teacher - yes here too.
Of course some people live in areas where 90% or more of people get their first choice school and such scams would seem ludicrous and might even go undetected because the councils just wouldn't be anticipating it.

Whereas popular schools in London attact thousands (literally!) of applicants for 200 or so places and therefore the council has to be really hot on it. Children get thrown out of schools for the exact scenario pansy described (renting for a year before moving back to a family home that was never sold) but as you say luckily that is less common because the initial checking process is so much better now.

prh47bridge Thu 11-Apr-13 18:43:51

Agree with Teacherwith2kids. However much people try to justify this kind of behaviour it is clearly against the rules.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 18:46:30

expat - in London the houses near a great school might cost £100k+ more than houses not near to good schools
You can get a 4 bedroom house in a 'bad' catchment area for the same price as a small 2/3 bedroom in a 'good' catchment area.

And I do agree this is also unfair because having a lot of money means you can just buy what you need within catchment and not have any angst.
But whilst morally it is still 'buying your way into a good school', it is perfectly allowed to choose a 'real' home near a good school. It just isn't allowed to choose a home near bad schools then rent another one short term near the good schools to alter the outcome.

expatinscotland Thu 11-Apr-13 18:49:50

'expat - in London the houses near a great school might cost £100k+ more than houses not near to good schools
You can get a 4 bedroom house in a 'bad' catchment area for the same price as a small 2/3 bedroom in a 'good' catchment area.'

So then you go legit and sell up and buy the 2/3 bedroom. Or you homeschool. You participate in fraud and get caught you deserve what you get. Life is full of compromises. Diddums.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 18:55:55

No I agree with you expat - totally

It is totally unfair for parents to swoop into an area last minute, nab a good school place, deprive someone living nearby of that place and then return back to their home again.

There is no moral justification for it no matter how popular the schools are or how unfair an admissions system is that has to turn dowm most of the people who apply.

OP, my foster daughter is in year 11 at the crap local comp everyone tries to avoid. When she was in year 6 she was still living with her parents and they put down the nicer, overall better school their home had been in the catchment area for years for as their first choice. My foster daughter lost out on a place at that school by a couple of metres (literally), her parents' appeal failed and she ended up at the crap school. Thanks to getting in with a dodgy crowd and controlling boyfriend while there, the last few years have been a nightmare for her, her mum has chucked her out, she's ended up with me after a period of homelessness and all sorts of other horrid stuff no teenager should have to go through.

Now, I'm not saying that wouldn't have happened had she gone to the better school. I'm also not saying I wish what she went through had happened to someone else's child, because believe me, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But the thought that my child might have lost out on a place at the school she would have been entitled to a place legally at any other year, and therefore at an environment less likely to push her down the path she went down, to someone like you lying and cheating the system to their own advantage quite frankly makes me sick.

pansyflimflam Thu 11-Apr-13 19:36:41

Yes but ultimately if you are clever and change electoral register then you will get away with it as long as you have a back story.

Seriously it is not right but not that wrong and it does stack up financially against independent fees. A freind of mine went to Church (and she has 5 children) until the day after she got the last one into the preferred church school. One of her sons is in a Russell Group Uni and the others are all going through school and sixth form and are really successful. Technically it is a bit morally dodgy but I cannot get upset about it. At least those children have a motivated parent willing them to do well.

There is a rash of first holy communions at our school swiftly preceeded by a baptism for a few 9 years olds.... The only decent High School here is Catholic, you work it out. Makes me laugh, the Priest is just rolling his eyes at people suddenly turning up at Church, they all know the score here but cannot refuse to baptise children. My kids go to the school and high school and I pulled no tricks to get in, I would have though.

I cannot believe people get so very upset about this, there are awful things happening in the world and this is not one of them. Most people would do this sort of thing if they had the means to and were faced with their children going to a terrible school or a great one.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 11-Apr-13 19:44:44

But, pansy, the point is that even with changing the electoral register and creating a elaborate lie back story, the LEA may take a look at the relevant dates and decide the change of address is bogus and the person won't "get away with it" at all.

aufaniae Thu 11-Apr-13 19:46:42

Ooh, I'm worried now. We're currently waiting to find out about admissions for primary.

We moved just before the deadline, from a rented place to a bought house, in a different area of the same town (near the good schools). We intended to move last summer, but one thing and another meant it took ages for everything to go through; in the end we got the house in December and moved in literally a week before the deadline in Jan. There was an overlap of our rented property and our new house, we had both places until after the admission deadline.

Our council asks for your council tax number. I didn't have that at the time of application, but emailed with it when I had it and they replied to say that was fine.

I still haven't got round to moving all of our accounts over to the new place, and we're not on the electoral role yet. Might any of this going to muck up the application?

aufaniae Thu 11-Apr-13 19:47:41

I meant to say, might any of this muck up the application?

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Apr-13 19:48:17

Well of course I am going to get upset about it.
I have very little choice as it is and those with a lot more taking the piss is going to upset me.

My children are disadvantaged on a number of levels. Getting into a good school could be the one major advantage they can gain outside of me and their dad doing our very best.

Fair enough if there are no decent schools. We have to suck it up.
Not fair enough if there is a decent school but its full of kids whose parents could afford the fees (even if it meant a bit of belt tightening, one holiday less, Asda instead of waitrose, downsizing that nice juicy car) for an independent but don't want to.

The whole point of the Comprehensive system was to provide a level playing field. As usual the playing field is more level for some than for others.

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 19:51:46


I suppose the point is 'how clever - and how long term prepared - do you have to be, in order for your 'back story' to be considered credible'

Currently, your back story
a) has to go back several years, and last most of the duration of your child's time at school (as the threat of place removal remains throughout their time there if entry is found to be fraudulent)
b) has to involve you moving into a property large enough for your family, for several years
c) has to involve a credible disposal of your previous address (as e.g. renting out old house, changing electoral register to new one etc will ONLY be considered non-fraudulent IF there is a good reason other than school entry for the move - simply owning another house will be grounds for investigation so the back story has to add up long-term)

Basically, the aim seems to be trying to make 'avoiding being found out for fraud' at least as expensive as 'doing it properly' - ie moving into catchment as your only residence - and to make 'the risk of being found out' sufficiently large that iut does not seem worth taking.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 11-Apr-13 19:52:02

Have you still got a tenancy agreement for the rented place? As Tiggytape has said several times, it isn't moving house that is the problem. It's the short term move where a family has kept hold of the former home do that they can move back in once they've got a school place. Assuming that you have given up the rented property, and have sorted out all the other paperwork with utility companies etc, I can't see why that should muck anything up.

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 19:56:18

Agree with ComeIntoTheGarden. The overlap is not a problem, because I presume that you no longer rent the previous property, and it should be ckear from your paper trail that your move is to your sole home, which happens to be in catchment.

You may, of course, get asked some questions about it. But you have nothing to hide, so submitting everything - title deeds, exchange dates, notice letter for renatl property etc etc - would show an innocent sequence of events very clearly.

pansyflimflam Thu 11-Apr-13 20:00:18

I think you are over estimating the resources that most LEAs have. I think they would only investigate something very obvious or someone who had been indiscreet. They do not have the power to bring you in and question you and look into your private affairs, they would need a court order for that and they would have to take a risk financially with lawyers etc that they would win.

I want to be clear I am not agreeing with someone doing this although I am in a place where the worst schools are not too bad so I am not sure how desperate people can get in these situations. Going to the right school can be transforming and although I am not proud to admit it I would do it too. I have a DD with SN, we are moving heaven and earth to get her in the right place - renting another place and denying another child, well you know if I am honest I could live with it. As it happened we are moving lock stock and barrel and sending her to an independent. But I have that choice and some people don't due to work etc.

To be honest I think this might be a London thing, round here no one gives a rats ass.

Aufaniae you should be fine as you've gone from rented to own home- the offenders here own their own home, then move into rented without selling their own home because they are only renting to get their child a school place they are not entitled to.

Mrsdevere that's exactly how I feel. It isn't fair that some children have access to a better education because they have the right post code. However, parents like the op robbing children like ours from places they are entitled to by law, regardless of whether or not that law is fair, is just plain immoral and downright criminal.

mercibucket Thu 11-Apr-13 20:03:26

It's just another way of keeping out those not rich enough to buy close to the school in the first place, all this 'oooh it's fraud'. Oooh you're poorer than me and it's not fair - more like!

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 20:06:01

Round here, it is a problem for a few schools only, not a general thing.

So the resources available to the LEA - and to the schools, who also investigate if e.g. they are given an address on entry, or a change of address during the time at school, that does not match the one previously held on the system from application - can be focused very specifically on those schools. And a lot of it is automated - screens against well-known properties, screens of application address vs other addresses held ofr the same family etc.

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 20:07:34

Merci, so on the same morality it is OK for the 'realtively poor' to steal, though it should be illegal for the 'relatively rich'?

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 20:12:53

And also, merci, someone with the money to rent a second property while already owning / renting another is definitely not 'poor'... and it is often the genuinely poor who miss out in the 'sharp elbowed jockeying for position' of which fraudulent renting is one of the more egregious examples.

aufaniae Thu 11-Apr-13 20:23:13

marinagasolina thanks. Trying not to worry, it's nervewracking!

OP, sorry for the hijack!

So let's get this straight.

Child A, who lives in street A, "deserves" a place at good school A.

But Child B, who lives in street B, doesn't deserve any such thing and has to go to bad school B.

And just so we're clear, House A is nearly always more expensive than House B.

Where exactly do "fair"/"deserving"/"immoral"/"denying Child A their rightful place" come into this?

RiversideMum Thu 11-Apr-13 20:25:44

Someone asked about homeless families. They fall into a separate category for admissions due to their vulnerability. I'm in primary and have been put over infant lass size to accommodate homeless children.

mercibucket Thu 11-Apr-13 20:30:06

its not fraudulent, its using the rules to your own benefit. bit like the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. so long as you abide by the rules, which could mean renting for a while, and you genuinely live there.

and yes, it is crap that the truly poor can miss out, maybe some other posters who can afford to buy their way to a good education outright by buying a house in the catchment area should think on about that, instead of feeling hard done by when someone uses the rules to their benefit

anyhow, no advice for the op but certainly not criticising her for trying. the number of local govt officials being made redundant here, id be amazed if there was anyone left to investigate.

JakeBullet Thu 11-Apr-13 20:30:30

Every child deserves a good education but when the places are allocated as they are then there will always be unfairness.

My DS might deprive a child of a place in the outstanding school nearby if I choose to send him there. He will take priority over a child who lives nearer simply because he is autistic and has a Statement of SEN.....and it means finding the best school locally which can meet his needs. As it happens that is NOT "the outstanding school nearby" but the less prestigious one further away because it's half the size of all the other local schools and has a good name for pastoral care.

However in the absence of that school I might indeed choose the outstanding school (if I felt they were the best option for DS) and deprive another child of a place.

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 20:33:30

"so long as you abide by the rules, which could mean renting for a while, and you genuinely live there."

Merci, the point it that if you rent for a while, while owning / renting another house, and you have rented wholly or mainly to secure a place with no intention of that being your sole residence or home, then you are NOT abiding by the rules....

orangepudding Thu 11-Apr-13 20:38:40

I know someone who bought a house in a good school catchment area for the purpose to get their child into the school. They didn't actually move it. They then let it out to other families so they could get into the school. They were caught when they got an application from the same address three years in a row.
The address is blacklisted now.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 20:52:16

It's just another way of keeping out those not rich enough to buy close to the school in the first place

The trouble is that when people cheat (especially in London) the end result isn't social justice of any kind because, for the people in expensive houses live very close to the great schools, their places are safe.
People who live right in the grey area are the ones who lose out to someone swooping into a guaranteed catchment house. The further away you are from the good school the less your chances of getting in.
So the ones who stand to lose out by cheaters stealing places are not wealthy people in the 'safe' catchment zone but poorer families in the grey area where some years they'll get a place and other years they won't.

I think you are over estimating the resources that most LEAs have.

Not at all. LAs target the resources very well. Top of the hit list is applicants who name very popular schools and whose history shows recent changes of address or anything that doesn't tally. The LA focuses a lot of attention on these people and hardly any on people applying for less popular schools who have no recent new addresses.
The rest of LA effort goes into chasing up information from other parents about specific people who are cheating. So no, they don't do land registry checks on everyone who applies but will definitely do it (and more) when handing out places at the 'best' schools.

Admissions are a very big deal heavily regulated by law.
LAs have a legal duty to make sure every school place goes to the child who genuinely qualify for it. If they fail in their duty, the costs are enormous (numerous appeals with independent panels, potentially extra classes and staffing costs to remedy mistakes, legal action by parents and complete uproar locally).
Some people seem to think school admissions are a little local issue that can be happily tweaked but this is not the case. Councils under all the legal obligations must ensure everything is correct and can be verified and be able to show they took all necessary steps to catch people cheating.

Serenitysutton Thu 11-Apr-13 21:07:41


those posters do realise this isnt a crime don't they?

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 21:12:52

Definition of fraud:

"- Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
- A person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities."

I'd say wrongly claiming a rented property as your main residence, having moved into it temporarily for the sole purpose of gaining a 'better' school place than your permanent residence would give you, fits into the definition, wouldn't you?

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Apr-13 21:13:32

But Jake the rules around giving children with statments and Looked After Children priority are in place to help address the disadvantages faced by these children.

Children in these groups are already at more of a disadvantage (statistically if you like) than other children so giving them a place at a school that happens to be over subscribed but best meets their needs is not unfair.

It is an attempt to level that bumpy playing field.

Serenitysutton Thu 11-Apr-13 21:19:20

But teacherwith2kids- it doesn't really matter does it? It's a civil matter, they're not going to be charged for it, they won't be punished for attempting it. The consequence is their children don't get into schools they weren't supposed to get into anyway, which isn't a punishment, it's just putting them back in their original position.

Not making a moral judgement, just sayin'

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Apr-13 21:19:40

This is less likely to affect me in my part of London.
However I used to live in Islington. This part of London has streets containing houses worth millions smack bang next to some of the worst estates in the country.

So a perfectly normal school can be surrounded by these massively different households.

The catchment areas get smaller and smaller as the houses get bought up and although the estates do not physically move, ,they might as well be on wheels, rolling further and further away every year.

I experienced this with primary schools. My children went to a nursery in Tufnell Park. It was very diverse. Full of children of all different backgrounds. Children all lived within a 10 minute walk.

The primary in the same street was 90% white and middle class. It was strikingly obvious. It was like having a Waitrose next to a Kwiksave.

It sucked.

tethersend Thu 11-Apr-13 21:19:55

I am an advisory teacher for Looked After Children, and Ofsted have made it very clear that we should only choose schools rated as good or outstanding for children in care.

Farewelltoarms Thu 11-Apr-13 21:34:35

Devere I know exactly the primary you're talking about and it's bizarrely homogenous. I think it's better now they've made distance as crow flies (ie thus taking in the, literal, wrong side of the tracks.
However secondaries are bigger and given how socially crunchy (ie poor next to rich) London is, it's rare to get that exact situation. If catchments are legitimate, then whole estates shouldn't miss out. Somewhere like Camden girls is actually pretty mixed. However, as someone above says, the safe streets nearby tend to be the more expensive ones or the dodgily rented flats. So the ones who lose out are the poorer ones.
I know two families who decided to do their lofts, fancy extensions, big 500 k gut job on their houses in time for applications, moved out to catchment flats while work went on, and then moved back into fancy pad place. Both got their kids into the primary/secondary no prob and presumably the siblings will follow.
I'm sadly sceptical that this is being dealt with by authorities.

Tethersend- does "looked after" apply to private fostering over the age of 16? So does that mean that if my foster daughter was a year younger I could get her into the "outstanding" school she missed out on a place at by a couple of metres as a non-looked after year 6?

teacherwith2kids Thu 11-Apr-13 21:56:19


Well, the usual punishment here is that the child doesn't get into the (not particularly bad) school that they would have got into had fraud not been attempted - because there aren't any places left there once places have been allocated to the people who applied there properly and didn't attempt fraud.

Instead, they are allocated to the nearest school with an available plan once ALL other applications have been processed .. and that one really IS poor.

It's worse for children who get 'found out' later - there are very few in-0year places available anywhere, so they get shipped even further afield.

So there is a punishment, if you want to look at it like that - their children get to go to a significantly worse school than they would have done had fraud not been tried.

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Apr-13 21:57:31

still like that? How disappointing. I knew the head teacher semi socially and I was always desperate to ask her how she managed it.

I did put DD's name down and expressed my surprise to the secretary 'there are hardly any black children here' (you have to know the area to understand how weird that was) and she said 'well we do have some refugees' hmm. I had to laugh.

That was over 15 years ago.

They built that massive new estate next to Camden girls. That must have played havoc with the catchment area. I am fairly sure all the houses and apartments are privately owned and not cheap.

I wanted DD to go there but we moved and she only made one year in secondary anyway sad

The borough I live in has nowhere near the rich/poor divide that Islington has. The schools are not fabulous either.

As DS3 wants to be a paediatric oncologist and DS4 wants to be a neurologist I am not sure what to do about it. I have a while to work it out though. They are only 5 and 3 grin

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Apr-13 22:00:39

marina I would think not. Looked After applies to children who are accomodated by the LA or are under a sec.20 order or care order.

Is your foster daughter subject to a care order at all? Is she on a Child in Need plan or have you heard her referred to as a LAC?

If you made a private arrangement with her parents without any involvement from SS it is unlikely she is classed as LAC.

But I may be wrong and hopefully someone can let us know if I am smile

admission Thu 11-Apr-13 22:17:19

Marina, the answer is that until last year the definition was that you had to be a looked after child but it has now changed to looked after children who is in the care of the Local Authority and also children who have been looked after previously but are now adopted under the terms of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 or become subject to a residence order or special guardianship order.
Don't know whether that helps or not but that is the official definition.

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Apr-13 22:40:35

How long post adoption admission do you know?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 11-Apr-13 22:49:39

AFAIK, Mrsdevere, it's open-ended, ie any child who had been adopted.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 23:09:00

It applies to any child who has been adopted from care (so for example children adopted by a step parent would not count for this definition).
It doesn't matter how long ago they were adopted or how long they were in care prior to adoption.

Thanks MrsdeVere and admission, all hypothetical as DFD is year 11, I'm just interested, so thank you anyway.

It's not an SS arrangement so even if DFD was a year younger she wouldn't be covered under the new rules.

What really makes me angry is that according to the rules, my foster daughter lost out on a place at the "outstanding" school with good results and no "major problems" by a couple of metres. In all previous years, she would have been allocated a place. As it was, she lost out and ended up at the crappy school where she was influenced by certain characters and went majorly off the rails. I know that parents try to avoid the school she's at however they can, so there is no doubt in my mind that parents attempted what the OP proposes. I'm not saying my foster daughter lost out on a place at the good school to the child of someone like the OP, but it's a definite possibility.

Now, had she lived closer to the crappy school and further away from the 'good' school she'd been in catchment for all years previously, she would have gone to the crappy school according to the rules and there would never have been any question about it. I accept that. But the fact is that according to the rules, fair or not, any other year she would have been within catchment for the good school, and it's highly likely she lost out to someone renting to get into the good school, because of the contrast between the two schools which became dramatically worse in the couple of years leading up to her parents having to apply.

I'm not saying that the rules are fair, but I am saying that she could have been robbed of a place at the good school by a parent breaking the rules which are in place. If DFD hadn't gone to a school with a drug problem and with excellent pastoral care like the good school (her parents haven't been interested in her for a long time), she may well have not gone off the rails like she did. I'm not saying she wouldn't have done, but due to the environment she would have been in, it would have been less likely.

I accept that parents just want to do what's best for their kid and don't care about breaking the rules, but this is how it looks to the parents on the other side of the fence. It's equally crap here too.

tethersend Thu 11-Apr-13 23:13:11

Admission is correct, and there is no post-adoption time limit.

"Tethersend- does "looked after" apply to private fostering over the age of 16?"

Mrs.DeVere is correct in that the child must be subject to a section 20, full care order or, under the new code, have been in the care of the local authority and have subsequently been adopted or are subject to an SGO.

However, that is somewhat academic as Looked After Children do not automatically get priority for post-compulsory education.

tethersend Thu 11-Apr-13 23:15:32

I think a tie-break system of random allocation is the only way to effectively deal with the polarisation of schools.

tiggytape Thu 11-Apr-13 23:22:46

tethersend - some of schools do sudden changes in admission criteria that can address cheating (whether this is the intention or not). For example suddenly reversing the priority order and putting out-of-area siblings very low down or introducing designated catchment zones or taking X number of pupils from several different categories can all make short term renting much less tempting.

The other thing that would help is if the decent schools could / would expand to meet a little extra demand. You see it at primary level where they have a PAN of 30 but hundreds upon hundreds of applicants. Of course if they're a tiny little school there may be no scope but often it is resisted even if there's room to expand (every one wants a lovely little school with a cosy feel until their child is one that cannot get in to any local school in which case they want huge 5 form entry primaries).
At least at primary you can live in hope of a bulge class. At secondary, there never seems to be any expansion even though there are thousands of children predicted to be getting no place in the coming years.

Tiggytape I agree. I also think we need to be doing more to improve the schools no one wants- there's a reason no parents want to send their child there.

What irritates me is that the parents who cheat the system to get their child a place would be the first on here complaining if it was their child who lost out, and yet they are the ones causing other children to lose out. I don't understand how these people can sleep at night, I really don't.

Doodledumdums Thu 11-Apr-13 23:45:37

I am genuinely shocked at the amount of judgemental comments that the OP is getting. For what it is worth OP, I do not blame you in the slightest for wanting to do this. My DS is only a baby, but we will be moving house in order to hopefully get him in to our primary school of choice. For us this will be a permanent move, but only because we can't afford to rent another house in the area and keep the one we have got.

All of the people who are so opposed to this, is it because you all live in areas where the school system works for you? I am currently in the catchment area for one primary school which has a bad reputation, and one secondary school which is in special measures- not ideal for my DS.

I grew up in a ridiculous area which had multiple good secondary schools within walking distance of my house, yet two were faith schools and two were grammars, and I didn't get a place at any of them. My only other options were to go to a school which was in special measures, or a school which was an hour away on the bus. My parents were not happy about either, so they financially crippled themselves and sent me to a private school. Luckily for me, they were able to do this, but a lot of people can't, me included. No one should be forced to lie/cheat/pay/move to get their child into a suitable school, but the reality is that some people have to because the alternative doesn't work for their children.

Doodle I'm absolutely not happy with the way the system works here, as Ive illustrated through the case of my foster daughter.

I do however feel that she was robbed of a place at what would otherwise have been her catchment school if it wasnt for people like the OP cheating the system. I'm not saying it's fair, but if you live in the catchment of school a and don't want your kid to go there, then move. If you genuinely take my child's place because you live closer to school b than her, then I can't argue with that because that's how the system works. But if you rent and pretend to live closer than her with no intention of staying in that house, then you can't have it both ways, you're breaking the law and you're depriving my child. My foster daughter matters too thank you.

one secondary which is in special measures, not ideal for my DS.

Doodle I'm intrigued, why is it not ideal for your DS, but absolutely fine for someone else's child? Because that's the implication.

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Apr-13 00:09:19

But I really don't think you can blame people for wanting to cheat the system, because the system is ridiculous. It doesn't make someone a bad person for wanting the best for their child, it's all anyone wants. I do appreciate that there are two sides to this argument, but it is the system which needs to be blamed, not individual people.

But in the process of getting what's "best for your child" you've broken the law. As I said before, if you genuinely live closer to a good school than my DD and get her place, I can't argue with you. If you rent to take a place from a child like her, then I can and I will.

I'll ask again, why is a school in special measures "not ideal" for your DS who lives in the catchment area, but perfectly acceptable for my foster daughter who would be in catchment for the nice school if people didnt cheat the system?

Doodledumdums Fri 12-Apr-13 00:16:15

The school that is in special measures isn't ideal for anyone's child! I never implied that is was?! But why should my child (and other people's children) be forced to go there because of our postcode? I deserve for my child to go to a good school just as much as the people who are in the catchment for the good secondary school in my area. (Both schools are of equal distance to my house- so I fail to understand why one is available to me and the other is not.)

prh47bridge Fri 12-Apr-13 00:45:13

pansyflimflam - Around 1400 fraudulent applications are detected by LAs each year. In some LAs this isn't a problem at all but others find significant numbers of fraudulent applications.

Doodledumdums - If you cheat you are forcing another child to go to the special measures school who would otherwise have got a place at the "good" school. You are saying that your child's needs are more important than obeying the law and more important than other children's needs.

The special measures school will be getting lots of attention to ensure it comes out of special measures quickly. You may well find that in a year or two it is better than the "good" school.

goodvibrationsrgood Fri 12-Apr-13 06:49:47

OP I am not condoning your actions but I 100% understand them. Since 1 March I have wondered where on earth we have gone wrong. We live in a town with very good schools and have not managed to secure a place in any of them. We have been pushed out of town to a school which has just come out of special measures. We subsequently visited it and found it to be a complete misfit for our son.

One of the schools which is the nearest has a rule which I have never heard of before. Once it gets oversubscribed it looks at the distance to an alternative school and if you are nearer to an alternative school than the next pupil on the list you get pushed down. The only snag here is that the alternative school is full! Mad rule and I don't understand what business it is of the school to look at how near you are to the alternate school if that alternate school is either very full/oversubscribed/complete misfit/one I may not have put down on my application form for my child.

So yes we are facing a bleak outlook and everything hangs off an appeal. I can understand desperate parents.

Doodle- you said that the school in special measures was 'not ideal for my DS.' That in itself implies that it's not ideal specifically for your child, and that it's closer to being ideal for another. If that wasn't what you meant then I apologise.

That aside, as PRH said, anyone who rents while still owning their own home with no intention of remaining in the rented property any longer than necessary to get their child into a 'good school' they would not have been given a place at from their actual home is cheating the system, and therefore breaking the rules and indeed the law. By doing this, you are depriving a child who would otherwise have had a place at the good school of just this, and forcing them into the failing school. I am NOT saying that the system is fair, because I don't think it is, but as things stand it is the law in this country when it comes to choosing a school for your child. Therefore, by breaking the law to get your child into a better school than they would have otherwise been allocated according to your postcode, you are implying through your actions that the failing school is not good enough for your child, but perfectly fine for someone else's. As guardian to a child who missed out on a place at an outstanding OFSTED rated school by a couple of metres from her actual home in an area where this cheating the system goes on, I am going to take it incredibly personally, particularly given the things my foster daughter has been caught up in at this school which she would have been statistically less likely to encounter at the outstanding school. Sorry.

According to the law, if you live in an area in which your postcode dictates you can get into a failing school but not an outstanding one, then you have these options:
1) you can move house (as I've said before, if you permanently relocate to a house closer to school A than my child, I cannot and will not argue with you, because you are acting within the law and the rules)

or 2) you can go private. I accept that's not an option for everyone, but for some it is.

If neither of those are feasible, then that does NOT give you permission to break the law and deprive someone else's child of a place at a good school , for the reasons I outlined above. Sorry. I'm not saying it's fair, but it's the law, and in this country we are bound to the law. You can campaign to improve the standard of the school you are allocated. You can appeal. You can work with your child's teachers to ensure they get the best possible out of their education- as a teacher in a failing school I would love it if the parents were more on board. But don't break the law and take the place of a child who should be entitled to one according to the rules, that's immoral and unfair and indeed criminal.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 10:11:04

we will be moving house in order to hopefully get him in to our primary school of choice. For us this will be a permanent move

In that case you won't be cheating. You'll just be moving house like millions do every year with the added bonus it might get you into a good school.

All of the people who are so opposed to this, is it because you all live in areas where the school system works for you?

No - I am like goodvibrations I live in an area where last year my DS was allocated no school. Even the 'worst one i the borough' was full and had no space for him. I just don't think you solve one unfairness by cheating and pushig that unfairness onto another family. (Goodvibrations if you want to PM me I may be able to help with our experience and appeal details)

* But I really don't think you can blame people for wanting to cheat the system, because the system is ridiculous.*

I don't blame anyone for thinking about it (we are on the 'wrong side of the system like many others) but actually doing it is another matter. There are only a set number of desirable school places to go around. The system does what it can to ensure they are given out a rigid and consistent way. It is not fair any child has to go to a poor school but it doesn't improve the fairness of the system to cheat it and make someone else's child go to that school instead of your own.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 10:11:22

we will be moving house in order to hopefully get him in to our primary school of choice. For us this will be a permanent move

In that case you won't be cheating. You'll just be moving house like millions do every year with the added bonus it might get you into a good school.

All of the people who are so opposed to this, is it because you all live in areas where the school system works for you?

No - I am like goodvibrations I live in an area where last year my DS was allocated no school. Even the 'worst one i the borough' was full and had no space for him. I just don't think you solve one unfairness by cheating and pushig that unfairness onto another family. (Goodvibrations if you want to PM me I may be able to help with our experience and appeal details)

But I really don't think you can blame people for wanting to cheat the system, because the system is ridiculous.

I don't blame anyone for thinking about it (we are on the 'wrong side of the system like many others) but actually doing it is another matter. There are only a set number of desirable school places to go around. The system does what it can to ensure they are given out a rigid and consistent way. It is not fair any child has to go to a poor school but it doesn't improve the fairness of the system to cheat it and make someone else's child go to that school instead of your own.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 10:11:50

we will be moving house in order to hopefully get him in to our primary school of choice. For us this will be a permanent move

In that case you won't be cheating. You'll just be moving house like millions do every year with the added bonus it might get you into a good school.

All of the people who are so opposed to this, is it because you all live in areas where the school system works for you?

No - I am like goodvibrations I live in an area where last year my DS was allocated no school. Even the 'worst one i the borough' was full and had no space for him. I just don't think you solve one unfairness by cheating and pushig that unfairness onto another family. (Goodvibrations if you want to PM me I may be able to help with our experience and appeal details)

But I really don't think you can blame people for wanting to cheat the system, because the system is ridiculous.

I don't blame anyone for thinking about it (we are on the 'wrong side of the system like many others) but actually doing it is another matter. There are only a set number of desirable school places to go around. The system does what it can to ensure they are given out a rigid and consistent way. It is not fair any child has to go to a poor school but it doesn't improve the fairness of the system to cheat it and make someone else's child go to that school instead of your own.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 10:12:25

(oops sorry - I don't know what happened there - I was fiddling about with 'bolding' things)

All this talk of "cheating" and "fraud".... The system is blatantly unfair. Why the hell shouldn't people "cheat" if otherwise they would get assigned a rotten school on the basis of their postcode?

And if all the people in the bad postcode got "legitimate" places at the bad school by moving into the catchment, as some of you seem to be suggesting, what then? The overall problem doesn't go away. There are still a fixed number of places at the good school, so someone has to lose out.

Farewelltoarms Fri 12-Apr-13 10:34:11

Yes but sometimes the 'good' school is perceived as such because it's historically the one that people move/cheat/lie their way into and these parents tend to be the ones who are more switched on or committed to education. The chaotic families, the homeless families, the refugees, the traveller families, they all tend not to be in a position to sign a church register for three years or rent a flat in catchment for six months. So they get assigned the 'bad' school in disproportionate numbers and while many are high achievers, statistically these groups are more likely to underachieve at school. The 'good' school meanwhile gets supposedly better and better because of what Fiona Millar calls the 'drift to posh' in admissions.
Allowing switched-on people to cheat is not the way to tackle the varying quality of schools. Quite the contrary.

Farewelltoarms Fri 12-Apr-13 10:34:50

PS Mrsdevere I agree with you re. the income inequality in islington. I find it quite depressing.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 10:38:51

The overall problem doesn't go away.

Exactly - it isn't like America where everyone living within 1 mile or 2 miles is guaranteed a place at the school and the school is forced just to squeeze them all in.
If you rent really close to get a place, you automatically push someone else out of that school.
It doesn't even up the overall fairness at all. Someone else suffers as a direct result of your actions (and not just by losing out on a ‘good’ school but by losing out on a school their friends will go to, that they can walk to, that is part of the are they live in too).

AnonYonimousBird Fri 12-Apr-13 10:41:49

Our LEA have prosecuted people for doing precisely this (Essex).

Ok, let's try this from a different angle. All of you who agree with what the OP is proposing or have done it yourselves, what if you were the parents of the child who had been in catchment comfortably for the good school for years, but lost out by a couple of metres. You then find out that parents have been cheating like this, so your child most likely lost out to their child.

Talk me through how you'd feel about that please.

WhizzforAtomms Fri 12-Apr-13 10:58:44

Lots of people move house because they want their child to go to a certain school, just like people move house to be convenient for work. The only difference is that OP doesn't want to make that move permanent.

OP you need to do everything as if you were moving permanently. The main thing is that you actually live in the rented accomodation, as otherwise it will be fraud.

Once your DD has started school you are under no obligation to remain in the catchment home - it would be a bit blatant to move away before the first half term holiday though.

It is not fraud and it is not illegal as long as you are actually moving and it is not a temporary arrangement.

Why is this more unethical than paying for years of tutoring to make your DC appear more intelligent than others, or for the entire family to fake a belief in god for a decade?

Potterer Fri 12-Apr-13 11:02:10

Having worked in Council Tax it would be the CTax angle that scuppers anyone trying to have two properties at once, it is known as second home discount and clearly demonstrates you are living in one property but own another.

We had this lots with people moving temporarily for jobs where the commute is too far but their intention was always to return to the "family" home.

Secondly, we don't have a "catchment" as such here, it is a if there enough places everyone gets in, if it is oversubscribed then it goes on priority and as the crow flies proximity to the school.

We lived very close to an outstanding primary, where both my children attend. We needed a bigger house, we were in a 3 bed and needed a 4 bed and so we moved house.

Our closest secondary school is outstanding, that was sheer luck, nothing to do with planning but we have been here 3 years and ds1 is in year 5. I would be incensed if someone rented to beat my son to his place in the outstanding secondary.

"All of you who agree with what the OP is proposing or have done it yourselves, what if you were the parents of the child who had been in catchment comfortably for the good school for years, but lost out by a couple of metres. You then find out that parents have been cheating like this, so your child most likely lost out to their child. "

But if the OP bought a house further in catchment, so getting a place "legitimately", the child on the edge would still lose out. Is this actually any better for that child that loses out? If so, why? Because the OP didn't "cheat" an unfair system? Because they spent more money to achieve their aims? Or what?

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 11:03:10

OP you need to do everything as if you were moving permanently. The main thing is that you actually live in the rented accomodation, as otherwise it will be fraud.

Whizz you have joined this late and this has been discussed. It is fraud and isn't allowed.
If OP wants to make sure it is not fraud she has to sell her old house not just move out of it for a bit.

It is not fraud and it is not illegal as long as you are actually moving and it is not a temporary arrangement.

Again this is not correct. It is specifically against the rules to rent near to a good school whilst still keeping hold of your old house even if you genuinely move into the rented home for a bit.
Where a family owns or rents 2 homes, the council will make a decision about which is the 'real' home. This won't be the one you are living in if it is a rented one and you have another home nearby that you lived in previously right before school admissions year.

WhizzforAtomms Fri 12-Apr-13 11:03:14

Why are people moving house permanently - who can afford the inflated rent or house prices due to proximity to a great school - not considered to be cheating children out of their rightful school places?

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 11:06:53

Is this actually any better for that child that loses out?

Well nobody wants to miss out on their local school if that's the one they want. They will be disappointed either way

But there is a world of difference between losing out to a family genuinely moving into the area and making their home there and losing out to a family renting a one bed flat next to the school and then swanning off back to their big family home a few miles away the moment they've bagged a place.
One is annoying (good school attracts lots of families - annoying but true)
One is cheating and almost personal (another family set out to steal a school place with minimum disruption to themselves. They keep the home they want but get the school they want too)

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 11:09:41

And morals aside, OP asked for advice on legality not her morals:

Buying a home and genuinely moving = allowed
Renting a flat and keeping old home = not allowed

As I've said before, I cannot and will not argue with people who move house permanently, because that is allowed according to the rules. Renting with no intention of permanently moving into that home is not allowed so I can and will argue.

I am never going to budge on that, because I will not stop fighting my foster daughters corner. Ever. I'm simply the parent on the other side of the argument whose child you are robbing of a place if you rent. Sorry.

WhizzforAtomms Fri 12-Apr-13 11:23:10

You do realise the number of people who live their whole lives in rented accomodation? I don't and will never own a home. I have moved house more times than I can remember, at least once a year since I left my parent's (council) house at 18. Living somewhere in rented accomodation which turns out not to be permanent is not fraud in itself.

Renting out an owned property and renting somewhere else for you to live while you try and sell off that property, is also not fraud.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 11:35:25

You are quite right Whizz - a family is entitled to move houses every few months if they wish and each of those homes is their 'real' home for admissions purposes when they live in them.
It doesn’t matter if the house is rented or owned as long as you don't have 2 at at the same time, it is your 'real home'. If you end up with overlap or 2 homes, the council will decide which is your real home (and they might not believe it is the one you currently live in).

Renting out an owned property and renting somewhere else for you to live while you try and sell off that property, is also not fraud.

Not quite. It is not definitely fraud but would still be investigated as such.

Renting out an owned property and renting somewhere else to live would be one of the cases that the LA would suspect fraud. They would want further evidence of the fact that you are permanently disposing of (i.e. selling) the home you own. If you can satisfy them of that, they will happily use the house you rent as your 'real address'

If they don’t' believe you are permanently disposing of the house you own, they may refuse to use your rented address and insist on using the address of the house you own but don't live in.
You have no way of overriding that decision except to appeal after school places are issued and present your evidence again.

In effect, in suspicious cases where someone has 2 homes, the onus is on the family to prove they are not cheating not on the council to prove that they are because it is assumed there are few genuine reasons to own a home and also rent another one a few miles away.

Schmedz Fri 12-Apr-13 12:15:50

Marinagasolina..don't foster children or cared for children have priority places? In most schools SEN statemented children who name the school or cared for children DO get a priority of a place if you can prove it is the best school for them. Don't worry!

Renting in catchment area to try to gain a place when having no intention of remaining in the area is cheating the system and is rightly investigated carefully by LEAs. The very fact the OP 'dressed up' her question to the LEA indicates that even she on some level knows it is is morally reprehensible.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:19:39

Also, in some areas, thanks to families doing this, some DC's end up with NO school place, or one that is impossible to get to.

Simply because families with 3/4 DC's rent one of the 1-bed flats right next to the school, for the duration of applications.

So someone who isn't in the catchment for any other school, but is right on the outskirts of the catchment for the school where large families have rented an unfeasibly small flat end up with either no school place at all, or one that is the next closest 'as the crow flies' (how our LA determines admission distances), but is too far to walk AND is two buses away that with dodgy connections would require you to LEAVE the house at 6.45am to get there for 8.35.

It also means 4yo's or 11yo's waiting around for 30 minutes in the town centre for the next bus.

All because someone decided to try to 'play' the system and rent a tiny 1-bed flat for a large family near to the local school.

Thankfully, my LA has got a LOT stricter on this - those flats are now 'blacklisted', and ANY application from them is treated as potentially fraudulent, meaning that practice is almost disappearing.

The issue is that only two secondaries out of 7 in my town have even a 'good' rating from Ofsted. And the GCSE percentages at the other 5 are dire. They are genuinely 'bad' schools, in ALL senses of the word.

Multiple teachers in GCSE years, in and out of SM, name changes, HTchanges, SLT changes, yet still no real improvement, bar one of them.

So we are heading on the way to a 3/4 split if good schools and REALLY bad ones.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:23:48

Posted too quickly there!

The other 4 schools have noted bullying issues, thieving problems, drug taking is rife, nobody wants their DC's there.

I lucked into a social housing HA house on a private estate practically on the doorstep of one of the 'good' schools. I wouldn't leave this area until ALL of my DC's have got into Secondary - and as DS3 is just 2yo, that will be quite some time!!

Doing what the OP suggests is immoral, and leaves someone else's 4yo or 11yo having to travel way out of catchment for their local school, and not having local friends.

It's made worse in areas like mine that doesn't even HAVE enough school places for every DC...

tethersend Fri 12-Apr-13 12:34:28

Schmedz, looked after children only get priority if they are in the care of the local authority (or were, and have been adopted or subject to an SGO)- private fostering arrangements mean that the child is not in the care of the local authority, so does not get priority.

WhizzforAtomms Fri 12-Apr-13 12:43:38

On the other side tiggy, if you put on your school forms the address of a house you owned but did not currently live in, which was both on the market and had another family living in it with a verifiable tenancy agreement, you would certainly be commiting fraud.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 12:58:28

Absolutely Whizz.
At the end of the day, most cases are straight forward: Family live in a house and own no other houses, parents apply for a school place and child gets allocated either a school they want or the one they qualify for.

The potential cheaters are thankfully quite rare (and getting rarer now they are caught more often). In those cases the LA has to make a judgement call. It isn't about court cases and legal evidence or anything like that - it is a common sense approach.
If a family are renting a flat within miles of their other home and this rented flat is near a good school the council will assume it is a cheat (but allow the the parents to prove otherwise if they can).

If a family use an address that they own but have rented to other people who are living in it, the council will also assume it is a cheat (again unless the family can prove otherwise).

There are genuine cases that look suspicious but can be proved and the council will make judgement calls on those too:
There was a woman on here ages ago whose 'real' home had been declared uninhabitable (may have been flood or fire) and had been like that for over a year.
She rented a room in a privately owned house as a lodger until her real house was fixed which was expected to take a very long time.
The landlord wouldn't add her names to anything officially since he got a discount on his council tax for single occupancy that he stood to lose.
She had to prove to the council that her 'real' home was uninhabitable and therefore could not count for admissions purposes.
And then she had to prove that she did really live as a lodger in the other house (landlord refused to help her as he'd lose council tax benefit so she had to get signed statements from neighbours and all sorts of other proof)

I am sure she'd rather the council would just have take it all at face value and not suspect her of cheating when she wasn't but you can see why it looked suspicious at first glance - women owns big house that she stops living in to rent a room in a house in a better catchment area.

tethersend Fri 12-Apr-13 13:21:50

Yy tiggy- this happened to a friend of mine who rented a flat whilst waiting for her shared ownership flat to be finished- she had bought it off plan, but the company went bust, meaning that at the time she applied for her son's school place, she was unsure if and when it would ever be finished.

In the end, it was finished two months after school places were offered and she moved in. Another parent whose child hadn't got a place at the school her son had, reported her to the LEA who came in very heavy-handed threatening prosecution and investigated for months until finally dropping the case. It was a very distressing time for her.

I should add, the flat she moved into was ten minutes' walk from the school, but would have been too far away to get a place.

Schmedz- the trouble is that my foster daughter is now in year 11, she's only been with me for about a month. When she was in year 6 she was still living with her parents in a house which had been in the catchment area for the local outstanding school for years, but the area reduced rapidly that year and she missed out by a couple of metres. She ended up at the crap school everyone tries to avoid instead- this is why I get so angry with people trying to cheat the system because I know this goes on in our area, so it's highly likely DD lost out on a place at the good school to these people given there were a couple of metres in it.

My foster daughters life has been completely upside down over the past year or so because she got involved with drugs at this school- the school she narrowly missed out on a place at has no where near the drug issue this one does. So I do have to wonder if her life would have turned out differently.

Even if she was year 5 and I was about to apply for a secondary place for her, she wouldn't get priority because she's in a private fostering agreement, private fostering does not get priority because she's not classed as vulnerable (that's a whole separate issue I could argue all day about). Plus I don't actually know what we're in catchment for here, because I don't have my own kids so it's never been an issue.

The point is, the system isn't fair for many reasons. But just because its not, that doesn't give parents permission to break the law and rob other children.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 15:57:11

tether - Yes being investigated and suspected is not nice. But on the plus side, the council listened to her evidence and made the right decision recognising a seemingly very suspicious house move was not fraud and she kept her place.

The LA has a legal obligation to make sure the places are allocated to the 'correct' children - the ones who genuinely qualify and have used the 'correct' address on their forms. On the day she applied she only had one home - the one she was living in. The other home wasn't habitable or finally hers.
For most families, there is nothing suspicious to investigate because they only have one possible address but, where there are doubts, the LA has to make absolutely certain that cheating has not taken place.
It doesn't mean everyone gets a school they want but at least it means nobody is cheated out of a place that would have been theirs.

MrsDeVere Fri 12-Apr-13 16:09:21

marina its an issue too big for this thread but have you considered trying to get your foster daughter Child in Need Status? Or even LAC if things are very difficult?

That wouldn't mean she couldn't stay with you but it would give her more rights to support.

Just a thought and something not to be entered into lightly I know.

I did it for a young girl I was looking after. She was on the cusp of being classed as adult so I knew we had to do something quickly.

Now SS have to support her through Uni and she has her own flat (got it a bit young IMO).

Viviennemary Fri 12-Apr-13 16:13:02

Why not ring up your local authoritiy and ask them. They're the ones who know the rules.

Floggingmolly Fri 12-Apr-13 18:15:35

If you are still paying council tax on your old property the council will be perfectly well aware of what you're doing hmm
Do you seriously imagine you're the first person to come up with this ingenious ruse? It doesn't work.

Diamondcassis Fri 12-Apr-13 18:24:54

One of my greatest friends (of 30 years) did this 2 years ago. She emailed her close friends to let us know how smart she was being.

I haven't spoken to her since and doubt I will.

Shame as one of her DSs is my godson.

Please accept that people, including those close to you, will really judge you for this.

middleagedspread Fri 12-Apr-13 18:55:09

If feel sympathy for the OP.
We all want the best for our DCs & it must be really hard to see an outstanding school that's in reach with a some unethical juggling.
I'm not sure I wouldn't do the same thing if I were in her situation.

tiggytape Fri 12-Apr-13 19:04:07

Of course - the school situation in many areas is really bad. There are people living 600m from brilliant schools who cannot get a place and get sent 2 miles away to a 'bad' one (especially at primary where the baby boom has vastly increased the numbers applying and the number of sibling priorities).
Everyone would agree that this is a horrible position to be in. The answer however isn't to cheat.

If the school admission system was like America - where everyone in a certain radius got a guaranteed place no matter how overcrowded it made the school, cheating like this might be slightly justified. After all the only losers would be the council and the school forced to try and squeeze 300 children in to a 200 capacity school. It wouldn't be a good solution but it wouldn't penalise any individual child.

But it isn't a 'victimless crime' if you cheat in the current system. You are directly depriving another child of a place when potentially they have no other school near enough to go to. If you ever see the appeal threads on MN in May each year when people say they have cried themselves to sleep for 3 weeks because their child is the only one in the road not to get a place and they have no school offer or a school offer 4 miles away on a bus, you will see the real upset and distress it causes people when they lose out in the school lottery. To deliberately inflict this on another family is horrible.

MrsDeVere- it's complicated, originally SS were involved and I was hoping they would take DFD into foster care, but as she's so close to 16 (birthday next week, we were looking into this about 3 weeks ago after she'd been with me temporarily for a week) we were told she was too old for fostering and she was offered a flat in a halfway house type place. DFD didn't want to go in there and I didn't think it would offer her the support she needed, plus SS were reluctant to give her that in the first place because they disputed how 'homeless' she actually is. The end result was we declined the SS offer and went down the private fostering route. As I understand it we've turned down the help they offered plus she's 16 next week so will no longer qualify for help anyway sad Although I haven't heard of Child in Need status, just going to google that now. Thank you.

Back to the thread- Diamond, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't have any friends who have done this to my knowledge, but if I did I would seriously consider reporting them. I do feel that strongly about it. I don't understand why this is the one area of the law people in this country feel at liberty to break- it's illegal, just like stealing is illegal. Just because the system is unfair, that doesn't give you the right to cheat it and deprive someone else's child in the process.

Diamondcassis Fri 12-Apr-13 19:48:42

It still chills me.

Obviously we all want the very best for our DCs but mostly we draw a line at physically pushing other kids out of the way to get ours to the front of the queue.

Law or not, its ethically execrable.

"I don't understand why this is the one area of the law people in this country feel at liberty to break-"

People are more likely to break laws when they see them as unfair laws - look at the poll tax.

Have read most of the thread

What is the difference between a longer term rental plan (as OP suggests) whilst renting out the 'family' home AND trying to sell the family but not being able to in time and deciding to rent instead?

So it's legal to sell and buy within catchment? But it's not legal to rent and rent in catchment? To me there is no difference.

OP to watertight your plan, I suggest putting your house on the market at a ridiculous unachiveable price, reject any offers that come in. Then determine you have run out of time to move for your preferred school so go down the rental route.

Stay a couple of years.

Floggingmolly Fri 12-Apr-13 20:38:26

It's the moving back into the original home which is the giveaway, shattereddreams. hmm

MrsDeVere Fri 12-Apr-13 20:42:13

marina she IS entitled to help even when she is 16.
The Southwark judgement makes it illegal to shove a 16/17 year old in a hostel.
She should be offered supported lodgings which is a bit like foster care.

The girl I helped really needed that LAC status in order to get long term support but SS said all the same things to me. hmm


for a starting point. I think your lass needs some advice on her choices.

If she can't go home and you can't care for her long term SS do have a duty of care.

But you really need to know what to say to SS. To be fair to them, this is a huge problem area as lots of kids decide they don't want to be at home at this age. They can't be accommodating every stroppy teen. BUT they really should be helping the children who need it.

You can give a go too. They have a lot of information about family law.

There is also

Honestly SS told me that I was in a private foster care arrangement even though I have never met or spoken to the parents.

There was no way I could have supported this girl in the way she needed long term. Its such a battle though, I sympathise.

prh47bridge Fri 12-Apr-13 20:53:46

shattereddreams - That would not make the plan watertight.

The question the LA has to consider is whether or not the OP is applying from their permanent address. They don't have to prove she is making a fraudulent application. Reasonable suspicion is enough for them to take action. And, as others have pointed out, most LAs where this happens regularly are now wise to it, fed up with complaints from genuine residents and making efforts to detect it.

prh47bridge Fri 12-Apr-13 20:57:31

Oh, and renting out your home whilst renting a place within catchment is fine provided it is intended to be a long term situation. You may have difficulty persuading the LA that your intentions are honourable if the house you own is nearby but if you are renting out the family home in Carlisle whilst living in rented accommodation in Islington that shouldn't be a problem. What is wrong is renting near a school simply to get a place at the school with the intention of returning to your home once you think you've got away with it.

MrsDeVere thank you so much, that's been really helpful. Is it OK if I PM you?

Surely the obvious solution would be to do what they do in Scotland and everyone go to their nearest school, but the transition would be a nightmare I'm sure.

To those pointing out that you can be an equal distance away from two schools, one good and one special measures, and yet only be in catchment for the SM one, this can be for a number of reasons. If there are more houses between you and the good school, more siblings or more children on the SEN register, then the catchment area will be smaller and you could be out of catchment even though its the same distance IYSWIM.

prh47bridge Fri 12-Apr-13 22:16:48

Even after the transition you still have the problem, as Tiggytape pointed out, that you might have a school with an official capacity of 200 pupils having to cope with 300 or more because it is the closest school for all of them.

MrsDeVere Fri 12-Apr-13 22:37:13

Of course marina.

MrsGrowbag Fri 12-Apr-13 23:27:22

I don't understand how the Local Authority would know that you had two different properties in the area because of Council Tax, because the council tax is paid to / collected by the local (district) council, isn't it? Whereas the County Council is the body responsible for school admissions. Or is it different in London and all done by the Borough Council. Where we live there are 5 district councils and one county council, but they are separate bodies.
But doing what the OP is planning to do is wrong on every count - morally, socially and probably legally.

mydoorisalwaysopen Sat 13-Apr-13 07:00:31

I sympathize and am in a similar position. The school I want my kids to go to is not oversubscribed in catchment and always admits 20 to 30 kids on distance. Some years we'd get in and some not. So if we move closer we're not depriving a child in catchment of a place and might even be getting the place we would have got anyway! We will probably chance getting in from our actual home and consider appealing if necessary.

Katie172 Sat 13-Apr-13 09:07:51

One of my oldest friends heads up the local investigations team to check applications for both primary and secondary applications .On the occasions we have talked about the role I have been amazed at the amount of info that can be gained without having to leave their desk. The whole thing is taken very seriously and they are able to commit a few people to each case as and when necessary. They don't have to prove anything ,they just have to show reasonable grounds for thinking that this is a misleading application for a dc to lose his/her place. I have seen this happen at primary level 5 times (just at our one form entry local school) in the last 7 years. One mum whose dc missed out on a place to a family who rented a house two doors down from her a few months before the application deadline whilst retaining their other home went to a primary school appeal hearing and pointed out the facts as she saw them as part of her case. She won her appeal and the other child lost their place a few weeks later. In secondary schools it is worse and last year saw one of dc's friends being booted out from his school two days before the end of term....he had been at the school for 15months. I felt so sorry for the dc in question..... 13years old and shocked that his parents had brought this about. They wanted him to say that he was just moving for other reasons but he loved his school and was devastated so he told anyone that asked that his parents had committed fraud so he was kicked out. He pleaded with his ht to be able to stay. I agree that the child who missed out on a place on allocation day will be the unseen loser but for anyone considering this think about how your dc will feel if they have to leave their school and their friends-especially when they are settled and very happy.

soundevenfruity Sat 13-Apr-13 09:19:55

tiggytape, I think the answer would be to abolish the siblings rule and to introduce a lottery allocation. That would make entering a school less of a financial decision.

goodvibrationsrgood Sat 13-Apr-13 09:45:18

Tiggytape thank-you for your kind offer. I have PM'd you (I think). Never done this before.

tiggytape Sat 13-Apr-13 10:02:07

goodvibrations - I have replied with some appeals advice that I hope will help. There are also lots of experts on the education boards so, for anyone else or once you've decided what grounds you'll using at be appeal, you can run ideas by them by posting a new thread too.
They can also help advise on part 1 of the appeal that is more about capacity and challenging the school's case.

soundevenfruity - some schools do this. They suddenly make out-of-area-siblings a much lower priority and this does help in the sense that it deters cheaters. It means people cannot rely on the admission criteria staying static so cannot plan cheats in advance and it means if they do get away with cheating, their other children will not be allowed to gain from it.

13years old and shocked that his parents had brought this about. They wanted him to say that he was just moving for other reasons but he loved his school and was devastated so he told anyone that asked that his parents had committed fraud so he was kicked out.

That is so sad. Obviously I think what his family did was awful and it was right he lost his place (if they made exceptions the temptation to cheat would be greater).
The real losers in all of this are the child whose place he initially stole in Year 7 and the poor boy kicked out of a school he loved in Year 8. His parents who'd cooked up the scheme in the first place may suffer from seeing him upset but the worst consequences of cheating fall on all the children involved not the parents.

goodvibrationsrgood Sat 13-Apr-13 10:27:54

I think the sad fact is that as a parent you just feel so desperate. When your dc doesn't get into a school which is a better fit for them and local so that they still feel part of their local community, you really feel as if YOU have failed them. In part I have wondered whether I should have done what the OP is suggesting but these are desperate thoughts at a stressful time.

The ideal is that all schools are good or outstanding. But I don't get schools who push children who are part of their local community away in favour of children who live further out. Yes these further out children need a school to go to but how do children learn about belonging and community when they live in one town and are sent to school in another town. Where does green living come into it and the fact that children are encouraged to walk to school but then can't. It is so topsy turvy and wrong.

Toasttoppers Sat 13-Apr-13 10:53:13

DH was sent in to central London to private school on the train, he had a great education but was incredibly lonely as a child. No one lived anywhere near him. Socialisation is as important as education IMO.

I hate the whole system, the panic and the fear. I refused to get involved and DS goes to the local bog standard comp. There is a better comp a couple of miles away, his mates from more middle class backgrounds have gone there whilst others have gone to his school. There is a huge council estate that is the catchment area to his school, no one ever says out loud but I know people consider this.

My friends DS was attacked at the nice middle class comp last year and is now partially deaf in one ear.

difficultpickle Sat 13-Apr-13 11:43:02

A friend of mine did this. I couldn't work out how she had got her dc into a local grammar school and I especially couldn't work it out when the council published admission details showing how many of each category got into the school,ie distance from the school etc. She lives miles out of catchment but there was nothing on the list to reflect this. It was pointed out to me that she probably rented to obtain a place. There is a possibility that she may have bought a flat in order to qualify but with no intention of ever living there. Of course buying gives you the right to send your dcs to the local school even if you have no intention of living there but morally doesn't make it any better (just a higher income level than those who choose to rent in catchment and then move out).

Ds doesn't go to a local school but it hasn't stopped him making local friends but does mean he doesn't see his school friends out of school.

teacherwith2kids Sat 13-Apr-13 11:48:01

Bisjo, Locally, buying a property but not living there and renting are treated on exactly the same basis - the family's main residence is treated as the actual application address, it makes no difference whether the 'fraud' address is bought or rented.

difficultpickle Sat 13-Apr-13 11:58:16

That's interesting. She didn't talk about how she got her dc into the school and I'd assumed that she must have got in via out of catchment and out of county place but when I saw the list of distances from school for successful applicants I realised that she hadn't. It is a shame as she is taking a place from someone who would have passed the 11+ and lived closer to the school than she does. We are out of county but in catchment and even though it is our closest senior school we wouldn't get in based on distance.

tiggytape Sat 13-Apr-13 12:11:22

Of course buying gives you the right to send your dcs to the local school even if you have no intention of living there

No - it is still cheating and treated as such whether she lived in that house or not. Obtaining an extra home for admissions purposes (however you obtain it) is not allowed if you then move back to the original address (or never leave it in the first place).

You have to be a bit careful assuming that everyone who gets in from out of catchment is fiddling the system though.
There may be things you don't know about. If a child is statemented, they can choose a school regardless of distance criteria. If a child has been adopted from care, they get priority for all schools now. If a child has a medical or social need (not necessarily 'visible' ones), they may get priority at some schools too.
These are things other parents might not share with you and that you probably wouldn't know from any other source.
If you suspect a fraudulent application, you can report it to the LA. In the case of statemented and adopted children, the LA will already know why these children got priority. They won't tell you but will reassure you that the allocation was correct.
In the case of people buying or renting extra homes, the LA will look at the address which was used on the application, dig deeper into other addresses the family may have and check whether the application address was used short term just for schools.

difficultpickle Sat 13-Apr-13 14:43:55

The child I know isn't statemented etc. The mum overshares on everything and would probably tell me how she got the place if I bothered to ask. I just assumed their application was successful maybe because of lower numbers in the year she applied but when I looked at the application data I realised that they must have done something else to get a place. It isn't a school I would choose and I doubt that the dc will stay there as they have a place at different school lined up for the future.

prh47bridge Sat 13-Apr-13 21:23:15

MrsGrowBag - In London the borough council collects council tax and handles school admissions. In an area like yours the county council may contact the district authority to ask for checks on council tax and electoral roll information.

prh47bridge Sat 13-Apr-13 21:28:21

goodvibrationsrgood - I would be happy to advise on any appeal. As Tiggytape says, you should probably start a separate thread. I have come across this approach to distance before. In my view it should be avoided because of the anomalies it can throw up - not just the one you highlighted.

daytoday Sun 14-Apr-13 09:29:15

I know someone who did this. They moved down the road. They were already contributing to the local community but didn't have the extra 200,000 to buy the same size house in catchment. Ironically both parents were teachers in diff boroughs but taught in very deprived schools, so prob benefitting society more than others.

They moved back halfway through year 7.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 09:43:39

They took the risk and it paid off. I assume this is was some time ago when there were less checks. If not, they should probably keep quiet about it since it is possible they can still get caught and lose the place.
Not everyone gets caught but parents aren't 'safe' even if they don’t get caught initially. One of the other posters here knows a boy kicked out of school half way through Year 8 because his parents cheated and who was devastated by it.

And being a teacher in a deprived area, or a thoroughly nice human being who contributes to the local community, doesn't excuse the fact that this is wrong and directly causes misery to other families.
Lots of people cannot afford to live near good schools or in houses they want. Cheating doesn't even things up since the people who lose out are those in cheaper housing on the edge of catchment not the people in the expensive houses near the school of the type your friend couldn't afford.
All they’ve done is push out another child and another family who probably had a similar income and similar choices to them (and may also have been nice people who help in their community).

teacherwith2kids Sun 14-Apr-13 10:31:02

Some people say that they only consider doing what the OP suggests (or think it would be OK) because schools vary so much, and until all schools are good, think it acceptable.

A point that might be worth making is that this scramble to obtain places in 'the best' school, through fair means or foul, actually windens the gulf between 'honeypot' schools and the rest, and mitigates against exactly what people say they want - good schools available to all.

If parents with money, interest in education and determination to do well by their children are more evenly distributed between schools - so if some go to the 'less desirable' schools through being in their catchment area - then that is an agent of change that will in time birn gup the standard of those schools. If, on the other hand, all or many of such parents do whatever it takes to go to the 'honeypot' school, then the gulf between that school and the less desirable ones gets wider and wider.

difficultpickle Sun 14-Apr-13 12:39:30

In the case I know it was to get into a grammar school so the child would have had to pass the 11+.

I don't think you can lay all the blame for failing schools at the door of parents who seek to cheat the system. I don't condone cheating at all but I witnessed an outstanding school become a special measures school in under two years. The parents hadn't changed but the head had and his incompetence had a devastating effect on the school. Bearing in mind the cohort of parents I wouldn't have expected the change to be so dramatic and so quick but it was.

It has taken 8 years to turn the school around and it still has a considerable way to go to be back to outstanding. Ds will have left primary school by then.

teacherwith2kids Sun 14-Apr-13 13:36:45


I was not implying that fraudulent applications are the main factor behind 'failing' schools in any way.

I would, however, make a distinction, which Ofsted / Gove / league tables often fail to do, between schools that have lower results as a result of an intake skewed towards children of lower ability / higher disadvantage (e.g. secondary moderns in full grammar areas, schools in some very deprived areas) who nevertheless make good progress FOR THEM and schools which fail their intake through not enabling them to make good progress from their starting points.

In a school of the former type, in which children make very good or even exceptional progress from their starting points (but which are often locally regarded as the 'bad' schools because of the nature of their intake), a re-balancing of the intake through the entry of children from the type of decently-off, educationally-savvy parents I referred to above may well have a strongly positive impact on the school.

In a school such as you refer to, where incompetent leadership, complacency, instability or poor teaching means that children do not makw the progress that they should, then I agree that the arrival of a slightly different cohort of children would make little difference.

difficultpickle Sun 14-Apr-13 16:42:44

Sorry, I wasn't referring to fraudulent applications when I mentioned the local school. All I was trying to say is schools can go from outstanding to failing without any move from parents. The school I am thinking of failed within one year of the appointment of a new head. Everyone was shocked at how quickly it deteriorated bearing in mind the majority of the staff were the same as under the old head.

teacherwith2kids Sun 14-Apr-13 16:49:10

Biso, absolutely that can happen. However, IME it can also be that skeletons can tumble out of cupboards under new heads that nobody suspected were there under the old one!

I have direct experience of a school in which a long-established head appeared to keep a school on an even keel, only to disappear just before Ofsted and for a new head to uncover HUGE issues. To the parents, it must have looked as if the new head created the issues, whereas in actual fact they only ceased to conceal them....

Another thing to point out as far as cheating the system because "X school I'm in the catchment for is horrible and I don't want my child to go there":

My foster daughter's school, as I've said before, has a drug problem, she got involved with drugs through some of the older kids. She's spent the best part of year 11 getting wasted with her (expelled) BF when she should be in lessons and the school made a bloody halfhearted attempt to deal with it. This is the school she ended up at after missing out on the 'outstanding' school by a couple of metres, in an area where people are known to rent in order to get into the 'outstanding' school and avoid this one. When she got involved with the drugs, the reason many parents tried to avoid this school, she was still living at home with her mum, who was completely disengaged and unsupportive.

I have taught in a number of failing secondaries with such problems, including this one. Trust me, the kids of those on this thread who have/are planning on renting/cheating to avoid these schools are NOT the kids I worry about getting caught up in the drugs. The reason is simple: the parents are engaged enough and concerned enough about their child's wellbeing to support them, to listen to them, and to teach them the difference between right and wrong. The children I DO worry about are the ones like DFD was, the ones whose parents couldn't give a damn how their child is doing at school. I'm not saying it's only ever been the kids from the unsupportive homes who get caught up in anti-social behaviour in and out of school, but in the majority of cases the children of the concerned, engaged parents are not the ones who end up as school drop outs on drugs.

Now I'm absolutely not saying that on that basis, the children from unsupportive homes like my foster daughter, as she was in year 6, should be the ones who get priority for the local outstanding school, and the ones from the supportive homes the ones who get shoved into the failing one. Not at all. But I am saying that if you cheat the system and rent in order to avoid your catchment school because it has a bad reputation, you are potentially sending a child like my foster daughter into an environment of temptation, where she is at a disadvantage simply because she lacks the support network that your child has.

It's a postcode lottery, and I appreciate that. But that's the way it works in this country, it's the law, and anyone who rents/uses a second address/bends the rules because they want the best for their child when it means depriving someone else's child is a criminal in my book and upon being found out should be treated as such.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 18:10:47

Also outstanding schools aren't inspected annually. An outstanding school may in fact have been terrible for the last 2 or 3 years but until Ofsted arrive and offer their official judgement, the outstanding label sticks.
So a school that suddenly gets a new Head and then a terrible Ofsted may in fact have been awful for some time but the last head jumped ship before anyone could blame them. And parents don't always see it because often they have nothing to compare it to.

If you are desperate to get into a school that was given an Outstanding label 3 years ago, the school may be nothing like it was then. It may be half a term away from Special Measures.

marina - I agree with you totally. Unfortunately there is nothing in school admissions to give priority to children whose parents dont' care at all about education.

But in areas where there is a brilliant school and a terrible school such as you describe, I think the schools or council have a duty to even things up. This does happen already for example in terms of lending out the best teachers from the good schools to the worst schools for whole terms at a time, sending the Head teacher from the best school to the worst school and sharing resources.

It is not popular with parents (the staff don't mind - they have some say and generally it is good for career development) but it really can even things up. If all the middle class parents are cheating and falling over themselves to get the best school and avoid the worst, maybe they'd think twice if the brilliant Head of Science then disappeared to the 'bad' school for a year or the Head shared her time between the two or the schools combined for many sports and subjects.

It isn't feasible in all areas but if it was made clear to the parents that the bad school was going to be given all the best bits of the best school, maybe the scramble to get into the best school wouldn't be so immense.

Tiggytape- re the sending the best of the best school to help out at the worst, it's being trialled at our failing school at the moment and it's doing wonders to the grades of the kids who want to be there and want to learn. Admittedly it has widened the gap between them and the kids who don't want to be there and aren't interested, but I do think to a point that if you come into my lessons and point blank refuse to cooperate with me, there's only a certain amount I can do. I will NEVER give up on a pupil, but I'm not a miracle worker, and I can't get you an A in my subject if you won't let me teach you.

Again, the majority of the kids who are downright disruptive and refuse to learn and are falling further and further behind the others as a result are from families where the parents just aren't bothered. Sad but true.

Continuing on from my first point, a message to all you parents in the catchment area for a failing school considering cheating the system, from a teacher in a special measures school with a bloody awful reputation: if your child comes through my classroom door eager to learn and trying their best in my lessons, I'll pick up on that. Trust me. I don't care if your child's best is a C or an A*. If your child is committed and wants to work hard, I will do my utmost to help them get the best grade in my subject they can possibly achieve, regardless of how many of their classmates want to be there and put some effort in. I will (and have in the past) give them extra revision sessions at lunch/after school if I have to.

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 18:53:55

Marina - absolutely. Some of the teachers being lent out are Heads and Deputy Heads so are hopefully able to direct, or help direct, whole school concerns such as discipline, motivation and the bigger issues that each individual teacher cannot do alone.
You sound like you do an amazing job with your pupils and I am sure it is appreciated that you go above and beyond for those that want to do well.

teacherwith2kids Sun 14-Apr-13 18:55:10

Tiggy, similar scheme going on at the moment between a 'regarded by the public as good' comp and a 'regarded by the public as bad' comp locally - and it has reduced the hysteria amongst parents about moving heaven and earth to get into the 'goo' one of the pair.

Tbh, the 'good' one has a very privileged catchment, the other has one that is very much not so, so IMHO the differences in terms of actual quality of teaching and learning aren't that great anyway....

tiggytape Sun 14-Apr-13 19:05:03

teacher - that's the same here too. There has been practical help from the swaps / mentoring, sharing of initiatives and even sharing resources. In general though, one of the most helpful outcomes is to reduce the vigour with which parents avoid the 'bad' school because it has been lent some of the good schools kudos as well as staff.

mummytime Sun 14-Apr-13 21:00:10

Similar is happening between my DCs school and a local one. The other school has improved how uniform is worn, hopefully the pupils are feeling less hopeless, and I know parents who applied there in preference to other local schools (which were often preferred).

Hysteria hasn't been reduced here sadly. If anything it's been raised amongst the parents at the 'outstanding' school, who are furious that teachers are mentoring here and that our kids are 'invading' their sports facilities hmm I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways. At some point, you have to accept that your child is not the only one who matters in the education system, and steps are going to be taken to help out the others not fortunate enough to be at a fantastic school. If you don't like that, then home educate.

tiggytape Mon 15-Apr-13 10:38:19

marina - I meant admissions hysteria is being reduced because people aren't so afraid of the 'bad' school anymore.

Knowing that your children will still get access to the sports facilities at the 'best school' even if they aren't allocated that school helps. As does knowing that your school will be lent the well respected Deputy Head Teacher and Head of Science from the 'best school'

It absolutely does annoy parents who've managed to get into the best school - but tough!
Why should any area accept half its population going to a school that hasn't had a proper science teacher for over a year when the other school has several good science teachers?
Why should any area accept half its population being sent to a school with barely a blade of grass let alone a sports hall when the other children get a fully equipped gym, tennis courts and a large field to play on?

By seeking to reduce the differences between the 'good' and 'bad' schools (in terms of facilities) and by using the 'good' school's experiences and expertise to bring up standards in the 'bad' school, more people benefit.
I know there are parents with children at good schools who think this is outrageous and don't want to share their best teachers and lovely sports hall but - like you say - they have to realise their child is no more deserving of these chances than every child who couldn't get allocated a place there.

Ah OK, I see what you mean. Parents still seem to be afraid of the 'bad' school here, but that seems to be more to do with the anti-social behaviour issues than the results IYSWIM, the results are definitely improving. On the anti-social behaviour front improvements are being made, but at a much slower rate, and that seems to be a stigma harder to shake free of than poor exam results. This is the first academic year we've been involved in sharing resources with the outstanding school, so it's hoped that we'll start to see a change in attitude amongst prospective parents come next year.

I have to admit that as things are now, I'm not too bothered about my foster daughter being at the failing school rather than the outstanding one, because she's free of the bad influences in her life she met at this school when she started and the overall standard of the school, although still not great, is improving. But that wasn't the situation last year, when she went off the rails well and true, and certainly wasn't the situation when she started here. If this was really her catchment school and no places at the outstanding school she just missed out on were given to children of parents renting properties then fair enough, but given that's been going on in order to avoid the failing school for years in this area now I strongly suspect that could have been the case. No amount of effort to turn her school around when she's in year 11 can compensate for the fact she should never have been here in the first place if everyone played by the rules, to me anyway.

Pyrrah Tue 16-Apr-13 15:16:07

Just out of interest...

What would be the situation if someone owned 2 properties a few miles from each other and had owned both for multiple years.

They used to live in Property A and now live in Property B and rent A out.

The school they want their DS to go to is a dead-cert from Property A but very, very borderline from B.

Would it be wrong for them to rent out Property B for a year and move back to Property A - and then move back to Property B and rent out A again.

Is that less morally wrong than renting a property nearby - or just as bad?

teacherwith2kids Tue 16-Apr-13 15:44:12

a) I think they are morally equivalent - the intent is to obtain a place in a school through TEMPORARILY doing something that you would otherwise not do, with the full intention of returning to the original status quo afterwards.

b) In practical terms, locally it would be treated as suspect and investigated. The discovery that you still had an additional property that has until recently been the main family home would almost certianly count as reasonable grounds not to award a place. Should you get away with it first time, the moving back to the original address (recently the tracking o addresses over the first year + in school has become more commonplace in response to just such situations) would trigger your child's removal from the school.

tiggytape Tue 16-Apr-13 16:01:31

I agree with teacher. It is moving back to an old address after securing a school place that is fraud.

It doesn't matter how long you have owned (or rented) any property for.

It doesn't matter when you move house or if you choose to rent or buy.

If you have 2 houses you must list the one you genuinely live in (as defined by council tax history, utilities, Dr and all those things) AND crucially you cannot then move back to address B having used address A to secure a school place.

In such cases the move from B to A would be regarded as suspicious (but not in itself fraud especially if house B was sold).
It is likely to trigger a close investigation of whether house B has been disposed of and therefore whether house A is the 'real' home.

The move from A back to B again would be when the admission authority could reasonably suspact fraud and remove the school place unless there was a very good reason to explain it (eg house B was burnt to the ground and being rebuilt and the family had to move out for a year)

banana999 Wed 11-Dec-13 05:56:45

This is a long thread. I remembered reading some members posted that inspector called on the doorstep to check whether the address is genuine. Just curious, when they called, do they actually tell you that they are there to check whether you are genuinely living there? Or they pretend to call for something else? Do they identify themselves as from the School Admission team?

Tuhlulah Wed 11-Dec-13 10:09:25

I think this thread is a wind up, isn't it?

Isn't this thread specifically designed to get everyone up on their high horses?

Are you a troll, EN, or as K8 suggests, a brass necked little madam?

tiggytape Wed 11-Dec-13 10:38:39

This is a very old thread but to answer the question about doorstep inspections:

Yes they do happen

The inspectors normally call at dawn or dusk when you'd expect a family to be home but will make repeat visits if necessary and also ask neighbours about the family who live nextdoor (i.e. are they there the whole time, are they there at weekends etc)

They will identify themselves when they knock - it is a perfectly valid part of the checking process and they've nothing to hide

Inspections are most common in areas where school places are in high demand eg if a family move close to a good school less than a year before the admissions deadline, they might expect a visit. This is to ensure fairness for all - people living in a highly sought after catchment (especially if they are new to that area) have to accept that the council has an absolute duty to ensure school places don't go to people who are trying to cheat / sidestep the system.

Tuhlulah Wed 11-Dec-13 10:41:54

Yes, Tiggytape, I mistook the date, so thanks for replying.

I was querying the way the OP went from suggesting renting to get a place to baptism to get into a religious school. It all seemed deliberately intended to wind everyone up. It just didn't seem genuine, although I appreciate all the responses were genuine.

copanya Thu 12-Dec-13 09:07:54

It's what make me so cross about the state system. They have well intentioned rules and then allow a game to develop over their application. I can't really blame you for playing the game, but the LEA's have to find a way to reduce this from happening. It consumes coffee mornings in years 5 and 6, leads to kids facing long commutes, and reserves the best schools for those with the pointiest elbows.

Bemused33 Thu 12-Dec-13 10:02:51

I have not read the whole thread but our one form entry primary school is FULL of children coming from way over the catchment. Two in ds's class are travelling over ten miles!!!! This is an oversubscribed primary school! The school secretary has raised her eyebrows over the amount if children living at the same address. It's a disgrace not more is done.

That being said I looked around one of put closest secondary's which is a flagship school. It has excellent results. Despite being in walking distance it's catchment is minuscule so we stood no chance. However DH owns a house in its catchment and we did briefly consider whether it was worth cobbling it. We decided against it. It was not worth the risk and as we live on the same road as the school secretary it would have been extra risky.

We did have other options though though I know parents who have moved into rented for exactly this reason.

It's hard I don't agree with it but morals are funny things and it's such a grey area and had we had no other options we might have considered lying.

JustAnotherUserName Thu 12-Dec-13 10:27:38

Its not really a grey area, though. Its clearly wrong (both on most school's rules and on any measure of fairness). Many do it in my part of the world too.

rachLaw Sun 06-Apr-14 21:38:19

I'm afraid this is a game that a lot of people have resorted to playing and the only people getting rich off it are the estate agents! They still charge a fat commission despite knowing it will be a really easy sale/let. Sites like try to circumvent them but still they cream it in, not caring about the unfortunate ones they are allowing to be pushed out. Interestingly a report based on findings in Edinburgh shows the price hike you pay is the equivalent of paying to go private anyway. so perhaps the poster should just consider paying a different way... 6 months rent would go some way towards fees.

Lavenderhill Sat 09-Aug-14 23:12:08

Why renting to be the catchment is so " clearly wrong"? I have been living in the same area for 20 years. I am now a mum and really want to continue living in my community and send my child to the best local school ( 2 streets away from me). But i am not in the catchment area. Someone in the thread is suggesting " buying a house in the catchment area', I don't have 1 million pound. According to this debate, the children who are allowed into that school are the children of the parents who came to buy those 1 million pound houses just to be in the catchment area, they might be part of that small community ( 3 streets) and soon they will buy another expensive house in the catchment area of a good secondary school. How about people of the community who can't afford those houses? I have no option but to drop my cheap rental I love , then move into an expensive rental in the ' catchment area', then find a new place to live. People can judge me, but we can argue that if more schools had better standard we wouldn't be judging each other on this. Every child is entitled to a good education, regardless of their parent's income.

weatherall Sat 09-Aug-14 23:41:05

When I moved into a good catchment area I had to show I was no longer liable for council tax at my old address before they would let my DC into the local school.

It's the system that's broken, that's not the ops fault.

Deckmyballs Sat 09-Aug-14 23:44:59

I don't think you will be depriving anyone really other than those in the same position as you are, living outwith catchment but haven't come up with the ingenious solution (or don't have the money/balls) to peruse it.

Well done op - fantastic! smile

Anyway,I would say after he starts. I have been in a similar position where we moved after having a place allocated and our place was revoked.

prh47bridge Sun 10-Aug-14 00:05:18

Whether you like it or not renting to get a place at a popular school is against the rules. Many LAs now have lists of addresses they know are used for such rents and take a careful look at any short term rent or other suspicious activity. If they conclude that you have broken the rules they are entitled to take away your place even after your child has started at your preferred school.

Coolas Sun 10-Aug-14 02:54:39

We have had a number of parents do this at our school. Once the place has been offered and the child has started then you could move. A few did this in my first year group and I have to say I did get an impression of the honesty/trustworthiness of parents for having done this.
But if they are that desperate then so be it.

Apart from the point the other posters make about taking the place of another local child, I would also be wary that your child will likely live a long way away from new classmates. Never let your child know you are doing this if you choose to go ahead.

Coolas Sun 10-Aug-14 02:56:21

I was not aware of LAs keeping lists of addresses, but in any case if the school you want your child to attend is an academy then they will not work that closely with the LA on admissions.

prh47bridge Sun 10-Aug-14 06:19:09

Once the place has been offered and the child has started then you could move

As I have pointed out before this is wrong. The place can still be removed if the LA believes you have obtained the place by making a false or misleading application. It happens every year. And in that situation the child is going to end up at an unpopular school, possibly miles from home. So the parents could find themselves in a much worse situation than if they had been honest.

if the school you want your child to attend is an academy then they will not work that closely with the LA on admissions

Dream on. Academies don't like people breaking the rules any more than other types of school. The type of parent that is willing to break the rules to do other children out of places that are, like it or not, rightfully theirs is likely to cause problems for the school. They have no choice but to work closely with the LA on admissions. Their only involvement is to set their admission criteria and put the list of applicants in order. The rest of the process is handled by the LA. And, of course, if they allow parents to get away with this behaviour they may well face successful appeals for those children who have been deprived of places, resulting in the school having to admit beyond PAN.

Yes, it is possible you may get away with this. Some people do. But admission authorities (LAs and schools) are improving their enforcement all the time and if you are found out you could find your child attending a sink school you really hate that you would have avoided if you had been honest. That is the risk you take.

Coolas Sun 10-Aug-14 11:15:28

Probably the best thing to do is to check out the school's admissions policy. As I said, as an academy we do not liaise with the LA closely. We do insist that students have been living in their house for at least 12 months but if they choose to move when they have arrived that is not something that we would take up.

Rooners Sun 10-Aug-14 16:57:38

'Its essentially an active protest against the state who are trying to force children into a sub-standard education'

No, it isn't. It's standing on other people who are equally affected by the state system.

A bit like a bloke getting into a lifeboat on the Titanic, as a protest against the company that didn't provide enough spaces.

That's not very heroic or even very understandable.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 10-Aug-14 21:16:59

Our next door neighbours have done this. Rented their house out and moved 20 miles away so they are in the catchment for grammar schools. (Both kids very bright.)

They moved when older one was in year 5 and plan to come back once younger one goes to university so will be gone for about 10 years.

They were originally going to sell their house (it was on the market for 6 months) but they couldn't get an offer and decided that as, long term, they want to come back anyway they would keep it.

If you are going to do it you should do it this way.

LePetitPrince Mon 11-Aug-14 00:22:17


LePetitPrince Mon 11-Aug-14 00:25:09

OP - is the school in question one with a tiny catchment area because siblings and exam entrance candidates take most of the places? Is so, I'd forget the plan - the school knows every rented house on the local streets and are super vigilant to this sort of thing.

MumTryingHerBest Mon 11-Aug-14 14:14:44

Op, go for it. Your DC deserves a place (at the shittiest school in the area, which is where they will end up if you get caught).

Be aware that other parents (particularly those who have children on the waiting list) will inform on you if they find out so it is not just the LEA and school you will need to fool.

prh47bridge Mon 11-Aug-14 14:18:45

This thread is over a year old. I doubt the OP is listening.

Stratter5 Mon 11-Aug-14 14:32:28

If OP has already spoken to the LEA, she WILL have alerted them. Your phone number comes up on the system, even if you are ex directory; I rang and reported a noise nusiance a couple of weeks ago, and when I went to give them my details, they already had them up on the screen. So unless you rang from a mobile that isn't registered to your address via your children's' current school, they know EXACTLY who rang. They even had my mobile on file.

Lavenderhill Wed 13-Aug-14 00:38:04

I hope her child got a place. Renting is perfectly acceptable in this rotten school system. And i hope that all the mums who are wishing bad luck to this mum and her children, get some sort of education too.

prh47bridge Thu 14-Aug-14 00:08:26

It is highly unlikely her child did get a place given that she had alerted the LA to her intentions. Renting is not acceptable. You are attempting to do someone else out of a place that is rightfully theirs.

Lavenderhill Thu 14-Aug-14 21:59:18

What is the option if ' renting is not acceptable' and you can't get a mortgage? How about opening your door to the world of democracy, and opening the debate towards better schools for every child? Rather than repeat some "morals" which deep down have nothing moral.

prh47bridge Thu 14-Aug-14 23:25:46

So you are saying it is all right to fiddle the system in order that your child gets a place at your preferred school at the expense of the child who should have got that place. And that is somehow more moral than saying the place should go to the child who, according to the rules, should get the place.

Renting in order to get a place at your preferred school is against the rules. LAs are getting tougher on this all the time so it is increasingly likely that anyone who tries this will be found out and could end up in a worse situation than they would have had they been honest about their home address.

The government is working to improve schools and has achieved considerable success. The number of schools performing below the floor standard has dropped substantially. It is also working on increasing choice through encouraging the formation of free schools. But, of course, there will always be some schools that are better than others. There is no way of preventing that. It is, however, also the case that the school which is best this year may no longer hold that position next year.

Oh and my door is open to the world of democracy. I am pretty sure you will find that the democratic will of the people is that the rules on school admissions should be enforced and that people who attempt to cheat the system by renting should be penalised.

save4it Sun 17-Aug-14 19:44:34

op can you afford to buy a small place instead of taking such risk. Or can you rent a place and at the same time put your home on the market.

Unfortunately we have a very unfair education system. Every decent parent wants to do their best for their dcs. This is depriving other dcs, of course it is. What about those who try to get their dcs into grammar schools from far far away way outside of their home counties? Many of our local dcs have been deprived for decades.

rachLaw Sun 17-Aug-14 23:00:59

It's funny how people are prepared to spend more money on a house in a particular school's catchment area than it would cost to put their kids through private school. Another site that seems to be trying to cut out the middle man is but it appears a bit bare at the moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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