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To think this is ridiculous?

(22 Posts)
Helenagrace Mon 01-Oct-12 12:39:59

I am moving 275 miles in 8 weeks time. We have agreed a rental contract and booked removers.

I thought I'd start looking at schools so I phoned the local authority. They have said that they will only tell me which schools have places once we have moved. Then I will have to look at schools, apply and wait 10 working days for them to offer me a place. Then I have to accept the place through them and wait for confirmation from the school.

All in all DS will be out of school for 4 weeks. This leads straight into the Christmas holidays so he will actually spend 6-7 weeks out of school.

I happen to work from home but it's going to be difficult with a 6.5 year old under my feet. I am so tempted to go shopping every day and hope we get picked up by a truancy sweep!

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 01-Oct-12 12:43:00

Standard practice I'm afraid.

holidaysarenice Mon 01-Oct-12 12:44:51

Closer to the time, ring up and ask for the forms - as thou you have already moved. They will have no idea you haven't. If needs be ask the letting agent to send on any post already arriving at the new address before you.

School will then be ready and waiting.

Alternatively ring schools direct to see the liklihood of a place if you sound interested in coming to see them they might well say, yes or no about places! For example if they have 4 it is unlikely that those will be filled by then and therefore shud be able to say its highly likely of a place without guaranteeing it.

WorraLiberty Mon 01-Oct-12 12:45:45

What would be the point in them telling you now if you're not moving for 8 weeks?

In 8 weeks time, all of those spaces could be filled and then they'll run the risk of angry people phoning them to say they would never have moved to the area had the LA not told them they could send their kids to the local school.

They have to do it this way I'm afraid and I don't know why you think the truancy officers wouldn't understand that?

WorraLiberty Mon 01-Oct-12 12:46:36

And yes if you ring the schools directly, they will tell you if they have a place in your child's year group.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 01-Oct-12 12:49:31

As your child is only 6.5 it's not really going to have a detrimental effect on GCSE levels grin

I don't really see anything wrong with the system to be honest either. It sounds fair.

Helenagrace Mon 01-Oct-12 12:56:40

But they don't have to do it this way do they? I have an address, a tenancy agreement, a confirmed moving in date and a child. Why can't they tell me where the places are now, let me look at schools and apply ready for our move?

How the heck would I cope if I was actually working outside the home?

The schools are actually forbidden to tell me whether they have places!

TantrumsAndBalloons Mon 01-Oct-12 13:05:12

Well, because of the reasons worra just said.

They can't tell you if you havent actually moved yet. Because if there was a space and you decided that was the school for you and you found out the day before you moved that someone else had taken the place you would be angry.
Also, there might be a child who moved into the area, was actually living there that could have that place, but if they allowed you to accept a place 8 weeks before you need it, they wouldn't be able to go to that school.

Or in that 8 weeks your circumstances could change and you might not need the place.

It makes sense to me.

Helenagrace Mon 01-Oct-12 17:57:34

OK I accept I am being unreasonable.

Might be a good night for someone who wants a "school is unreasonable for objecting to a term time holiday thread" it seems since everyone thinks school is optional today.

We moved from Essex to Scotland, and rented a house earlier than we needed to, in order to be allowed to sign the children up for schools - though the primary school was happy for us to register ds3 without seeing proof of residence. The senior school insisted on it, in order to allocate the places to us - we could have registered them without renting and providing proof of residence (rental agreement and council tax confirmation), but if someone from inside catchment had wanted to register their child for the school before we moved up, they would have had priority over our dses.

I didn't have to go through the local authority, though - I phoned the school directly (in fact, we just dropped into the primary school - we were staying in the area for a week to school and house-hunt), and made arrangements to visit and tour the schools, and discussed registration with them directly. We even bought ds3's uniform from the primary school right there and then.

Apologies that this contradicts what the others have told you, and so will confuse matters.

whyme2 Mon 01-Oct-12 18:17:27

I am not sure if the system is the same in Scotland as it is in England. When we moved I was told that it would take up to four weeks for a place to be allocated. Turns out they did it in 48 hours. They did take my word for it we were moving and didn't ask for any proof of address.

Also the places were offered conditionally - that is if someone had moved into the catchment before us they would be given the place and not us. The school told me they were not allowed to say how many places they had in a particular year group but could indicate if there was something available.

It did sound complicated and risky when we looked into it but in practice it was very smooth and quick. (I have four dcs at primary school).

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 02-Oct-12 05:40:37

Where did anyone say school was optional?

The system is correct, you cannot apply for a school place before you need it for logistical reasons, as explained up thread.

JazzAnnNonMouse Tue 02-Oct-12 06:01:40

Go on holiday then grin

StrawberryMojito Tue 02-Oct-12 06:10:49

I sympathise and I do think it sounds overly bureaucratic. However, you may find that once you've moved, they are actually quick in dealing with you, might not be as bad as you think.

Paiviaso Tue 02-Oct-12 09:24:27

When my family moved long distance, my sisters and I were out for school for that amount of time. Granted we were older so annoyed our parents less grin (well, maybe not).

I think the problem is thinking of school as a babysitting service. It is not.

maytheoddsbeeverinyourfavour Tue 02-Oct-12 09:28:52

I think the system sounds fair really

And I don't think anyone is saying that school is optional but it's hardly the school or the LA's fault that you are moving mid-term

Its just one of life's little inconveniences there's no one you can blame for it

The other thing I forgot to say is that, when dh was looking at jobs in Cheshire and Northamptonshire, I researched school places, as it seemed to me that the best thing to do was to find a good school with space for the boys, and then find somewhere to live in the area (that's what we did this time, when we moved to scotland). Admittedly this was a number of years ago (10+), but on both occasions I contacted the schools directly, having been told by the local authority in Cheshire that they didn't have any idea what vacancies there were in their schools.

Things might have changed since then, but I would still go straight to the schools - they will be able to tell you if they have vacancies, even if you can't register your child until you have a local address.

I hope this all goes smoothly for you - it can be a stressful time, and if you can at least get the schools sorted out, that will take away some of the stress.

bubby64 Tue 02-Oct-12 13:26:10

My friend was told this, and she had 4 DC, 3 who were under 8, 1 who was 12. In the end, however, the 3 little ones were accepted and registered and in school within 1 week, and the older one took a little over 2weeks to get sorted, as there were less places available in the High School. They have to tell you the longest time frame, but it is often a lot less!

aufaniae Tue 02-Oct-12 13:37:40

You're missing the point!

If there is 1 school place available now, it would be unfair of them to give it to you, as someone else might appear in the next 8 weeks and ask for a place.

As you haven't actually moved - what if they honoured their agreement to you, turned the other child down, and then you decided not to move after all.

That would be grossly unfair, and is just one example off the top of my head.

We get that it's an inconvenience to you, and YANBU for being annoyed that the process itself might take a while.

But what you're effectively asking to do is jump the queue, and that's not fair.

Do you know which schools you'd be interested in? Are you familiar with OFSTED? You can start the process of familiarising yourselves with the local schools now - I'd highly recommend looking at the OFSTED reports to get an idea of which are the good schools locally (standards and ethos can vary a lot from school to school). Also worth posting on mumsnet about schools which look good to you, to get some insider info.

If you do get stuck without a place for a while, might you consider using a childminder? If so might be worth having a look at the CMs on www.childcare.co.uk All CMs are inspected by OFSTED, I recommend you ask to see their lastest OFSTED report when picking one.

Good luck, I hope you find a school you and your DD love.

Helenagrace Tue 02-Oct-12 13:38:54

Just a quick update. I emailed the Director of Education yesterday and explained the situation.

They have now decided that they can tell me where the places are so I can visit schools and I can apply 3 weeks before we actually move so DS will have a school place when we move.

This is apparently due to my "exceptional circumstances" - presumably meaning that I only have this concession because I complained to someone senior.

chocoluvva Tue 02-Oct-12 13:44:18

Wow YANBU!
The LEA has a legal obligation to provide education for your DS.
"It's hardly the school or the LEA's fault that you're moving mid-term". What?
We moved two weeks after the start of a school term - we travelled on a thursday, did admin on the friday and DH started his new job on the monday. He wanted as short a gap between jobs for FINANCIAL reasons.
I can't believe you're getting unsympathetic posts!
I'd approach the schools directly too.
Good luck - let us know how you get on smile

chocoluvva Tue 02-Oct-12 13:45:41

Oh - me and my slow typing.
That's great news from the director of ed - good luck with the move.

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