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Aibu to have been shocked by the council on school places

(43 Posts)
5dcsinneedofacleaner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:08:50

We rent our house we have been given notice to move we have 8 weeks . We have made appointments to see the available houses none are near the current school or even within a travelling distance so we will have to move the three oldest to a new school.

I phoned the schools near the houses working my way out but after a while have up as they were all full . I called the council to ask what would happen if we moved but there were no places. Apparently they will probably end up at 2 or 3 different schools possibly miles in different directions ( although she was confident it would not be far enough away to qualify for transport- great). Since we have no car I said this would be pretty much impossible.

Her advice was "have you considered teaching them at home". Now I know it's not her fault and I know it's not ideal to move but we have 0 choice .

Aibu to think that if the schools are that full there is an issue here? ( we are talking of probably 10-15 schools here not 2 or 3.").

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 22:58:22

dayshift - that is quite right. OP was worried she'd end up with no school place as Home Ed had been mentioned so I added that FAC exists to offer places where literally none exist.

It sounds like OP's new area does have spaces though, just not ones she wants. Waiting lists and appeals are the only way around this. There is no discretion to add a child to a full class if perfectly good spaces exist elsewhere.

You can get a child in on Appeal by going to a panel to explain your reasons for wanting a certain school (after Year 3 taht is, below Year 3 Infant Class Size laws make even this virtually impossible) but logistics of transport, childcare, place of work do not influence appeal decisions unless the parent or child has a medical or social reason eg mobility issues.

You would need to focus on why the school you want meets the needs and interests of your child/ren. It is not enough to say 'I can't get them all there at the same time' - the LA expects older ones to travel alone and parents to use breakfast clubs or childcare to ensure they manage multiple pick-ups. LAs will be sympathetic where they can and allocate the same school or neighbouring schools if they can but if the only spaces available are miles apart, they have no option but to allocate you these and leave it to you to either appeal, wait at home on waiting lists or arrange childcare and transport around it.

Lovecat Tue 29-Jan-13 22:55:02

Can't they stay at their current school? I know rules vary by local authority but down here (Greater London borough) once you're in, you're in.

I haven't lived there for 20+ years but the Wirral isn't so huge that the school run from where you're moving to would be that bad, would it? (unless they're at school in New Brighton and you're having to move to Parkgate or beyond/vice versa?)

dayshiftdoris Tue 29-Jan-13 22:30:43


There are places, just not in the same school and the council will view it as parental preference to move. Fair access protocol (which I have been through) is then only instigated when there is no 'appropriate' school place (so SEN or complex needs).

Its shocking and scary but I know little you can do about it but try and fight it... school transport varies area to area but if the council are saying that they will ensure that your children are with that 2 mile radius (which is nothing unless you have 3 at different points within that mile radius) and as such you probably wont get transport but you broker this as a deal to accept a school.

Admissions tribunals cost the LA money so they are keen to avoid.
PLEASE contact your local parent partnership tho quality varies.

CalamityJ Tue 29-Jan-13 22:24:34

Call the council again and try and speak to a more useful member of staff (they do exist!)

tiggytape Tue 29-Jan-13 22:11:26

It is a pretty common situation unfortunately in many areas. Soaring birth rates mean a lot of year groups are full.
On the plus side: you may get allocated 2 different schools to start with but having children at a school normally puts their siblings staright to the top of any waiting list. If you get one or two of them a place, the other one will jump the queue for any places that become free

If the schools allocated are more than 2 or 3 miles away (depending on the child's age), the council is obliged to fund transport. This is a legal obligation and the distance has to be measured by walking / driving route so isn't actually that far.

If there are no school places at all then there is an emergency measure called Fair Access Protocol which means the council will force a school to take them even if it breaches class size regulations. It will be the school that the council decides can best cope with extra numbers though not necessarily a school you pick.

You do not have to Home Educate if you do not want to. One way or another the council has to offer you places but it is true that they don't have to offer you places that you choose and they don't have to offer you local places either if schools further away have spaces. Generally the emergency measures only kick in if the council has exhausted every option within 5-10 miles.

piprabbit Tue 29-Jan-13 22:09:52

Given that schools seem to be so full all over the area, could you talk to the LA about funding transport from your new home to your DCs current school? It might not be usual but perhaps they would consider it as they can't offer you places anywhere else?

jojane Tue 29-Jan-13 22:05:28

Couldn't they stay at the current school? Surely it would be easier to get the kids to one school rather than risk them bein split up and trying to get them to 3 different schools? If council can't fin you closer school then would thy lot have to provide transport to the current school?

Dragonwoman Tue 29-Jan-13 22:03:15

Have you tried schools in Cheshire or North Wales? Not too far from Wirral for a commute to work & you might find a house in the area?

WorraLiberty Tue 29-Jan-13 21:53:58

It's a terrible situation OP, you have my sympathy.

The schools around here are at bursting point and the council are actually thinking of building one in the local park because there's no room anywhere else.

One of the Mums I know has 2 Primary children in 2 different schools. One is on the other side of the Borough as it's all they could offer.

Yet she gets bollocked by both schools for being late at drop off/pick up, but what else can she do?

Also if/when another place becomes available for one of he kids, she'll have to fork out for new uniforms too.

TeamEdward Tue 29-Jan-13 21:52:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeamEdward Tue 29-Jan-13 21:51:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

5dcsinneedofacleaner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:49:12

there are 7 of us Lovelyladuree - I dont fancy living in a two bedroomed house....

cantspel Tue 29-Jan-13 21:48:57

whoops cross post.

cantspel Tue 29-Jan-13 21:48:15

Dizzy you just cant take on someone else's mortgage.

If the op wants to buy she would have to get her own mortgage and buy it off the bank who are now in possession.

Could get a bargain IF they were able to get the mortgage

5dcsinneedofacleaner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:47:29

Dizzy "bursts into tears" we have just today been rejected for a mortgage because of being self employed - we have a 20% deposit we have good credit but have been refused a number of places. We need a longer history as a limited company before they will consider us.

hence my extremely bad mood about it all.

DizzyHoneyBee Tue 29-Jan-13 21:46:29

oh, and your 8 year will find it easier to get a place if you can find a school for the other two - heads can go over the recommended number of children in a class because there is no legal maximum in key stage 2 like there is in key stage 1. Get your 6 year old in and then appeal for a place for your 8 year old, just don't say that you are going to do that before getting your 6 year old in.

5dcsinneedofacleaner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:45:46

ahh cantspel we dont get working tax credit but it looks like we would get the transport based on distance (I called the schools within that distance myself and they were full)!. thanks!.

Squinkies we need to stay within distance of MIL tbh as she needs us.

I cant homeschool - well not unless I give up working which would create a whole other mess!

DizzyHoneyBee Tue 29-Jan-13 21:44:09

Might you be in a position to come to an agreement with the bank about taking on the mortgage yourself and staying put?

lovelyladuree Tue 29-Jan-13 21:44:01

Take whatever house you can get in the area you are currently in, and put stuff in storage if it is small. Bite the bullet for now. You could squish into a two bed house if you had to. Sofa bed in living room will do for you and DH. Obviously not idea, but, dear god, who wants to home school, especially as you are self employed. Stuff that. Good luck.

SquinkiesRule Tue 29-Jan-13 21:42:27

5dcs If you are both self employed what about just moving to a completely different area altogether? Or do you have to stay pretty close to where you are for the work?
I'd never last homeschooling, of my three, the oldest and youngest would never have done any work we butt heads too much, middle child and I got on well enough to do it if needed.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 29-Jan-13 21:42:16

How old/what year group are the children for whom you need places? I wouldn't pin all your hopes on an appeal, but if you do end up with more than one school a considerable distance away - and especially if these are places in KS2 - you may find a sympathetic panel who will decide in your favour.

Read some of the school appeal threads.

cantspel Tue 29-Jan-13 21:42:11

From the wirral council website

The following categories of pupils are eligible for free travel:

1. Primary school pupils whose parents receive the free school meal allowance or
receive the maximum level of Working Tax Credit and who live more than 2 miles
from the home address to the nearest appropriate school.

2. For pupils whose parents do not receive the benefits detailed in 1 above pupils
must live more than two miles for children under the age of 8 and three miles for
children aged 8 and above from the nearest appropriate school

so you will get free transport. ignore the silly bint you spoke to and if you have to speak to her again refer her to their own website

5dcsinneedofacleaner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:38:46

My children are 8 and 6 and i have one in nursery who would be starting reception in september (not so bothered about her was expecting that to be a pain) but the older ones more of a concern.

5dcsinneedofacleaner Tue 29-Jan-13 21:38:00

Cantspel - Wirral.

sukysue Tue 29-Jan-13 21:37:44

Have you thought about home schooling? Much more popular and if you wanted just do it till you can get them all in school together.

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