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or just overly entitled? school places...

(54 Posts)
kreecherlivesupstairs Tue 20-Aug-13 06:25:09

We moved back to the UK last week. A month or so ago, I applied for a school place for our 12 YO DD.
The day after we arrived, me and DH visited the council offices to see which school she'd been allocated to. The man in the offices told us he didn't know, but could we go to one of them and ask.
We did. The school itself didn't know since the admissions officer was on holiday, which in my opinion is ridiculous.
Yesterday, we went to county hall. A round trip of 140 miles. We found out that DD 'may' be placed by the end of September. That is a whole month after school starts.
So, AIBU to think I should know where she is going for the next five years.

gazzalw Tue 20-Aug-13 17:18:36

When DS was about to start primary school (Reception) we got a phone-call mid summer hols to say that a place had become available at our first choice school. Mid August I'm sure (trying to remember back that many years!)...which would tend to suggest that there are 'bods' around in the Education Depts at the Council.

It might, however, depend upon your locality - in London and the environs there's such a lot of population coming and going that I would have thought that School Admissions have to be available all year round - and especially during July/August!

AmberLeaf Tue 20-Aug-13 16:24:46

*I wasn't moving from abroad BTW, this was just a county-county move.

Still the same hoops though.

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Tue 20-Aug-13 15:47:35

We didn't get any of our three choices for Infant and were going through appeals and making late applications. Esp. with popular schools, I was/am very surprised that there was no one at all in the office between the last day of the Summer Term and the beginning of September.

BreconBeBuggered Tue 20-Aug-13 15:14:05

I've been pretty much in this position too, but moving to England from Scotland rather than from abroad. Couldn't apply for a place until we at least had an idea of what town we'd be living in, which wasn't until the July. I don't think YABU at all to expect there to be someone to talk to you about this; we got the Y8 place at the school we wanted and were even given a tour along with another new pupil a week or so before term started. We emailed the head of year alongside the head to arrange this, and got responses during the school holiday.

Feminine Tue 20-Aug-13 14:51:36

This happened to us.

It is not possible to apply while abroad, so...this is the way it rolls!

Took us 4 wks to get DS (13) at the time in to our first choice.

Good luck, I remember the stress. smile

KellyHopter Tue 20-Aug-13 14:51:10

"Kreecher, I get where you're coming from. Where we live now, if you're in a school's zone, your children have a place at that school. It would be inconceivable to not know where, or even if, your child would be allocated a place in, well everywhere I've lived, except the UK.

There's so much I miss living away, but the crazed system that is education in England is not one of them. The threads about them on MN are often this weird mix of desperation and exhaustion on one side and an odd air of censure from the other side. It all seems terribly stressful and divisive."

I think that's a pretty accurate summing up of the general tension and opacity of the system but isn't it also a reflection of unavoidable logistical issues? You say that where you are, someone moves there and their child is simply entitled to attend their local school - so are there no class size restrictions then?

KellyHopter Tue 20-Aug-13 14:43:43

You should have just phoned!

BlingBang Tue 20-Aug-13 14:41:56

We moved back to the UK. We couldn't do anything before we actually arrived. So it was arrive Sunday and go to the offices on Monday morning to see where there were places. Already knew which schools had places as I had phoned the schools from overseas but they couldn't hold or allocate any places till I rocked up personally. strangely was ale to apply for younger child to start reception from overseas. My friend did secure a place before hand but not sure how she did it.

AmberLeaf Tue 20-Aug-13 14:22:54

Ive been in this position twice and there is an odd lack of urgency IMO. Despite that, the educational welfare officer [re truancy] was on the ball and wrote to me within a week of me moving in to my new home.

There were places for my child, but it was the admin and pre start 'interviews' that held it all up.

On the other hand the primary school admissions were much easier.

Secondary admissions were handled by the LA here.

DeWe Tue 20-Aug-13 13:45:55

Not entitled. That would be demanding that someone else gave up their space for your dd, or gave up their holiday to sort it out.

Just (as everyone else has said) unrealistic.

If she was going into year 7 then I'd think it was quite important to start with everyone else in September. As she's year 8 it may work to her advantage to be start after them. She'll be the interesting new girl, the teachers are more likely to remember that she hasn't covered the same syllabus as them and she'll be (probably) the only one starting rather than several, so will be (individually) checked up on.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 20-Aug-13 12:09:30

All schools can handle their own in-year admissions from September. My LA is continuing to offer a free service to deal with in-year admissions, but it is up to each school to decide for itself what it would like to do.

BrokenSunglasses Tue 20-Aug-13 11:59:45

Maybe they do know which schools have places, but they have to offer them to people higher up on the waiting list first?

It's not unheard of for children who have places to just not turn up on the first day in September, even at very popular schools, so this will affect waiting lists into September.

DanicaJones Tue 20-Aug-13 11:59:41

Just skimmed through some other replies and seen that schools handle their own admissions in Y8. Maybe they shouldn't then as no one available in the hols!

DanicaJones Tue 20-Aug-13 11:53:32

YANBU. I think the LA should have a list of schools with a place available and enough people there to be able to allocate someone a late entry school place with a month's notice. Of course LA people should be able to go on holiday, but most companies don't completely shut down and stop functioning over the summer so i think an LA should be the same.

bumbleymummy Tue 20-Aug-13 11:37:51

Depends on where you are I guess. Some family members moved from the US to NI in August and were able to start school on the first day in Sept. I think a lot of the admin staff were actually back a week before the children (they just didn't broadcast it) smile

eddiemairswife Tue 20-Aug-13 11:34:09

Not all schools are handling their own In-Year admissions from September. My LA will still handle In-Year admissions.

NoComet Tue 20-Aug-13 10:33:25

In the first instance, Email all possible schools, don't ring.

Send a nice polite, brief and beautifully written Email (nothing wrong with giving the right impression) explaing the situation and asking if they have places, if not what their waiting list is like and how to proceed.

You may have to wait until term starts for a reply, but if and how they reply tells you a lot.

jennycoast Tue 20-Aug-13 10:19:21

Be aware too, that you may be offered a place "subject to interview", which may drag on for a few weeks after you're told you've been offered a place by the admissions officer. There seems to be no sense of urgency. It is absolutely horrible for the child (we are currently going though the same thing). I think if someone had told us that would happen, we may not have been so shocked, but it is very different from Primary, where you are given a school, and able to start when you want. Well that was how it worked for us, it may not be the case everywhere.

Sconset Tue 20-Aug-13 10:14:49

if she's going into Y8, the LA staff can't help you- schools will handle their own in-year admissions.
You'll have to wait until the school staff are back, and many schools won't pay for admin staff to work in the holidays, so you'll have to wait until they're back.
Don't ring the school on GCSE results day!
They will be far to busy sorting out their Y11s, making sure they've all got something to go on to.
You could chance it on the weds (I.e. tomorrow) someone may answer.

TVTonight Tue 20-Aug-13 10:13:11

Parents want to choose not to go to a local school that is providing a poor standard of education. If the system could provide consistently good education through all schools, we might find that parents are less hung up on choice. (As evidenced by that being what happens in other countries)

englishteacher78 Tue 20-Aug-13 10:05:09

The admission system isn't arranged by the state school system though. It comes from government policy. And parents said they wanted choice not just to go to their nearest school, the system we have is a result of this choice.

TVTonight Tue 20-Aug-13 09:53:29

*Kreecher, I get where you're coming from. Where we live now, if you're in a school's zone, your children have a place at that school. It would be inconceivable to not know where, or even if, your child would be allocated a place in, well everywhere I've lived, except the UK.

There's so much I miss living away, but the crazed system that is education in England is not one of them. The threads about them on MN are often this weird mix of desperation and exhaustion on one side and an odd air of censure from the other side. It all seems terribly stressful and divisive.*

OMG I so agree with this- the passive aggressive defensiveness of the (state) education system. It seems pretty clear from outside that the system is broken.

enjolraslove Tue 20-Aug-13 09:30:29

In our LA you would probably come through the fair access panel (groups of schools with the LA who arrange school moves etc) simply because you are a casual admission from overseas and they like to make sure you would get whatever support is appropriate (if there was a language issue for example). That won't meet until term starts (probably not until week 2 or 3 really) and then you will be offered a place and a chance to visit the school/meet the head etc, we would then expect a pupil to start the following week ( to give time to get uniform etc). So I think realistically you are looking at a minimum of a week and a half after term starts and more likely 3 weeks. Good luck- frustrating I know but worth it in the end!

BrokenSunglasses Tue 20-Aug-13 09:25:50

YABU to expect to be given an answer when you didn't apply until the end of July, but YANBU to be worried about the situation.

It's just one of those things, the LA isn't at fault here.

By Christmas it will all be sorted and this stress will be nothing but a memory.

Contact the schools that you are hoping to get a place at and ask them directly. There may not be anyone available to talk to you just now, but after they have dealt with GSCE results on Thursday, hopefully they will be able to give you a better idea of how likely you are to get a place based on what has happened in previous years.

mummytime Tue 20-Aug-13 09:15:13

waltzingmathilda - even a "family chat" legally has to happen after you have been given and accepted the place. Sorry but legally this is important. If school was in progress then yes you would probably tour the school and be offered a place afterwards, but if there was any hint that an available place had not been offered as a result of your tour the school would be in big trouble.

grumpyoldbat - almost all children know exactly which school they are going to. It may sound stressful to you, but on the whole it isn't. Just with a lack of money to fund spare places, there is very little slack in the system.

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