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To be worried about this re school place

(44 Posts)
Wonkydonkey123 Sat 10-May-14 08:39:18

I have 3 dc. When DD, now 10 (year 5) was about to start school we decided that we would like her to go to the school i went to that was near my parents as it was a nice small school (but not amazing in terms of ofsted etc) and would be helpful when i went back to work for gp's to do the pick ups. We live about a 5 min drive away. She got in as it was an undersubscribed school that many in our area had never heard of. The school down the road had the better reputation but that wasnt our reasons for doing it.

The same went for our DS1 who we also applied to go (again using our own address, not in the catchment or the LEA as our town has 2 which the school sits on the boundary of) and he again got in, i assumed as he had a sister in the school and again because although they ended up being full that year, it was obviously those out of the catchment too.

Our school is now getting a better name for itself and this coming september, i have heard that one of the parents hasnt got their child in even though they have a sibling there which is making me pretty worried that in a couple of years when DS2 starts, he wont get in because we do live pretty far out even though lots wont be in the catchment as they will be only just out of it ( there are people who would walk there in less than 2 mins that are out of catchment).

DD will have left but DS1 will still be there and i simply cannot move him as he SEN and has a statement linked with this school. It would be detrimental to his learning and wellbeing. AIBU to think that this could make a difference and how does it even work if you have 2 at different schools starting at the same time.

Busymumto3dc Sat 10-May-14 08:41:12

I know people who have to take dc to two seperate schools and it is a nightmare

I would think your sons sen needs might give you grounds to appeal

ChippyMinton Sat 10-May-14 08:45:05

It's an increasingly common problem as the schools bet more oversubscribed. Check the admission criteria and see where you fit in. Eg is there an actual mapped catchment or is it done on distance? Do siblings have priority? Do out of catchment siblings have same priority?

The school should be able to give this information, or it will be on the LEA's website.

WooWooOwl Sat 10-May-14 08:47:30

You need to look at the schools admissions criteria, different schools have different priorities.

Some place children in catchment higher than children with siblings out of catchment, and vice versa in others.

There is usually distance criteria as a tie break between children in the same category, but as you're thinking so far ahead, the school may well have changed it's admissions arrangements by then.

It's unlikely that your sons statement will make a difference to his younger siblings chances of getting a place. If you do end up with two different schools, the advice is usually to use childcare to take one to school, or to use breakfast and after school clubs for one child to allow you to take the other to school on time.

It's not worth worrying about yet, this year might just be one of those years where there are more children applying than usual.

bakingtins Sat 10-May-14 08:48:38

Check the admissions criteria. Fir our school sibling priority only applies if you also live in catchment, otherwise you are below any in-catchment children. Does that school or the closer one have a breakfast/ after- school club you could use if they are in different schools? Or would the GPs do drop offs/ pick ups every day?

Wonkydonkey123 Sat 10-May-14 08:53:00

I spoke to the receptionist and she said

Sen & looked after children
Catchment with siblings
All other children in schools lea
Other lea with siblings
Other lea

I assume all of these have a distance criteria to them as well.

It will be logistically impossible to get them both there and will also need to drive DD to secondary school if she chooses the one that the school feeds to as it also isnt in our catchment and there are no buses and is much to far to walk/bike. Hopefully she will choose our catchment one (which strangely enough is now getting a better rep than the other one).

They all let out at the same time too. It is impossible to be in two places at once.

meditrina Sat 10-May-14 08:58:38

You need to check the admissions criteria.

Is there a sibling priority, and where does it feature on the list?

It sounds as if the current ranking (after SEN/LAC) is catchment siblings, catchment children, other siblings, other children.

Are there exceptional medical/social need criteria? What place on the list?

As DS1 is statemented to that school, I think you have strong grounds for saying you have an exceptional social need to keep DC together (would any HCPs involved with DS1 support that?). But that would only stand a chance of working it the school has such a category in the first place.

Wonkydonkey123 Sat 10-May-14 08:58:40

They dont let foundation children in the breakfast/tea time club and i cant use them at all for DS1 as his TA has already gone home. GP's are fab and will do what they can when they are around but they are retired and they are always off on holiday for a couple of days here and there, and why not. They are my dc.

I like to do the school thing, dropping them off and picking them up. I am the in the PTA as i like to be involved.

Wonkydonkey123 Sat 10-May-14 08:59:58

I dont think it has an exceptional social need category.

EugenesAxe Sat 10-May-14 09:01:17

I looked at the appeals notes this year, and they stress the only two things that are really likely to make a difference are having your application processed incorrectly and your child having a SEN that you think (in essence - didn't read the detail) will be best managed by the school you haven't got into.

If you can prove that taking your children to different schools in the morning will harm your SEN son, you may have a case. When you apply I would write your situation on the form (I'm sure there's a bit where you can add other information to support your application); I think it will be easier to do it this way round rather than on appeal. I would also talk to the Admissions Officer at the school to see if he/she has any advice.

MissDuke Sat 10-May-14 09:02:17

What an awkward situation for you!! I do think numbers fluctuate a bit year to year so you won't necessarily have a problem. Definitely check the admissions criteria, it could be ok! The school my children go to has siblings high up in the criteria and I have never heard of a sibling not get in, maybe the one you heard of was a very unusual outcome? Aside from that, I don't think there's much you can do :-( Does the school have a breakfast club so you can drop him off earlier, or can you leave him with your parents so they can drop him round? Hopefully it won't come to it, but it might make you feel better to have an idea how you can work it if it does.

meditrina Sat 10-May-14 09:03:30


As there is neither a category for non-catchment siblings, nor exceptional need, then it looks rather bleaker. Your DC will, on current arrangements, be in category 4 "other LEA children".

Transport difficulties or before/after school care are not permitted arguments for securing school places - yes it's a nightmare, it it affects just so many parents (and is subjective) that it cannot be used.

Have you actually seen the criteria published (school/LEA website)? School receptionists do not always give accurate admissions information.

WooWooOwl Sat 10-May-14 09:04:12

Are you at least in the same LEA, so in the fourth category?

Unfortunately the problem of having children at different schools and needing to be in two places at the same time is a problem that many parents already have. It's been going on for years, which is why people often have to use childminders or clubs just because of the school run.

If you don't automatically get a place for your younger child, you could appeal, but it is incredibly hard to win an appeal for infant classes. You basically have to prove that a mistake has been made by the LEA when allocating places. But if you want solid advice on that, post on the education boards, there are experts over their that really know their stuff.

wannabestressfree Sat 10-May-14 09:05:35

Remember with a statement you can ask for transport and you might need to utilise it if your child doesn't get in the same school as his sibling.

I know you say you want to do pick ups etc but it just might not be possible so look for a plan b.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Sat 10-May-14 09:05:37

Are you within the LEA that the school is in? If so could it be that the child that didn't get a place lives in other LEA and is therefore lower propriety than you child will be? Also in our LEA you lose sibling link if you move house to more than 2 miles from school or further away than current house if more than two. Is there a rule like that whereby sibling priority may have been lost for the other child?

trixymalixy Sat 10-May-14 09:10:19

I guess the only way to be sure is to move closer to the school. Is that an option?

MaryWestmacott Sat 10-May-14 09:17:34

First of all, remember those going this September (including my dc1!) are a boom year, there has been talk for the last 2 years that in many parts of the country, there weren't enough places at state schools for them all, in our area I know 4 parents who didn't get any of their 3 choices. Schools being full with small catchments this year was to be expected.

Next year nationally is less of a problem, but worth checking with the school, and if you are close enough to get a sibling place (for this year, the school dc1 got only gave sibling priority up to 2 miles from the school).

If 2 schools really isn't an option for you, then you need to look at ways to get yourself with the distance for a sibling place. But don't just put grandparents address down - you need to be able to prove you live there at the period you applied, the only person I know who's managed that did actually move in with her dad, change the dcs address with their doctors, put 3 utility bills in her name there and changed the address for child benefit. (And rather obviously it'll raise eyebrows if you apply for dc3's place from your parents address while the school still has your current address listed for dcs1&2...)

Wonkydonkey123 Sat 10-May-14 09:34:44

Just looked at the Schools LEA website. Criteria is:

Looked after children
All catchment children
Out of catchment siblings
Out of catchment (distance)

We are out of catchment and because of where our school lies, most people out of the catchment area are also out of the LEA too. Not really sure why our town has 2 but it has always been this way.

We have only just moved house and have spent a fortune getting it just how I want it. I really don't want to again. Maybe we could just swap houses with my parents.

Wonkydonkey123 Sat 10-May-14 09:39:12

Seems 2012 was a big year for babies too sad

kappadelta Sat 10-May-14 10:46:13

I've had this same problem dc3 goes to school out of catchment. Dc1&2 also went to this school but are in comp now. Dc4 is due to start in September but there is no space.

I've appealed on the grounds that dc3 who has some medical problems will have setbacks if they have to move to a school that will accommodate dc4. I've wrote to our MP and the school governors.

If this doesn't work both dc3&4 are going to have to move to another school which is also out of catchment as it is logistically impossible to be at 3 different schools including comp.

MaryWestmacott Sat 10-May-14 10:49:41

Swap houses with your parents isn't as stupid an idea as it sounds, but do it properly for at least 6 months covering the applications period, with all bills, child benefit, doctors, dentists etc swaped. If you really cant move your DC2 and don't think your DC3 will get in, then you don't have that many options...

Ploppy16 Sat 10-May-14 10:50:10

The advice given to a friend of mine by the school receptionist who found herself having to take her 2 children to different schools 3 miles apart was to go down to the council offices and sit there until you're sorted out. It worked.
Her eldest also has SN and couldn't move for similar reasons to yours, it turned out to be an admin error (or that's what she was told).
So there is hope x

Nennypops Sat 10-May-14 10:52:50

If dd goes to the secondary school that is some distance away, is it more than three miles? If so, she will qualify for school transport to be provided by the LA.

WooWooOwl Sat 10-May-14 10:54:53

Nenny, doesn't that only apply if the school is allocated by the council, rather than as a result of choice?

We chose for our child to go to a school further away than the one he would have got a place at had we put it as first choice, so we don't get transport even though it's 6 miles away.

GreenEyedGoblin Sat 10-May-14 10:55:57

It's going to be a very unpopular opinion, but is honestly what I would do.

If your parents are near to the school then I would move in with them for a couple of weeks over the admission time and use their address.

And (obv) keep it to yourself. Not popular, unfair etc etc...but that's what I would do.

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