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to expect a school place for my son now instead of January?

(29 Posts)
Abbybabbly Sun 06-Sep-15 22:27:18

Late admission submitted 3 weeks ago.
Have heard nothing from them apart from my numerous calls to them / schools enquiring about places and waiting lists.
I've found schools with places 7 miles away and said I would take it however the council can't even be bothered to check if that place is still available and inform the school so now they're all starting tomorrow and my sons going nowhere.
Apparently they have until January at the legal age of the term after he is 5 to make an offer according to other parents I've spoken to but surely this isn't right? Is there an official date they should have made an offer by? sad

Littlefish Sun 06-Sep-15 22:30:47

Just give it a couple of days. Many children will be starting part time next week anyway.

There is often movement in the first week or so of term, where children don't turn up to take their school place, so I would just hang on and call Admissions tomorrow afternoon.

WombatStewForTea Sun 06-Sep-15 22:31:44

Why were you late applying?

Floggingmolly Sun 06-Sep-15 22:31:58

Why was your admission submitted late?

Floggingmolly Sun 06-Sep-15 22:34:22

application, not admission

Tbh, I'm not sure there's a huge amount the LA could do until tomorrow. Tomorrow they'll be able to talk to head teachers, see whether any places haven't been taken up etc etc. They'll probably offer him a place by the end of the week.

OwlinaTree Sun 06-Sep-15 22:37:46

It's probably difficult for admissions to get accurate information from schools as everybody is on holiday. I hope it gets sorted for you this week. There is usually lots of movement during the first year.

alleypalley Sun 06-Sep-15 22:39:09

We were a late admission last year due to us moving after the deadline, so our application was done in our previous borough.

We did get an offer in our new borough, but not the school I wanted. Two days into the term she got an offer at our first choice school. As Littlefish said there is always a lot of movement in the first few weeks. You'll most likel get an offer pretty soon.

tiggytape Sun 06-Sep-15 22:40:22

Apparently they have until January at the legal age of the term after he is 5 to make an offer according to other parents I've spoken to but surely this isn't right?

No it isn't right. Whilst, as a parent you have the choice to delay school entry until the term after your child turns 5 (or the summer term whichever comes sooner if you want to hold on to your offer), the council cannot do the reverse and force this choice on you. If you insist your 4 year old starts fulltime in Sept they have no way to block that and are legally obliged to find you a place.

Email them and tell them you expect an immediate offer and are not prepared to wait. 2.16 of the Admissions Code (which is a legal requirement) says:

"Admissions authorities must provide for the admission of all children in the September following their 4th Birthday"

The word "must" in this sense means it is a legal obligation not an optional thing.

Abbybabbly Sun 06-Sep-15 23:00:19

Thanks for replies.
Unfortunately we had to move as landlord sold our property due to divorce sad so have part bought a place but 30 miles away from old borough or we would have kept the space he was given.
I wondered if there was a specific date they had to provide a school.
I just feel like I'm really trying sad I done my application, I requested a vacancy list within 10km and contacted all schools with vacancies, the one who confirmed they had one space ( 7 miles about, special measures school ) i still said I would accept so he could start school with everyone else ( Tuesday ) pay the petrol myself as I'm requesting the school myself so not entitled to transport and I just have got nothing back.
Feel really down sad

tiggytape Sun 06-Sep-15 23:11:18

I wondered if there was a specific date they had to provide a school.

No there is no date set out in the Admissions Code for this but the Code is clear that they cannot force you to wait until January

In addition, 2.15 of the Code explains that children who apply late and cannot be found any local place at all may be considered excepted (that means they get special permission to be added to an already full school as pupil number 31 in a class and the class size law can be ignored in those special cases).

In other words, the law is clear that your child is entitled to a place as soon as one can be found or created and you cannot be forced to wait however you are probably going to have to be very proactice to make this happen. As others have said, places may become available this week if some new starters fail to turn up but you will also need to chase the council frequently to ensure they know you are not prepared to delay.
If there are no spaces, ask about Fair Access Protocol (the special permission granted to become number 31 in a full class when no other vacanacies exist)

I really feel for you. It must be horrible not knowing where he is going or when. Can I offer a little reassurance from a different angle though? My son starts school today. Today, he will pay attention to the three pupils he knows from nursery but barely register the others. Tomorrow he might ask someone new if they like cars, or try to wrestle some Lego off them. If someone new turns up in a week or a month he probably won't even notice they are new. He'll ask if they want a race. If they do, brilliant, friends for life. If they don't, meh, he'll go off and find another child go run with (& won't know if he's met them before or not).

They're fickle little things at this age. Your son won't miss out on life long friendships by missing a few days or weeks. Try not to worry.

Sighing Mon 07-Sep-15 06:47:31

If you've confirmed with the school then they can get the paperwork going (and because of payments, now they're back they might crack on with that).

Spartans Mon 07-Sep-15 06:56:42

Not sure if this will help as we did in an in year move.

But we spoke directly to the schools, went and looked round and they gave us the paperwork. This was the week before Christmas school holidays and she started the first day in January.

Tbf to the LA if the schools are still on holiday (our kids went back last week) there won't be a lot that they can do.

If they are back this week I would leave it a couple of days and contact the schools.

I am not sure if the rules about what the 'must do' apply with such a late application. I may be wrong, but I can't imagine they have the same rules for very late applications that they have for people who applied last November.

listsandbudgets Mon 07-Sep-15 08:58:49

OP I would ask Mumsnet for this to be moved to Education. There are somme posters on there with a really good knowledge of admissions who may be able to give you further advice.

I hope you find him a place

grapejuicerocks Mon 07-Sep-15 10:06:56

Ring round all the schools again and say you are still looking for a place. Do they have one or can they ring you asap if one comes available in the next few days.
And hound the LEA until they find you a place to get you off their backs.

InimitableJeeves Mon 07-Sep-15 10:16:21

No need to move it to Education, what Tiggytapes says is exactly right.

If they can't find you a place today, quote those bits of the Admissions Code to them and say you expect them to follow it. You could also raise the issue of discrimination since presumably they have given places to children who are younger than yours: your child doesn't fall within the minorities mentioned in the Equality Act but discrimination is contrary to the Human Rights Act, and there is a case for saying that children whose parents break up are more likely to be in this situation. Also of course it is important for children whose lives are disrupted in this way to have stability.

If you are still prepared to take the school 7 miles away, and if they aren't offering you a place any nearer, you will be entitled to repayment for transport: the LA is only entitled to refuse if there is a nearer suitable school. Plus, the prospect of having to pay for transport may make them keener on finding a nearer school for you.

Abbybabbly Mon 07-Sep-15 14:30:05

Sorry I'm confused by the above reply regarding the discrimination as we aren't a separated couple etc so not sure where this fits.
I thought that if I requested a place whether it be 7 or 70 miles if I requested it myself I am then not entitled to reimbursement? It would be petrol mileage as no public transport goes near the school.
Maybe this is why they are hesitant on giving it to me?
I received a reply just now after I emailed regarding tiggytapes advice this is what they said :

Abbybabbly Mon 07-Sep-15 14:32:29

Thank you for your e-mail. We will contact Woodmansterne today and let you know as soon as possible whether they have a place for him.

Regarding adding him to other schools' waiting lists we can confirm that this will be processed in date order of its receipt. Due to the high volume of work received over the summer period this may take up to 15 working days for us to action. All requests and correspondence received will be dealt with in strict date order to ensure that no one is disadvantaged and that all requests are dealt with fairly.
If your child reaches the top of the waiting list and a position becomes available we will write and advise you of the offer. We would kindly request that you do not chase before the 20 working days as this may result in further delays.
Please note that waiting list positions can change as children move in and out of the area in line with the admissions criteria set for the school.
Thank you for your patience at this very busy time.

Kind regards,

Admissions & Transport Team

hiccupgirl Mon 07-Sep-15 14:41:24

Personally I would wait and give the schools chance to come back and by the end of this week it will be clearer if there are spaces closer to your new address. I wouldn't rush into starting your DS at a school 7k away when a space could well come up much closer and at a better school.

If it helps my DS started reception last Sept. 2 children joined his class after Christmas, taking 2 spaces that had been open since the kids when back in Sept - the parents chose to wait to start then. Within a couple of weeks it was like the 2 of them had always been there and now they've just gone back to yr 1, they are part of the class like all the others.

tiggytape Mon 07-Sep-15 14:41:29

That sounds positive that they will contact the school today. And it is true that it may take a few weeks to get a place confirmed and sorted out.
I would ignore the bit about not chasing though because you aren't a straight forward waiting list case. You have no place at all (whereas virtually every person currently on those lists does have a place - just not one that they necessarily want). I would still email on Friday or next Monday and thank them for their offer to contact the school direct, ask for the outcome of that and ask for confirmation of which lists you've been added to and to remind them you are still without a place (which hopefully you won't be by then - but if you are don't just leave it)

Re funding:

Children under 8 forced to travel more than 2 miles by the shortest (safe) walking route and children over 8 forced to travel more than 3 miles but the shortest (safe) walking route qualify for council funded transport. The council have no choice in this (some try to wriggle out of it). It is a legal obligation again.

The law however does not say what form this transport has to take and most councils will do the bare minimum possible with limited funds. They also do not have to pay for the parents to travel too.
So in London most councils helpfully issue a child's bus pass (buses are free for London children anyway so it is hardly a big bonus). In rural areas, you might get a taxi each way or they may have a mini bus or even coach service that means multiple collections (so sometimes an early start / late home arrival). Some councils offer petrol money per mile instead if parents prefer but not all of them do this.

And the emphasis is on being forced to travel. If you choose to send your child to an outstanding school 7 miles away when a failing school 6.8 miles away has a spare place, the council won't fund you. Funding is only given when children are forced to travel a long way for the only available school.

Pico2 Mon 07-Sep-15 14:46:15

I wonder whether it might be worth contacting local schools again before starting him at a school 7 miles away. One of DD's friends didn't appear at school last week. It turned out that she'd moved and been offered a place near her new home just before the beginning of term (different LA). DD's school seem to have worked out today that the pupil won't be starting. Places will come out of the woodwork like that in lots of schools, so it might be worth giving it a few days to find out whether a closer school has space.

tiggytape Mon 07-Sep-15 14:55:28

At this stage, it can be difficult to find out about spaces in schools because those spaces have to be given out to the waiting list people and waiting lists are in operation until December 31st at least.

If say 3 children didn't turn up for the start of term last week, the council must contact those parents to confirm they really don't want the place. They don't just take the place away due to a no-show. And when that's confirmed, those newly created vacancies go to the people at the top of the waiting list for that school not automatically to people who have no school place at all.

Which may seem very unfair but the council has no choice - admissions criteria is the only thing that matters for waiting list position and offers. There is no priority on the list for those with no place. Every movement does however create new places because virtually every person offered a place from a waiting list releases a place that they will nolonger need at a different school so you get a trickle down effect.

Abbybabbly Mon 07-Sep-15 15:55:01

I'll have shot myself in the foot almost now if they give me the one 7 miles away as I've asked for it.
But it was the only school with spaces showing on surreys school vacancy list, with it being the holidays I couldn't contact schools directly so thought I was doing the best thing.
I have spoken to the school, they are now leaving for the day and have heard nothing from the council so that didn't happen.

tiggytape Mon 07-Sep-15 17:58:31

Well only if you insist on having that school despite them coming up with a closer one (which they haven't done).
I'm afraid this time of year is really busy. Not only are there people on the lists from March and April wanting updates but the 2016 applications have just opened and everyone is ringing to ask about distances and admissions criteria so they can fill in their forms. You are going to have to be a bit pointy elbowed and pushy to get any action on this.

Your situation is more urgent than theopthers who will be swamping the council with queries. The 2016 applicants have until Oct 31st and Jan 15th to find out the answers to their questions and do their forms. And most of those asking for list updates already have a school but are pestering for better ones. You have a child for 2015 entry with no place so don't feel bad about nagging them.

Call them again this week to ask for updates and to ask what happened about the vacancy you had found.

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