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To turn down a place at a hugely oversubscribed school?

(72 Posts)
WillowB Tue 19-Apr-16 21:10:08

Apologies but more of a WWYD
Will try & keep it as brief as possible & I do appreciate this is a bit of a first world problem but I'm losing sleep over it so here goes...

DD is 4 starts school in Sept. (Have another DS 6 months) live in a fairly nice 4 bed house on a big newish housing estate which has an excellent primary 5 mins from our house all good so far. However the local primary is tiny and only takes 30 children each year and as a result there are hundreds of first choice applications for a few places. We live fairly close to the school and have been lucky enough to secure a place for DD in sept.

The local secondary is dire. In and out of special measures and pretty rough. I really don't like the prospect of sending DCs there so realistically we will have to move before the end of primary school into the catchment of a decent secondary. I hate the thought of this as I live our house & we can't afford anything as nice in 'better' areas but needs must.
With this in mind I'm pondering turning down the place at our local school and going for our second choice school in a nearby village. This is where we would move to eventually. On paper this school isn't as good in terms of results although I loved the feel & ethos when I looked round.

Just torn over whether I'm being crazy to turn down a place that at such a popular school for one that isn't quite as good but I would feel mean uprooting the DCs in 4 or 5 years if we waited to until Y4/Y5 to move DD when I could have sent them there from the off. (DS would have started school or be about to start by this point too)

Anyone been in a similar situation? Would love to hear what you did. I'm so useless with decisions! Thank you if you managed to read all of that! smile

Toomanywheeliebinsagain Tue 19-Apr-16 21:12:11

I am not an expert but I'm pretty certain that you can't turn down your first choice if you were allocated it

SpaghettiMeatballs Tue 19-Apr-16 21:13:31

Are there spaces left at your second choice school? I don't think you'd get a place at this point unless it is undersubscribed.

AppleAndBlackberry Tue 19-Apr-16 21:13:34

If you've been offered a place at school 1 I don't know if you'll necessarily get a place at school 2. If you don't accept the place you could be left with nothing couldn't you?

mrschatty Tue 19-Apr-16 21:14:16

Hi- I'm not an expert in this but how do you know there is a space for your DC in the second choice school?

Toomanywheeliebinsagain Tue 19-Apr-16 21:14:35

Sorry posted that before I meant too.. Also schools can turn round v quickly even from special measures so wouldn't worry about that yet

PotteringAlong Tue 19-Apr-16 21:15:20

Yes, especially as it's for a hypothetical "might move there at some point".

You've got 7 years left before she starts secondary school - it could be a very different place by then.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Tue 19-Apr-16 21:16:12

Your kid hasn't even started primary yet and you're already thinking about secondary?! Well I never.


SavoyCabbage Tue 19-Apr-16 21:17:08

I wouldn't choose a primary school on the basis of what secondary I wanted in seven years. Anything could happen in the meantime.

Also, you might not get a place in the other school.

monkeysox Tue 19-Apr-16 21:18:12

Yabu. If you turn down place you will be with out schooling for your daughter.

Littlefish Tue 19-Apr-16 21:18:35

Do not turn down the place at the school you have been offered. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will come along, but my understanding is that you should accept the school you've been offered, and then speak to the local authority admissions team and ask to be put on the waiting list, or be allocated a space at your preferred school. Do not leave yourself without a school place while you are on a waiting list.

meditrina Tue 19-Apr-16 21:21:05

You can turn down you offered school place for any reason you like.

But it's probably not wise to do so unless you are prepared to home educate or have a private place in the offing.

Having made you one offer, the LEA is under no obligation to come up with another. So if village school is full, what happens? Yes you can be on the waiting list, but who knows how long it would take for a place to come up. And your DC has to be receiving education the term after they turn 5.

What happens if the planned move never happens? Or goes in quite a different direction?

motheroreily Tue 19-Apr-16 21:23:05

Totally agree with others - you don't know what the school will be like in 7 years. The decent school may no longer be decent or its catchment may change and the dire school may be outstanding.

I would try and concentrate on the foreseeable future. A good school 5 minutes from your house sounds ideal.

YummyDarkChocolate Tue 19-Apr-16 21:23:50

Places have already been allocated - so you won't just get a place at your 2nd choice school - unless one comes up (or it is so undersubscribed the places have not been filled.) You would need to accept your first offer, and contact the second choice school and ask about places/waiting lists. You may find a place comes up there before September.

You have no idea what will happen in the next 7 years regarding secondary schools - there is huge change going on in the education system at the moment. But if you actually want to live in the other village, and are sure, YWNBU to do this.

Are you sure you're not just having a wobble though?

purplemoonlight Tue 19-Apr-16 21:26:29

In fairness I KNOW there are schools local to me I wouldn't send my children to, regardless of what OFSTED say. So I don't blame OP in that respect.

I think you're better staying with the first choice primary though.

MummyBex1985 Tue 19-Apr-16 21:30:10

I was offered two secondary places for my DD. We applied to three schools in two cities.

I would choose the better school. We moved ten miles from my DDs school and applied to local secondaries with no issue despite her being at primary in a different city. Maybe we were lucky though.

EllenJanethickerknickers Tue 19-Apr-16 21:32:09

Accept the place and ask to go on the waiting list of the other school. Although as you have got your first choice, your LA may not offer reconsideration for a lower choice school as standard. Do NOT turn down your place! Get on to the primary ed board and ask for Tiggytape, Admissions or one of the other experts for advice.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 19-Apr-16 21:32:13

If you don't move house though and the village school becomes more popular then your ds might not get a place from where you live. It does happen, go and have a look at some of the threads on the primary board.

2rebecca Tue 19-Apr-16 21:33:08

Stick with school you've been allocated. if you move to small village then put your name down for a vacancy there when another child moves away. Changing primary school mid way through due to a move is fairly normal.

AuntieStella Tue 19-Apr-16 21:37:16

Here's a different approach. You have a long term plan, but no idea when you'll be able to out it into action. You believe the commute between current home and desirable village is doable for a school run.

But, and trust me on this, you really don't want to be doing a school run in the car if you could instead be having a very short walk.

So, DD goes to school close to where you live now. IDC, you move to desirable village and DS goes to school there and you drive DD to the school where she is settled just for the last year or two (less of a burden than doing the other way round for five or six). You may need to find someone to take your DS to school, but in a village once he has made friends it might not be that difficult (assuming it's not Royston Vasey).

Secondary application should still work for your DD, as it'll go in your address (unless there is a feeder school system).

edwinbear Tue 19-Apr-16 21:38:51

Take the place you've been offered and if and when you move, try to get a place there if you feel the need.

WillowB Tue 19-Apr-16 21:40:40

Sorry should have pointed out that the second school is undersubscribed & does have places, there's no way I'd relinquish my place without knowing there was one to go to.
The secondary has been crap for years, even since I was a teen which is probably why I'm pretty resigned to the fact we'll have to move. I know I should have thought it through before we bought current house but I was young & stupid!

sleeponeday Tue 19-Apr-16 21:45:25

I'd actively avoid an Outstanding primary. They get that grade most of the time by an obsessive focus on OFSTED, rather than the best interests of the children. Tiny kids shouldn't be pushed academically - it can be counter-productive.

Speaking as someone who sent their child to a school where catchment adds tens of thousands to house prices, and parents rent properties they never even live in just to get their eldest in, which was a hideous OFSTED factory which we hated... and we moved DS to a Good small village school where he is thriving... I would go for ethos and how happy the kids are every single time. Happy children learn. And a confident and relaxed attitude to learning means better secondary performance, too.

GuiltyPleasure Tue 19-Apr-16 21:46:19

Some secondary schools have designated feeder schools, so if your child attends a feeder primary it doesn't matter where you live. If that's the case in your area then you probably should have put the second choice as first if you were thinking long term. But for most secondary schools the catchment area is defined by the location of your address when you apply, although you might have a decent argument if you live out of catchment, but attend a school in catchment. Whatever, do not turn down your allocated place. If you do the LEA will place your child wherever there is space & I doubt that will be at your 2nd choice school. That school is also likely to be oversubscribed if it's in the catchment for a decent secondary. Unfortunately your time for "choice" and thinking of what you wanted in the long term was when you filled in the application, not now. As other posters have said a lot can change with schools in 7 years. Your first choice school sounds excellent, but if it comes to it I've known plenty of children who've moved schools in years 4/5/6 without any detriment to their education or friendships.

WillowB Tue 19-Apr-16 21:46:55

This is all useful advice thank you! & to the poster saying I shouldn't be thinking about secondary, when should I think about it? I would have to have moved house before applying as we are way out of the admission area for the nearest consistentlygood/outstanding school.

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