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AIBU to think that the local authority should deal with a school transfer request asap?

(25 Posts)
sam84uk Wed 01-Jun-16 17:37:13

My DD didn't pass this year's 11+, we also appealed due to extenuating circumstances but lost.

Recently the headteacher at our preferred school wrote to invite DD to sit the 12+ in September (4 days before the children return to school). She said we'd get the results that day & if successful we'd then fill in a transfer form and the local authority would deal with the transfer from there.

Today I contacted my local authority to ask how long a transfer would usually take. They've said that they won't consider any transfers until after the October half term. This would mean that DD would have to attend her current allocated school until at least November despite potentially knowing that she'd be moving school before even starting! The preferred school has places available and the headteacher has planned the 12+ test deliberately early in the term to get the ball rolling asap for the children.

I get the impression that there is some animosity between the head and the local authority about the timing of the test.

The authority have said that their reason for the delay is to allow children to settle in to their new school before deciding to transfer however in this case we've already expressed interest, appealed for this school and DD will have already sat the entrance test! They also said that delay is due to the workload that they'd have in the September with those wanting to move schools.

Does anyone have any advice or experience in anything similar?

Thanks in advance.

SilverDragonfly1 Wed 01-Jun-16 17:42:59

I can understand your frustration, but from the LA's point of view they need to deal with children who don't have allocated schools, SEN provision and so on as a first priority. Half term may well be the soonest they can do it without actively disadvantaging other children.

If she passes, can she be homeschooled for the half term? Have the potential new school suggested any options?

Donthate Wed 01-Jun-16 17:44:45

I would ask the head of the new school what would happen if she passed the test and turned up on the first day.

AuntJane Wed 01-Jun-16 17:45:29

Write back to the Education Department explaining that, as their decision means you will need to buy a new school uniform half a term after the first, you expect them to pay for it.

branofthemist Wed 01-Jun-16 17:47:23

Have you spoken to the head again. The LA dragged their feet when we moved Dd. The head at the new school sorted all the paperwork and made sure it was all done.

sam84uk Wed 01-Jun-16 17:59:33

Thanks for the replies.

I've not spoken to the new headteacher yet as it's half term here at the moment but will speak to her next week when the school reopens.

The grammar school have actually offered to pay for the school uniform if she passes the test knowing that we'd have had to purchase uniform for the allocated school.

Home schooling may be an issue due to childcare - I'm a full time NHS student & DP is starting a PGCE in primary education in September. I may explore this idea though.

I think even if the paperwork was completed and supplied to the LA they've told me they won't consider a transfer until after half term. If their reasoning is due to dealing with those who don't have an allocated school first this isn't what they've said to me. That would be a more reasonable explanation other than their explanation on the phone today.

Apparently the LA aren't impressed with the head holding the test so early. I feel that the LA are doing this to dissuade parents from transferring.

FanSpamTastic Wed 01-Jun-16 20:10:48

Surely your only obligation is to make sure your child is in full time education. If the other school offer you a place from the beginning of term and she turns up and attends then legally she is in education. Let the LA sort out the paperwork!

FanSpamTastic Wed 01-Jun-16 20:14:45

My daughter moved schools at the end of term 1. But I think (if we had wanted to) we could have taken her to the new school the very next day after the offer. I didn't because it was just after October half term and there were various activities she was already doing at school so I moved her over the Christmas break. But that was my choice - new school would have taken her literally straight away.

mouldycheesefan Wed 01-Jun-16 20:21:28

In our area there is a time lag in that the child has normally started at the new school before the authority do the paperwork, it can take weeks. You don't wait for the authority you go ahead with starting at the new school.

sam84uk Wed 01-Jun-16 21:17:58

That sounds promising.

That's not the impression that the LA and the head gave me but I'll certainly put it to them.

The LA tried to tell me that they deliberately leave it that long to give the children a chance to settle in at the school before transferring them to ensure that they definitely want to transfer.

sam84uk Thu 02-Jun-16 22:28:18

Just out of interest to those that have or know of children that could start the new school immediately did the LA have responsibility for managing the school admissions or did the school manage their own?

Thanks.

superram Thu 02-Jun-16 22:31:33

As a school we can take kids from the day we offer a place (la school). Presumably la has to sort paperwork but we take straight away.

sockrage Thu 02-Jun-16 22:42:05

This happened to my friend.
She pulled the child out of school, told the school the child was not returning and rang the LA and said the child has been removed from x school and has no school. We have a place offer at y school. Because the child was school less in effect it meant they had ten days to deal with it rather than half a term.

sam84uk Thu 02-Jun-16 22:42:34

Our LA's admission arrangements state:

"8.11 If a parent expresses a preference for one or more of the grammar schools, then their child will be assessed by the school or schools concerned and a decision made by the governing body as to whether to offer a place. The governing body will then inform the Council of the outcome of the application.

8.13 All parents will be informed by the Council of the school place allocated by letter and advised to contact the headteacher of the school to arrange admission."

sam84uk Thu 02-Jun-16 22:46:23

That's interesting.

I had thought about saying we are "relocating" to my mother's house 30 miles away and then "moving back" but thought it'd be too much hassle.

AugustaFinkNottle Fri 03-Jun-16 00:02:58

I don't think that dealing with children with SEN will cause any particular problem, they're normally dealt with by a different department from the school admissions team.

I'm really sceptical that it takes them half a term to process transfers. If someone landed in the borough tomorrow with no school the council would have to find them a place by law, to start as early as possible. If they failed to do so for half a term they could be taken to court.

prh47bridge Fri 03-Jun-16 00:13:20

They've said that they won't consider any transfers until after the October half term

YANBU. That is completely unacceptable.

The Admissions Code is clear that you can apply for any school at any time (paragraph 2.21). The LA can't insist that you wait until the Autumn half term. Far too many LAs seem to think they can make up their own rules and ignore the law when dealing with moves within the LA. They can't. The same rules apply as if you were just moving into the area.

Kick up a fuss. Don't take no for an answer. If necessary tell them that you will refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman as a clear case of maladministration.

sockrage Fri 03-Jun-16 00:15:28

Our LA says that they deal with applications within four weeks but will only allow the child to move to the new school at the starts of a new term.

The reality of this at DDS school, who lost quite a few children recently, is really unhappy and sometimes kicking off children stuck in a school they don't want to be in for weeks. One teen cried daily.

caroldecker Fri 03-Jun-16 00:16:37

It could be to do with funding - schools per-pupil funding is calculated based on pupil numbers on 6th October 2016. Therefore moving before half-term will put the funding in the rejected school rather than the grammer.

caroldecker Fri 03-Jun-16 00:17:38

Sorry, moving before half-term will fund the grammar school, moving after will fund the other school.

prh47bridge Fri 03-Jun-16 01:06:05

but will only allow the child to move to the new school at the starts of a new term

Another LA that thinks it can make up its own rules. They simply cannot do this.

sockrage Fri 03-Jun-16 01:57:06

I know prh47. They like to think they can though.

AugustaFinkNottle Fri 03-Jun-16 09:24:02

I'm wondering if you couldn't just tell the original school that you're removing your child from their school roll, and then enrol at the grammar school? After all, the LA couldn't stop you from taking your child off the roll if you moved away from the area, and equally if you moved into the area they couldn't stop you enrolling at a school that has a vacancy.

Maidupmum Fri 03-Jun-16 15:21:21

The census in October informs funding for the next year so the HT will almost definitely want her bum on their seat before that day grin

sam84uk Tue 14-Jun-16 13:56:47

Just to update I spoke to the headteacher who contacted the LA. Since then the admissions team at the LA emailed me to say:
"It has been agreed for this year only that as there are still places available at the Grammar School for Girls that pupils may be tested in September and complete transfer forms then and not having to wait until October half term."

Thanks for the suggestions.

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