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No School Place 7 weeks till terms starts

(26 Posts)
Zaffie Tue 19-Jul-11 13:23:35


I'm new to this and wondering if anyone can offer any advice. I moved in March and applied late for my twin?s school places. Resulted in no offer of any place I have been told every school is full and there is nothing they can offer them. Best they can do is add them to the waiting lists for my 6 preferred schools but they will be placed below all on time applications and stand very little chance of getting a place, positions range from 32-105. I sent off my appeal forms in June and have been told I will not get an appeal date until September as I missed cut off for appeals.

Wondering if anyone else has been in this situation of moving late and not having a school place? Do they have to offer them something before September?

Any advice would be greatly appriciated.

yellowsubmarine41 Tue 19-Jul-11 13:38:53

Someone who knows more than me will be along very soon, but I think the information about your applications being placed below all on time applications is inaccurate. I believe that once places are allocated, the waiting list is formed of everybody maintaining an interest in the school as per the allocation criteria ie usually looked after, SEN, siblings, distance etc.

You should be placed higher up the list than people who live further away, even if they applied on time, for example.

Although these are your preferred schools, are there nearer schools that you might have a better chance of? Maybe try phoning individual schools to see whether they have places, as LEA's can be a bit behind with info?

coccyx Tue 19-Jul-11 13:41:27

don't they have to offer you a place, even provide transport if a long way away. do you mean no places in your area or none at preferred schools

Bramshott Tue 19-Jul-11 13:49:47

From what other, very knowlegable posters have posted previously, there are 2 things wrong here:

1. Now that the main admissions round is over, and places have been offered and accepted, they should not be treating you as a 'late applicant' on the waiting lists.

2. They need to offer you a place somewhere, and provide transport if it's more than 3 miles away. Your DCs are entitled to an education and I don't THINK it's any different if they are under 5.

Hopefully someone will be along a little later with the various phrases you need to use to remind them of their responsibilities in this regard. Otherwise, how would anyone who moved house ever get a school place for their DCs! If they still won't play ball, there is an ombudsman you can go to.

Zaffie Tue 19-Jul-11 13:59:10

The 6 schools I applied for are my closest. The one nearest me is 0.71 and the last admitted child from the 1st round off allocations was 0.94 so the majority they have admitted from the waiting list so far would have live further away than me. There oversubscription criteria is looked after, SEN, siblings, distance.

I also enquired about a list of all school in the borough with places still available but was told they were all full and there are no more places in the borough. And they will get in touch when they have a place. Just getting so worried now as I need 2 places and not heard a thing yet I have no idea when they will be able to start school.

PanelMember Tue 19-Jul-11 14:35:12

As has already been said, this is several forms of nonsense.

School waiting lists should be held in the same order as the admissions priorities, so if these are your nearest schools it is very unlikely that you woud be 105th on the waiting list if it was being managed properly.

The LEA is obliged to find a school place for any child that wants it. Worst case scenario (from their point of view) is that they have to take a decision about which school can best cope with two additional pupils (even if that school is full) and give you places there. Your children would then be 'excepted pupils' as far as infant class size regulations are concerned, for that academic year.

You haven't said how old your children are or what year you are applying for. Your chances at appeal are better if they are in KS2 where infant class size regulations don't apply, but you may still find that even for an infant class size appeal (you can read many threads about these for information) a panel might just stick its neck out for you, as the LEA have so far spectacularly failed you.

Your options (you could do any or all of these) are

1. To appeal. There is no 'cut off' for appeals. Many LEAs set a deadline for appeals but this is for their convenience, nothing more. Insist on your appeal being heard before the end of term or immediately after it - I've chaired appeal panels during the summer holidays before now.

2. To go back to the LEA and quote the Fair Access Protocol at them - this should be on your LEA's website.

3. To seek an opinion from the Local Government Ombudsman about whether the LEA has discharged its responsibilities fairly and properly.

4. As a first step, seek help from the Advisory Centre for Educatiion.

Zaffie Tue 19-Jul-11 15:05:31

Thanks PanelMember my twins turned 4 in June so it is recepition places I am applying for.

I have said I am not happy that I will have to wait 3 months for an appeal after sending my forms in but have not had a response yet. Can I demand my appeal be heard any sooner?

Do you think they can offer my twins different schools due to a lack of places?

prh47bridge Tue 19-Jul-11 17:47:39

Your appeal must be heard within 30 school days (i.e. not counting weekends or school holidays) of you sending in your forms. If you appealed in the first few days of June that means they should hear your appeal before the summer holidays. However, if you were later than that they are allowed to delay your appeal to September.

On everything else, your LA seem to be all over the place. Putting you behind all the on time applicants is a direct breach of the Admissions Code. They aren't allowed to do that, despite the fact that a couple of LAs still seem to think they can get away with it. And having moved into the area outside the normal admissions round with no places available in a reasonable distance you clearly are entitled to be treated under their Fair Access Protocol which should explain how they will find a place for your children.

Whilst they could offer your twins different schools, in your situation I would definitely appeal if that happens on the grounds that the decision was unreasonable. It is by no means guaranteed that you would succeed but I think you would have a chance of persuading the panel that in your circumstances the LA should have allocated the same school for both children.

The LGO won't normally get involved in school admissions cases until there has been an appeal but I would agree with PanelMember that it may be worth seeing if they are willing to get involved in your case.

Would you like to tell us which LA we are talking about here? I'd like to take a look at their admission arrangements and Fair Access Protocol.

Zaffie Tue 19-Jul-11 19:19:35


Thanks for the advice the LA is Redbridge. I had a look at their admission arrangments and it didn't really say much about late applications.

Any help advice would be greatly appriciated.

nailak Tue 19-Jul-11 19:25:30

My friend was in the same position with her son who is 5 already, they said their is no spaces in reception, and havent offered him any places, they tried to send them to some group for kids with no places once a week? also in redbridge

nojustificationneeded Tue 19-Jul-11 20:15:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bluetoad Tue 19-Jul-11 20:41:15

I was in a similar position to you, we were told that there were no available places in the borough for my DS and the best that could be done was for him to go on the waiting list of our three preferred schools. I may have left it at that but was advised by a friend that the borough are obliged to offer a place. DS was offered a school place in a neighbouring borough via the borough we live in. They have to offer your dc places. Good luck smile.

prh47bridge Tue 19-Jul-11 22:11:00

Their primary admissions booklet is clear that waiting lists are ordered using the admission criteria only. That is how it should be - anything else would be a breach of the Admissions Code. They are therefore wrong to place you after on time applicants. That is a clear breach not only of the Admissions Code but also of their own admission arrangements.

Furthermore, their Fair Access Protocol correctly provides for children whose parents have been unable to find them a place after moving into an area due to a shortage of places (section 3 of the protocol). Their Fair Access Protocol states that if no place is available within a reasonable distance of the child's home a place will be offered at the school which is least oversubscribed. So they are also in breach of their own Fair Access Protocol.

Point out to them that they are failing to follow their own policies and procedures. If they continue to refuse to offer places for your children see if the LGO will take the case.

admission Tue 19-Jul-11 22:43:53

There is a very simple equation here. If you applied in June and there have been admissions since then to your first preference school which live further away than you, then you have been disadvantaged and if you go to appeal you should be offered a place. The complication is of course that you have twins, so two pupils will have to have been offered places when you should have offered those places.
My reaction is to email them and ask specifically where you are on the waiting list for your first preference school and then ask when the appeal will happen and demand that a date be set if it has not already been set. Then hope that they have made a hash of the admissions as you suggest they have.

manicinsomniac Tue 19-Jul-11 23:33:44

What a horrible situation sad I really thought they HAD to offer you SOMETHING.

Could you consider Home Education? Or Private school?

Zaffie Wed 20-Jul-11 09:28:02

I applied for their places when I moved in March, I didn't appeal until May.

From what I can gather so far they have offered

7 spaces from waiting list since first allocation 1st preference

1 space from waiting list since first allocation 2nd preference

11 spaces from waiting list since first allocation 3rd preference

I have only appealed for my 1st preference and I have asked them for the distance of the last admitted child from the waiting list which they have never given me. Only the distance of the last child admitted after the 1st round allocations which all had a distance further than mine

Home school and private education is not an option for me.

I have pointed out to them that it is wrong and unfair to place late applications below on time applications and their reaction was that section 3.19 of the school admissions code does not apply to me only to 'in year' applications apparently I am in the co-ordinated admission round whatever that is.
They told me that the co-ordinated round will finish in Feb 2011 and then the waiting list will be drawn up using distance so I will stand a better chance.

Admission and prh47bridge do you have first hand experience of admissions and appeals? Does this information seem correct to you?

I am waiting for my latest waiting list positions but they normally take at least a week to get back to me.

Zaffie Wed 20-Jul-11 09:33:24

*Feb 2012

mummytime Wed 20-Jul-11 09:42:44

Admission and prh47bridge will be back soon, but this sounds totally wrong, and a good case to take it to the Ombudsman.

Bramshott Wed 20-Jul-11 12:30:05

Sounds like madness to me - how can the co-ordinated admissions round last so long?? I would have thought that it finished once the places had been offered and accepted - that's certainly what happens here. My friend who moved house in April wasn't offered a place in her nearest school straight away because her application was late, but she was offered the first place which came up on the waiting list.

I also thought they had to make an exception for twins - if they have a place for one, they have to take both, even if it's takes them over their PAN?

Zaffie Wed 20-Jul-11 13:04:47

Nice too know that others agree that this doesn't sound right.

There is nothing in their admissions policy to say twins will be offered the same school so I suppose they don't have to accept them both. The way things are going it wouldn't surprise me if they were offered different schools! Least it would be a start.

admission Wed 20-Jul-11 18:48:39

The information you are getting is rubbish.
Having looked at the admission information for Redbridge on the web in theory they are doing it exactly as they should do. After the initial allocation, a waiting list is draw up of all those who were late applications and those looking for alternate schools and then when places bacome available they are back-filled using the waiting list in admission criteria order. The only bit that is different is that they keep their waiting list open till the end of February for Reception pupils and then ask parents to re-confirm that they still want to be on the waiting list. That may possibly explain the comment about the co-ordinated round ending in February.
Of course 3.19 applies to all applicants as does 3.20, which says that as soon as a school place becomes vacant it must be filled from the waiting list, even if this is before admission appeals have been heard.
You need to get to the bottom of this because it would appear from your posts that Redbridge are saying one thing in their official documents and doing another entirely in practice. Could I suggest that you email the admission office and ask for written confirmation of the admission process that is being applied to you as a late applicant as you are getting different versions of the process from different people and see what then comes back. If you don't get a reply within say 2 weeks I would then send them another email saying they have 72 hours to reply or you will be reporting them to both the Schools Adjudictor and then LGO as there are simply so many mistakes being made.

prh47bridge Wed 20-Jul-11 19:20:54

Agree with Admission (who posted while I was typing this!). To list some of the mistakes:

- The whole of the Admission Code applies all of the time unless it specifically says otherwise. The example in 3.19 is about someone moving into the area outside the normal admissions round but that does not mean the paragraph only applies in those circumstances. It applies to all applications. The example is just that - an example. It does not alter the meaning of the paragraph. There have been multiple decisions by the LGO and the Schools Adjudicator that say Redbridge are wrong on this one. They are in breach of the Admission Code by placing you at the bottom of the waiting list.

- The waiting list must be drawn up using distance TODAY. They cannot wait until February.

- They are suggesting it is ok to disadvantage you and, indeed, leave your children without a school because you had the temerity to move into the area after the closing date for applications but before the end of the admissions round. They are wrong.

- Their primary school admissions booklet does not say anything about placing late applicants at the end of the waiting list. Indeed, it twice states that children are placed on the waiting list "in accordance with the admissions criteria". They are therefore in breach of their published admission arrangements.

- If the co-ordinated admissions round is still in progress, which I would dispute, they should have offered you a place under their co-ordinated admissions scheme.

- If the co-ordinated admissions round is over they should offer you a place under their Fair Access Protocol.

- If you appealed in May they should have organised the appeal to take place before the summer holidays. Indeed, if you only missed the deadline by a little they should have organised your appeal to take place at the same time as any other appeals for this school.

I agree with Admission's suggested course of action. I would add that if what comes back repeats some or all of the mistakes you should immediately refer it to the LGO and the Schools Adjudicator.

prh47bridge Thu 21-Jul-11 13:03:31

I knew I'd forgotten something!

The LA is required to give you any information you reasonably request to help you prepare for your appeal. Asking for the distances of children admitted off the waiting list is a reasonable request but they have not responded. Unless they do so that is another breach of the Appeals Code.

And by the way, if they have failed to organisen the appeal within 30 school days that is also a breach of the Appeals Code.

Zaffie Wed 03-Aug-11 14:39:38

Thanks for you help and advice the LA will not budge on how the waiting lists have been drawn up so I have raised with the LGO and hopefully something will done.

Their response regarding appeals is that they are sometime too busy to arrange appeals within 30 day and mine will be sometime in September but were still unable to provide a date.

I have again asked them for last admitted pupils from waiting list and told them I need it for my appeal.

If the LGO agrees that they have breached the school admissions code will they automatically offer my twins a place rather than going through an appeal?

prh47bridge Wed 03-Aug-11 20:48:46

It depends. Their failure to organise an appeal in the required timescale won't result in your twins being offered a place. Getting the waiting list wrong is more relevant but I would not normally expect the LGO to recommend the offer of a place until there has been an appeal. I will be pleased for you if they do but don't hold your breath.

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