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School in a different town? Would you consider it?

(7 Posts)
aureata Thu 27-Sep-12 09:03:14

I have namechanged as I don't want to be outed!

We live really rurally but my DH commutes miles and miles away to work in a large town - years ago we decided to buy a small flat in the town so that he could save himself the mileage and the stress of commuting and stay over 3 nights a week, especially as he often works really late...(we are like an episode of location location location!)

Now my DD1 is approaching secondary school choices we have the option of the local school which is very rural and improving, however the school in the catchment where our small place is (in town) and DH stays is a more up and coming school. We have been to see both and we both much prefer the town one as it has a real buzz to it, it is more ethnically diverse, and there seems a lot more opportunities for the children, to be truthful you can't believe they are both comps as they seem worlds apart.

The downsides is that my DD1 would have to live with her dad 3 or 4 days a week, she is fine with that (we have discussed this with her at length!) but I just wonder whether it is too complicated a set up AND whether it would work admissions wise.

Personally I quite like the idea of moving there as a family, but we have looked into it and we would struggle to find school places for the younger siblings (all schools oversubscribed) unless we were able to pay for private (we are not) and so we are a bit stuck really, plus we'd have to sell our house first and that could take a very long time!

Half of me thinks I am mad to consider this, but half of me thinks that my DD1 would really thrive in the other school, but would also enjoy (especially as a teenager) living in a bigger town with more opportunities and more freedom (she can't really go anywhere on her own here). What are your wise MN's thoughts?

tiggytape Thu 27-Sep-12 09:14:50

aureta - if your DD is genuinely living with her Dad 3 or 4 school days every week then you are entitled to apply for a place at that school. The only proviso is that she must be living with her Dad at the flat at the time of schools applications - so in effect a minimum of 11 months before she actually starts secondary school.

If she is not living at the flat in the October of Year 6, you are not allowed to use it as her address. I suspect this is where it may be hard or impossible to meet the admission criteria unless she can commute daily back to your current area for the whole of Year 6. Wherever she is living in the October of Year 6 is the address you must use on the admission forms but if you can get around that by moving her in with her Dad in time, then that would be fine.

tiggytape Thu 27-Sep-12 09:20:07

I should add of course that you are entitled to apply for the school wherever you live but your chances of getting a place will be vastly higher if she applies from the flat not the house
However you can only apply using the flat address if DD is actually living there by the end of October in her Year 6 at the absolute latest. The form will show her primary school address and if this is many miles away from the flat, then this could warrant investigation so it is unlikely you would be able to get around that.

How long have you got? Is she in current Year 5 or do you have some time to investigate moving? Would you be able to keep the younger ones in their current primary schools perhaps until places came up in the new area or is it too far to do daily? The LA in the new area would have to find all your children places if you did move there because they are obliged to do so. Have you looked at the primary options at all?

mummytime Thu 27-Sep-12 09:36:15

I would move to the town. Most schools are over subscribed but the LA has to give you a place somewhere, and if too far provide transport. If your children are year 3 and above it is well worth appealing for a school place.
I would apply this year given your current address but try to move by the autumn. Family life will be much better with you all living in the town, and you have a back up if you can't sell/buy in time.

aureata Thu 27-Sep-12 09:48:18

Thanks for those thoughts. My DD1 is in Y5 so we have a little bit of time to think things through. Unfortunately her 2 siblings are in Y1 and Y2, so it might be a little bit of a problem with schools. However we could commute them until they found us a place, but it would be stressful for little ones to do long term.

I think I agree that by far the best option would be to move into the town but the other problem would be to sell the house in time for Oct 2013...I guess as a last resort she can always move in with her dad for that year. Better go and look at rightmove then!!!

tiggytape Thu 27-Sep-12 10:05:41

aureata - I think you are probably right. To be honest whenever you move, school places can initially be a pain to sort out but by doing it now, you virtually guarantee a good secondary school place for all 3 children (which is worth an awful lot in terms of peace of mind and longer term benefits).

An initial period of commuting for one or more of the children may be required but, with any luck, it wouldn't be for long and would be outweighed by then benefits of being together as a family in a place that you all want to live with good future school options in place. Easier said than done I know but hopefully having a whole year to go will be enough time to get it all sorted.

lljkk Thu 27-Sep-12 10:08:43

Move to the town. Rent a property there if needed, while trying to sell yours.

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