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how long do you need to live at an address to be able to use it to apply for school admission?

(65 Posts)
purplebox Fri 21-Dec-12 23:43:24

Just that really. Thinking of primary schools and moving to be in the catchment area of a good one, but I'm wondering how long you need to live in that address for it to be ok to use it? I will probably not be able to live long term in the catchment area I am thinking of.

CaHoHoHootz Wed 26-Dec-12 22:56:25

Not read all the posts but we faxed a copy of our signed rental lease to our school admissions officer. We faxed it in late June and the lease was starting on the 1st August for a September school start date. We were offered a place as soon as the admissions officer received our lease. I am not sure, but we had previously sent a letter of intention from our estate agent saying we were about to sign the lease and I think the admissions officer unofficially held a place for our child for a week or so until we sent the copy of the signed lease. We were coming from overseas and one of our DC's had already got a place in the school as there were vacancies. Our rental house was almost next door to the school. I had spent weeks phoning the admissions officer waiting for news of any possible spaces becoming available.

TeamBacon Tue 25-Dec-12 00:01:57


Laura0806 Mon 24-Dec-12 14:46:20

Arkestra, so true! Really made me laugh! We're all parents trying to do the best for our children at the end of the day, no one can really judge but we all do, lol!!!

OhDearConfused Mon 24-Dec-12 11:39:51

Try again:

Actually in some parts of London, people do the short term rental thing to get into desirable schools in less than desirable areas ( in their view) - its not that they can't afford to buy there, only that they don't want to

I know it's not OPs position, but there are all sorts of permutations and all sorts of moral analyses
Why is it better to buy and move permanently than to rent short term?
In either case you are displacing someone else ....

OhDearConfused Mon 24-Dec-12 11:30:15

Actually in some parts of London, people do the short term rental thing to get into desirable schools in less than desirable areas ( in their view) - its not that they can't afford to buy there, only that they don't want to

I know it's not OPs position, but there is in that situation an element of money b

OhDearConfused Mon 24-Dec-12 11:00:40

Yes! Love comments such as being able to afford catchment and did do to avoid school fees! Shame on those who didn't work had enough .....

arkestra Mon 24-Dec-12 07:49:48

Exactly, Himalaya. I was dancing around the point a bit in my earlier post - but there is an undercurrent in some of the preceding posts of "How dare you come on in the state schools belonging to those who have stumped up for a house locally!"

Which is just... a little confused, perhaps?

When it comes to education, lots of people are torn between two pretty basic urges: (1) not wanting to appear to be queue-jumping (2) wanting the best for their own kids. It's easy to end up doing the mental gymnastics to stick ones own actions on a pedestal, and put everyone else's choices on the naughty step.

So the person paying for private education makes snide remarks about local state schools. The affluent parent sticking with the local comp but paying for extra tuition gets very moralistic about the private school mob. The person owning a house in the catchment area slags off renters as non-communiry chancers. Etc etc etc.

Worth avoiding casting the first stone if you can but on occasion I'm as guilty as anyone else!

Oh well Merry Christmas everyone anyway smile

Himalaya Mon 24-Dec-12 00:15:51

As many have said, as long as it is your real home on the time of the critical dates of application and offer (check your LEA website for their requirements) then it is legitimate.

Shorthold tennancies are 6-12 months usually, so it is not in your power as a tennant anyway to be sure that you would be living there for longer (therefore it would be unreasonable for councils to expect this)

I think it's a bit ripe of people to get on their moral high horse that homeowners (who stand to benefit from the inflated asset values of their asset in the catchment) somehow are more deserving of a local school place than renters who do not have secure bling term tennancies.

tricot39 Sun 23-Dec-12 23:48:27

Some of the points made above are interesting. People in mc areas with good schools because of that mc intake unhappy that families who cannot afford to live in their area rent to get school places - while others think it is the affluent to move into school areas to steal school places. Eh? Also that there is an assumption that families move between LA boundaries so that moving within a council tax area is not acknowledged. In london population is so dense that you can be a fully paid up community member and just live too far from a good school serving that community. Finally there is the issue about how long a rental has to be, to be long term? Is 18months or 2 years still considered short? Frankly it is not at all as clear as most posters like to make out.....

GalaxyDisaStar Sun 23-Dec-12 22:16:41

It needs to be your permanent home. If you move into a house (rented or purchased), even if it is only a few weeks before the admissions deadline and it is your home, you will be fine. As others have said, it is fake 'homes' that cause an issue. If you need to move again after 12 months, that's fine.

TBH, I don't see this as any less deserving than all the families round by me who move into a two bedder (with sometimes a small converted third bedroom in the roofspace) in the catchement area of the two amazing local schools. Then move after child one gets in.

Do beware the practicalities if you think you will live far away long term. Things like school runs are only part of it. Parties, friends, etc will all require trekking back school-wards.

purplebox Sun 23-Dec-12 22:10:47

Thank you for the replies. I do just want a good school, the problem is that a lot of schools in the areas I could afford to buy in have serious problems. The school I'm actually thinking of is the one I went to. I won't be staying where I am currently anyway, so am just hoping to move in a good catchment. Also my parents will live nearby and be able to help with pick ups etc.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 23-Dec-12 20:24:38

Totally agree with the last two posts.

My cautions would be 1. make sure that the grass really is greener before you move 2. err on the side of caution re length of time at an address 3. remember that catchment areas in London can shrink dramatically year to year 4. do consider the potential travel etc

Best of luck.

arkestra Sun 23-Dec-12 19:40:41

Purple, think you are getting lots of flak more properly aimed at people who own a house and then rent an extra 1-bed flat for 6 months, which they never move into. Eg those who lie about where their current main address is. Which you are clearly not intending to do.

In fact the only difference I can see between you (given your comments in the thread) and someone ponying up an extra 150k to buy a permanent residence in a good school's catchment area is that they have more money? I'm a life long Londoner and people talking about "community" sounds like cant. I'm one of a very very few people who was raised in my current area and is now raising kids there. London is constantly in flux and that's a Good Thing.

Sometimes people in London try to corral off areas for them and PLUs ("people like us") - not a good thing for anyone in the long run. Luckily it tends not to work all that well most of the time.

If you can be bothered to put that much effort into getting into the "right" school catchment area then great. The irony is that if you care that much about your children's education they will probably be well served in any school that isn't absolutely rubbish!

bowerbird Sun 23-Dec-12 18:12:26

Purple, I think you've been given an incredibly hard time. Especially as you are a "key worker", which means you probably work your bum off in a very important job that isn't particularly well paid, and I'm sorry to say, at times thankless.

As long as you actually LIVE in the rented flat, as opposed to using a postal address you'll be fine in London. There has been a lot of hysteria and more than a bit of pompous posturing about community on this thread.

I really wish you all the best in getting a good education for your DC.

purplebox Sun 23-Dec-12 12:04:00

I live in London, which is precisely why I am doing this. The bad schools are pretty bad. I agree with you completely sound.

Violet you are clearly living a charmed life being able to buy a house in a good catchment area in a nice area. Not everyone is that lucky. I think there is a lot of truth in the saying 'you have the morals you can afford'. I'll do whatever I think is best for my child, and no I dont feel guilty. I think its easy for you to judge those less fortunate than you.

And I agree with yellow!

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 22-Dec-12 22:28:38

violet, stealing a car is theft.

Moving into the catchment of a good school is what the OP is asking about and, er, what you did.

Violet77 Sat 22-Dec-12 21:14:01

Oh sound that's why i'm not in london! I left london long before i wanted children.

My local school is lovely, so are a lot of the schools around. Even the less desirable ones are ok.

The system is flawed, it encourages us to believe that we are entitled to the best school. You are of course correct but good governerns can transform a school.

soundevenfruity Sat 22-Dec-12 21:01:40

I can't speak for the whole of the country but in London "a local school" is more likely to mean "a ghetto": whether a bankers/high rank lawyers or parents mostly on benefits or Irish Catholic or white creative middle classes ghetto or any other combination. I just don't get this hysteria about local schools and more deserving children. Parents shouldn't be in this position full stop. Poor schools with weak leadership shouldn't be tolerated because as a parent you can do a lot but you can't run the school if the head teacher is a poor manager and the local education authority prefers to game the system instead of genuinely improving schools.

tiggytape Sat 22-Dec-12 20:13:36

Once school is started, they cannot remove place.
Yes they can. They probably won't if the cheating isn't discovered in the first term but they can still do it later on as well. They can also refuse an application form and either ammend it to show the correct address (the family home instead of the one being cynically rented for a school place) and they can also leave an application until last treating it as a late applicant and allocating a school from whatever is left after everyone else gets one of their choices.

Lots of people are caught every year. Most are quietly dealt with by getting a telling off and their form ammended to show their real address but children can and do get kicked out of schools when their parents have cheated.

Again - not refering to the OP here because the OP has no second home and is therefore not cheating.

tiggytape Sat 22-Dec-12 20:06:11

If you move somewhere and it is your permanent home - i.e. you're not just renting until admissions are over then moving back to a 'real' home that you've hung on to all along - then that is allowed.

Whether it is 'right' or not doesn't come into it. As long as you are not doing anything decptive (like renting a second home just to get into a good school) then you are acting within the rules.

Thankfully a lot of schools and councils are acting to stamp out all the nonsense about renting a second home just for a school place. It has a very negative impact on all areas (both the ones people fight to get into and the ones they fight to get out of).
But what OP intends to do is perfectly fine. She is genuinely moving home to a new permanent residence and applying from there. The fact she doesn't intend to live there very long is neither here nor there. Nothing in admissions rules says you can't continually move house - just that you mustn't have 2 at a time and use the most favourable address for schools.

Violet77 Sat 22-Dec-12 19:56:54

It is not smug to tell her not to steal a place from a local child.

Would you like to live in a forty room mansion with a pool and a gym...yes? Can we all live in a forty room mansion. No. It is not how life is.

If i wanted a very expensive car, would it be ok to steal one? Well you see i'm worth it, i deserve it, because my child deserves the best? these are not valid reasons.

We deal with what we have. cheating the system, lying is wrong. Its not a victimless crime.

I spent more on my house to avoid school fees.

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 19:42:07

I have a good job but can't afford to live in the catchment area of the good local school. I can afford to pay private school fees so that is what I do. I think it is rather smug to tell people not to go to a certain school.

Fwiw when I was growing up I lived in a nice house in a middle class area. However, ours was a large year and there weren't enough places at the village school. Instead I had to go to a school in the middle of a large council estate as that was the next nearest school. I didn't go to school with dcs from my community but it didn't affect my schooling nor mean I didn't have local friends.

Ds has loads of local friends although he gets a bit fed up as they aren't always around to play with him (his has different term dates).

Violet77 Sat 22-Dec-12 19:33:33

Yellow, but that is life is it not? We worked hard to buy a house in a good catchment. We spent tens of thousands more for our home knowing it is in catchment.

Why do you think it is a desirable school?

Nothing i have said is untrue, it how our society works.

Yes people feel it's unfair that they can't go round choosing the best schools, why are they the best schools?

The op can't afford to buy in this area but she would like her child to benefit from the school. Do you think that it is fair to cheat a child out of a place.

If you do obtain a place in this way all if the parents will know, do you want this? Would you like your child to be different?

All children should go to a fabulous school, of course they should. Fundamently though children shoud go to school within their community.

bunnymother Sat 22-Dec-12 19:00:03

Call the relevant council and ask them. The rules may vary from council borough to council borough, so the only relevant rules are those applied by the council where the school you are referring to is. Our council has a dedicated education line and the education officer was able to tell me the exact rules.

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 22-Dec-12 18:57:54

It's easier to assume that position, violet if you're one of the ones who can afford to live in a nice village or desirable catchment.

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