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How do you get into your closest school if there are no places?

(13 Posts)
chicaguapa Wed 06-Mar-13 20:33:50

We moved 3 years ago but are considering moving back in the summer because we can't afford to keep renting our house out and not living in it. But DS's old school doesn't have a Y4 place for him and the secondary school places have all been allocated so there'll be no Y7 place for DD. Our house is very close to both schools and they are the nearest schools to our house. Neither has a strict catchment area but both oversubscribed.

So I wondered if they could get in on appeal if they are so close, or does it not work like this? I know they can go over the PAN but not sure how. And would it go right to the wire, ie we wouldn't know until the beginning of September if we moved in the summer?

mummytime Wed 06-Mar-13 20:54:05

If you moved in the summer holidays, you almost certainly wouldn't get a school place or even have a chance to appeal until September, maybe later.

To win an appeal for these ages (after year 2) you need to be able to show that the harm of your child not getting a place at the school is greater than the harm caused to the other children by having an extra child in their class.

You can apply for places from your present address (I would definitely advise this for your DD going into year 7), then change the address on your application when you move. Then if a place comes up and no-one else is ahead of you on the waiting list, you should be offered it. This is trickier for your DS as I assume it will be too far for you to take him until you have moved back.

exexpat Wed 06-Mar-13 21:06:41

What other schools are in the area, and are they oversubscribed? Because if there are places available in other schools within a reasonable distance then I don't think you'd have grounds for appealing for a specific school just because it's your closest.

But living very close is a big advantage when it comes to your position on the waiting list. You may have to accept places at other schools to start with and hope that a waiting list place comes up.

Also, in my experience, schools can only allocate places a maximum of about six weeks before you take up the place. So even if there are places now, unless you are able to move back and take up the place within a few weeks, they will not hold it for you.

mummytime Wed 06-Mar-13 21:21:46

You only have grounds for appeal for a specific school. You have to have reasons why it is especially suited to your child, these can be social, facilities, or other ways that is meets your DCs needs.

Roisin Wed 06-Mar-13 21:48:49

If you have a specific address you are moving back to, and proof of that address - ie you've given notice to the tenants and so on and have agreed a move date; then some schools will allow you to apply for places now - then if necessary launch the appeals process.

for other schools/LEAs you can't apply until 6 weeks before your move date.

tiggytape Wed 06-Mar-13 23:16:01

There is no special process for being able to get a place at the school nearest your house if it that school is full.
If the school is full, you will not be allocated a place and would have to go to appeal to see if you could get in.
This is more than a formality - it involves convincing a panel that your child's needs / interests are best met by only that school. Simply saying it is your closest school won't win an appeal (unless the child has a medical condition for example that means they cannot travel to any other school).
In the meantime, you would be allocated a place at the school nearest to your home that has a Year 4 vacancy and one with a Year 7 vacancy.

If the schools you want are full when you come to apply, you will also be added to the waiting list and you should be very near the top of those (waiting lists aren't first come, first served, they are ordered by how well you meet the admission criteria so people located nearer the school go nearer the top of the list). Make sure you find out from the council the earliest date they will accept your application since you will want to get it submitted as quickly as possible to minimise any delay in getting a school place in the new term.

chicaguapa Thu 07-Mar-13 19:12:19

Thanks everyone. Sounds like it would be easier to stay here then! I don't think it would be fair on DC to have such an unsettled start to schooling if we move back.

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 19:49:08

People do move area all the time and school places are always found for them. It is just that since you have your heart set on 2 particular schools, you are reliant on getting lucky in terms of the waiting list timing with each one and nobody can tell you whether that will happen.

Certainly people move and then get the school they want offered quickly from the waiting list but other lists don't move so much. Maybe this is something you can ask about to weigh up your chances (how many got offers last year)?

You know you'll be near the top of the list for both (if you live very close and if distance is the main criteria) but you also know both are oversubscribed so there probably won't be a place as soon as you move - you'd have to rely on someone else moving away or declining their place. Perhaps this happens a lot in that area though - you can ask the LA too who will know.
The appeal process is an additional one you can follow to state your case but you do need a good reason to say why the children need the schools you are appealing for - the fact they are local in itself won't win an appeal.

It is hard because unless you move to an area that has undersubscribed schools, you have no idea in advance what you will be offered but it does work out well for lots of people who do this every year and take their chances with waiting lists.

chicaguapa Fri 08-Mar-13 13:43:30

Thanks. I know which primary school DS would be offered and it's not one I would want him to go to tbh. I think because we (still) have a choice about whether to go back, there doesn't seem to be a good enough reason to do so at the moment. I think we'd be putting the entire family under unneccessary stress.

Mendi Mon 11-Mar-13 16:40:28

Hi everyone. Sorry to crash thread but just interested in what mummytime said about when a school place will be offered if you move in the summer. Say if you move in the first week of August, does that mean that nothing would be done about allocating your child a school place until the start of September?

mrssmooth Mon 11-Mar-13 16:48:23

Mendi - yes, I believe this is the case. I applied for school places for my 3 dds at 2 different schools before we moved (one senior, 2 primary). We actually moved in August last year. Primary school let me know almost immediately that we had the places (because I'd visited the schools and the Head told me they had enough places) but the senior school didn't let me know dd1 definately had the place until a week before school was due to start. I contacted the Council several times, but they couldn't give me any information as it had to come from the school itself and "the school is closed for summer break" hmm

Mendi Mon 11-Mar-13 17:01:54

Thanks mrssmooth. This sounds like a nightmare! Surely if you are relocating then the most common time to move is the summer holidays because your DC have to finish up where they are. You can't just move in the middle of term.

I thought it was the local council who sorted it anyway, not the school?

prh47bridge Mon 11-Mar-13 18:45:01

Yes it is up to the LA to sort it out but if there is no-one at the school for them to talk to they are unable to check whether or not the school has a place available.

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