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Admissions Y1 -Amazed and a little despairing

(88 Posts)
rushingrachel Fri 03-Jan-14 18:54:37

This is a bit of a long one! After nearly 10 years abroad I have recently been offered a job in the UK. It seemed perfect, near to the area in which I was brought up (Suffolk/Essex border) very rural. Although the salary is not great, and my DH would need to continue to split his time between Brussels and London, we thought we'd find a property in a village near to a good village school (such as the one I went to) and we would find a good balance. The property we found was lovely and four doors up from the local village school. So we rang to check. Year 1 full. Then we spread the net to 5 other schools trying to find a place. Nothing. It has made making a decision about the move virtually impossible. To apply you need an address, but to commit to an address you need to know your children will be placed, and in my case in a school with extended school cover. The fact is only awful schools, which were awful when I was around and still seem to be, can commit to having a Yr 1 place and then if the place is miles from where you live, and you work, how can you organise to collect them?

I wonder if the government ever thinks about people like me. They say they want to attract skilled expats to return to the UK and yet how can we with this uncertainty? My DH and I are both solicitors, we should be able to contribute to tax and community. But if we can't even be allowed to understand where a place might arise before we commit to a rental we might as well give up.

Something has gone wrong here. We have a lovely, clever, well educated son and the UK has nothing but the worst to offer him in terms of state provision.

I really, really, wanted to come home and build a home for my family and I feel very let down.

CouthyMow Fri 10-Jan-14 10:18:32

I'm dreading school applications in October, as there is only one school I can PHYSICALLY get DS3 to, and it is an outstanding, oversubscribed school. And Essex no longer takes the Parent's disabilities into account when they are placing a child. I already have no nails left.

I'm already paying transport out of my income support for my two eldest children because I had to move to an adapted (for disabilities) house and the local Secondary schools near my new house had no spaces for my 15-year-old and my 11-year-old so they had to stay in the old secondary school right across the town. Essex now only pays transport for children who are over 3 miles away from their secondary school and are attending the closest school regardless of whether that school has spaces or not! So I am paying £30 a week to transport my eldest two children to school. Having to pay for my two year old when he starts school will just break me financially, as by that point I will probably be paying for my 10 year old to attend that secondary school too, as well as transport for my eldest child to get to college.

It's also complicated by the fact that my two year old's statementing process will not be finished before I have to apply for primary school, meaning I will have to apply in the normal way rather than be given the school that I require for him. Did end up being taken by taxi to Clacton every day.

I have no nails left. it's an awful situation for school places in Colchester.

Please excuse my lack of punctuation Siri doesn't seem to add it, and doesn't like my accent! I can't type too much at the moment.

CouthyMow Fri 10-Jan-14 10:21:17

After I moved house it took me three months to get a local school place for my 10-year-old. I had to wait in the waiting list for it and I had to bus him right across Colchester to his old school.

prh47bridge Fri 10-Jan-14 12:17:33

Essex now only pays transport for children who are over 3 miles away from their secondary school and are attending the closest school regardless of whether that school has spaces or not

If that is true they are breaking the law. They must provide free transport unless they can arrange for the children to attend a school nearer home. So if the nearer schools don't have places they must provide free transport. However, if there are nearer schools with places available they are entitled to refuse to provide free transport to your older children's current school.

If you are a single parent on income support it sounds to me like you qualify for consideration as a low income family. That means you are also entitled to free transport to any one of your nearest 3 schools with a place available provided it is at least 2 miles and not more than 6 miles away. You may therefore be entitled to free transport to the current school provided it is no more than 6 miles away and provided there are no more than 2 nearer schools with places available.

BranchingOut Fri 10-Jan-14 13:08:26

I hope it all works out for you OP and for Couthy too.

There is that horrible moment when it finally dawns on you that it is just not that simple.

marmalademomo Fri 10-Jan-14 14:41:55

There are quite a few places dotted about the country, Wandsworth in South London, being one, who do allow you to apply for places as long as you have an address, regardless of whether you were in the country at the time of application. I know this as I have been very thorough in my research - we used to live in Wandsworth and I grew up in Suffolk which is why they were on our radar for where to move back to. Though these other places could have also now changed. SCC said there were no exceptions to their new ruling for anyone. However, no point on dwelling on this as it's feather spitting stuff. We are thinking about changing our moving date, but this is tricky as we feel they need to complete the school year here as a good sense of closure - sorry horrible phrase. I do think it' a lot harder viewing it from abroad as you can't get in the thick of it, talk to more parents around the schools on your list, revisit the schools or call the council without getting up at dawn/kids bed time. Plus you have life going on as normal to cope with. Hurrah for supportive Mumset community.

prh47bridge Fri 10-Jan-14 15:59:43

Suffolk MUST have an exception for Crown servants whatever they say.

CouthyMow Fri 10-Jan-14 16:18:06

PRIH I appealed on the basis of being on income support and they refused still.

TallulahMcFey Fri 10-Jan-14 16:44:27

Would it be possible to move in with your mum for a short while and apply from her address?

prh47bridge Fri 10-Jan-14 17:04:33

Is the children's current school more than 6 miles away? Are there 3 or more schools nearer home with places? If the answer to both of those questions is no you may have a case to take to the LGO. See here for more information.

thekingfisher Fri 10-Jan-14 17:18:50

Without outing myself I live only a couple of miles from the school you mentioned so would be really happy to answer any questions you may have . A lot of my fiends dc go to the local schools around here incl Bures, SbN etc

rushingrachel Mon 13-Jan-14 10:53:20

Thekingfisher I will pm you. Thanks so much.

I had lovely meetings with 3 head teachers on Friday. I see hope. And the kindness and understanding of all 3 was exceptional.

SimLondon Fri 14-Feb-14 18:50:48

Bit late to this thread but I also live a couple of miles away from there and i wondered if you knew that there's a good chance of a new montessori free school (state funded) opening in North Colchester in Sept 2015.

itsahen Sat 15-Feb-14 08:50:08

Ultimately the lack of school places in huge parts of the country is the issue. There needs to be more parent pressure to make government change this. I am from a family who moved abroad and back as do thousands each year.... Would be a compete nightmare now. I am surrounded by parents desperately worried about getting into a decent school. Are people writing to MPs etc ?

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