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Bulge class worry, how do I question it re siblings?

(23 Posts)
wormshuffled Sun 08-Jun-14 08:45:14

Our village school is putting on a bulge class for the next school year, an extra 18 children, the oversubscribed children all come from the next town. They say the LEA has said there will be no request for this to be repeated during the 7 school years these bulge kids are there.
My child should be due to attend 2 years later in 2016, so naturally I am worried about the effect this bulge class will have on him getting a place, we don't have a sibling. I've already done a headcount of buggies at the school gate containing kids that look ds's age and there's 12 plus those I don't know about And 52 children starting September 14....the usual PAN is 34.
Who do I approach to question if this has been anticipated? LEA? Parish council? School head? District councilor?
Or do I just have to suck it up and drive at least 3 miles to get him to school driving straight past our lovely village school in the process?
Many thanks!

TeenAndTween Sun 08-Jun-14 11:20:45

Is the next town 'in catchment'?

Do they give higher priority to 'out of catchment siblings' or 'in catchment no sibling'?

In our area out of catchment siblings come behind all in catchment children so you would be OK, but some areas have it the other way around, which would be a concern.

wormshuffled Sun 08-Jun-14 11:36:21

Not so much a catchment no, just distance from school. No priority given to children within catchment . Order goes...... social services type referrals , siblings, regular church goers, everybody else measured in distance to school as crow flies.

TeenAndTween Sun 08-Jun-14 11:52:11

oh. That's a problem then ....
No idea who you should raise it with. But there is time to get it changed if there is a will to I think.

I think village children should come above town children with siblings.
(Though I can see that parents being forced to use your school from the town might disagree.)

Ladymuck Sun 08-Jun-14 13:16:39

Worth questioning it. Where I live we have had loads of bulge classes and it creates a real issue with a glut of siblings in later years who then push out local first borns.

tiggytape Sun 08-Jun-14 13:20:49

It is a difficult balance. It is likely this bulge class has been created because so many people had been left without a local school place after April allocations.

It is a bit different to people who choose to go to an out of area school and take a risk on future siblings also getting a place. Bulge class people are often (but not always) ones who have missed out on what they originally wanted without also having the hassle of siblings at separate schools in future years. Having been losers in the admissions process once, they will probably object to any changes that mean they cannot get sibling places next time and have schools miles apart instead.

From the point of view of oldest or only children though, bulge classes can be a problme because they can increase the number of sibling places to such an extent that those living slightly further out with no sibling don't get a place. It can happen that bulge classes further up the school dramtically reduces the last distance offered for places 2 or 3 years down the line. Whether this has been taken into account or not is hard to say - bulge classes indicate immediate shortages and the council are probably focusing on that not the knock on effect years later. You could certianly ask the council though whether this has been looked at.

wormshuffled Sun 08-Jun-14 14:00:49

My feeling is that they are all first choice applicants though because they largely come from a brand new estate, of high value houses, who's nearest school is on a council estate. The school they are closest to is not oversubscribed. They won't have even listed is as a preference as they don't want that school.......neither would I TBH, I can totally see why they have chosen our village school, its an excellent school! just not at my sons expense!

wormshuffled Sun 08-Jun-14 14:03:26

Also, would it be fair to change the sibling rules now that these kids have a place? They likely wouldn't have applied if it wasn't guaranteed their siblings would get a place. I know its ages away but its on my mind...... I mean counting the buggy's at home time is a bit demented isn't it...hmm hmm

tiggytape Sun 08-Jun-14 14:58:45

It would be highly unusual to set up a bulge class when there is another school standing half empty nearby.
Bulge classes are generally considered a last resort when all other schools (good and bad, popular and unpopular) have been filled up.
The council are allowed to allocate people a 'bad' school even if they didn't list it so I would be very surprised if the council have created an extra class when it wasn't needed.

You know the local situation best but if it is true an unpopular school has spaces yet they are opening bulge classes just to meet preference, I would be querying how this has been allowed. It is more likely that for the first time ever even unpopular schools are full - the birth rate increase has made this the case in many areas.

Schools can change admissions criteria at any stage (with consultation) so yes it is theoretically possible for them to scrap sibling priority at any time just as it is theoretically possible for them to increase or decrease the faith requirement or impose a catchment area or give priority to any other group that it is legal to prioritise. In practice it is very unpopular to scrap or change sibling priority and would be fiercely contested – not just by people on the new posh estate but by anyone with a sibling at the school who has since moved house or who lives right on the edges of catchment and was lucky to get their older child a place in a lower birth rate year.

tiggytape Sun 08-Jun-14 14:59:47

(I mean the unpopular school is probably full in the 2014 Sept reception class - it may still be undersubscribed in other year groups but that's no good for 4 year olds needing a reception place in Sept)

roamer2 Sun 08-Jun-14 21:55:31

In our area I think distance to school takes precedence over siblings - some older siblings moved to our school because their younger sibling did not get a place at their original school. So if you live closer to the school than this new estate is you should be OK. You need to check admission rules which are normally available on the school website

clam Sun 08-Jun-14 22:03:08

What happens in your area roamer does not mean that the OP "should be OK." It varies from LA to LA, so she has to check the rules for her area. And, as others have said, they could change anyway, between now and then.

PhoebeMcPeePee Sun 08-Jun-14 22:06:48

Tiggytape our primary created a bulge class after a parent successfully argued a case for extra places when children living in the village didn't get a place due to high sibling numbers despite the neighbour school being undersubscribed. No great surprise, that bulge class resulted in a need for further bulge classes down the line & the school is now bursting at the seams confused

bucketofbathtoys Sun 08-Jun-14 23:02:28

I have never heard of a bulge class being added if any other school had spaces within a reasonable distance. Bulge classes do create a silly number of siblings, typically 2 years later, but can be longer until all siblings are through reception. Our school had one a while back and then locals couldn't get in

wormshuffled Mon 09-Jun-14 06:58:17

Thanks for your reply, there is no split in the rules for siblings at the moment, and I wouldn't feel comfortable campaigning to get this changed, I know people who would be affected and would end up being lynched! As for if there are places left at surrounding schools I'll ask the LEA for the list.
The poster above this ( sorry I'm on the app so can't now name check) has confined now I am right to be worrying about this.
If anyone is able to give advise on who I am best raising my concern with I'd be very greatful.

bucketofbathtoys Mon 09-Jun-14 07:40:55

I would get all the details off the LEA then work out what the true situation is. I would also look up what provisions they have made for the next few years. In our LEA there was a detailed planning document that listed where they were planning to create extra places etc for the proposed increases in children

wormshuffled Mon 09-Jun-14 11:49:18

Right well I've heard back from the LEA there are 14 places at town council estate school, and 5 in nearby villages. So enough just about to accommodate the 18 bulge class they have added to my village school. I will do as above poster suggested and see if they have dine forward planning yet for this instance, if that is possible. Many thanks

ladybirdandsnails Mon 09-Jun-14 16:02:41

That's highly unusual that they have put a bulge class in a village school when there are places available elsewhere. In out LEA they just offer people whatever school is left with spaces. They have no obligation to offer you your 'preferences'. Its almost impossible to predict the sibling number as many don't show their face until reception. My DC went to a nursery no where near school. Lots of people don't realize that my DC1 has a sibling as they don't see them at the school gate as I work and drop off before school breakfast club etc. What is likely though is that the extra 18 children will have several siblings. If they are all first borns then possible half with have a sibling following them in 2 school years???
I would query it - put a freedom of information request in if need be

wormshuffled Mon 09-Jun-14 16:51:53

Query it to the LEA? or the school, this is excellent info thank you!

TAMumof3 Mon 09-Jun-14 21:25:40

LEA do not have to instigate school accepting children above the PAN - PAN is guidence only, school can choose to exceed PAN.
Our village schools exceed PAn, thus creating bulge classes, in years where numbers of applicants are high. lea will looking at the funding of the school as a whole, often you'll find tierd schools with larger numbers of children in the early years, a fall in y2 and y3 as children transfer to private.
The theory that no further bulge classes will occur for 7 years is utterly wrong.
If head has taken in 50% above PAN they will be recruiting and planning for the associated space needs of extra children.

SE13Mummy Mon 09-Jun-14 22:03:16

Have a look at the council minutes online - it may be that the school has been earmarked for expansion, that a federation may be afoot or that something else is in the pipeline that is expected to shift the pressure from the popular village school. You could contact admissions again and ask why a bulge has been created at the village school given the number of available places locally and perhaps get in touch with the director for children's services or your MP if you don't receive any sensible answers.

ladybirdandsnails Mon 09-Jun-14 22:28:51

This is definately

ladybirdandsnails Mon 09-Jun-14 22:29:38

Definately one worth pursuing. I would speak to other parents too to raise awareness

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