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Moving to SE London from South Africa - help re school admissions, oversubscriptions etc!

(15 Posts)
Madamdarkin4 Sun 13-Mar-16 08:29:43

We are moving back to the UK with our girls aged 7 and 5. My husband is British and I am from SA. Ideally we would like to live in South East London where we lived beforen(Dulwich, Crystal Palace etc) as I know the primary schools are pretty good and decent rental prices plus connections on the overland.

Issue is all the schools in the immediate radius seem does this work then in terms of getting the girls into any decent school? I have no idea what to do. We can only apply for places once we have an address etc, this will be only around March 2017 which also means it will be a mid year application. Does this mean they in all likelihood can end up in a school miles away? Or what must we do?

I feel so lost...

Thank you
Nicola xx

LIZS Sun 13-Mar-16 08:35:40

If you are talking state schools you'd complete an in year application to the borough/local authority and take your chances on a local school having a space in the right year group/s. Class size below aged 7 are restricted to 30 maximum so no leeway on numbers. You can also then go on waiting lists in case others leave, especially if you are allocated places at different schools but these are ranked according to their admissions criteria - sibling link may be placed higher than living close by for example, but you'd need to check each out.

Madamdarkin4 Sun 13-Mar-16 08:42:08

Thank you. From what I see all the schools are oversubscribed, does that mean the chance is basically zero for them to get into any school in those areas? Which in case SE London may not be the best option and perhaps we should look at Putney, Richmond area....

Avebury Sun 13-Mar-16 08:46:31

Putney and Richmond state schools also massively over subscribed - and I would have thought housing more expensive.
Where do you need to be for work? It might be worth living slightly out of London and commuting in.

LIZS Sun 13-Mar-16 08:50:03

It's a lottery as to where there will be vacancies at the time and it probably won't make much difference where in South London you base yourselves tbh.

prh47bridge Sun 13-Mar-16 08:52:26

Your children will get school places. The council has to come up with places for them somewhere. That will normally be at the nearest school with places available. Unfortunately this is likely to be an unpopular school which could be some distance from home. Note that the council doesn't have to find places for both of them at the same school.

The class size limit can be breached if there are no school places available within a reasonable distance (which broadly means around 45 minutes travel each way) but that doesn't mean they will be given places at your preferred school. If the school is more than 2 miles from home by the shortest safe walking route your child will be entitled to free transport to and from school.

Madamdarkin4 Sun 13-Mar-16 08:52:35

Not sure yet as we are keeping our work options open until closer to the time, but we both work in advertising/media so most likely would be central London.... So confusing! If schools in area are oversubscribed does it mean one needs to look at the quality of undersubscribed schools in the vicinity and evaluate their quality?

Madamdarkin4 Sun 13-Mar-16 09:10:01

So it's wiser to look at areas where the undersubscribed schools are of better quality? Any other areas anyone would suggest? Brockley?

PettsWoodParadise Sun 13-Mar-16 12:01:24

Do investigate the oversubscription criteria of a school. They can differ but many go on distance. If you are really close to a school with distance as a key criteria you would jump to the top of a waiting list and it would only be looked after children who could go higher than you. Once you have one child in your preferred school if they have a sibling policy then child two jumps to the top of the list. We live in SE London but a bit further out in leafy zone 5.

citykat Mon 14-Mar-16 09:34:45

Is not nearly so problematic if they are in KS2/aged 8+. Massive over subscription further down school but places do come up in the older years.

EssentialHummus Mon 14-Mar-16 09:46:05

Goeie môre!

Brockley is a brilliant area for families, and you will get more for your money than in Dulwich, Richmond or Putney. Good transport links to central London. Most of the schools around here are good. School catchment areas, however, are all the size of my ass (and not in a good way! grin). There are bits of the postcode that just do not fall into catchment for any really local schools, with the overflow going to a large school down the road in Deptford. can help with checking these.

Happy to speak about Brockley/Crofton Park/Telegraph Hill in more detail if needed.

Madamdarkin4 Thu 17-Mar-16 10:36:15

Thanks everyone! We are fortunate in the sense that for the first 6 months we will be staying with our family in Northhamptonshire, the girls will go to school there and I have 6 months to investigate all whilst I wait to apply for my visa.... Am sure it will be less overwhelming once I am in the country and able to visit the areas etc!

TheWildRumpyPumpus Thu 17-Mar-16 10:41:15

I moved up to Northamptonshire from SE London last year! What ages are your children?

chuilc Thu 17-Mar-16 13:50:57

I feel your pain as we are going through the same thing after 5 years in the U.S. Our kids are 7,10, 12 years. If I was you and my kids were a bit younger I would move to where you want to live and keep your fingers crossed. We used to live in SW London and although schools are over subscribed there (and more or less everywhere it seems!) there will be movement - even if it means waiting a couple of months. Also, once you get one child in to a school your other child (as a sibling) will jump straight to the top of the list.
I just wish the UK was like other civilized countries and areas were zoned for specific schools so that when you rent or buy a house you know exactly which school your child will be attending. Good luck!

Blu Sat 19-Mar-16 06:49:10

Madamdarkin, for an 'in year' application a place may be as likely to come up in a popular school as in an unpopular one. The population of London is highly mobile. Dc's school was 'Outstanding' , and only one form entry and every year a few places became available in his year.

My advice would be to move right on to the doorstep of a good, but bigger primary, in your original area suggestions would include Goodrich or Rosendale, because then, with two children, you have, for a 3 form entry school, 6 classes within which a place becomes available, and then the sibling is at the top of the list.

I haven't checked exact school sizes but you could also look at Julian's primary in West Norwood, or between Hitherfirld and Dunraven (very close together so two school opportunities) in Streatham Hill / Tulse hill - all these areas have fast overground links to Londin Bridge or the Thameslink line stops. And are of lower house price brackets than your original list.

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