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Moving to London from US--Need Secondary School(s)

(12 Posts)
Suki2016 Thu 05-May-16 16:51:01

We are considering a move to London and of course our twins are going to be starting state secondary school and of course we missed all the deadlines. As he is from NW and friends remains there we would like to either enroll them in Camden or Haringey.

Does anyone have recent advice on how this out of turn process has worked or not worked. I know about the applicayion process via eadmissions. Its the nuanced information Im trying to decipher. Councils, of course, are completely neutral about their commitment to any enrollment anywhere- I get that.

Thanks everyone - I appreciate your thoughts.

PatriciaHolm Thu 05-May-16 18:39:47

For late entry into yr7, You will need to apply to the relevant local authority when you have an address here, in the first instance. The children will need to be resident at the address at the time of application.

They do have the obligation to find you a place, but given allocations have already been made, these might not be in the school of your choice, or even the same school for both children I'm afraid.

If they have to, they can invoke something called the fair access protocol to place children in technically full schools, but that would be in the schools best placed to take an extra pupil not necessary one of your choice.

If you are unhappy with the schools given, you can always appeal for another school you have been turned down for, but that would rely on being able to satisfy an independent panel that the detriment to you child of not being admitted would be greater than the detriment to the school of admitting.

Suki2016 Thu 05-May-16 21:25:56

Thank you - I have certainly gleaned all that from the schools' websites and a call to the council -- what I really want to hear about is anyone having had a real life experience. At this stage everyone sticks to their script so hard they don't even want to admit they could find my children a place.

mummytime Fri 06-May-16 07:32:02

The problem you have is:
Pretty much every school in London is full.
In England (actually I think all of UK), there are defined entry points, once you have a school place you can keep it even if you move, as long as you can get your child there. So there is no fresh registration for every school year.
Yes there is movement so places will occur, but these are offered to people according to their place on the waiting list, which is ordered by the admissions priority. Do until you live here no one can really tell you about places as they will have gone. You have to take up the place within a couple of weeks.

The LA has a legal responsibility to find you a place, and has special powers to do this. However it doesn't have to be a school of your choice or in your home borough. The free transport your DC may be entitled to, in London is just the free Oyster Card all teens can have.

Other people's experience won't help as the same circumstances will not apply to you.

Suki2016 Fri 06-May-16 16:11:15

so in short, they have to offer my children a spot but the choice can be extremely varied in choice and quality.

merlottime Fri 06-May-16 17:52:31

I think the reality is that you many not get a choice, just one place per child. If you turn it down I don't think the LA are obliged to keep looking for alternatives for you, but you can go on waiting lists/Home Ed until a place you like comes up.

Lookingagain Sat 07-May-16 19:45:21

Camden is a pretty expensive place to live....this makes me wonder if you could afford private school? They are all full too, but it might give you a few more options.

chuilc Sun 08-May-16 19:27:36

Suki2016, I feel your pain as we are in the same boat. My 2 eldest kids started school in the UK but we have been in the US for the last 5 yrs and are planning a return to the UK this Summer. It's all a bit of a gamble it seems. If only the UK zoned areas in the same way other countries do it would be much simpler. The system in the UK is overly complicated and a bit of a mess it seems. As a Brit who knows how it works it's daunting - I feel for foreigners who have to figure it all out from scratch. Good luck with your move.

whatwouldrondo Mon 09-May-16 00:39:23

I came back to the uk a few years ago and ended up giving up on our hopes of a place at our local school (we rented our house out whilst away but could not apply until we were actually resident even though we had proof of our return date though I have heard of some LA s being flexible where the address is known and you can prove when you will be resident). I don't think anyone has mentioned that you can go on the waiting lists for as many schools as you like and then will be offered places according to the admissions criteria , usually distance though with faith schools it will be faith based. So if you pick a school you like and is not hopelessly oversubscribed or has a chance of places coming up and you rent very close you jump to the top of the waiting list and can make a strategic gamble on a place coming up.

I don't think it is unfair though, as others have said London is full, plenty of parents who have been resident for decades find pupils in their road are not making it into any schools on distance and face either moveing, going private, having no offer of a place at all and taking pot luck on waiting lists or at a school it is difficult to access even after applying on time. With that pressure on places (some boroughs will have had an increase of 40% in the number of Year 7 pupils in the 5 years to 2018) fixed catchments would be unworkable and with the exception of faith based admissions, this is the fairest system in an unfair situation. One of the root causes is the number of families moving here and I don't think coming from the US or being formerly resident here is any different to those coming legitimately from anywhere else in the world so having to take your turn in the process seems very fair to me.

AndNowItsSeven Mon 09-May-16 01:14:04

They will oversubscribe for twins ie if there is just one place both your children will be admitted.

whatwouldrondo Mon 09-May-16 02:23:44

I would add that going private is far more common than in the US. In some boroughs the percentage is over 30% and that doesn't correlate only with affluence. Many families faced with the uncertainty over state school places or because they are ambitious for their children are making big sacrifices to educate their children privately and it is not unusual to for eg downsize homes.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Mon 09-May-16 02:43:34

There will though still be some movement over the summer as people decide to go private. If you are initially renting then try to rent near to desired school. Will you be high on any faith criteria? There is a fair access protocol and priority for twins, so if one gets a place, hopefully the other one will, although I think it is a bit of a grey area when outside normal admission periods.

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