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Driving past two of my preferred infant schools to get to allocated school which I don't want ds1 to go to

(37 Posts)
2boysnamedR Sat 08-Mar-08 01:31:54

I found out last week that ds1 didn?t get into any of my three ?preferred? primary schools. I chose the three closest schools as they are all ok and I thought I would stand be able to get into at last one of them. Number 1 is 0.7 miles away, it is the only school I can walk to and it takes less than 10 minutes walk. It is my village school. I was married in the church next door, both boys where baptised there. My second and third choices where 2 miles away. These are the three nearest schools to my house.

I have not got into any of my choices and in fact have to drive past both my first choice and second choice of school to take my son to his allocated school which is not too good to put it very kindly.

I was not to happy (to put it very mildly) about this and phoned about 15 local schools, but no one had any places. After much upset all round we eventually found a school with places but is 7 miles away and in another county (ironically under treat of closure but seems lovely). So much for the carbon footprint. I am appealing but know I am doomed to fail as at least 12 other parents are in a similar boat to me. However I want to do something - maybe try to get the schools role increased as it was cut a few years back. Also I am narked that I was dismissed for school number 2. How can you drive past two schools to get to another school when I live closer to them?? angry

Any advice on where to channel my efforts? Should I appeal for oversubscribed school one, school two or both? I have already contacted local Mp and local Gov representatives, local paper etc. Generally getting myself heard locally. Any advice please???

evie99 Sat 08-Mar-08 11:29:35

I'm surprised this has happened to you, especially with all the connections you have with your local school. It sounds very unfair. Are you prepared to say what county you are in? Or whether any of the schools are aided or have a defined catchment area?
I know that local authorities vary enormously in their approach to appeals. Some are very supportive to parents if they are very close to a particular school, even if full, with a waiting list, church aided etc. They can do a number of things if they wish such as increase the class size temporarily and pay for an extra teacher to maintain the staff/pupil ratio until a child leaves. Other authorities have a more rigid approach. My only real advice would be phone calls/personal meeting with someone at the local authority but you have probably already done this as you seem to be pretty pro-active. Good luck.

nametaken Sat 08-Mar-08 11:37:15

I'd say you have good grounds for an appeal.

wheresthehamster Sat 08-Mar-08 13:16:46

The rules here are that if a school is oversubscribed then the children that will have the longer journey to the next available school will get the places at the preferred school.
Which means that if you live 10 yards from school A and 2 miles from school B, a child who lives next door to you (further away from school A) will get the school A place because the journey to school B will be longer for him/her than it will be for you.

wheresthehamster Sat 08-Mar-08 13:19:10

Meant to say, could you go to appeal and say you don't drive? Is that a good excuse?

evie99 Sat 08-Mar-08 13:35:30

wheresthehamster, I am a bit confused by what you said. Suppose the next door child lived slightly further away from school A but in the direction of school B?
Are you saying that in general terms it is better to live right on top of your preferred school if you want to get in on appeal?

wheresthehamster Sat 08-Mar-08 14:35:35

Sorry to not make it clear. In my example the child next door didn't live in the direction of school B. If they did then they would get school B if school A was over subscribed because 'you' live further away from school B and would have the longer journey. Crikey! I know what I mean! I'm not very good at explaining. Aaaaaargh!

evie99 Sat 08-Mar-08 14:40:13

Thanks for that. I guess it does mean that if you want to appeal it is better to live as close to the school as possible so that you will be further away from everywhere else!

2boysnamedR Sat 08-Mar-08 15:15:30

Hi, I am in Surrey. First choice school is a controlled CoFE school. Second choice is a bog standard no aided school. I live in another village/ hamlet (backwater) to the school but there are a few hamlets all in the same parish. I live closer to the school than some people in the village. I think there is no real catchment for the school and the closest kids get in. In theory we should go to the village school, but as it is oversubscribed we have no school to go to at all. However there was a big hoo har a few years back where one of the governors changed the catchment to get her grandchild in. This basically meant that instead of taking the closet children they skewed the catchment area over to a more affluent village. As you can imagine there was lots of appeals and I hear that the local MP forced the school to increase class size. I talked to the head of the school about this but she joined after that date. There was two mobile classrooms then which have now gone. I have also been told that a new family who moved into the village recently who live opposite the school didn’t get there application in on time, and they are now at the top of the queue. So I can’t be certain where we are on the waiting list but we are not number one. Thanks for all the help

nametaken Sat 08-Mar-08 15:17:52

wheresthehamster I would also like to know whether you could appeal on the grounds that you don't drive. Maybe someone will come along and enlighten us both.

2boysnamedR Sat 08-Mar-08 15:18:19

I have done an application via freedom of information to see where this years intake is coming from but I don't really they would be that stupid twice...

2boysnamedR Sat 08-Mar-08 15:19:24

Hummm... I have to drive - 7 miles from nearest food shop

evie99 Sat 08-Mar-08 22:23:06

2boys, some local authorities will pay for transport costs if your child doesn't get into the nearest school. Suppose you couldn't afford to run a car or couldn't drive? In some cases (I don't pretend to know them all) the authority have to pick up the cost of alternative transport and in this case they sometimes prefer to "bump up" the class size via paying for an additional teacher during the period in which the class size is over 30 rather than pay ongoing transport costs. Might be worth finding out what the policy is of your local authority.

2boysnamedR Sun 09-Mar-08 00:20:21

evie99 thanks for the advice. I will talk to my work as my office is 14 miles away in the opposite direction from school so that is a good argument for a taxi. I will have to drive 14 miles there and back to the school before then going 14 miles to work. There is a possibility if my work is not flexible enough then I have to give up my job, which is the majority of the family income. That might be a good argument for a taxi. Also it’s the truth as I will have to start work at 7am to be back by 3 to pick up my little boy.

evie99 Sun 09-Mar-08 10:17:43

Just one last point. The local authority I am thinking of stresses that it doesn't take take work or childcare factors into account (ridiculous I know). I would check their policies first, and then just possibly say that you can't afford the petrol for all this running around, will have to give up the job/car and they will have to pay for taxis or whatever to get your child to the miles away school. It might put them on the spot. Let us know how you get on.

2boysnamedR Sun 09-Mar-08 12:46:14

Thanks for all of this. I will be back on the phone to the LEA tomorrow and try to arrange a visit to the office with my hundreds of questions and screaming 4 month old!! How can they not take work into consideration??? When the government / EU says you have to consider family freindly policy's??? It's all so arsed about face. I could run the country better myself hmm

idlingabout Sun 09-Mar-08 13:55:05

I'll bet you could '2boys' - as indeed could most of MN ! I don't have anything to add to the sound advice already posted but wanted to sympathise. I have concluded from my own experience ( dd didn't get a place at our catchment school) that LEA's don't give a damn about rural schools and rural communities. All they care about is filling up the spaces in the undersubscribed schools thereby making a complete mockery of the intention of the whole 'choice' thing which was meant to have allowed popular schools to expand. The LEA however, will not allow the popular schools to expand when they have places available at other schools and this discriminates disproportionately against people in rural areas. If you live in town and don't get a place at nearest school there is still likely to be another school within walking distance. But,as in your case, when the LEA fails to allocate a place in your local school you are faced with a car journey. The whole thing is a mess and runs contrary to the environmental responsibilty which councils are meant to demonstrate.angry

marmadukescarlet Sun 09-Mar-08 14:12:26

I am shocked at this, is this a result of the lottery system?

I thought that it would only be used in town/city environments as it is quite obviously - as your post demonstrates- not suitable for rural areas.

princessosyth Sun 09-Mar-08 14:45:44

Make sure you get hold of the maps that they have used when determining the shortest designated route. Sometimes they miss short cuts and may have calculated that you are further away than you are actually are.

princessosyth Sun 09-Mar-08 14:49:03

Forgot to say that group parental pressure can a huge difference. Contact your local press, newspaper, radio etc. Start a campaign in your local area.

In our area the LEA have been forced to open a new classroom for local children who would otherwise have had to travel outside the area.

2boysnamedR Sun 09-Mar-08 19:05:29

The lottery system hasn't come in around here yet. They have chasen the nearest children in a straight line from the school. Seeing as this is a rural area with two pubs, one post office and a corner shop you would think that there would be a case to increase class size as they have built about 20 new Housing association homes in the village and about 60 luxury flats, no account has been taken of that with the local school intake. Unless I lived right next to the school I stand no chance of getting in. I wouldn't mind so much if I had been offered my second nearest school but I wasn't. I feel so mad, like my family has been brushed aside. I live here, my boys plays with the local kids, I helped out at the local toddler group when my boy was small, I was thinking about being a local NCT rep but I have been excluded from my village community. I know its not personal but it really feels personal and I want to fight the desision to the end

leosdad Mon 10-Mar-08 08:38:54

You don't have to drive fourteen miles round trip, as they are under eight the local authority has to provide transport for over two miles as they have allocated the school. Perhaps they will get fed up at having to pay out for taxis/coaches every day (and if they provide transport then if they are late for school because of traffic etc it is not your fault)

2boysnamedR Mon 10-Mar-08 12:18:58

Just phoned the LEA - again! 56 parents put name down as first choice for the 30 places. 4 siblings got in. I can't claim for travel as I didn't go with the allocated school even though I didn't get into any of my three choices. The woman at the LEA was quite helpful and said there is a good chance I will get into one of my schools on the waiting list. She can't tell me where I am on the waiting list until the end of March. However I have spoken to the head at my first choice school and she doesn't hold out much hope for me. I wonder if LEA said that to get me off their back hmm.

So in summary no place in any local school and no help with travel fees unless I send my kid to school under special measures. The school is in a eastate that was on the front of the local paper due to antisocial behaviour and asbo's being issued and tennants evicted. How can they expect me to drive 5 miles to go to a place like that? Stupid LEA rules they take no account of personal cases. angry

princessosyth Tue 11-Mar-08 10:17:01

That is awful sad. As I said in an earlier post we had a very similar situation in our town recently and the LEA did sort it out due to the amount of parental pressure that was put on them.

If it would be helpful, CAT me and I will give you some information on our campaign.

2boysnamedR Tue 11-Mar-08 11:54:28

Hi - sorry I don't know what CAT is? Can you direct me to some instructions please? Thanks in advance!!!!

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