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Would you rent a property in a school catchment area?

(26 Posts)
micegg Fri 06-Jun-08 14:53:36

DH and I are new to the whole school thing so please excuse our naivety! DD is coming up to 3 and we are looking at school nurseries at the moment. We are trying to pick schools where DD is more likely to get a school place at so we started with our nearest (1100 metres from one and 15oo from the other!). However, according to the council both schools are over subscribed and we would be unlikely to get a place at either school for reception. I was a bit shock at this as it seems crazy that we would have to travel past 2 local schools. We live in a London borough where alot of the schools have various problems which i am assuming would be where we would be offered places. We can't afford to move closer to the schools of our choice so DH suggested we rent a property near to the school whilst we apply and then move back to our house. It sounds totally hmm as we are literally talking about less than a mile in distance but do these things really go on? I have to say I cant see us doing this but surely it must happen.

PrimulaVeris Fri 06-Jun-08 15:05:05

It will probably be against the LEA's rules - you have to apply from the main residence. Even if you can do it technically, it's really bad form.

I also live in an oversubscribed area and some people do try this ... and get caught. I know of one person who'd done this (Secondary), got found out and the child had to leave his new school after being there a term.

So be warned. And sorry, I've got no sympathy whatsoever for people who do this.

nailpolish Fri 06-Jun-08 15:11:25

youd be cheaper sending them private

nailpolish Fri 06-Jun-08 15:12:17

but to answer your orginal question, yes i would, to be perfectly honest

sitdownpleasegeorge Fri 06-Jun-08 15:29:22

If the available options were dire then yes I probably would. We may even sell up and move to a suitable catchment area when the ds's approach to secondary school.

To do it as "cleanly" as possible you'd need to start renting as soon as possible and be prepared to do it until after your child starts school so that there would be no problems with surprise home visits during the application/acceptance period.

Renting for say 2 years on this basis would then mean that you could rent your existing property out too, so minimising the additional costs or were you planning on renting it out anyway ?

You can explain the move later as "having to downsize to a cheaper property for personal reasons".

Until the government is able to offer all children a good school I don't think I'd feel guilty following the lead of our policiticians, many of whom utilise the same sort of tactics that are agonised over her on MN.

LadyMuck Fri 06-Jun-08 15:45:20

Yes it goes on. Being on the electoral roll seems key. If we are looking at primary school then length of tenure downs't matter. You need to be in the address at the date you apply and ideally still be there until the date that she starts school.

That said, before youresort to such, I would investigate your chances of applying from your current address more thoroughly first. For example there are probably other primary aged children living within 100m form you if you are in London - where do they go to school? Can you talk to their parents and find out whether they got in on the first round of applications or by waiting on the waiting lists? Phone the school secretaries and ask about your chances - they are usually the most knowmedgable people int he process, and can often give you a good estimate of how many siblings etc there will be in your year.

You can also go to your local council office and see the maps used in the application process. In my LEA (Croydon) these are done for each school each year, so you can look at the schools nearest to you and you will see on the map all of the applications made to that school which had to be decided by distance (obviously people applying with siblings/SN etc will be allocated ahead of this). You will proabbly be able to work out from the map what chance you would have of getting a place, though do look at a number of years as sibling numbers can vary.

Finally be aware of how the oversubscribed stats are calculated. Most parents apply for more than one school but the council shows all the applications for that particular school. Not sure whether it is the case for every borough.

justaboutconscious Fri 06-Jun-08 15:46:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

justaboutconscious Fri 06-Jun-08 15:46:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Fri 06-Jun-08 16:53:59

You will need to actually live there. Some shcools are now checking that the people do not own another property (not sure how?)- also, other paretns will find out - I know some people who did this, very blatantly, did not even move into the rented address and gave theie mobile as a 'home number'. They claimed they were getting divorced and that the wife and three children had moved into the two bed flat, while the husband stayed in the 4 bed detached house hmm. The school did not find out, be all the parents knew, and the cheating parents were ostracised, some also ostracised the boy hmm.
After two years they moved away to a massive house in Kent (for the grammars, presumably...) and so had deprived another child that might have stayed all the way thru... Not nice.

micegg Fri 06-Jun-08 20:31:08

Thanks all. As I said I dont think we would actually do this. I would feel very uncomfortable about the whole thing. I am just some what shocked at the state of the system. It seems ludicrous that if I were to not get into the schools nearest me that just happen to be good I could be offered either a poor school or one thats far away. The area I live in is on the borders of a very affluent area of London. There are a few schools there that you literally have to be 500 metres from the school to get into. Such is the competition to get a place that the houses that fall within that criteria sell for well over the asking price. The majority of people would be priced out (including myself). Its almost like another private school system. I guess most of you are all too aware of this I am just so shocked to be honest. I phoned the LEA again today. The woman I spoke to said that if I were applying to my first choice this year I would now be 14th on the waiting list and therefore unlikely to get a place. I only live 1500 metres from the place!! She also said she thought there had been an unsually high birth rate. The nurseries in this area all seem to admit over 100 children per year but only around 60 to each reception. That suggests to me that I will probably get a nursery place for DD at one of the 2 closest schools but not necessarily reception. However given the numbers admitted each year she wouldnt be the only one. Very different to how I remember school that's for sure!

morocco Fri 06-Jun-08 20:39:31

nothing wrong or illegal about renting a house nearer the school so long as you actually go and live in it for a bit. we might do it for secondary as it will probably be cheaper than moving once you factor in higher house prices plus all moving costs/stamp duty etc. plus I like our current house. I don't know how long is the legal requirement but I wouldn't feel remotely bad about doing it or think it was anyone else's business to be all judgy about it either

morocco Fri 06-Jun-08 20:40:31

if the situation is that dire, you might find it hard to get a suitable place to rent if you look too late, worth bearing in mind as well

UnquietDad Sun 08-Jun-08 12:08:30

Of course it goes on. But imagine if everybody did this. Where do the other children in your new street go?

mrz Sun 08-Jun-08 15:36:15

My friend bought a house to get her daughter into our local school rather the her nearest school and I wouldn't imagine she is unusual. She never lived in it but rented it out to an older couple with no children and they passed on any mail.

MrsMattie Sun 08-Jun-08 15:38:32

No I wouldn't. I cannot be arsed to get caught up in the whole 'good schools' hysteria to this sort of extent.

mysterytour Sat 14-Jun-08 18:53:29

As long as you are living in the rented accomodation when you make the application and are living there once the child starts school there is not a problem. I know a lot of people who have done this. you can move back to your home the day after school starts if you wish. Call the LEA they will tell you the same. They will most probably want to see council tax bill, child benefit form and tenency agreements as proof of residency. At least you would actually be living there unlike some people who lie and just put a friends address and get away with it

clam Sun 15-Jun-08 10:59:09

In our LEA's admissions document, it says quite clearly that the child must be resident (Mon-Fri)at the address given, at the time of application. It says nothing about once the child starts at the new school. Does this vary from County to County then?

nametaken Sun 15-Jun-08 11:08:33

You will be caught - once a school becomes uber-popular and over subscribed all the parents start watching each other like hawks to make sure that no-one does what your planning, thus putting their own children at a disadvantage.

colander Sun 15-Jun-08 11:59:54

Personally, I would do quite a lot to get DDs into a good school. We bought the house we are in so that we are 150 yards from a school with an outstanding Ofsted report. I love the school too, not just the Ofsted report!! We got in, but friends who are only just under a mile away didn't. (We're not in London).

Would I rent to get in? Probably. HOWEVER - some local authorities are "spying" on people who rent properties to see if they are actually living in them. Therefore, you would have to go the whole hog and rent one, move in, then apply to school, then once the child is actually attending in September, move back. Provided your original house is in the catchment area and the school prioritises siblings in catchment. It's the only way to get away with it in some areas. Do you want to go to all that trouble?

hayley2u Sun 15-Jun-08 12:05:14

i was living dads at the time for the school i wanted ds to go to. even though i moved other side of village. nothing as been said and i intend to put my dd in the school too

t0tallyl0st Wed 03-Oct-12 15:24:00

I am considering renting/buying a flat nearer to the local school. There are 3 schools in the village. 2 Catholic schools and 1 state school. My house last year was 100 metres outside catchment area (which is only 800metres / 0.5 mile already) for the state school. I expect the cathment area to shrink further with yet another 3 new blocks of flats being built opposite the school. As we are not catholics we can't apply to the other 2 schools. We do not have much choice really. We either do nothing and end up driving several miles to the allocated school (we both work) or buy a flat on the other side of the road (literally) and hope we can get a place. Am I that wrong wanting my children to go to our local school? Surely it is fault with the system?!
Local council allows building of new blocks flats (4th development in the kast 2 years alone) ensuring they can raise more money in revenue yet are unable to provide the community with a required number of spaces and parents are left in a limbo? BTW the school's intake only 60 kids a year and the school hasn't increased their capacity since 2002.

BeingFluffy Wed 03-Oct-12 17:24:17

OP we all want the best for our children. How will you feel though if you edge out another child whose family can't afford to move?

I think you are stirring up a hornets nest by continuing to own your home and renting another one. Some London councils do specifically ask about this and their own council tax records might alert them to the change of address. Councils can check with the land registry, Stamp Duty Land Tax records and Experian etc though I doubt they do that for each applicant.

You sound like you are in the middle of nowhere. I live in a London Borough and have a school 150metres and another 250 metres away. Why not take the opportunity to move home permanently to an area where you would be more likely to get a place at a local school?

PiggyBankMum Wed 03-Oct-12 17:48:35

The OP was from 2008!

tiggytape Wed 03-Oct-12 18:00:07

As long as you are living in the rented accomodation when you make the application and are living there once the child starts school there is not a problem.

This is nolonger true in many London boroughs (and other areas). They aren't daft and got wise to this a long time ago.
Some areas allow it (or turn a blind eye) but some want proof that you not only live there but that it is your permanent home. If your council tax records (or recent child benefit statements or address registered with the primary school) prove that you actually own a house 2 miles up the road whilst renting a house slap bang next to a good school, they will use your proper family home as the official address and refuse to accept the rented one.

The greater the shortage of school places, the greater the chances they will adopt the no-renting rule, check up on suspicious claims and the greater the chance other parents will get wind of it and grass you up to the council. Afterall it is often their child who might miss out.

lionheart Wed 03-Oct-12 21:47:34

I wonder how she solved it in the end.

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