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school admissions to Year One - is this normal??

(21 Posts)
stripeymama Sat 06-Sep-08 19:24:25

DD (5.6) has been HE since March, and before that was at a private kindergarten. Our local (over the road!) school was closed two years ago, and we now have a very popular one 5 mins walk away, or several others that are over a mile away.

I rang the closest primary school about two weeks ago and left a message explaining that I'd like to know if there was a place for her there for the start of this term. I left my name and number and outlined her previous education.

A week later, after no call from the school, I rang back and got the head. He thanked me for ringing back (so must have got my message and not responded?) but stated that dscussion of availability of places would not be possible until I had visited the school. Obviously I'd like to look round the school before making any decision but my main concern was knowing if a place was available - if not, I will look into other primary schools. However, they are all quite a lot further away and as I don't drive, and they are not bus-able, I'd prefer DD to go to the one 5 mins away.

The earliest he could arrange a visit for is this monday morning - nearly a week after the start of term. Is it normal for schools to refuse to discuss places until they have met you? I know nothing about how it all works. I fear that this may be some kind of selection - if they don't like the look of you, you don't get a place? Or maybe because of DD having been HE? Or am I paranoid?

stripeymama Sat 06-Sep-08 19:25:17

Should add - it is not a faith school.

LadyMuck Sat 06-Sep-08 19:28:22

If it is oversubscribed then they will be using this as a ploy to stop half the county putting their name down on the waiting list when they have no real intention of taking up a place. Certainly primary schools prefer you to visit prior to applying but they can't always enforce this if you apply at reception.

stripeymama Sat 06-Sep-08 19:33:58

But all I want to know is if there is a place at all - if not, then surely there is not point in visiting, much less applying?

Is it really normal to skirt round the question? I did ask it twice very plainly, and both times was told to come and look round before discussing it.

mrz Sat 06-Sep-08 19:34:54

If the school isn't full they can't refuse you. I had one child move out of the area over the summer and we had a phone call on Friday from a family who have moved into the village and their son starts in my class on Monday.

DoNotAnnoy Sat 06-Sep-08 19:36:54

So you want her to start this term?

I don't know how quickly they will turn around the application if they do have a place.

I guess I have never needed to know - butu always assumed you would have to apply at least half a term in advance.

Earlybird Sat 06-Sep-08 19:37:13

Not having a go - why did you leave it so late?

DoNotAnnoy Sat 06-Sep-08 19:37:22

xposts with MrZ

stripeymama Sat 06-Sep-08 19:37:54

mrz yes thats what I thought. But he seemed very guarded about it all. And I can't even visit til nearly a week into the term - ok, I left it late to ask but it was a very last minute decision.

stripeymama Sat 06-Sep-08 19:42:00

Earlybird - I decided at the end of August that actually, DD and I needed more space from each other. I'm a single parent and it has just got too much for me to be with her all day, every day.

It was bad timing for coming to that realisation, I know.

If a place was available for the start of the term, she would have gone. But despite speaking to the head a week before term started, I still don't know.

roisin Sat 06-Sep-08 19:47:08

It sounds a bit odd to me.

If I were you I'd phone the school places team at your LEA. They will be able (and willing) to tell you which schools in your local area have spaces in yr1.

Have a look on your local county council website, and look under school admissions info. There will be a phone number in there for the School Admissions Team.

Round here the decision would be with the LEA team anyway, not the individual schools.

Earlybird Sat 06-Sep-08 19:48:55

I don't know much about admissions either. Sounds tricky. In your shoes, I'd go along for the tour, and see if they have a space for your dd to begin immediately.

Do you/she know any other children at the school?

If no place is available for now, what about next term? Could you keep HE'ing her until then?

stripeymama Sat 06-Sep-08 19:55:37

Have just been advised by teacher friend (but from different LEA) on similar lines - ask LEA admissions team, and also phone a couple of other local schools to see if its standard for the area.

I can keep HE for now, luckily I have family support with it as my mum (teacher and HE my brother) is currently not working.

I have just got in a tizzy that the school are going to decide they don't like the Looks Of Us or something.

Thanks for advice everyone.

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 06-Sep-08 20:09:56

Stripey - it may be that the head just can't commit. If places are allocated by the LEA then he may not know if they have others 'waiting'. We usually say to parents that we provisionally have a place but it depends if the allocations team have someone in the system. Also some children just don't turn up in September but you can't just give the place to someone else incase they have a valid reason for a no-show. He may be waiting for further info on a non-returner.

If we have a place and a child comes to look around they can start the next day.

Littlefish Sat 06-Sep-08 20:26:04

If there is a place, he cannot refuse to take you. It is untrue that he cannot allocate you a place until he has seen you at the school. He is talking absolute rubbish. I would phone the LEA and ask them. Tell them what he has told you.

Blu Sat 06-Sep-08 20:34:51

DoNotAnnoy: places are filled within half a day, not half a term, in our borough!

But I think it is likely that at this time of year they are finding out who hasn't shown up and isn't coming back, who is on waiting lists and highest priority, offering and seeing if the place is accepted, offering to nest on list, etc.

mrz Sun 07-Sep-08 11:45:03

I would have thought if the head couldn't commit or oversubscribed he would have advised phoning the LA. What happened at my school is the mum phoned said she had been told that x child no longer wanted a place and she had moved into their house and wanted to put her child on list. The head then contacted LA to see if other children were still on the waiting list or had accepted offers from other schools then he contacted mum and offered place all done in one day.

believeintheboogie Sun 07-Sep-08 20:04:19

Somewhere online you can look at the admission numbers for primary schools in your area, I did this when we needed to move schools with dd so I knew before I approached the school they had places , Its in the admision for reception children section of council websites.

If there is a place then they should have to offer you one asap as it is their responsibility to keep a child in continious education as soon as possible (dd has two days off before they started her at new school)

I know that once when I used to work in schools a head teacher told a home educating mum that we didnt have places when we did as he thought the child would be a spoilt brat who had had their own way at home for years (NOT MY VIEW ABOUT HE AT ALL by the way)

The mother went to the LEA about places and was told there were infact places, head got a telling off from LEA and the child starting with us

believeintheboogie Sun 07-Sep-08 20:11:11

I should just add that the Head teacher was a total prat in general

stripeymama Sun 07-Sep-08 20:19:05

I just feel like it would have been nice to be given the information I needed when I asked for it - last minute I know, but still before the start of the term. I accept that he may have been unsure (ie children may have moved away over the holidays or whatever), but then why not say so?

believeintheboogie - that is exactly what I am worried about. Going to ask the LEA first thing monday, before the visit.

believeintheboogie Sun 07-Sep-08 20:24:21

stripeymama if you type your council and then primary school admissions into google it should list in the Primary admissions booklet the admissions limit and number admitted for last year which would have been the year your dc would have entered reception if not home educated wouldnt it, I know a couple could have started or left between now and then as dds new school has lost 3 and gained 2 in dds class alone but head should have at least a general idea of how many spaces he has.

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