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HELP - What is the procedure for changing/viewing/applying - a new school ?

(10 Posts)
Norklet Mon 15-Jun-09 22:05:18

Hi I am moving town in August and am not sure what the procedure is for changing schools (year 3 in sep)

I have contacted the ones I "like the look of" in the new area and some have places available.

Do I make arrangments to visit several and accept a place/apply in each before I pick and choose?
Or do I say Ill think about it and then confirm the one that I want after I have seen them all???
(They have all said on the phone that I can fill out the paperwork when I visit so I presume that means an application form?)

Please help I was educated abroad and have no idea how the system works here!

scienceteacher Tue 16-Jun-09 07:22:46

You pretty much have to accept an offer within a few days. You can't sit on an offer.

It doesn't take long to look around a primary school, so you should be able to visit all the candidate schools on the same day. You can be honest about looking at more than one place.

Millarkie Tue 16-Jun-09 08:09:26

When we moved I began by ringing some schools and also the Local Education Authority (LEA) to find out who had spaces. We then visited the catchment school for our new house (no spaces but we would go high on the waiting list) and a couple of schools which had spaces, one of which offered ds a half day there to see if he liked it.
If we had wanted to take a space at one of the schools with spaces we would need to fill in the application form (sent to us by the LEA) and return it for them to 'offer' and us to accept. (As it was we put ds into an independent school until a space came up at our catchment school).

Norklet Tue 16-Jun-09 10:04:32

Thank you, so if they have spaces they can accept you pretty much straight away.

But, one sent me a rather confusing reply :

"We have one vacancy in Yr. 3 for September and have two on the Waiting List. The place will be offered four weeks before the end of term to the child who meets the criteria on the Admissions Policy (which usually means whoever lives the closest). At the moment I do not know of anyone who will not be taking up their place in September but this could possibly happen between now and the end of August."

If they have one vacancy why have they not offered it to the first person who applied and why are they waiting till september to notify ? ...

AMumInScotland Tue 16-Jun-09 10:49:19

It sounds like they have a set date (4 weeks before the end of summer term) at which they offer the places, so they will look at whoever is on their waiting list on that date, and offer it to the highest candidate.

When they have waiting lises, it's not a question of reaching the top of the list because you applied earliest, you can move down the list if a higher priority person joins it.

So, if you are the closest, and you apply before that date, you'd get the place even though others are on the list and have been there for longer.

Norklet Tue 16-Jun-09 10:56:10

Thank you - much clearer now!

frogs Tue 16-Jun-09 11:00:20

They're not waiting till Sept, I think what they mean is the place won't be vacant until Sept, ie. the child will leave in July so there isn't actually a vacancy atm, but there will be in September, so they're making offers 4 weeks before the end of the current term for the following term What AMIS said about the waiting list system is right -- they have to offer in accordance with the amissions criteria, which usually means distance of the child's home from the school rather than length of time on the waiting list.

The bit about taking up places in September simply means that they do not know of any other child who is planning to leave, but obviously places may come up between now and the start of term, if families decide to move out of the area. Sometime kids simply don't show up for the new term without lettting the school know, and then obviously at some point the school will re-offer the place.

Millarkie Tue 16-Jun-09 11:40:20

One thing to look out for (particular to yr 3 entry) is that in some areas all the yr 2's have to reapply for places at 'junior school' (even when, as it is with my kids' school, it is the same school on the same site). If this is happening there are more formal cut-off dates (ie. the kids should have applied last autumn and been given places about May, then any late applicants will be assessed and given places (if there are any left) before the end of term...then any left over will go on the waiting list and move up/down depending on who else is on/joins the waiting list and how well they fit the selection criteria.
Much easier if you find a school you like which has spaces though We live in an area where there are still more spaces in 'good' schools than children to fill them, but we moved from London where the only spaces would have been in failing schools..totally depends on area.

Norklet Tue 16-Jun-09 13:08:22

So if they have spaces, that would mean after their present year 2's move up there are still "vacancies". (and havent got to the waiting list stage?)
Hopefully a good sign as all the schools in the middle of town are full and have long waiting lists.
I am looking slightly further-a-field as I am happy to drive a bit to a more villagy school which is what DD is used to, and these are the ones that still have places.

AMumInScotland Tue 16-Jun-09 13:25:52

The one you've quoted seems to have room for one extra in Yr3, above their own Year 2s moving up. I don't know what the reason would be - perhaps they can have a larger class size, or someone has already left that class.

If other schools are saying they have spaces, that would either be because their Year 2 is not full, or one or more children in Year 2 are moving away in the summer, or again they may be able to increase the class size.

So it does sound quite hopeful if a number are saying they have spaces - with village schools that's maybe more likely, as the number of children in the village will vary more from one year to another.

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