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No Year 9 places in MK - where next?

(8 Posts)
barbershopgel Tue 30-Apr-13 18:51:10

Hi. We (DD going into year 10 in September, DS going into year 7) are moving to MK this summer. However apparently there are no free year 10 places at all in MK schools for next year.

Its the start of GCSEs. We're already moving & I really don't want her to have to move schools again. At this stage we could opt to move to another area in commuting distance (Beds/Northants/Bucks???), though we had planned to move to MK and have a tiny commute. What do you advise? What have others done? Isn't there a legal duty for the state to provide enough places at the schools in the area?

Which are the areas nearby with reasonable schools (with places - at this stage think can't go for the highest performing schools with massive waiting lists)? DD is academic & musical, her brother is less focussed & sporty - but I'm less worried if we have to move him again as he is younger, we are churchgoers if there might be a faith-school option too. Thanks for your thoughts.

DoingItForMyself Tue 30-Apr-13 19:26:26

They may say there are no places but surely they have a duty to provide you with one. Who has told you there are no places? Its not like with Key Stage 1 where they are limited by law to 30 per class.

I had the same thing when we moved here, so ended up choosing an area which had the only spare places (a new school). School was crap, didn't like the area either, so we moved into a different grid square and appealed for DCs to move to the school in our new area which was 'full'.

They got in as I told the appeal panel I didn't have access to the family car every day and needed to be within walking distance, that I had other DCs coming up through the school system who would be eligible for places due to living within a few metres of school and that I couldn't be in 2 places at the same time. Common sense prevailed (imagine that?!)

If it helps, they are planning on expanding Oakgrove school due to the new homes being built opposite. Its an excellent school so if you can get in there you'll be happy.

barbershopgel Wed 01-May-13 05:24:58

Thanks so much DoingItForMyself, really helpful. I was told by the Admissions Officer of one school, and am now trying to check centrally. But it seems they are limited by the admissions numbers for the schools, - and the fact that so many schools have massive waiting lists, so its hard to get a realistic picture. Shenley has 127 kids waiting for a year 7 place.

I thought they had a duty to provide a place too, and to be fair the woman I spoke to last week centrally was far less alarmist than the email I got yesterday.

Do you know when they are expanding Oakgrove, ie is it likely to be for September or longer term?

cupcakekid Wed 01-May-13 11:10:04

As you are church -goers have you tried St Pauls? As it's the only Catholic high school in Milton Keynes if you wanted a faith school I'm sure they would have to really try to get you in.

Agree with DoingItForMyself, Oakgrove is a good school but I don't think the expansion will be ready for September. Walton High also has a very good reputation and results if you haven't tried that yet.

Good luck!!

titchy Wed 01-May-13 11:26:34

How many are on the waiting list for year 7 is irrelevant if you're after a year 9 place!

You can't apply till you're actually there, or exchanged, but if there is a vacancy you have to take it within a week or two, so have you actually moved?

Once you have an address apply to any school you're happy with. If there are no spaces the LEA should offer you a spcae somewhere else.

If there are no space whatsoever the LEA needs to invoke Fair Acess Protocol and force a school to admit above its admission number. They will pick the school most able to cope with an extra child, whcih may not be the one you want. However if you have a preferred school and are turned down you can appeal.

barbershopgel Wed 01-May-13 18:58:46

@titchy, we're after places for both children (year 7 & 10 next Sept), eventually in same school ideally, though I get once we get one in that impacts on chances for other one. Really helpful to understand about the Fair Access Protocol, hadn't understood that before, and that answers my question, so you don't have to move from the LEA because the LEA can force a school to make a place. Big relief - though I get it isn't the school you might choose.

Its complicated as we are currently abroad, husband is UK civil servant on posting, and so I'm trying to prearrange as much as possible from Africa. Coming back in a fortnight to hope to do all visits/set all forms/ paperwork/ accommodation in motion in a week, - which means lots of research beforehand!

cupcakekid thanks, great to hear more about these schools.

Thank you all so much, you're a great resource! Really helpful as you try to pick your way between the minefields.

DoingItForMyself Thu 02-May-13 14:56:04

Hope you get it sorted, if I can help in any way before you get here, do let me know, more than happy to help. Maybe once you move here we can even meet up for a cuppa!?

barbershopgel Thu 18-Jul-13 23:27:12

Just wanted to update a few months later, for the sake of anyone in a similar situation reading this later. Did eventually (today) get them both places in the same local school after quite a process.

My tips would be: MK Admissions were very helpful giving a steer on how many children on waiting lists for different schools/years, & also roughly how many under which criteria, so we could see that they were highly unlikely ever to get into certain schools even if living very very close;
and also those which while full, had few on the waiting lists.
We used this information to choose the schools/housing areas to apply to, ie no point falling in love with school A if there are 127 children on the waiting list for your child's year. Most likely many are going to be higher up the list than you. Opted to visit and apply to the realistic options rather than fantasy football.

As our second choice we chose an undersubscribed school (which on visit we really liked), so the kids had some certainty that either they would get into first choice (a punt) or second. This made a difference for our children as rather than endless uncertainty they had a feeling of two good choices.

Once rejected by first choice as we were, we were advised to go to appeal as this is the only way to override the school's planned admissions number. Prepared the case, but fortunately got a place on the waiting list shortly before the appeal. But nationally 1/3 get in on appeal, so it is worth a go.

So despite the bleak numbers, there is movement, even in year 10, don't give up hope - but do be realistic in your choices.

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