Children without school places: Barnet(10 Posts)
My little girl is 4 and is supposed to start school in September. Barnet LEA hasn't allocated her a place, and we're told that there are up to 60 children in Finchley alone who don't have reception places. We've spent four months badgering the council with no luck and wondered if there are any other Mumsnet parents out there who are going through the same experience.
It was my understanding that Barnet are obliged to find a place for you, if your 3 choices all turned you down? I'm worried enough about ds1 not getting into the school where he's now at nursery, let alone not getting anywhre. Eeek. He was going to be ok until they changed the rules, so that nursery attendance is no longer an admission criteria He only got the nursery on the second round because it was an afternoon place and someone obviuosly didnt want it. And we only got 2 offers from the 6 nurseries we applied to, so there's even less chance of a reception place being offered, I'd say.
Mumstrunmore, Barnet has now offered us a place but at one of the worst schools in the borough. My older son went there for a few years and was so badly bullied that we sent him to a private school for the rest of his primary years. I'm distraught that now this is the only school they have to offer me. I am going to see an official at the LEA this morning to try to get some idea what's going on.
Which one is thet? <<she says hoping it wont be one ds1 gets sent to, as we're close to 2 crap ones..>>
Ah, not close enough to us(technically. Although I suppose they could place him anywhere). How did the meeting go?
At the meeting they explained to me that in future years whether or not there are places at your three choices of school they will give you a place at the nearest state school (i.e. non church school) that has vacancies. That seems to me hilarious because it shoots down the idea that you have any choice in the matter. Basically what has happened this year is that there has been a big influx of new people into the borough, particularly in the direction of Finchley, and the council has been caught unawares. This is putting particular pressure on Catholic schools (my choices were Catholic schools). The council is creating some new places to meet the demand, but these are at Summerside so no good to me. HOwever i discovered that I am at no. 3 on the waiting list at a nice school (the LEA hadn't bothered to tell me this!) so even though it's miles away I will hopefully get a place there.
Eh? Am I being daft? Are you saying that the 3 choices will be phased out, or that you'll still do it but they'll pay no heed to the form? There's only 2 nonchurch schools close to me, both of which have terrible reputations, and one of which we applied to for nursery (in desperation) and they didnt even give us the courtesy of a 'no'; no response at all.
Catholic schools are a mare to get into anyway, so I'm not suprised you're having problems. But all my local ones are c/e, which is also very very hard as a non churchgoer.
I'm very worried also about distance; we have no car, so reliant on buses, which is going to take forever. I spend 2hrs a day travelling to and from nursery as it is, as ds1 is too little to walk the whole way, so we take the bus part way. Its prob only a mile each way... 4 miles, 2 hrs
No, they are not phasing out the three choices. But if there aren't places at one of the three schools on your list, instead of telling you you haven't got a place they will just allocate you one at the nearest school that has vacancies. You will still be able to stay on the waiting lists for the three schools on your original list, but as you probably know the good schools are quite oversubscribed so unless you are rather high on the waiting list for a school your chances of getting a place at that school are not marvellous.
The problem is that there is rise in the number of small kids in the borough so the 'catchments' for the good schools are getting smaller. For the choices on my form, I am well under a mile away from each school but this year the catchments have shrunk quite a bit compared with last year. I would have got a place easily on the basis of last year's figures, but there are so many new applicants, particularly Catholics, this year, that I was not allocated a place at all. As I say, I am on several waiting lists so now it's just a case of praying that something comes up soon.
Just an update on the school places situation: my daughter now has a place, but at a school about 5 miles away. Also, it's an infants school, so we'll have to find her another place in a few years time. I have heard that some of the 60 people whose child was unplaced have been given schools that they either believe are terrible, or are too far away from their homes and they are refusing to take up the places. The official story is that there was a 'bulge in the birthrate' five years ago which has led to a rise in the number of reception-age children. Since these kids were born five years ago, you'd think someone would have noticed this so-called 'bulge' and provided school places earlier! I think the situation is definitely made worse by the large movement of people into the borough.If I had a child who was coming up to reception age this year or next year I'd be harassing Barnet LEA to explain what is going on.
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