Any advice on finding a school when all say they are full?

(32 Posts)
bearandfoxblog Mon 15-May-17 13:47:31

Hello, we are moving to Bruntsfield in July and were hoping our son could start school there after the summer. He will be going in to P3. However, our catchment school (Bruntsfield PS) have said they are full and said to contact the next schools along. I have now contacted Tollcross, Gillespies, Craighlockhart, Dalry, Sciennes, Roseburn and South Morningside Primary Schools, and they all say they are full. Any advice on what to do next? He can't not go to school. So what do I do if none of the schools will take him? We don't drive, so any further out does not seem feasible (and at this point I'm beginning to think I'd get the same answer anyway). Thank!

EmJRoll Mon 15-May-17 14:45:49

Oy! We are in a similar situation made worse by the fact that we don't physically arrive in the UK until July 3rd. For our soon-to-be P4er we have a handful of schools that "may" have space but they won't know until just before the school year starts. It sounds they actually don't check or respond to emails between June 30th and August 14th. We've been told to check back on August 14th. Luckily, my 8 year old is pretty chill otherwise this would be a nightmare. Have you checked out Royal Mile or Leith Walk? Both those schools responded to me promptly with kind emails asking me to check back.

Also, have you actually heard back from Dalry?! I never got a response even after 2 emails.

bearandfoxblog Mon 15-May-17 15:38:11

@EmJRoll We are also outside the UK at the moment, and we didn't even get any maybes from any schools we contacted (I just phoned them all up, btw, including Dalry, and spoke to someone directly). I didn't check Royal Mile or Leith Walk, as they are 30-40 mins by public transport from our new place, and that's providing there are no delays. My son is not having a great time at his current school, so I feel a bit under pressure to sort something out for him that isn't going to put him (and me) under even more stress. I am seriously at a loss for what to do.

EmJRoll Mon 15-May-17 15:55:01

Sounds awful and I can commiserate. Where we live in Minnesota, you literally walk to your closest school (which is open throughout the summer (!!!)) and sign your kid up - no matter what grade/year. Do you have a signed lease yet? We sent our signed lease to the Edinburgh Council and they gave my son a provisional P1 place at Bruntsfield (we need to provide more proofs of our legitimacy when we arrive). I do know that Bruntsfield was much more forthcoming with enrollment information once we were officially in-catchment.

bearandfoxblog Mon 15-May-17 16:10:18

@EmJRoll Thanks, that gives me a bit of hope. We are just in the process of completing all the paperwork for the lease. I did mention to the school we were moving to the catchment area, but hopefully once it gets finalised this week they may take us more seriously. They weren't even prepared to put us on their waiting list, but I have now learned that if we are in catchment we have the right to join the waiting list.

EmJRoll Mon 15-May-17 16:24:41

Yes, I think you have good reason to be optimistic! Once I sent along our signed lease and visas, they added our daughter to their list. Also, I sent along our lease once we had signed it, I didn't wait until we had received confirmation of deposit from our letting agency.

Hope to see you in the drop off line!

badguider Mon 15-May-17 16:47:56

Try Pentland primary and/or oxgangs. You'll be going against the traffic if you go outward instead of inward.

hapagirl Mon 15-May-17 22:05:51

Once you have your tenancy agreement Bruntsfield will be able to tell you what number you are on wait list. The wait list goes down really quickly over summer. People move away, some who are in wait list have accepted places elsewhere but don't take them off the list etc. I'm surprised they didn't put you on the wait list anyway. When we moved to Edinburgh in the summer of 2013, I put my kids on every school that was feasible to travel even if we were out of catchment. Good luck.

GrooveeCar Mon 15-May-17 22:24:51

Things can change over the summer. I used to do the uniform for the PTA and we regularly had new children in to order the day before school started as they had been given a place very late.

EmJRoll Mon 15-May-17 22:54:26

Does anyone have any experience with hearing from schools over the summer break? Is it true that I can't expect to hear from anyone between June 30th and August 14th?

tothesea Tue 16-May-17 15:08:59

The council hand the waiting lists over to the schools on 14th of August. The school can't tell you anything before then. At least that's what I was told!

KingLooieCatz Tue 16-May-17 15:54:18

St Peters? It's a Catholic school but I have no idea how strict they are on actually being a practicing Catholic, and it would be fairly close. I don't know for sure but I doubt there will be any staff in schools over the summer break. There is likely to be movement over the break so within a day or two of term starting some of these schools may well have places. The coordination is not very sophisticated e.g. if children get offered a place at school B, school A are not informed and won't know till term starts that they now have a place, unless the parents have the decency to tell them.
Bruntsfield is a bit of hot spot for popular schools. It's quite unusual Tollcross and Dalry can't fit you in.

When we were looking some of them told us how many were already on their waiting list.

Good luck! The council will give you a place somewhere but it may not be a school you'd choose so it's good to be pro-active. The day will come that this is all a memory.

bearandfoxblog Tue 16-May-17 16:18:19

St Peters have also turned us away. They already have a waiting list for P3s, and since we are not Catholic we would be ranked low priority. Tollcross already have ten P3s from their catchment area on their waiting list. Does anyone know, if you get placed in an out of catchment school, can you still remain on the waiting list for your catchment school and then switch when a place opens up? Our younger son starts school in two years, and all the out of catchment schools told us that even if we did manage to get a place with them for our older son, that wouldn't guarantee a place for his younger brother, and that the only way to guarantee they both end up at the same school is to get a place at the catchment school.

cherish123 Tue 16-May-17 23:02:31

Could try Buckstone - a 15 or 20 min bus ride from Bruntsfield.

bearandfoxblog Wed 17-May-17 08:50:50

My worry about ending up in a school further away (and having to rely on there not being any public transport delays) is how to manage drop off and pick ups and still make it to work on time. How do other parents manage it? I also have a younger son, who will need taken to nursery in the mornings, and my husband will be working out of town every other week. Hence looking for a school closer to home.

bearandfoxblog Wed 17-May-17 08:57:38

@cherish123 I just checked - it's an estimated 31 minutes by public transport from our new house to Buckstone Primary sad

Datec Wed 17-May-17 10:42:24

Are you totally set on Bruntsfield? Do you have to be there .. I would move to a area with availability. Really surprised as another poster said that Dalry and Tollcross don't have space, don't panic though if you are all signed up to a lease. It will be last minute but spaces do open up in august.

I think as a PP suggested Pentland might be an option, probably a shorter travel time than Buckstone too.

I'm also really surprised by Tollcross as it has been below capacity for a while - it used to house the Edinburgh Gaelic unit which moved a couple of years ago to its own premises in Bonnington and since then there have always been spaces. The last Edinburgh School Roll Projections show it as having capacity of 315, with current roll of 210 children although that might be a theoretical capacity with not all classes in use.

Try not to despair though; a friend moved in to Edinburgh last year and was originally told there were no spaces for her sons and they miraculously found space at the last minute.

Have you chosen a nursery for your younger son yet?

bearandfoxblog Wed 17-May-17 16:03:19

@Datec It wasn't so much a case of being set on Bruntsfield, but a matter of it being next to impossible to find anywhere unfurnished within our price range. We were so relieved to find this apartment when we did. We've already paid the deposit and first month's rent, just need to sign the lease. So yes, we are now 'locked in' to Bruntsfield.

bearandfoxblog Wed 17-May-17 16:09:00

@StatisticallyChallenged Unfortunately Pentland is only fractionally closer to get to from our house, also 25-30 mins one way by public transport sad I was surprised at Tollcross too, everyone had said it was a sure thing to get there so that was our backup. We may just be unlucky that P3 is over capacity. I'm hoping once we have the signed lease in hand things will get easier - and we will definitely put in an appeal for a place.

We still need to sort out our younger son for a nursery - I fear it will be a similar nightmare?

Nursery could well be a problem - are you looking for full time private? If so you need to start making calls and getting your name on lists NOW. Especially closer to town some of the nurseries have enormous waiting lists although kids moving to school can create spaces but these are often swallowed up younger kids on the list.

Where are you going to be based for work and people might be able to suggest options?

badguider Wed 17-May-17 16:54:31

Lots of kids go private at p3 but they probably haven't relinquished their state school places yet.
I think you'll be fine on a few waiting lists and you'll get into Bruntsfield at some point I'm sure.

badguider Wed 17-May-17 16:57:06

Also in Scotland there is a HUGE difference between an out of catchment placing request and an in catchment child. You should find things really open up once you can say you are in the catchment. When do you actually move?

badguider Wed 17-May-17 17:00:02

And have you checked this list to see which schools are under capacity?

Agreed badguider - it's not the same as needing an in catchment place for a P1 start, but you should find yourself fairly high up the waiting list once you have your confirmed in catchment address. Bruntsfield is a big school too so more potential for turnover

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