Calling all mums in Nottingham "No sibling school places for out of catchment schools"

(13 Posts)
SarahLawrence73 Mon 05-Sep-16 12:26:11

Hello everybody, I represent a group of parents in Nottingham who have been affected by Nottinghamshire County Council's change which no longer gives priority to out of catchment children even if their sibling attends the school. NCC held a consultation in 2014 which was unlawful and they did not notify parents which meant that when the new criteria came into effect no one new, not even schools. Apart from the fact that the new rules are totally against family values they gave no one the opportunity to apply for school places from an informed position which lead to hundreds of parents being refused school places and they had no idea why. We are campaigning for all the the children in Nottingham and to force NCC to reverse their decision. We have had quite a bit a media coverage and our complaint is currently with the education adjudicator. If you are a parent who has been affected but his change or you have children who will be attending an out of catchment school in the next 7 years with a sibling already attending you will be affected and child will most likely not get their place. Please can sign the petition (link below) we also have a Facebook group for any parent who wishes to join and ask questions and join the campaign.


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icklekid Mon 05-Sep-16 12:44:19

I have signed the petition as I agree it has been done in an underhand way which is wrong. It sounds like other LA have managed to bring it in so it doesn't affect those with children already at the school which makes a lot more sense.

However I am not sure what you want the LA to do now. Presumably schools are oversubscribed in the situation where siblings have not got places and therefore there are no places. From the schools perspective the only option would be to have classes larger than 30 which is in no bodies interest! I presume there are many schools affected so not just a case of 'somehow' adding a class to one or two schools.

SarahLawrence73 Mon 05-Sep-16 12:55:40

Yes, we are not looking to displace children. Our aim is to reverse the decision so parents are not affected in the future and for the children who have been displaced this year to look at what can be done for them with a common sense approach. We have uncovered that NCC are failing to fill the schools they have for example NCC were unaware they had 35 places at a school where they were refusing admissions. They are also publishing the wrong information on their website as to catchment schools and areas. In a nutshell if we do nothing then the problem will only get worse for our children

Carikube Mon 05-Sep-16 16:54:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Carikube Mon 05-Sep-16 16:56:35

Sorry - scratch last message as I hadn't read the whole thing and now see that it is versus out of catchment non-sibling children.

My to sign the petition now [shamefaced]

MrsBungle Mon 05-Sep-16 18:17:54

My family is also affected and I've signed.

SarahLawrence73 Mon 05-Sep-16 19:09:56

Hi MrsBungle, your post made me laugh, don't apologise its great that wanted to participate and everyones comments are valid. Yes only 5 other councils in the UK have adopted this change and all except Nottingham have taken a phased in approach. For living in City and on the border I choose to send my eldest child to an out of catchment school, his little brother did not get in because of the change, had we of known we would have made some different decisions. The real point to all of this is that no one knew they were changing the rules, and they did not consult properly making the changes unlawful. We hope to reverse the decision and protect parents and families in the future. Keeping siblings together is the most important thing here. Sarah

SarahLawrence73 Mon 05-Sep-16 19:10:44

Thank you

RL12 Mon 05-Sep-16 21:59:21

Hi all - just to let you know we have 2 primary age children living in the catchment area who have been allocated different schools. This means there is a much bigger issue going on as this could affect any family with more than 1 child . Please don't think like us that if you live in the catchment area the sibling will be given a place - you won't. I would be interested if anyone has had any support from the schools?

Silenenutans Wed 07-Sep-16 08:17:05

What do you think is the Council's motivation for doing this? As a long term measure, presumably it's a move towards a 'distance from school' approach, perhaps then towards abandoning catchment areas? (I think the City Council operates more in this way).

Is your concern solely about the speed and lack of transparency with which this is being implemented? So your aim is to gain a stay on implementation, until children currently in schools have left?

I understand your upset at the lack of consultation and publicity. Not knowing (being unable to know) what criteria would be applied to your application is clearly unacceptable.

I don't quite understand your comment that 'the new rules are totally against family values' which appears to be about the policy in the longer term. Is that what you mean? Surely once people know what the new rules are they will make application decisions accordingly. So, people will be more focused on distance to school for their first child, if they wish subsequent children to get into the same school. Or they'll play safe and choose their catchment school.

There are lots of cases at the moment where a child gets allocated an out of catchment school, then a sibling doesn't get offered the same school because it has become more popular, so only in-catchment children get in that year. So the 'children in different schools' scenario isn't unusual. I can see your issue where you were confident the school would not be oversubscribed though.

If the council is thinking about dropping catchment areas things would become more 'interesting', as there could be no expectation about siblings gaining places. (Though as RL12 points out, this is not guaranteed at present - presumably where there are so many in-catchment siblings that those further away do not gain places, and no first children in catchment do, is that what happened?).

Anyway, lack of transparency is not good.

RL12 Wed 07-Sep-16 08:59:12

I could live with the policy change if there was some practical help from the schools. But there is nothing. Today is the first day of term and I am still waiting for 2 head teachers to contact me to discuss how we manage late attendance and pick ups.this affects the school too so you would have thought a conversation needs to take place.

MrsPKB101 Wed 07-Sep-16 19:29:48

Having recently fallen victim to this, we have been trough appeal and ended up moving house. He has now been accepted at his 2nd choice (not siblings school) but we are now faced with no wrap around care. Foolishly we thought there is available care for whomever needs it given it is an external company, but no, waiting list for this as well.

Throughout the entire summer any contact with NCC has been horrific, uncaring, no tact and a blatant disregard for any circumstance. We were told at appeal that the Council decided to remove the 4th criteria as, and I quote 'they did not want children based to far away to be given a place just because a sibling attended school'. This shows a complete lack of understanding in terms of circumstance, need or ability to drop/pick up on time. It is not seen as a gross issue if your work is affected, nor if you are physically unable to walk 2 miles with a 4 year old or that you would not be able to pick your child up after school.

The simple issue with all of this is that, we have oversubscribed good schools, with continuous housing being erected and no infrastructure put in place not only will those out of catchment be affected but those that are in catchment to. Unless you live a stones throw from school (under 0.7 miles in our case) you are unlikely to be allocated a spot!

Unfair? Very. Emotionally and physically this has such a big impact, I understand that they need the criteria of course I do. Does that mean that I think it was a fair way to manage this? No. It was underhand (I had to get the criteria with some serious digging) and this was after we had been offered a school 1.9 miles in the opposit direction!

I am sure I am one of many that is now faced with no wrap around care, a second choice or forced placement school and wondering how on earth you can keep sane!!!

Happy to sign & share!

RL12 Wed 07-Sep-16 23:11:55

I share your frustration and cannot believe how stressful it has been. I met with the 2 head teachers today who are being supportive but the 3 Rd head teacher I need to converse with will not even email me. The schools business manager emailed me to let me know that being late and having to pick up early will be recorded as unauthorised absence! !! I despair that this attitude is a role model for our children. I wondered how long it will be when I have to pay my first fine for persistent unauthorised abscence!!

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