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Shall I move a happy child to a different school?

(8 Posts)
Greeninkmama Sat 18-Dec-10 20:20:50

I really would appreciate advice here. We didn't get our local school for our DD, and eventually sent her to another small school that is nearby. She is happy and settled, proud of her school - few friendship issues but nothing too horrendous.

We have been on the waiting list for our preferred school since reception, but she is now in Y2 and nothing has come up so far. I have to apply for DD2 in January - and am very torn: should I just put down the school we are already at - or should I apply for my local school and apply for DD1 to go into the junior school?

Generally speaking, the current school has lots of positives - not least the fact that it is a church school and my DD adores RE. The main negative is that there isn't anyone we can do playdates with (which I think will be more of an issue as she gets older), that there is some unkind girl-politics in class, and that a fair few of the kids come from deprived backgrounds and there are behavioural issues - plus it is in a slightly dodgy area so we frequently hear people swearing or see druggies/the odd fight on the walk home. My DD is bright - way ahead of a lot of her classmates - but has had exceptional teachers in Y1 and Y2 so is getting enough stimulation at present.

I am worried about DD2 going to the same school. DD1 has been relatively lucky with the kids in her class - which is widely seen as the nicest class in school. I am nervous that DD2 will get put with a load of rough kids, none of whom she will know. Plus I really don't like the Reception teacher.

The school I wanted is very arts-based - they do lots of great music, arts and performance (all of which both DDs would love). Several of our friends go there, and it is likely that DD2's nursery friends will apply. It is my community school - I would know lots of the parents there and we would be able to share pick-ups if I needed to.

So should I apply for that again in the hope I can get both DDs in - smallish chance - or stick with the church school, which has turned out a lot better than I hoped but isn't what I truly want. Any thoughts anyone?

admission Sat 18-Dec-10 21:00:03

You really need to put down both schools on your application form but it is the order you put them in that is all important.
Does the admission criteria have sibling as a criteria, most do?
If they do then there is a high probability that you would get an offer of a place at your elder daughters school. That is obviously the safe option in terms of admissions.
If you did not get into the local school with your elder daughter what makes you think you will get in with your younger daughter now? One option would be to put down the local school as first preference and the the CE school as second preference. If you then did not get the local school you would under the equal preference scheme still have a reasonably high chance of getting a place at the CE school because of the sibling criteria. However that will then mean you have to be in two places at the same time and will have not made any progress on getting your eldest daughter into the local school.
Your daughter is in year 2 at present, so is still classed as an infant. Does the local school have a PAN on 30? In which case the Infant Class Size Regs would apply until she starts in year 3 and the chances of getting a place under appeal are negligable. You would have a better chance when they are in year 3, so if you decide to take the chance of the local school I would suggest that you appeal for a place for elder daughter in June, so that if you were successful you would start in September. It however is a chance that you are taking and you need to think how you might balance having daughters at different schools because that is a real possibility.

Greeninkmama Sat 18-Dec-10 21:55:27

I would be hoping to get a place for the younger one at my preferred school - and then the sibling link working in favour of my elder one for the junior school (year3). There are four additional places going for that - the main problem is that you have to apply for both infant and junior schools at the same time. I am not sure which the admissions people look at first.

... So I guess I could end up with different schools. That would be horrendous - my eldest would be devastated.

homeboys Sun 19-Dec-10 12:19:04

Message withdrawn

Ineedtinsel Sun 19-Dec-10 13:40:03

I don't think you need to worry about them ending up at different schools because your younger Dd should get a place through the sibling rule at Dd1's school, so if it was me I would put the school you really want as first choice and the other one second on both forms.

The junior school will most likely take a few more children than the infants, have you any idea where your Dd1 is on the waiting list for the first school?

You could ring them and find out. If she is way down the list this might influence your decision.

Good luck what ever you decide to dosmile.

admission Sun 19-Dec-10 18:12:12

Greeninkmama,
Can you confirm is your local school, that you would like to go to, a primary school or is it separate infant and junior schools?
Obviously if it is the latter then everybody has to reapply in moving from infant to junior school which is a different situation from being upto PAN and having to appeal. If it is infant and junior then both will be done at the same time and you will not receive any sibling advantage from the younger daughter getting a place. Nobody in the LA is going to give you any advice over where you stand on the lists until after the initial allocation date.
If it is a primary school, then it cannot change its PAN at year 3 and so I question whether any more pupils will be admitted and they certainly can only be admitted by admission appeals.

Greeninkmama Sun 19-Dec-10 20:18:22

It is a primary school. They apparently have four more places when the children go up to year 3. We are number 2 on the list at the moment I think.

Do they really do them at the same time - that is a real blow. Am going to have to ring admissions yet again to check that.

Really appreciating everyone's input here - have been going round and round on this one!

admission Mon 20-Dec-10 22:39:41

Greeninkmama,
If it is a primary school, then the Published Admissions Number stays the same as the cohort moves through the school. So if starts at 30 it stays at 30. The only possible way that it can change is if there is a partner infant school when pupils there would get priority or if pupils are admitted under an appeal process.

The only other way this could operate are ones that are illegal, but not unknown. That is the PAN is 34 but because of the infant class size regs the LA have only let 30 in at reception year. Now that would be a massive no-no and the Local Government Ombudsman would go mad about that. The alternate is that the school has arbitarily decided that in year 3 it is prepared to take an extra 4 pupils over the PAN. That is also illegal and is exactly why the previous government bought in this very messy system of all admissions in year going via the LA.

You need to look at the admission booklet which will be on the LA website and see what the PAN is for the school. Then talk to the LA and try to get to the bottom of this 4 extra pupils.

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