Rules about fraudulent address in school admissions.(49 Posts)
We are in a close knit rural area. We didn't get a place at our local catchment area school because some parents from outside the catchment area moved out of their "substantial" family homes into dilapidated flats next door to the school... We are 0.6 miles from the school but didn't get a place because of distance. Last year children were admitted from a distance of up to 1.54 miles. So now what? Everybody rush into those flats? If I new I would move too
Could anyone advise what is the law, the rules and any precedents, which could help to decide, and eventually demonstrate, whether those parents should not be offered the place because their real residence is outside the catchment area?
The rules are that the address used for applying to the school must be genuine. If, for example, parents rent a flat and use that address on their application whilst continuing to live elsewhere that would be fraudulent and any offer can be withdrawn. However, if they sell their house elsewhere to move into a flat near the school then move away again once they've got a place that is probably ok.
If you suspect that parents have applied fraudulently you should notify the LA. It is up to them to investigate and, if necessary, withdraw any offers that have been made.
We had a parent move her 6 children into a ONE bedroom flat on the school's doorstep but as they actually lived there it was perfectly legal.
Those parents are genuinely living in the flats, but they didn't sell their house which is 300 metres away, so its a bit of a grey area.
Does anyone know which law or relulation is relevant. I would like to read what the law says and does not say..
It's a despicable thing to do, whether within the rules or not. I remember a few years ago friends talking about moving out of London to a small village. They had decided to rent first while they got to know the place and contacted the school to find out how close they would need to live to get a place in the village school. The school administrator offered to rent them a house he owned which was practically next door to the school! I hope this is an unusual occurrence.
"Which law and regulation" of course. Sorry for punctuation
Yes, when admission distance becomes so tiny, there is a price surge as everybody races to be closest to the school. Selling prices became stratospheric and and incidentally the rent in those flats suddenly went up by £500, so it is now as much as for a 4 bedroom house...
Notts LA appear to allow people to move in e.g. put nice house out of catchment up for sale at ridiculously high price so that it will never sell, move in to smaller in-catchment property, get school place and move out again but that's not actually fraudulent.
However, admission docs state that you should still be at the rented property when the child starts school and that definitely hasn't been the case in the case in the past.
On day one of school - or the admin day the day before - time should be set aside for parents to bring in documents of less than one month in date showing that they have paid council tax and rent for the address used to get the school place and for the school office to check the documents.
Thank you mrz, for this link!
The text is actually vague about what constitutes fraud... Does anyone know how the law defines what is their residence if they own one home and rent another?
For info the regulation states this:
Withdrawing offers of places
1.50 Once an offer of a school place has been made it is only reasonable for an admission authority to withdraw that offer in very limited circumstances. These may include when a parent has failed to respond to an offer within a reasonable time or the admission authority offered the place on the basis of a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application from a parent (for example, a false claim to residence in a catchment area) which effectively denied a place to another child; or where a place was offered under co-ordination by the local authority, not the admission authority, in error. If a parent has not responded to the offer of a place within a reasonable time, the admission authority must remind the parent of the need to respond within a further seven days and point out that the place may be withdrawn if they do not.
I think you need to check individual LEA policy as they can vary.
Does SSFA 1998 stipulate anything about the residence / address?
No it doesn't.
The rule is that the parents must give the address at which the child normally lives at the time the application is made. If they are genuinely living at the flat they are in the clear. If they are only using it to get into the school they are not. At the end of the day it is up to the LA to decide.
As I said previously, if you think parents may have applied fraudulently you should report the matter to the LA and let them sort it out.
It's not against the law to move house to get into a school - even temporarily, which seems to be the point here. I know some people who moved from a leafy terrace to a firehazard flat at thousands a week to get their kids into a decent school - for seven months.
Interestingly, the school did insist on a 'home visit' just before term started, which was obviously to check that this professional family did actually live in the dump. The parents had to delay the move home by a month.
Thank you all for supportive comments and good ideas I will contact the LA about this.
I feel like a petty idiot, but it is my son that got a place at an exeptionally failing dreadful school in special measures which is even not our catchment.
I think it is very unclear what constitutes 'residence' until somebody brings a test case and a judge comes with a judgment. For a while we rented a house in London whilst trying to let our own house in a rural area.
We considered the flat in London our primary residence as we lived there full-time and had London GP etc. however when we applied for council tax reduction for our empty property in rural area as it was a de facto second home it was refused. The local council argued that as we owned the other home we could always go there whereas the rental property depended whether the landlord was letting it to us or not. We thought it a very flawed way of reasoning as we can only go to our rural property if we keep up with the mortgage ... however was way to expensive to take the local council to court. A long way of saying that the law is unclear on what constitutes 'residence' - I think it is in practice interpreted to suit the local government ...
I am thinking about doing this. I live a couple of minutes walk away from the border of the catchment area concerned and wouldn't feel the slightest amount of guilt if my child did then get in to the school. She should be going there anyway. It is our closest secondary school.Children who live further away on my street do go there - but catchments change from year to year. She should be going there anyway. It is our closest secondary school. The school has a poor reputation for checking that applications are genuine.
No, I would genuinely move for a year. As I have said children from my road do go to the school and children she has been at primary with will go to the school. I shan't feel guilty about it, not at all.
So I need some advice. I applied to a school from an address out of the local catchment as I was in the process of buying a place right near the school. I purchased my new place just as places were being allocated and I was given a place. I've lived there for three years now right on the doorstep to the school and now need more space. I kept my old place. Can I move back to the old place? Is there a rule or a law that applies? I have physically lived on the doorstep for three years. Surely I'm entitled to do as I please now? Any advice appreciated.
Lester - I suggest you start your own new thread, as most people who open this will look at and answer the original post, not yours.
Once you have a place at the school,based on a correct address, then there is nothing to stop you moving anywhere. Obviously moving after 3 months will create a few questions, but 3 years will not.
The issue comes if you have more than one child as the address to be used will be the new address and they may well not get allocated a place at the same school.
The other point to bear in mind is whether your future preferred secondary school has an admission criteria which gives rise to a catchment area, again moving may disadvantage you.
I would collate all the details. Send to LA ask them to investigate - then leave them to do it.
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