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Help please - house move since 15th Jan but allocation based on old address

(16 Posts)
MissAnthrope Sun 01-May-11 09:50:43

At the time of the deadline for reception applications we were waiting for our lease to end and looking for somewhere else to live.

I settled on a general area and chose schools that had been previously undersubscribed in this area. Obviously this has changed this year as dd did not get a place.

The school that we have been allocated is the nearest one to our old address, though the council have been given our new address.

What are we supposed to do now? Getting dd to the school by the old house (7 miles away) is impractical, and as they've used our old address for admissions surely they'll apply the same address to waiting lists?

sunnyday123 Sun 01-May-11 10:22:15

if you supplied your old address on your admissions form and didnt change it immediately before the deadline then they have allocated you fairly and as such you will now be treated as a late applicant. However you can go on any waiting list you want, in any area. If you gave your new address in, in time then they have made a mistake and you should be able to appeal this just happened to my friend - the school never updated her address and as such she never got in. She complained the very day she got the refusal letter and the school had to admit her -(offered her place as number 31) because she had proof and they admitted their error.

prh47bridge Sun 01-May-11 12:40:35

Agree with Sunnyday123. Just to add a little more detail...

Presumably you gave the council your new address after the deadline for applications. Some councils allow you to change your address for a few weeks after the deadline for applications without being considered late. If your council is one of them and you gave them your new address in time it may mean a mistake has been made which could be the basis of a successful appeal.

Assuming you missed that deadline your application may well have been treated as a late application. If that is the case it isn't surprising that you didn't get into any of your preferred schools. It may just be coincidence that you have been offered the school nearest your old address - that may be the nearest school with places, although that seems unlikely if it is 7 miles away. If they have allocated you a school based on your old address you need to find out which school you would have been allocated if they had used your new address. If you would be happy with that school you can apply for admission there and, if it is full up, appeal for a place on the grounds that your daughter would have been admitted if the council hadn't made a mistake.

The big question for appeal will be whether you can prove that you gave the council your new address. If you don't have any proof and they insist you didn't it will be your word against theirs and it will be down to who the appeal panel believe. Did they send the letter offering your daughter a place to your new address or your old address?

If the council have your new address they should be using that for waiting lists. If they use your old address that would be a clear mistake.

MissAnthrope Sun 01-May-11 12:51:57

Thanks for the replies.

I didn't know on the deadline date where we would be moving so gave the address once we'd moved. I did, however, state in the box that we were moving to X area.

On sending in the new address details the council have added a note to say that it was too late to use the address for allocations but it could be used for correspondence. Ergo it has not been processed as late but by the old address.

There are a LOT of schools between where we live now and the old house so I assume (probably correctly) that it ha been allocated by the old address.

prh47bridge Sun 01-May-11 13:44:39

There is obviously a point in the process when it is too late for them to take your change of address into account, even treating you as a late application. They can't use the possibility of a move to allocate a school so if you were that late they may have got it right. If that is the case you should check that they are using your current address for waiting lists and find out from the council which schools have places.

MissAnthrope Sun 01-May-11 15:00:23

I notified them of my COA at the beginning of March and we only received the allocations today.

I'll have to call them on Tuesday and see what they say.

Thank you for your help.

MissAnthrope Tue 03-May-11 13:42:39

Just bumping this as I have spoken to the council today and been told the following;

(1) We are on the reserve lists but using the old address

(2) I cannot add dd's name to any further waiting lists

(3) The only way to get it all linked to my new address is to make another application (ready for an allocations round in June), but in doing so will be removed from all current waiting lists, and will again be unable to join any further lists if again she does not get in anywhere.

(4) The offer letter actually states that the offer is "made on the basis that your family is resident at NEW ADDRESS " though they say that allocations were made on the old address.

There is no information on their website, or in their booklets about my situation so I really don't know whether I'm being given incorrect information or not.

Does anyone have any advice?

prh47bridge Tue 03-May-11 13:48:32

There seem to be a number of councils operating dodgy policies on waiting lists at the moment. You need to challenge this.

Ignoring the stuff about refusing to add your daughter's name to further lists, a subject on which I hope the Schools Adjudicator will rule soon, suggesting that you cannot change your address on the waiting list is ridiculous, as is the offer letter. Which council is this? I'd like to take a look at their admission arrangements.

nickelbabe Tue 03-May-11 13:50:57

I would go for the appeals or reapplication - they can't think it's realistic to send your DD to a school 7 miles away, surely!

MissAnthrope Tue 03-May-11 13:56:15

Cambridge

What's most irritating is that school#2 is a school for which we are now in the catchment area. As such we would be criteria #3. They are now full, but allocated up to criteria#4. Our new address would, therefore, put us near the top of the waiting list. As it is we are at #33 (no that isn't a typo).

Re-allocations happen at the end of May once the offers have all been accepted/declined and so we might have snuck in then, but will miss out (again) due to their use of the old address.

What do I need to be looking at to build an argument here? The lady that called me back was very firm and refused to budge. I'm more than happy to fight my corner as this just seems ludicrous, but can't really back it up with " well I read it on MN... " wink

MissAnthrope Tue 03-May-11 13:56:46

Oh and thank you for the replies. I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall today!

prh47bridge Tue 03-May-11 15:08:22

Their own admission arrangements state, "Places cannot be allocated on the basis of an intended future changes of address, unless the new address has been confirmed by exchange of contracts and with confirmation of an anticipated completion date, for a house purchase or the signing of a formal lease agreement." (Paragraph 5.4) Ask them how, in light of that and given that you have provided evidence of your new address (or can do so if you have not done so already) they can justify refusing to take your change of address into account. Also ask them where in their Admission Arrangements (here) they say that you have to submit a new application for a change of address (I'll give them a clue. It doesn't). Indeed, given that paragraph 5.3 defines home address as the address of the parent with whom the child normally lives and specifically states "The home address is that which applies at the time of an offer of a school place", and given also what it states in your allocation letter, I think you have a strong appeal case that they have wilfully used the wrong address.

On the subject of reserve lists, again ask them to show where in their Admission Arrangements it states that you can be removed from all reserve lists if you submit a new application. Another clue for them - it doesn't say that either.

Basically, it seems to me they are making it up as they go along. They are not allowed to do that. They must conform to their published Admission Arrangements.

prh47bridge Tue 03-May-11 15:10:11

Actually I'm beginning to think that they know they've messed up so they are trying to make you go away.

prh47bridge Tue 03-May-11 18:58:04

To elaborate a little, the problem that Cambridgeshire have is that their admission arrangements don't actually say what should happen if a parent moves after submitting their application. Most LAs treat a change of address as a late application, although some allow you to change your address for a while after the deadline without penalty. Cambridgeshire's only pronouncement on the subject is in the two paragraphs I've mentioned above, which are grossly inadequate. Combine that with the fact that your allocation letter makes a clear false statement and I think you have a case for appeal.

I can see absolutely no justification for them insisting on you submitting a new application and starting again just to change your address. That is ridiculous. They are perfectly capable of changing the address without needing a new form. They can insist on evidence of the new address, of course, but that shouldn't require a complete new application. Since you have told them your new address and, I hope, given them the necessary evidence I can see absolutely no justification for them continuing to position your child on the reserve list using your old address. That doesn't immediately give grounds for appeal but it would if some children are admitted off the list and your child would have been one of them if they had used the correct address. So you can potentially add that to your appeal as well.

Finally, the only situation in which their admission arrangements say they will remove a child from the reserve list for a school is if a place is offered and they parent does not respond within 10 days.

As I said before, they must comply with their own admission arrangements. They cannot make it up as they go along. Certainly unexpected situations will arise from time to time which have to be dealt with, but they really ought to have a clear policy on how to cope with something as common as a change of address.

admission Tue 03-May-11 21:03:51

Words fail me as to how many things they are doing wrong. Totally agree with PRH. Having looked at the LA site there is actually a list of schools that are supposed to have places left for September.

http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/A0DC4E63-2357-4020-BBAA-E6BBB1833451/0/CambridgeshireSchoolswithPlacesRemainingSept2011.pdf

It might be worth looking to see whether any fit with schools you want.
I would then insist on speaking to the admissions manager and saying that you want that place and that as they have failed so many times, causing maladministration that you are going to the LGO over this situation.

chopchopquick Sun 29-May-11 21:26:05

Miss Anthrope we are in a very similar situation and I just wondered how you are getting on? Did appeal?

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