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In year admissions in London - advice needed

(8 Posts)
fedupwithdeployment Thu 16-Jun-11 08:46:12

Hello all!

This is a long saga, and I will try and precis it but changing a couple of details as I am in the appeals process and don't want to be identified.

At the beginning of May we moved between London boroughs. My son was previously attending school in Borough A, and was very happy. We did the applications for schools in Borough B (where we now live), with the hope of getting him into the same school that his little brother is due to start in September. The first 4 schools (max on the form) that we applied for were full. We therefore did a second application, and applied for schools that we know have spaces. 2 schools are in Borough B and 2 are in Borough C (we live near the border). At the time of writing, it is 6 weeks since our application, and our son is not attending school. I have written to the council (cc'ing the world), spoken to local councillars, and nothing seems to be happening. I think the process is unbelievably process driven, with the effect that all children are disadvantaged. Borough C have stated that they will not look at my application for up to 4 weeks. I have spoken directly to one school which has 2 places and they would be delighted to have my son.

This is causing immense distress to all - my son is desperate to go to school, we have childcare issues. I work full time, my DH is in the armed forces and works odd hours.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do next? We are appealing against the rejection from one school, but the reasons aren't directly relevant and I am loathe to go into it here....in the short term though, he needs to go to school, and I seem to be failing miserably.

Thanks in advance.

prh47bridge Thu 16-Jun-11 10:29:51

The behaviour of both Borough B and Borough C is unacceptable. Both are guilty of maladministration with a capital M.

When you made your initial application Borough B was required to offer your son a place even if it wasn't at one of your preferred schools. Even if all the schools were full they have to come up with an offer in accordance with their Fair Access Protocol. The Fair Access Protocol is specifically required to cover how they deal with children of UK Service personnel as well as covering the situation where a child arrives in the area when all schools are already full. So either their Fair Access Protocol fails to meets the requirements of the Admissions Code or they are failing to follow their own Protocol. Furthermore, failing to come up with an offer when there are places available is unforgivable and is a clear breach of the Admissions Code paragraph 3.15(g). This says that parents who cannot be offered one of their preferred schools must be offered a place elsewhere if there are places available. They are also potentially in breach of paragraph 3.27 which says that they must ensure that the needs of the children of UK Service personnel are met.

As for Borough C saying they won't look at your application for up to 4 weeks, that is another clear breach of the Admissions Code. Paragraph 3.23 states that applications received outside the normal admissions round must be considered without delay. Sitting on your application for 10 weeks (6 weeks so far plus another 4 weeks to come if I understand you correctly) is a blatant disregard for their duties.

Contact the Admissions Manager at both councils and complain. Tell them that you intend to refer them to the Local Government Ombudsman for their clear maladministration and multiple breaches of the Admissions Code. That should produce some movement.

prh47bridge Thu 16-Jun-11 11:15:25

Just to add the Borough B would also appear to be in breach of paragraph 3.23 of the Admissions Code if they have taken 6 weeks to consider your latest application.

fedupwithdeployment Thu 16-Jun-11 12:28:22

Thanks very much.

Since I posted, the Admissions Manager of Borough B has been in contact. He has offered me a place at our original 2nd choice school, which I have accepted. Nothing in writing though....

I will def use your arguments if things fall through. Thanks again.

prh47bridge Thu 16-Jun-11 12:29:57

That's good news but it really shouldn't have taken them this long. I hope there are no further problems.

fedupwithdeployment Thu 16-Jun-11 12:34:32

And quite tempted to complain in any case re Borough C....they have been so rude and unhelpful - I have been utterly staggered. Borough B have up to this point been ineffectual, but were at least polite about it.

fedupwithdeployment Thu 16-Jun-11 12:35:58

I agree. No doubt my various emails may have some fall out...local MP, Dept of Education, and the PIL's MP too (our illustious PM). I hope I have caused some major headaches.

Thanks again.

prh47bridge Thu 16-Jun-11 13:00:14

If you really want to cause a headache refer both councils to the LGO. At the very least that should result in a rap over the knuckles based on the information you have posted.

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