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council said i should consider home schooling as there are no school places

(26 Posts)
jintygeorge Sat 18-Jun-11 22:15:05

I am really worried about whether we will get a reception place for this september for my daughter and i have been told by my local council that i should consider home schooling. We are on waiting lists and our postion on the lists ranges from 36 to 64. I know things can change but I am feeling despondent about whether we will get a place anywhere. I'm really struggling to keep perspective on the whole thing. All wise words and experience MUCH appreciated.

clam Sat 18-Jun-11 22:19:12

My understanding is that they have to offer you a place somewhere - even if it's a school some distance away and that you're not keen on. Maybe they're chancing their luck and hoping that you agree to Home Ed so that's one less child they have to place.
Sorry, not much help.

Jaspants Sat 18-Jun-11 22:20:26

God that sounds like a crappy cop out on their part. Like clam I thought that they had to offer you somewhere.

captainbarnacle Sat 18-Jun-11 22:20:38

WTF? Where is this??

jintygeorge Sat 18-Jun-11 22:20:59

i should add that we have just moved back into london after being abroad with my husband's job, so we missed the deadline for applications and we are a late application. Someone told me that moving into the area should mean your application is considered differently and can push you up the waiting lists. The council forgot to put our application for a school in a neighbouring borough through to their admissions team - as it happens that is our nearest school and I feel as though we have lost a month in the delay.

jintygeorge Sat 18-Jun-11 22:21:47

We are in Haringey but close to Islington.

prh47bridge Sat 18-Jun-11 22:22:55

That is unacceptable. They have a duty to find a school place for your child. If they fail to do so you should refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman. I would also recommend that you start appealing for schools to which you have applied. Even if the appeal fails, the fact you have appealed may prompt them to come up with a place.

captainbarnacle Sat 18-Jun-11 22:23:30

How can they have waiting lists of 30-70 kids for schools? Surely this means those schools should have new classrooms built and teachers employed?

latermater Sat 18-Jun-11 22:25:03

have you appealed failure to be offered a place at the nearest school? I would do so, on the basis that their delay and incompetence (have they admitted to you that they forgot to to forward your application?) has prejudiced your chances of getting in there, even if you cannot know exactly what difference it has made. Worth a try.

jintygeorge Sat 18-Jun-11 22:25:31

thanks for the advice prh47bridge - that's useful to know and something I can get on and do.

jintygeorge Sat 18-Jun-11 22:26:34

Definitely worth a try. I have spoken to the head teacher at that school about it. I will get straight on and appeal - it might just make a difference.

PanelMember Sat 18-Jun-11 22:26:40

I answered you on the other thread. I agree with prh47bridge too about going to the LGO.

jintygeorge Sat 18-Jun-11 22:29:55

Excellent - will explore LGO as well. I can only imagine that either we are a whole school short in the borough, or some families are holding places while they make their minds up or wait to hear if they get a place in the school they really want. Nightmare anyway.

PanelMember Sat 18-Jun-11 22:30:45

What is the sequence of events around submitting your application and the failure to pass on your application to the neighbouring borough? If you can demonstrate that without that delay you would have been at the top of the waiting list (because you live so near) and that other children were offered places from the waiting list that should have gone to your child, that will give you pretty solid grounds for appeal.

jintygeorge Sat 18-Jun-11 22:34:27

we put in our application on may 13, I had heard nothing from the council so called them June 16 and got the list positions for haringey. they said to call islington which i did and islington told me they'd not been sent our application for the school in their borough by haringey which is what should have happened. Islington suggested i chivvy haringey which i did and two phonecalls later the application was sent through that afternoon - more than a month after we submitted it. that was when i was told i should consider home schooling. i am a real novice at this stuff as this is my first child.

PanelMember Sat 18-Jun-11 22:46:21

Where are you now on the waiting list for the Islington school? Is that in the range 36 - 64 you mention above? If it is, the delay has possibly not made any material difference. However, if you are near the top of the list then you need to check how many places were filled from the list between the date you should have joined it (May 13 or very soon afterwards) and the date you did (presumably, 16 June). If it looks as if you would have got a place if you'd been on the list, that's very strong grounds for appeal - and in fact the LEA ought to admit you without making you go to appeal.

chopchopquick Sat 18-Jun-11 22:46:38

It is an absolute disgrace what LA's get away with!!! It's also so frustrating because they just do not give a damn.

I have no wise words for you but I really hope you get things sorted.

Rosebud05 Sat 18-Jun-11 23:00:34

I know the area that you're in, jinty. Indeed there are waiting lists of well over 70+ for schools. A friend of mine moved into a different part of Haringey about the same time as you, submitted a late application and has found a couple of schools with places. She mentioned this to me today. Have the LEA given you any information about availability of places within the borough?

Safety1 Sat 18-Jun-11 23:07:29

Message deleted

jintygeorge Sun 19-Jun-11 21:27:04

The Council has not been helpful at all, but hopefully this week I'll be able to push them for info. PanelMember, we are not even yet on the waiting list for the Islington school, as Haringey only sent our application through late last week. I hope this week I'll get a clearer picture of whether the delay made a difference to us. Thanks everyone for your help and advice.

aliceliddell Sun 19-Jun-11 21:32:58

Didn't some one say there were no cuts to front line services? Mind you, if there were no front line services in the first place...

DogsBestFriend Sun 19-Jun-11 22:41:46

jinty, as others have said this is an appalling situation. I hope that it's some comfort to you to know that I had a six month struggle to get my DD into school mid-year (long story, for different reasons to you but the law is the same). It was only after coming on here in despair and getting advice from pr47bridge, and Admissions that I learned to take my case to the LGO and got the problem resolved. (*pr*, my DD is now a Red Balloon student, I've name changed since but think you might recall me).

The LGO were superb and not anything like as hard to communicate with or as unapproachable as I'd feared. They took copies of all written evidence together with my complaint and spoke to me on the phone without bias but with tremendous courtesy and having given me a date upon which they'd provide me with a decision responded in my favour within half the time.

Very soon afterwards I had an apology from my LA, financial compensation (although I didn't ask for it and it was entirely unexpected) and most importantly a school place for my DD. What's more my concerns and wishes for a particular school were taken on board.

I'd really recommend that you contact the LGO without delay as I'm almost sure you'll be surprised at the ease with which they'll resolve your problem.

prh47bridge Mon 20-Jun-11 18:03:11

Yes I do remember and I am pleased it worked out for you and your daughter. I hope she is flourishing in her new environment.

jintygeorge Thu 23-Jun-11 22:33:07

Dear Dogsbestfriend - thank you for your post and I am really glad to hear things worked out for you, but so sorry to read that you had six months of heartache and battle to get there. We are exploring all lines of attack at the moment including appeal and the LGO. I've been told that we would currently be 12 or lower on the list, if we were on the list at all, and a month and a half down the line from when we submitted our application I now feel confident that we've got a strong case. I am so grateful for all the advice that people give so generously here on Mumsnet, especially prh47bridge, it has turned my panic and anxiety into positive action!! JG

Riveninside Thu 23-Jun-11 22:35:43

They have a legal duty to provide you with a school place.

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