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Urgent Advice Please - Late Reception Applications and Mid Year Admissions for siblings

(27 Posts)
evolucy7 Tue 05-Jul-11 19:01:34

Having had some issues with my DDs current school, I have had to look now for a new school for September.

I have found a great school that has a mixed Reception/Yr1/Yr2 class. They currently have 27 in the class for September. They will have 7 in Reception, 8 in Yr1 and 12 in Yr2.

The school has said that they definitely have a place for DD2 to go into Reception, but DD1 will go into Yr1 and the Council will most probably give her a place due to her sibling but that if more than 1 child moved into the catchment area during the year and that was their class then it would take them over 30. It seemed that I was being told that occasionally this may be a reason why they may not offer DD1 a place but that most probably it would be fine. Is this right? I was a little confused at the idea of keeping places in case other children moved in to the area.

Any advice greatly appreciated please, just in case I need to argue this with them! smile

janeyjampot Tue 05-Jul-11 19:52:56

I'm sure that if there is a place and you apply for it, they have to give it to you. I'm not an expert though. I'm sure there'll be someone better qualified to answer in a minute smile

evolucy7 Tue 05-Jul-11 20:04:01

Thanks janey.

It is not our local school though I don't know whether this makes a difference, however as it is small village school those actually in the catchment would not fill it anyway.

I have also just thought that as DD1 would go into Yr 1 and there are only 8 in that year and they take 10 per year, surely they can't refuse because there are 12 in the year above can they?

evolucy7 Tue 05-Jul-11 20:56:32

Anyone else please, I've seen some posts on threads from people who seem to be expert admissions people, are you there please? smile

prh47bridge Tue 05-Jul-11 21:35:12

Apply now and they will have to admit your children. They cannot hold places back just in case. As there are clearly vacancies in what will be Y1 in September you don't need the priority that having DD2 in Reception will give you.

If you wait it is just possible that there will be 30 in Infants by the time you apply, in which case there is a little known provision in the Admissions Code which they could use to refuse entry to your older daughter.

evolucy7 Tue 05-Jul-11 21:51:17

Thank you prh, so if there were 30, but still only 8 in Yr1 they could refuse DD1?

But in Sept 2012 when the Sept 2011 Yr2s move to the next class would they have to take her then if there were no more than 10 in Yr1 and the 10 intake for Reception and still the 8 in what would then be her Yr2?

The Council said that they had to send me the form for DD2, (the mid year form for DD1 is on the internet) they originally said it may take several days, however I then received an answerphone message saying that it had been sent 1st class today.

They did tell me that the 2 applications would be dealt with by different departments, and that the mid year admissions department were very busy. I said that if DD2 was accepted wouldn't that give DD1 priority over other applicants without siblings so surely the 2 should be considered together. They said that if they were 2 mid year applications they would be considered together. Eventually they said that I should send them in the same envelope with a covering letter.

Will they consider them at the same time or was I being fobbed off do you think?

evolucy7 Tue 05-Jul-11 21:54:42

I guess what I really mean is in the event that DD2 got a place but DD1 didn't for Sept 2011, and DD1 was on the waiting list would she be a priority over them taking more than 10 in the other 2 years, so that at the latest there would be a place by Sept 2012 as there would only be 8 in her year?

admission Tue 05-Jul-11 23:20:40

The key question here is what is the admission number for the school? You say it is 10.
I would presume that as there are currently going to be 7 in reception, 8 in year 1 and 12 in year 2 in September that the admission number must be at least 8 and 10 is a likely number. As such the LA has legally to admit DD2. If the admission number is 8 then any admission to year 1 would have to be by the appeal process, but if it is 9 or 10 then again the LA has no alternate but to admit.
The problem for the school is that 12 are in year 2 and therefore as soon as the class gets to 30 the infant class size regs will come into effect. This means that they cannot admit any more pupils to the class without employing a second school teacher, which they will not do. The effect of the 2 extra pupils in year 2 is that only 18 from year 1 and reception can be admitted rather than the 20 that the admission number would suggest.
So I agree with PRH get your applications in now, because they should not be able to stop your two children being admitted unless there are already others being offered places in reception or year 1.
I suspect that the comments about different sections handling in year applications is a fob off which is even more reason to get the applications in pronto.

evolucy7 Wed 06-Jul-11 16:21:31

I was told by the school that the admission number is 10 per year.

So what about the fact that they said that they have to keep some places in case other children move into the area?

evolucy7 Wed 06-Jul-11 18:05:17

So do the school really not have to take 10 in Reception and 10 in Y1 if they have taken more in Y2?

admission Wed 06-Jul-11 21:12:48

The answer to whether schools have to keep places open is that this is not allowed, the school has under normal circumstances to fill up to their admission number with any pupils who request a place.
Entry to reception at the normal time of entry, that is joining in sept 11, the school has to allocate 10 places if there are sufficient pupils applying for the place. So as of Sept 11, you could have 10 in reception, 8 in year 1 and 12 in year 2 and the infant class size regs would automatically kick in as there are 30 in the class.
That is why you have been told that DD2 has a place in reception but why they are prevaricating over DD1 for year 1. The reality though is that there are only 7 currently in reception, 8 with dd2 and that means they have 2 spare places that they will have to allocate if people apply for them. Some time between now and 1st September they will make that decision and of course the hope is that you get one of those places, but they have to allow 10 pupils to apply for places in reception year up to the start of the year.
That is why it would be best to grab dd2 place now and make a formal request for the dd1 place and in fact if they hum and ha over it, ask to go to appeal over it. The reality is that any appeal is now unlikely to be before September but it will put a bit more pressure on them to make a decision.
The other issue in all this is exactly how the school is set up in terms of classes. If one class covers R, year1 and year2, then you potentially have 40 pupils in years 3 to 6 if they had filled to PAN, as such that sounds like 2 small classes of 20. Alternatively if they only have 35 or less in the upper years then they might be running just one large class. What that means is there is some scope for the head to decide to change the classroom organisation if they want to and maybe allow 10 in both reception and year1, But that is the school's decision and no appeal panel is allowed to admit on the basis that the school should be directed to change their class room organisation.

evolucy7 Wed 06-Jul-11 21:55:23

Thanks...yes they have 2 other classes, Y3/4 and Y5/6, I don't think they are both completely full to 20 but I believe that they have been 2 classes for some time.

Ok I see so they may not want to give DD1 a place in case 2 more children arrive before September. If they don't arrive by then would they accept DD1 in September?

So filling the 10 in Reception takes priority over filling the 10 in Y1? Why is that are they not equally important?

If they did fill Reception to 10 by September, and there was no place for DD1, would she get a place September 2012 when the Y2s moved up so there would be 8 in her year, 10 in the year below DD2s and then the 10 new Reception children? If she was on a waiting list would she take priority for those 2 extra places in her year once the year with 12 moved up?

admission Wed 06-Jul-11 22:18:39

The admission code says that at the normal admission round that they must admit to the admission number if there are pupils that want the places. If the numbers in year 1 and year2 were both 12 then any number above 6 in reception would break the 30 barrier. The infant class size regs would then come into effect. The difference is that for the reception intake the law says you must admit upto the PAN if pupils request it and the school would be forced to change their class structure to allow the 10 pupils to be admitted. At any other time the ICS Regs would take precedent and stop admission to the year groups to keep the class at 30, no matter what the number in the year group.
As for your theoretical question for Sept 2012, the answer would be yes providing that nobody else was after the places in year 2 who were higher up the admission criteria than you were. Hopefully your children will have been in the school 12 months before that situation develops!
The reality is that the admission of 12 in year 2 is the cause of the problems and somebody who allowed this was not thinking about the future prejudice rules that relate to the ICS Regs.

evolucy7 Wed 06-Jul-11 22:33:53

Thanks this is great info smile

Presumably it makes no difference if DD1 is currently at a private school rather than a state school so does not have a current state school place?

admission Wed 06-Jul-11 22:40:38

no difference at all

evolucy7 Wed 06-Jul-11 22:49:04

ok thanks

So you say that if they hum and ha about giving DD1 a place as well, I should ask to go to appeal, and that that may make them more likely to accept now, rather than actually have to go to appeal which would probably not be until September anyway. So would the appeal be based on sibling priority and that there is room as there are less than 30 in the class?

prh47bridge Wed 06-Jul-11 23:34:12

The appeal would be based on the fact that the LA had broken the law.

If you apply now you are applying for a place in Reception for DD1, even though she would only be there for a few days before the summer holidays. As Reception is currently below PAN they must give your daughter a place. They have no option. That is the law. The fact that any appeal wouldn't take place until September doesn't matter. The panel would still have to consider whether the LA was correct to refuse admission at the time you applied.

You wouldn't need to get into arguments about sibling priority and whether or not there is space. Indeed, if an appeal becomes necessary I would personally avoid muddying the waters with any other issues.

evolucy7 Thu 07-Jul-11 00:02:22

Oh I see - right didn't know that thought I was basically applying for a place in september. So is this because DD1 is still reception that they must give her a place whereas if I was applying when in Y1 they wouldn't have to give her the place they would be able to wait and see if they needed them for the next reception intake? But who takes priority a child going into reception now or one in the next year in september 2011?

The LA did say mid year admissions were very busy at the moment so they may not get to it before schools finish for the summer. However the letter with application form said they must acknowledge receipt in 7 working days and the head at the school told me she would respond straightaway. I sent the form yesterday so as there is enough time before end of term they have no grounds to refuse? Unless of course others have applied meanwhile.

prh47bridge Thu 07-Jul-11 01:06:01

Yes, as DD1 is still in Reception and there are vacancies they must give her a place. If you wait until September and it then turns out there are 30 children in infants they can legitimately refuse to admit your daughter on infant class size grounds. This could happen if, for example, another 3 children come along and apply to start in Reception in September.

This isn't a question about who takes priority. It is just the way the system works. Right now, if enough people apply, they have to admit another 2 children to the current Reception and they also have to admit another 3 children to next year's Reception. That would then leave them with 32 children in Infants which would break infant class size regulations, so they will then have to deal with that situation.

The reason they don't want to admit DD1 now is that keeping the current Reception down to 8 avoids that problem. Even if next year's Reception were to fill up to PAN there would still only be 30 in infants. And the rules then allow them to refuse to admit any further children to Y1 even though it isn't full.

As you have now applied there are no grounds to refuse. I do wonder if the LA's claim that they may not process your application before the summer holidays is a way of buying time so that they can say you are applying for Y1 rather than Reception. However, paragraph 3.23 of the Admissions Code states that your application must be considered without delay.

evolucy7 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:29:06

Thanks

When I have spoken to the LA they have not said to me that there may be an issue with DD1, but they have said that the Mid-Year Applications Team are very busy and that they may not get it turned around before the end of term. As you say does this mean that they can simply say I am applying for a place for DD1 in Y1 rather than Reception? Or is the 'considered without delay' based on a certain number of days after I actually applied? I haven't actually spoken to them about which school it is, I simply said that the school had said they had places.

So as I understand it they also must take DD2 into Reception in Sept as that year so far only has 7?

So providing no-one else has filled all the places and there is still at least 1 place left in current Reception and 1 for Sept Reception, they have to accept both, even if it meant breaking infant class size regulations?

Where can I find the evidence that DD1 has to be admitted now as current Reception only has 8?

Should I just be waiting for the 7 working days until they have to respond and acknowledge the application, or should I be speaking to them meanwhile? The Customer Service Team that you ring to speak to don't say much and simply say that the Admissions Team are dealing with it, should I be doing anything else or should I just wait for 7 working days?

admission Thu 07-Jul-11 19:43:24

I think that you have to give them a reasonable amount of time to get their act together, so contacting every day would be overkill but I would suggest that by say next Wednesday they should have done something. The problem is that contacting the customer service team is like talking to a brick wall, you just know you are going to get a bland none answer, so you have to request to speak to the admissions manager about it and hope you will get through to at least one of the admissions team.

prh47bridge Thu 07-Jul-11 19:56:45

If they delay until the summer term is over they can say you are applying for a place in Y1. Hopefully that won't be a problem but if they say no you should argue that they should have dealt with your application without delay as required by the Admissions Code (paragraph 3.23). No timescale is specified by the Code so I would take "without delay" to have its normal English meaning.

Yes, they must take DD2 into Reception in September. And yes, they must fill any vacancies in the current Reception and next year's Reception if anyone applies even if it means they will have more than 30 in infants next year. That won't mean they will break infant class size regulations. It will mean they have to take "qualifying measures", which generally means employing another teacher.

The evidence you want is paragraph 1.24 of the Admissions Code. Stripping away the legalese, it says that they must not refuse to admit a child to the normal year of entry (Reception) unless it is already full up to the admission number.

It goes on to say that normally they should continue to use the same admission number as that year group goes through the school but they can refuse entry even if the year group is below the admission number if circumstances have changed since it was a "relevant age group". The LA could in theory use this to solve its class size problem by refusing to admit any children to the current Reception once it becomes Y1. I actually don't think they can do that as circumstances will not have changed since the end of this term - there are already 12 in the year above. However, it would be easier to win on the basis that you applied for a place in Reception as everyone should know that they cannot refuse a place in that year whilst they are below the admission number.

evolucy7 Thu 07-Jul-11 21:50:10

Thanks both of you.

The Customer Service Centre told me that I cannot just speak to the Admisisons Team I have to request a call back which can take up to 3 days, so I asked for that today in anticipation of needing to chase them in 3 days time.

admission Fri 08-Jul-11 11:19:39

So the customer service centre is anything but that! An LA that is still not sure who the customer is !

evolucy7 Tue 12-Jul-11 19:48:55

I can't thank you both enough for your advice prh47Bridge and admission, I found out today that both daughters have been offered a place. The Admissions Officer told me quite clearly that if I was applying for a place for DD1 in Y1 in September it would not be offered, but as it was for current Reception they would have to offer the place. grin

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