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Admissions help!

(26 Posts)
TimmyTimeRules Mon 03-Oct-11 12:08:05

Two of my children attended the local junior school until the end of yr 4 and then started at a middle school in yr 5(middle school yr5 - yr 8).
To do this I had to ring up the admission people in the sept my children were in yr 4 and get a UIN for them both and then apply like everybody else by the January to find out they had a place in the may for yr 5 in the sept. iyswim
This Sept I rung up again for my third child to be told by a lady that a UIN will be sent in due course.After 2 weeks of waiting I rung back to be told by another lady that as it wasn't a 'natural' transfer for my child then I had to wait til June to apply as it is classed as an in year transfer?
I pointed out that for my other two (one of which was last sept and the other 3 septs ago) I had applied in the sept with a UIN only to be told that that shouldn't have happened and I was advised wrong then and had been advised wrong by the lady I spoke to in this sept.
The problem I have is that if I have to apply in June I will be too late for the private bus that my other children travel on to the school as places have to be booked by the end of May otherwise they are all booked.
What can I do? Is there any way I can argue with the admissions people to give me an UIN or am I completely stuffed about applying for a place for my child?

(Sorry this is so long but I did put paragraphs in!)

admission Mon 03-Oct-11 12:17:38

You need to get proper advice on this, which should be coming from the LA but is obviously not.
Normally speaking the move from infant to middle school is the same as a move from primary to secondary, you have to formally apply stating your preferences and there is a cutoff date. It is definitely not an in-year transfer, that is a nonsense statement.
Which local authority are we talking about?

TimmyTimeRules Mon 03-Oct-11 12:22:33

Somerset. Like I said, before I applied exactly the same as the people who's children attended the first school that feeds into the middle school. It didn't matter that mine were at a junior school.
We are out of catchment for the middle school so I know we are not guaranteed a place even though I have other children there. I just want to be able to apply for a place the same way I did before.

scaevola Mon 03-Oct-11 12:26:23

I don't know the answer to this, but suggest that if they appear not to know their arse from their elbow you get everything in writing so you have an authoritative, dated record of all advice on which you rely. Do not leave anything on strength of a phone call, as you may need evidence for an appeal on grounds of error by LA should this all go very pear shaped later.

admission Mon 03-Oct-11 12:50:58

Somerset have a mixed system. So for most of the schools the process would be an infant school, followed by a junior school and then apply for a secondary school for year7. There are a number of first schools where you would then move onto a middle school (age 9 to 13) and then a senior school.
You are in effect moving between the the two systems from a junior school that would go from age 7 to 11 to a middle school at age9. This may be the only route you have locally but you need to be sure that this is appropriate for your child now and if so then find somebody who understands what you are doing in the admission office at Somerset.

TimmyTimeRules Mon 03-Oct-11 13:39:51

We've done this before with 2 of our other children so would like our 3rd to join them. So far I've spoken to 2 different people with 2 different answers.
My OH is going to ring this week to see if he can speak to anybody higher up. He is less of a doormat than me a s I tend to get upset.
What's annoying us is the fact that having done the move twice before we're now being told we shouldn't have done it the way we did even though Somerset admissions were the ones who told us to do it that way.
It doesn't inspire much confidence in the admissions department!

prh47bridge Mon 03-Oct-11 20:38:32

I don't have much to add to Admission's comments.

This is definitely not an in-year transfer. Whoever you spoke to clearly doesn't have a clue. Unfortunately it seems that the staff who man the phones at a lot of LAs don't know the rules and give out very poor advice.

If they force you to apply in June not only will you be too late for the private bus, there is also a good chance that you won't get in to your preferred school.

Make sure you get their response in writing (email will do) so you have clear evidence of what they have said. I hope your OH gets the right answers. If not come back here and we'll think about next steps.

TimmyTimeRules Mon 03-Oct-11 21:15:10

Thank you both Admission and Prh47bridge.
We are going to send an email tomorrow outlining the transfer we want to apply for and to request an UIN so at least we have something in writing.
One other thing I was told was that we could apply without an UIN but it might be noticed that it is a 'in-year' transfer and would be thrown out.
Is this actually correct or could we apply without an UIN and hope for the best?
We are quite happy to carry on fighting for an UIN if we need one but just wonder whether we were given another incorrect piece of advice regarding applying without one.
The thing that annoys us in all of this is that if we hadn't done this before then we would have just accepted what we had been told the second time thinking that the first lady we spoke to was wrong.

TimmyTimeRules Mon 03-Oct-11 21:17:56

Have just read your message prh47bridge. Thank you!

prh47bridge Mon 03-Oct-11 23:08:00

I've taken a look at Somerset's website and they seem to want to treat transfers that don't form part of the usual transfer cycle as in year admissions despite the fact that doesn't make sense. As you are moving between systems I presume they would argue that your transfer isn't part of the normal transfer cycle. They say they will only offer places a maximum of half a term or six weeks in advance of when the place will be taken up. That clearly puts you at a disadvantage in trying to move between the systems.

Paragraph 9 of Appendix 2 of the Admissions Code says "For middle deemed primary schools, the maintaining local authorities must make an application form available and make the offer." I think that means they have to allow you to apply as part of the normal admissions round. If they refuse to do so I would refer the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman. They won't normally get involved in school admission cases until after an unsuccessful appeal but they may be willing to get involved here.

TimmyTimeRules Tue 04-Oct-11 11:33:24

I've just been on the Somerset County Council website. It says that I only need a UID to apply online. If we apply via the application form that can be downloaded and post it then we don't need a UID.
If we send an application form in would they have to take it into consideration or would it be dismissed out of hand as it would be classed as an in term transfer?

prh47bridge Tue 04-Oct-11 12:05:22

They have to treat application forms the same way as online applications or they will get into all kinds of trouble. I think your best approach is to argue that they are wrong to treat your application as an in year transfer as this disadvantages people who want to move between the two systems.

TimmyTimeRules Tue 04-Oct-11 12:15:37

If we sent an application form in now would they tell us straight away that it is wrong (ie an in-year transfer not a natural transfer) or would they send a letter in April, when all the other offer letters go out, saying we haven't got a place because they class it as a in year transfer. iyswim.
What I'm trying to work out is whether it is worth arguing with them now or trying to apply normally and see if the application sneaks through.
If we don't get a place through applying now would the letter in April tell us why ie. they class it as an in year transfer and would we then be able to take them to appeal (not an option I would relish)

prh47bridge Tue 04-Oct-11 13:10:23

They ought to tell you that your application has been rejected but I wouldn't want to rely on that. I think you need to get this resolved now. If you don't and you end up not being offered a place it will be June or July before any appeal is heard and you may not get a place even then. If you get something definitive from them now you can take it up with the Schools Adjudicator or the Local Government Ombudsman if necessary and try to get it resolved.

TimmyTimeRules Tue 04-Oct-11 13:22:02

Thank you! Have just emailed Somerset Admissions explaining about wanting to apply for a transfer between Junior to Middle and wanting a UID.
I have kept it brief as at this stage I just really want to start a paper chase and to see what they say this time.
Will let you know which version of information I get this time! smile

TimmyTimeRules Tue 04-Oct-11 13:42:17

Had a reply from Admissions from email. I explained in my email that my son was yr4 Junior and we wanted to apply for yr 5 Middle. Just received this reply.

Thank you for your e-mail
I can certainly request a UID for you, however you can also apply online without a UID, just click the "no UID" button. The UID just generates some of the information on the form such as name, address etc. If you would still like a number sent then please reply and one will be sent in the post to you.
Kind regards

There was no mention of this being a 'in term transfer' or anything.
I am now totally confused! confused

prh47bridge Tue 04-Oct-11 13:50:26

Keep that email (and your email) and apply. I would say that this gives you a reasonable expectation that your application will be processed normally.

My money is no the person you spoke to on the phone being someone junior who doesn't know the rules.

prh47bridge Tue 04-Oct-11 13:50:43

That should be "My money is on..."

TimmyTimeRules Tue 04-Oct-11 13:57:15

Any idea how long it should take for an UID to be organised and then sent by post. I only ask as the first lady I spoke to at the beginning of Sept said she would send me one and I still haven't received it. That's why I spoke to the second lady because I was chasing the UID only for the second lady to tell me it was an 'in term' transfer.

TimmyTimeRules Tue 04-Oct-11 13:58:07

Or should we just apply without a UID?

prh47bridge Tue 04-Oct-11 15:06:27

Now we are on to stuff that is very specific to Somerset and I'm afraid I have no idea. Sorry.

3duracellbunnies Tue 04-Oct-11 21:02:45

I don't understand the Somerset system, but the e-mail implied that the person could generate the UID, so I would reply saying yes please could they send you one, if it doesn't arrive then apply without. You still have a while to apply, but at least now you know you can, but you will probably feel happier if you apply with the UID, then keep your fingers crossed!

OddBoots Tue 04-Oct-11 21:14:43

I don't see that you would benefit by applying without a UID right now, if you haven't got one by the day before the closing date then that would be different but at the moment you may as well request one and hold on.

prh47bridge Tue 04-Oct-11 23:19:08

Whilst I have no idea how long it should take to get a UID I would agree that it would do no harm to apply for one and see if it arrives. You don't get any kind of priority for applying early. Just make sure you get your application in by the closing date, with or without a UID.

TimmyTimeRules Wed 05-Oct-11 10:11:36

Thank you everyone! I emailed back yesterday and said that I would like one sent.
What worries me though is that the first lady I spoke to on Sept the 8th said she would send me one but we haven't received it yet. Unfortunately I spoke to her on the phone so I have nothing in writing unlike this time.
I don't have to apply until a date inJanuary so I can afford time wise to wait.
The other thing that worries me is that I will get another email saying she has got it wrong and we can't have a UID sent and we are in fact a in term transfer..
Looks like I will have a few weeks of worry to come yet!

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