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mid term admissions nightmare!!

(6 Posts)
doorwoman Thu 06-Oct-11 18:39:39

Hi, I'm new here but I'm hopping someone will have some advice on the problem I'm having!

Here goes... I moved house to a different borough than I was in before so I applied for my 7 year old daughter to change schools. I put the mid term application in in July this year.
I was expecting a bit of a wait for a place as not only are the schools really good in the area but the council was in charge of admissions and it was the start of the summer holidays.
I chased the application up a couple of times and was told that, as I had thought, I would have to wait until the schools had opened up again as the council would have to contact them all to find out how many spaces there were available. So I asked if I should send my daughter back to her old school as they believed it would be a couple of weeks for a decision to be reached. I didn't want her not in school but at the same time it wasn't ideal as her old school is 3 miles away and 2 bus journeys. But I thought 'oh well, it'll only be for a couple of weeks'
Anyway, after 2 weeks, still no news so I phoned them. They said they are still trying to determine where there are spaces but because I live in the borough that I would get a school in the borough. I asked them the process if there were no spaces in the schools I had put down as my preference and they said 'If there are no spaces in those schools you will be put on their waiting lists but we would let you know where there are any spaces in any of the boroughs schools and offer you one.'

I received a letter about their 'decision' today. It says...

"I am sorry it is not possible to offer [your daughter] a place at any of the schools which you listed on your application form.......I not that [your daughter] already has a school place and as such I can confirm that we will take no further action to identify an alternative school."

It goes on to say that IF i want my daughters name down on any waiting lists that I need to write to them.

So basically they looked at the 2 preferred schools I had written down, saw that there were no spaces and then washed their hands of me!! They didn't give me any list of schools that had a space in the year I require, like they said they would. And because I followed their advice of keeping my child in a far away school they are now using this as an excuse for not giving me a place!!!!

I phoned them to complain but I only get a contact centre and not the department that i need. They sort of filter the calls and get people from the department you need to call you back (which can take up to 3 days!) But I was put through to some high up education woman at the council who said she would get back to me but she didn't!!

Does anyone know what I should do next? What is the best way to complain and fight against this? I can't keep taking her to her current school. It's costing us a fortune in traveling costs!

By the way, sorry for going on for so long but thanks for reading!! smile

prh47bridge Thu 06-Oct-11 20:47:37

You have the right to appeal against their refusal to admit your daughter. You should do so. And keep complaining.

How far away is your daughter's current school?

admission Thu 06-Oct-11 22:12:17

Your daughter is 7 but is she in year 2 or year 3 because that could make a significant difference to the likelyhood of you winning at appeal. If she is still year2, then the infant class size regs may well apply, they would not in year 3.
Could you establish also what the admission number (PAN) of each of your preferred schools is. It will be somewhere on the school website or alternatively the LA website under 2012 admissions as that is also pertinent to any appeal.
It is really naughty of the LA to say we will not bother to find you a place because you already have one, assuming that her current school is in a different borough. Would they say the same if the school was 20 miles away? I would be tempted to tell the admission office that they have to give you a list of schools that do have a place in the appropriate year group as you intend to withdraw your child from the current school at the end of the half term unless the LA is prepared to pay the travel costs to the school. There is absolutely no chance they will pay the travel costs but it might just push them into some action.
You obviously should also confirm in writing that you wish to be on the waiting list for these two schools.

doorwoman Fri 07-Oct-11 10:33:55

Thank you both for replying!

My daughter has just gone into year three. Her School is 3 miles away and in a different borough.

I think I've found the PAN for each school (60 for both) but it only refers to admissions to reception 2012? Could you explain how this would help, please?

The woman I spoke to yesterday (who was meant to phone back and didn't) was saying that about 700 children need a space and still haven't been given one. She said that they have been telling people to look outside the borough! I asked her why there weren't enough spaces for all the children in the borough and she just said it was down to people 'moving about'. I have no idea what that means!?!?

I suppose the best way to go about it is to put everything in writing!

prh47bridge Fri 07-Oct-11 11:03:39

At most schools the same PAN applies to all years, although there are some circumstances where one year can use a different PAN.

As your daughter is in Y3 you have a better chance of winning an appeal. If she was in Y2 you would have had to show that the LA had made a mistake. In Y3 all you have to do is show that the prejudice to your daughter through not being admitted outweighs the prejudice to the school through admitting another child. It should be possible to put together a reasonable case, especially if your daughter's current school is some distance away.

People "moving about" is an excuse. This LA has clearly failed to plan properly and has a huge shortage of places. It is completely unacceptable that there are 700 children without a place one month after the start of the autumn term. It is also unacceptable for them to tell people to look outside the borough. They should be talking to neighbouring LAs themselves to see if there are any places available they could use. And they should be setting up bulge classes in as many schools as possible.

But that isn't your problem. Their problem is almost certainly in Reception. You need a place for your daughter in Y3. They should allocate one. As they haven't you should appeal for the schools for which you have applied, make sure you are on the waiting lists, ask the LA for a list of schools with places in Y3 and keep pushing them.

admission Fri 07-Oct-11 16:16:53

Just to clarify as PRH says the admission number tends not to change from one year to the next in England. An admission number of 60 is two classes of 30, the maximum number of pupils allowed with one school teacher. So if you child had been in year 2 any appeal would have been an infant class size appeal and your chances of success would have been very slim.
As a yr3 that problem does not exist, so I would definitely email the LA and ask to be put on the waiting lists and also say that you wish to appeal for a place at both schools.
Also as PRH says ask for a list of schools that have got a space in year 3, which will allow you to see whether any of those are a realistic commute to school and are a school that you like.

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