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No school place offered

(61 Posts)
Hodel Wed 18-Apr-12 19:01:16

...any idea what happens next? We thought we had been extremely conservative. We only put the closest schools as our preferences and used all six choices, including two that took everyone who applied last year. We are less than 0.3 miles from nearest and under 0.5 mile from another 3. Not sure what this means. Surely they are going to have to set up buldge classes?

BerryCheesecake Wed 18-Apr-12 19:18:08

I would appeal if it were me. If your DC is at nursery at the school already, you will have a much stronger case smile

mummytime Wed 18-Apr-12 19:28:00

There will probably be a bulge class if there are enough people in your position. The LA may be expecting a number of people to give up their places and go private, that could in turn lead to shuffling.
Do make sure you are on the waiting lust of all schools you want.

prh47bridge Wed 18-Apr-12 19:48:20

You can appeal for your preferred schools. However I have to disagree with BerryCheesecake. Whether or not your child is at the nursery will make absolutely no difference. It is likely that most if not all appeals would be infant class size which means you would need to show that a mistake has been made.

The better news is that the LA must come up with a place for you somewhere. It may take a while, especially if they need to set up bulge classes, but you will get a place.

Hodel Wed 18-Apr-12 22:06:31

DC is not in a school nursery anyway (we did get a place at 1st preference school nursery, but ended up turning it down to go elsewhere). Luckily the nursery she is at already told parents that they are happy for kids to stay on until they are 5.

I just checked the brochure the LEA sent around and there is really nothing I could have done differently. I applied for all our nearest schools (except the oversubscribed faith one) and we would have easily gotten into 3 last year, and were only a fraction outside the intake area of a 4th. I even put down one backup one that I thought was a sure bet.

SchoolsNightmare Wed 18-Apr-12 22:14:48

Hodel. All you can do is get on to waiting lists and wait.
Sometimes it is possible to live in a house that falls outside the catchment area (last distance offered) for every single school and as such, nothing you write on the form would have got you a place

We are in that position with secondary schools this year. We applied in October (as you have to for secondary) and got our email on March 1st to say "no offer possible." A month later we got an offer but not for any of our 6 choices and not a local school.

We are on the waiting list for other schools with our fingers crossed and we are appealing too. It is very stressful but like you, it wasn't anything we could have avoided. All the catchments that were 'safe' last year shrank this year so none included us!

PanelChair Wed 18-Apr-12 22:17:11

You need to keep pressing the LEA to find a school place for your child. This might be in a bulge class or it might be in a school not on your original list.

At the same time, you can join waiting lists for other schools that you would be willing to accept.

SchoolsNightmare Wed 18-Apr-12 22:18:03

If it helps - Watford announced today in the news that although it added 17 extra classes this year, it now realises it needs an additional 13 more as well. As such they have made no offer at all to some parents and are instructing them to wait a month until they have added all these extra classes and then they will get an offer.
It was in the news as it is quite unusual for a LA to decide not to make offers like this (They had no spare places within a 5 mile radius so decided it was better to offer nothing at all than somewhere far away)

Hodel Wed 18-Apr-12 22:20:52

prh47bridge I gather you are an expert, so I'd really appreciate any info you may have on this... I'm trying to stay sane.

do you know what I am to do next?

The email said they will send a list of schools in this and neighbouring boroughs that have places, and I can let them know if I want a place anywhere. Then they let me know if they are able to give me a place. Looking at the information from last year it doesn't look promising. The under subscribed schools, (which were not already applied for), were either very far away or very faith.

- Am I obliged to say I want a place at one of them? and if so, what is the criteria to get a place? I mean if an under subscribed school is 3 miles away it'll be a nightmare to get to... (I'm in Hackney, London), plus, surely I will be last on the list for a place anyway.

- If I don't even try to get a place elsewhere (for reasons above), does that absolve them of their duty to provide one?

- also, how do places in other boroughs factor in?

- how do they normally go about creating extra places or bulge classes?

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this for me!

angel1976 Wed 18-Apr-12 22:26:11

Hodel You really are not the only one. We had 5 schools on the list, studied the rules etc and basically did everything we could. We put first on our list our dream school (overscribed one form entry outstanding primary school), second on our list was what we knew our DS1 would realistically get into, quite a bad recent ofsted report but two-form entry (our next door neighbour son goes there and rates it highly and we liked it) and both schools are equal distance (0.2 miles). Then we had 3rd, 4th and 5th choice which are all fairly local and we got some primary school we have never heard of 1.8 miles away...

It looks like both of our top choices schools took bulge classes 2 years ago which means large number of siblings trying to get in this year and with the baby boom and all, we got very unlucky! Still, we will be on the phone tomorrow to find out what really happened and to get on waiting lists... Hugs to you! I feel calmer now though than I did earlier this evening!

Pooka Wed 18-Apr-12 22:28:51

Our LEA offered 69 places for reception last year at dcs school - when normally only 2 classes of 60. They assumed that some would be rejected in favour of independents, or that the child would end up getting a place at higher preference after the initial movement/horse trading.

Bit of a miscalculation, because we had 67 started and the boroug have committed to pay for an extra teacher for the next 3 years until KS2 so long as the roll in that year stays above 60. Luckily we have the space - a spare classroom, and actually has been pretty good for the reception starters because class size is 22/22/23 rather than the usual 30. And the school gets extra money because payments are per pupil.

Hopefully it won't happen again this year, because we don't really have the room. hmm

Horrible position to be in for you. Hang in there - it sounds like you must be very high on waiting lists given the proximity you've quoted. Places can become free. When dd started she was offered 3rd choice (only 3 choices then). She started off at 64th on waiting list for preferred school and was at no 3 by the time September came round. In the end though she settled so well and has been so happy that we didn't pursue waiting lists.

lisad123 Wed 18-Apr-12 22:30:05

We have been emailed a list of waitlist schools in our area. Might be worth an ask

LucyLastik Wed 18-Apr-12 22:31:09

I am very fortunate in that I got my first choice school today, but it is purely down to the fact that DD1 already goes there. However, it was still a very stressful time, as we were informed that at the school we got, one of the 2 classes going in was going to be entirely made up of siblings. Then, when you factor in looked after children and those with SEN, there was the possibility of not getting in at all, regardless of the sibling rule.

I don't have any real advice, other than to go on the waiting lists for the schools you want. There is likely to be a lot of movement between now and September. If your DC attends nursery, they can stay there until they are 5 whilst you wait for a place at a preferred school.

Good luck.

Pooka Wed 18-Apr-12 22:31:20

And by ks2 with children moving away (and not being replaced) it is hoped/expected that the roll will be down to at most 64 - in ks2 we tend to have max 32 per class.

angel1976 Wed 18-Apr-12 22:37:32

I will be calling the LEA and all the schools to make sure we are on waitlist tomorrow but how do you find out your position on a day-to-day basis? Do you just call and hassle the hell out of the LEA/schools? hmm

PanelChair Wed 18-Apr-12 22:41:41

The LEA holds all the waiting lists (except where the school is its own admissions authority).

SchoolsNightmare Wed 18-Apr-12 22:42:44

angel - there will be no waiting list positions known for a couple of weeks. Right now the schools have offered out all of their places so the LA needs to wait until all the acceptances / declines are in and then they will know how many free spaces there are. Parents get 2 weeks to accept or decline normally. Newly freed up places will be offered to those at the top of the list but this will be in a few weeks time.
Over Summer more people may decline a place (move house or go private) so more spaces will come up and these will go to those at the top of the list.

With waiting lists though, it can be the case that you go down as well as up. If someone who lives closer than you for example asks to be added to the list in June (or moves to the area) they get placed on the list above you. Some lists move loads and others very little so it is a waiting game literally. Once the list positions are known you can email once a week to see (that's what we've been doing - not that we get a reply everytime - they are very slow in our area this year).

Hodel Wed 18-Apr-12 22:44:55

angel1976 interesting that you got allocated another school. I'm wondering if the fact that I didn't means there well and truly are not any places? I'm gutted because I actually genuinely liked all the nearest schools and thought I would definitely be eligible for 3 of the 6, at least. In fact, I would have been happy with any of the 6. I really don't want to have to take a place at a faith school.

angel1976 Wed 18-Apr-12 22:47:58

Thanks. I just can't believe I have to just sit and wait it out. Will they tell you the 'catchment' this year so far? As in the last place allocated for a certain primary? I am really gutted we missed out on second choice as last year, it was under 700 metres and we are under 500 metres! sad

SchoolsNightmare Wed 18-Apr-12 22:48:09

Hodel - some people get allocated a random school that they didn't list and some get no offer. That is because angel must have a school within a reasonable distance that still has some vacant places whereas your LA has decided that you don't have this.
We got no place and no alternative allocated because we did not get into any local school and no other school had any free spaces (not even the schools that traditionally have lots of places spare). So we waited and eventually somebody must have moved or gone private because we got an offer (but not that local and not one of our choices).
If the LA had a local one right now, they would offer it to you but if not they will find you one eventually.

angel1976 Wed 18-Apr-12 22:50:50

Hotel We would have been happy with our 5 choices and they are all closer than the one they allocated! My neighbour is telling me now that I should have tried for a Catholic school down the road as it is often under-subscribed and will take in a few non-believers each year but really? That's what I have to resort to? sad

SchoolsNightmare Wed 18-Apr-12 22:51:06

angel - yes they have to tell you that if you ask (it should be in the letter explaining why you failed to get a place but if it isn't they must tell you so you can check no mistake has been made).

We were gutted too when we go our news. Our school was also a 'safe' option that any other year we would have got a place at but this year they must have had a sibling outbreak because the catchment areas shrank beyond anything we had anticipated. We were a tiny fraction too far away and have been on the list now since March but no offer yet. I have to resist the urge to ring daily and beg enquire.

angel1976 Wed 18-Apr-12 22:52:43

SchoolsNightmare Can't tell you how much I appreciate you sharing your experience here with us. Maybe we can all hold hands together? Going private is AN option but honestly, we moved last year so we could apply to the local school and we thought we had choices. Ha bloody ha!

angel1976 Wed 18-Apr-12 22:55:30

Also, do you just tell the LEA if there is a school NOT on your original choices that you would like to go on the wait list for?

Hodel Wed 18-Apr-12 22:57:48

Thanks for all the great info Schools! Do you know how they classify local? Obviously in London even a few miles can be a nightmare... or does it just go by borough?

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