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Anyone in Manchester not been offered a reception place?

(51 Posts)
OzBrit Sat 28-Apr-12 21:05:01

We received our email yesterday informing us that we got no offers at any of the 5 schools we put on our application form. There was no indication of alternative offers and after numerous discussions with admissions they didn't indicate we had offers elsewhere. Interestingly our "letter" is yet to arrive yet everyone who got offers seem to have received theirs on Thursday! I assume however that if an offer was made at an alternative school it would have been on the email????

The 5 schools were our closest school. We know where we are on waiting lists (9th, 13th & 19th - other 2 are church schools and we are further up their lists) so there is a chance we may get a place after 11th May.

Is anyone else in the same situation and if so, what are your next steps?

SchoolsNightmare Sat 28-Apr-12 21:15:31

OxBrit - we were in the same situation last month (secondary school allocations are made before primary ones).
On March 1st we got an email to say "no offer possible." We expected the letter that follows to contain an alternative offer but it didn't. We were offered no school at all and simply given a list of schools which it said "may" have places.

The next step was to talk to the LA and get on waiting lists. Not just for the schools we applied to but all others in our area as well. We also submitted appeals to the schools (this can be trickier for primary schools as secondaries aren't limited by class sizes of 30). And then we waited.
A month or so later we got an offer for a school that isn't great location-wise and that wasn't one of our 6 choices. We accepted it and remain on waiting lists now waiting and hoping to get a place somewhere closer. Appeals will be heard in late May / June and we might get somethign then as well. It is just a waiting game really.

The only 2 options you have that we don't is the possibility of a bulge class. If lots of people are without a place your LA might ask local schools to open up extra classes for this year.
And you can defer. Your child needn't start school until after they are 5 so when you get an offer (which you will eventually), you can accept it but defer it and wait at Nursery or at home until you get a better place from one of the waiting lists (to save starting a school and then swapping) but you'd need to be pretty certain a place would come up eventually in order to go with that option.

I hope that helps a bit with immediate things to do. It is a horrible position to be in and 8 weeks on I am not finding the waiting any easier but you will not be left without a place. They will find you soemwhere but in the meantime there are things you can do to maximise your chances of getting a place you will be happy with.

peacypops Sat 28-Apr-12 21:19:09

Not in the same situation as you personally (we were lucky to get an offer) however I have a couple of friends in South Manchester who didn't get any offers at all and one who got offered a school three miles from her home which she hadn't put on her application. I think the first thing to do is make sure you are on the waiting lists for all the schools you applied for. You can obviously appeal but it's difficult I think, unless of course you can prove that you have been treated unfairly. I'm not sure where in Manchester you are, but certainly in parts of South Manchester the schools are hugely oversubscribed and just not enough places it would seem. Sorry - I've probably not been much help at all - I really just wanted to post to let you know that you're definitely not in an uncommon situation. Hopefully you'll get some good advice on here. Don't lose hope though - you could get in from a waiting list if someone rejects a place etc. Good luck!

OzBrit Sat 28-Apr-12 21:47:40

peacypops - we are in South Manchester in a heavily oversubscribed area and seem to be a in a black hole! Are they in Didsbury by any chance? Did the friend who got offered a school 3 miles away have that in an email or just the letter? many questions, just trying to make sense of it all

SchoolsNightmare & peacypops - thank you for your advice and support

CURIOUSMIND Sat 28-Apr-12 22:45:56

Try stockport schools.It's just next road accross A34.We went to a stockport school when we were living in Didsbury and it turned out to be very good.

peacypops Sun 29-Apr-12 12:33:56

Ozbrit - yes that's where they are. The thing is that they don't live really close to any schools (i.e within 0.5 miles) which seems to be essential to getting a place where you want. My friend (who got the place three miles away) definitely heard by letter on the Thursday and I am pretty sure she then got the same info in the email on the Friday (but I would have to check) I would have thought that you would have been told in your email if you had been given a place elsewhere (sorry - you probably don't want to hear that) I know she is appealing for the school that was her first choice (which is I think is the largest of the Didsbury primaries) but I'm not sure on what grounds because I guess it is probably just a case of there being too many other children who lived closer to the school getting all the places. If you have any more questions just ask - I can always update you once I know more from my friend.

OzBrit Sun 29-Apr-12 12:43:09

Thanks peacypops - we are 0.47 away from our closest (and the largest one) and around 0.5ish from the other 2....we seem to be in a black hole this year. We would love to appeal but it seems we have no grounds to due to 30 being legal class size etc etc....we can only hope that there is a shake up by 11th. I have just emailed the private school for a visit as we are going to need some option............we have none at the moment!! I appreciate all the information you have given - anything else you find out would be fab - thanks

peacypops Sun 29-Apr-12 13:04:17

Thats shocking that you haven't got a place when you are reasonably close - Is it beaver rd (your closest one)? I will let you know if I find out any more useful info as I have quite a few other friends in Didsbury too. Fingers crossed for you x

SchoolsNightmare Sun 29-Apr-12 13:39:13

OzBrit - it is good that you've got some advice from others who know the area. I would really hope that some of the schools 0.5 miles from you open bulge classes else the council is potentially going to be paying to send all these children miles and miles away for schools.
It is good you have a private school to look at too but remember you will not be forced to go private if you don't want to. The council WILL find you a place - it has to by law. But of course it could be a school 3 miles away with free transport provided which I know is far from ideal. With so many in the same situation though I would definitely be asking the council on Monday what they plan to do and start leaning on them to open extra classes in nearby schools.

OzBrit Sun 29-Apr-12 13:47:11

peacypops - yes Beaver Rd...........
SchoolsNightmare - thanks for advice. I will be calling admissions again tomorrow. We really don't want to go private, but would prefer to be a bit cash strapped than having our child in a sink school!

Will keep you both updated x

admission Sun 29-Apr-12 15:25:46

I would be positive about this at present. That is an area where historically plenty of pupils go private but do not divulge that till after the primary school allocations have taken place. Give it a couple of weeks for pupils to refuse the place and you could potentially see quite a lot of movement on waiting lists.
It is therefore imperative that you get on the waiting list for all schools that you would be happy to go to.
Secondly you say that you cannot appeal because the class is at 30. That is not the case, you can appeal but you have to accept that given it is an infant class size regs appeal the chances of success are low. You will need to prove a mistake was made and you should have been offered a place.

OzBrit Sun 29-Apr-12 16:19:42

admission - thank you - we are hoping for some private school movement!We are on all the waiting lists for the 5 local schools (11th, 13th & 19th...further down on the faith schools due to not meeting their admission criteria) but how do I keep on the waiting lists? All we have so far from the LA is the not offered email and no letter. I assume I have to say that we want to stay on the waiting lists for all 5 schools? Or do we automatically stay on the lists because we have no school place offered?

Would you be able to clarify my questions about waiting lists?
- when people get their first preference, I assume they aren't asked to stay on waiting lists for their other preferences? Therefore if they had our first choice as a 2nd option (and are closer than us), they would therefore be removed from the waiting list and we would move up?
- people who reject the place because they go private mean that a space becomes available and we move up the list?
- therefore people staying on the list will be people like us or people who didn't get their first choice?

Trying to make sense of it all - thanks!

titchy Sun 29-Apr-12 16:56:04

No useful advice but I used to go to Beaver Road <sighs wistfully>! Are the toilets still in between the infant And junior playgrounds?

Good luck!

SchoolsNightmare Sun 29-Apr-12 17:46:39

OzBrit - don't assume you are on the lists. Check when you speak to the LA tomorrow that you are on them and in addition ask to be added to the lists of any other local schools you would be happy to accept a place at.

Waiting lists are made up of people who didn't get the school they wanted. They might have got their 2nd choice school so be on one list or they might not have got any school offer so be on 5 lists or more. Also on the list are people who moved house too late to be included in the normal admissions process, people who are currently at private school but suddenly decide to ask for a state place (after normal admissions are over) and children whose sibling might have been offered a place in an older year group and whose parents now want the younger siblings to join them.
Because people can be added to the list at any time, you can go up the list as well as down. If someone declines their offer of a place, you go up the list. If someone new moves to the area closer to the school than you and asks to go on the list, you go down the list.
Sometimes people who got their first choice will change their mind and go on the waiting lists for other schools too.

RillaBlythe Sun 29-Apr-12 22:20:04

Me too titchy! I peered through the railings the other day, look like they've been doing building work since my day!

peacypops Mon 30-Apr-12 13:47:25

A friend of mine spoke to a teacher at her DD's pre-school today and apparently there are 160 children in South Manchester without an offer of a place. It's terrible -feel very sorry for anyone in this situation and hope it gets resolved soon

OzBrit Mon 30-Apr-12 19:18:19

peacypops - I heard the same number this afternoon when I did the nursery pickup. It is ridiculous!

An update on our situation
* Defintely have no place at any local school or school within 2 mile radius (2 miles is the distance they feel is reasonable for infants children to travel to school)
* Have been informed by admission & appeals it is unlikely our places on waiting lists are going to change dramatically by 11th May
* Admissions admit they are at fault as they legally have to provide a school place and are not able to
* Both admissions and appeals office have said the only option is to appeal on the grounds of no place whatsoever being offered
* I pointed out the flawed waiting lists system in that people above us on the waiting list may be offered a place elsewhere, yet still remain on the waiting list above us despite the fact we have no place...........admissions stated that this is a flaw and it will probably be changing next year (not much help this year!!)
* I also pointed out that Manchester Education must have been aware of rising birth rates and lack of school places - yes they have, but there is no money to build new schools. They are hoping parents will start free schools!
* They are looking at which schools may be able to take pre-fabs.
* The only way "bulge" classes can occur is if the appeals panel decides a school must do this.....admissions are not allowed to let numbers go above the 30

Appeals have to be in by 29th May - they won't look at them before then.

A long few weeks/months ahead of us

admission Mon 30-Apr-12 19:49:01

Lets kill a couple of red herrings here. Firstly there is no way that an appeal panel can demand that a school does this, they can only admit pupils where they believe that the school can accomodate them. It is stupidity to suggest that they can make the school magic up a new classroom and teacher. That is a function that the LA has to fulfil in consultation with schools.
Manchester have no money to build new schools! Maybe you should ask them what they are doing with the £23,559,071 of funding to give more school places that was announced last month!

OzBrit Mon 30-Apr-12 20:23:34

Thanks admission - just put down what I was told by the woman at admissions today............interesting re the money - where did you get this information? (trying to look at all information we could put in our appeal)

admission Mon 30-Apr-12 22:05:00

It is on the Department of Education website

SchoolsNightmare Mon 30-Apr-12 22:39:43

OzBrit - an appeal panel can decide in certain circumstances that a school can take extra pupils and state that they must be admitted. But not 30 of them in one swoop. Appeals deal with individuals on a case by case basis. They set no overall policy for schools and do not clear up the mess caused by overall lack of places.

The LA have the power to open new classes and this is what happens in every other part of the country when every school place within miles is full yet hundreds of children remain without a place. Look at Watford as an example. They opened 17 new classes at existing schools this year. Come allocation day they saw this still wasn't enough and are now working on opening even more (about 13 more full classes are needed so they will be asking schools to take even more extra classes all fully staffed of course).

The LA has a legal duty to find a school place for all children not yet offered one. It is not up to appeal panels to try to slot 160 children into already full schools.
Also the LA cannot change the way the lists operate - they have to be kept in strict order by admission criteria only. Believe me I know how annoying it is to see someone who was offered their 3rd choice get their 1st choice from a waiting list when you haven't even been offered one school place yet but the LA and schools cannot get around this. There is no discretion to bump children with no place to the top of the waiting lists.

It does sound like the LA are trying to buy themselves a bit more time (hopefully) or are fobbing you off completely (hopefully not) because it is not up to appeal panels to swoop in and solve this for them. They'll have to open more classrooms or pay an awful lot of money for all those children to be transported more than 2 miles to school and back everyday.

SharonGless Tue 01-May-12 20:09:25

There was similar in Stockport last year due the number of people who have relocated due to the BBC moving. Eventually everyone got a place but as others have said it is just to good enough. Hope you get sorted

arrrghhhhwaiting Mon 07-May-12 21:14:11

Hi Ozbrit

Sorry to hear your predicament. There are quite a few who decide to go private in didsbury though x

ohforfoxsake Mon 07-May-12 21:27:54

I don't believe there are that many primary school aged children relocating to one single area with the BBC to make a massive impact on school places.

Its more likely to be birth-rates, siblings, twins and patents holding onto places they don't need. Try to be patient. Once the LEA get the replies from first round offers, there will most likely be a lot of movement.

Good luck - its very stressful but most likely it will be fine smile

PestoPenguin Mon 07-May-12 21:50:18

In your position I'd think about getting together with other local parents in a similar position and starting a campaign for an extra class to be opened at a school where you think there would be space (it would be a mobile classroom most likely) and that you would stand a good chance of getting into with an extra class (i.e. you're within the first 30 on the waiting list). Start a Facebook group, write to local councillors, court press coverage.

Send in Freedom of Information Act requests to the council relating to the number of children who have not been allocated a reception place in the first round, and other relevant questions, for example about funding received and planning for this yeargroup, who the council must have known was bigger.

Good luck!

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