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In-Year Transfer. Moving from village to town mid-term. No places. Dilemma-your views please!

(17 Posts)
Challen Thu 20-Sep-12 21:52:13

Given notice on our rented house, nowhere left in village affordable so have to move to nearest town.

Taking 5 year old daughter out of village school (she's just started Year 1) and taking 3.5 year old son out of attached nursery, where he's settled well.

Found rented house, paid £120 application fees, just learnt infant school in next street that I applied for is full in Year 1.
I didn't put any other school choices.

They have offered me over the phone today a school a good 25 minute walk away, it's not even the next nearest school. It has the worst Ofsted rating in the whole town.

School Admissions say the entire county is suffering problems with admissions and most primary schools are oversubscribed. A factor of economic migrants.

1) Does anyone know if I can appeal for the first school, or is it pointless if it has no places left in Year 1?

2) Is it worth putting my daughter on the waiting list for that school? I mean, she could be waiting months or years, I don't want to keep moving her around schools.

3)Is it worth talking to school head privately, to see if she can get in?

4) Shall I home educate until she moves up the waiting list? (I have no teaching experience and although soon will be at nursery 3 hours a day, I worry I won't be able to concentrate as they are both playmates and she may not apply herself to work, plus she loses out on social skills with peers).

5) Shall I just send her to this school regardless and hope for the best, letting her brave the 30 min walk in cold winter dark every day?

6)Shall we move to new house anyway, and my elderly Mum has said she's happy to drive daughter back and forth from current school every day, until she moves up waiting list. My Mum is not in the best of health and I worry about hazardous winter driving to and from the village.

7) I now don't know what to do about my son, as I have to make his application to start Reception before this January deadline. So do I put that first choice school down for him, in which case they'll be siblings in two different schools - logistically impossible, I don't drive! -or .... what??

I'm so confused and stressed. I am on housing benefit, I am currently not working, single, left the children father's because of DV issues, and feel such a failure for 'losing' our village home and life, and now having to replace it with a house in the Smoke and from a fantastic village school to one with unsatisafctory Ofsted ratings.

Summarily, I'd love to hear from anyone with In-Year Admission experience, especially with Year 1 children, if they have any advice,experience, etc.

I mean, theoretically, could she even drop down a year back to Reception stage as that still has vacancies, or is that just ridiculous? I do know of a child in the village that did this, although he had special needs of some kind.

I need some bluddy harsh advice. I have already asked friends and family and everyone is saying something different. Please help?

RobinsonOnTheA24 Thu 20-Sep-12 23:09:19

Sorry you've had such an awful time. Don't blame yourself - sounds like you've done exactly the right thing under the circumstances - and don't panic, places do come up, especially in urban areas where there is a reasonably transient population. Did the council/school give you any indication of how many were on the waiting list for year 1, and how many children tend to leave in an average year? If you can find out and it sounds reasonably hopeful, then I would probably take your mum up on her offer to drive to the old school for now, get on the waiting lists for the schools near to your new house for your daughter and apply for reception places for your son at the same schools. Would you be able to learn to drive so that you could take over the school commute from her at some point?

But investigate the "bad" school too - go and visit, and talk to parents. A 25-30 minute walk isn't a terrible distance, and if it has been in special measures it could well be turned around quite quickly and might be very good in a year or so. You would need to go and have a look.

Bumping for admissions experts who might have a view on whether your moving for dv reasons would form any grounds for an appeal.

prh47bridge Thu 20-Sep-12 23:52:13

To answer your questions:

1) Yes you can appeal. However, if it is an infant class size appeal (depends on how big the classes are but most Y1 appeals are class size) you are unlikely to win. You would essentially need to show that the LA has made a mistake and should have offered you a place at this school. For an in-year admission that is unlikely. However, it may be worth a try anyway. You never know what will come out in the hearing and you may get a sympathetic panel prepared to bend the rules for you.

2) It can't do any harm to put her on the waiting list. You can still reject the place when it is offered if you don't want it by then. You can also take your daughter off the waiting list at any time.

3) No. School heads do not have any discretion over admissions. The head is not allowed to offer you a place.

4, 5 & 6) Your choice. Personally I would accept the place at the offered school and get her started there. But you know your daughter.

7) I would apply for a place at the local school for him. He is more likely to get in there than anywhere else and, depending on the admission criteria for this school, if he does get a place it may move your daughter up the waiting list.

Know, your daughter can't drop down to Reception just because there is a place there. Children only get to repeat a year if they are struggling to keep up (and often not even then).

I agree with the last poster that you should look at the offered school rather than rely on its Ofsted rating.

Challen Fri 21-Sep-12 10:19:35

Updated by schools admission today:

Every single Year 1 space in full in this town except for the three schools with the worst Ofsted ratings. All miles away from the new address. In those ratings are 'issues with child playground behaviour' (ie bullying).

Waiting lists for other schools are 40-50 pupils, renew each term, but that many spaces are never going to suddenly become available, so she will never get in.

I can't afford to stay renting in this village where we have been settled three years and I have extended family, but I will not compromise theire education by putting them into poorly rated schools, let alone the logistics of getting there. Subsidised help from the council Transport Team doesn't apply as it's all within the area they consider suitable walking distance - 40 minutes for one of the schools. My 3 year old will not walk 40 minutes every day.

I am going to either have to home educate my eldest, but then she'll miss out on social skills and will never move up the waiting lists anyway.

Or, I am going to have to keep her at current school, and sit tight and go through court eviction process at this house we've been given notice on, so that gives us a few more months breathing space. Scuppers chance of references for future letting agents, probably lose my deposit, never mind the stress it will cause me :/

My last thought is, as my son is due to start Reception next year, if I put his name down for the school nearest to the new address we (were) planning on moving to, and he gets in (perhaps there's more spaces in Reception year??), then would that mean as he is there, his sibling will stand a better chance of moving up the waiting list? Does anyone know if this sounds a likely scenario?

I am frantic. I feel on the edge of a bluddy breakdown.

titchy Fri 21-Sep-12 10:33:38

How many children are on the waiting list is irrelevant - where YOU are on it is whatcounts and that is decided usually by how close you aee to the school - if you have a house in the next street you will be very high up the waiting list. Maybe first, you never know.

Secondly the walking time to the school is irrelevant. Your child will qualify for free transport if it is more than two miles away by walking route. (You won't though, but again your LEA may offer a taxi for your child).

Ignore Ofsted - don't try and read between the lines at what they mean. Go and visit the allocated school yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Your youngest will probably get a place at your preferred school nextyear. That will move your eldest even higher up the list if she isnt; already there. The following year she would be in year 3 and class sizes not restricted so you'd stand a much better chance of getting her in then anyway.

I really woldn't wait to be evicted tbh - this will cause you far more problems being housed in the long term, than a year or two at a school you're not terribly keen on (Let's face it even if the teaching is crap she'll catch up easily enough by the time she's in year 6!).

jennycrofter Fri 21-Sep-12 10:38:02

I think Titchy speaks sense. Good luck.

RobinsonOnTheA24 Fri 21-Sep-12 10:55:43

If the school is in the next street to the new house you will have a very good chance of getting your ds in for Reception. Check with the school what their oversubscription criteria are, as it may be that his being in the school will indeed bump your dd up the waiting list.

Also, I think that waiting lists don't generally work according to how long people have been on them, but rather on how well you fit the criteria - so if you are very close to the school you are likely to be near the top of the list straight away (can admissions people confirm this?)

We are in a similar-ish situation with a daughter in year 2 and a 1 year old moving to a house in a new borough where all the nearby schools are heavily oversubscribed, and where the only available schools are quite a distance away and seem to have the sort of worrying issues you describe. We've decided to keep her at her current school and commute (just under an hour each way by bus and tube) until a place comes up, and hope that the journey doesn't kill us in the meantime.

RobinsonOnTheA24 Fri 21-Sep-12 10:57:39

sorry, x-posts with titchy. Yes that all sounds like very good advice to me.

Challen Fri 21-Sep-12 11:12:22

Oh lots of reassuring views thankyou smile

I think I have finally decided today that I will move to the new rented house as planned. So that's one worry finally decided.

My son will then hopefully get into Reception for September 2013 as he'll be in the catchment area of chosen school.

My Year 1 daughter now to just sort.
Do I bus her in to current school every day (approx. £50 fares and I don't work at present..) along with her brother who attends 3 hours a day nursery on same premises.

Or do I home educate her until she might move up the waiting list for chosen school at new address.

Or do I send her to allocated poor Ofsted school, but then she will have to move schools again maybe in a year, or six months, or more, or less...

This is all so helpful having all these different views from people, I can't thank you enough.

catastrophewaitress Fri 21-Sep-12 14:13:13

I would personally try to keep Y1 DD in current school if feasible (esp if position on waiting list is reasonably high and there is some degree of mobility in the school you are aiming for). Will give her some continuity despite the house move. If your mum can help out with the school run a couple of times a week even better. Could your DS go full time to the nursery so you don't have to do pick ups?

Second what other posters said, once you move you'll be in a good position to get your DS into Reception at local school next Sep, chances are DD will have a place soon thereafter. In any event applications for 2013 Reception need to be in my mid-Jan so now is a good time to move to the new house.

We moved house when DD was 3.5, as she was already in a pre-school so we left her in the old place for 3 more terms, took us 40mins door to door on a busy bus route (longer once we started dropping off DS at nursery on the way as well), but now she's at the local school 3 mins down the road.

Good luck.

catastrophewaitress Fri 21-Sep-12 14:14:30

I mean "you don't have to do two pick ups (at different times)"

overthemill Fri 21-Sep-12 14:22:06

move, put ds on list for his place, keep eldest in current school. By y 3 (maybe earlier) she'll be in new school. A hassle but least disruptive for her. It is true that class sizes further up make a difference and people do move out of schools all the time!

You could look at other school you were offered. My school (I teach)was failed in March. We are a lovely, small church school with lovely family values and gorgeous staff and pupils. We appealed and got full apology. Ofsted don't always get it right.

Challen Fri 21-Sep-12 22:47:21

Thankyou everyone so much, I am genuinely so grateful for all your input, it has taken a huge weight off my mind.

Before just checking back on this thread, I had already decided earlier this evening - on my Mum's advice too - that keeping my daughter in her current school and bussing her in (with Mum driving her in some days) would indeed be least disruptive for her.

Also as many of you have said, that as my son will quite possibly be offered a place at the school next to the new address, my daughter's position on the waiting list may bump up.

I spent all last night researching Ofsted ratings on the schools, and the actual grades seemed to conflict with the summary letter, so I have taken them with a pinch of salt as you recommended.

So, thanks to you lovely people on Mumsnet and some good input from friends and family, this very indecisive Mum here has shelved a shedload of weight from her shoulders and I am now full steam ahead.

Thankyou x

overthemill Sun 23-Sep-12 09:07:56

well done you! parenting is hard work but do't add needless guilt to your already heavy load.

good luck with the move

Saracen Sun 23-Sep-12 12:03:58

Good luck to you! I'm glad you have reached a decision you feel you can live with.

If keeping your dd at her current school proves to be too awkward after all, you might get in touch with people nearby who are home educating. It's possible you will find a thriving social network on your doorstep. Even if you aren't so lucky, you may be reassured that your daughter will get enough social contact by playing with neighbour kids after school and weekends, going to Brownies and sports etc. Many home ed parents (like me!) report that the popular fear of social isolation does not match the reality of home education, and that our kids do have enough friends.

Home ed is certainly the simplest option on a practical level. And if your dd is feeling unsettled because of recent family events and the house move, a good dose of nurturing at home with you might be just what she needs at this moment. You could always put her into school later if it turns out that home education doesn't provide what she needs.

Tak3n Sun 23-Sep-12 12:22:07

Try to remember that some of the worst ofsted rated schools are sometimes very good, as daft as that sounds

SuePurblybilt Sun 23-Sep-12 12:24:45

Pretty much the situation DD and I are in, though I took a school 5 miles across town, rather than the 'orrible one a bit closer. We're on the waiting list for the local one and hoping.

Get on the waiting lists, check they run over academic years (so that you don't have to re-do in June) and just wait it out, I reckon. What else can you do?

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