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My theory on lack of infant school places. Especially for In-Year Admissions.

(15 Posts)
Challen Fri 21-Sep-12 10:38:14

Due to economic migrants over the last decades, school places have been quickly depleting. I am moving to a nondescript East Midlands town and cannot get my daughter into any Year 1 spaces except for the town's three worst Ofsted schools. By worst, I mean one of them is grade 4 ('unacceptable' rating).

I am beginning to think, that if your town has a significant industry that attracts migrants (this town is in the distribution hub of the country, so lots of unskilled labour, warehouse work, packing, etc which many migrants are attracted to) then the schools are likely to be oversubscribed.

Whereas I have no choice but to move because I have been served notice and can't afford to stay in my village, I would now strongly recommend that anyone thinking of relocating, researches industry in that town, migrant influx, and rings schools direct first before School Admission at the council, as the school staff will tell you if there are actually spaces available before Schools Admissions will. And if you move anyway, be prepared to have your children placed in the worst Ofsted schools, because the rest will be full.

Waiting lists for other schools are 40-50 children per term. that many spaces will never suddenly become available each term.

redskyatnight Fri 21-Sep-12 10:59:11

I think it's likely that if you apply in-year ANYWHERE, that the "best" schools are more likely to be full than the worst schools. "Good" schools anywhere tend not to have places sitting empty waiting for someone to move into the area.

Of course if you do live in an area with a mobile population, this does have the added benefit that people are equally likely to move out of the area, thus freeing up a school place.

MirandaWest Fri 21-Sep-12 11:01:16

I think if you move at a time other than before children start school it is likely that good schools will be full. When we moved I found out which schools had places before making the final decision of exactly where to move to.

Jenny70 Fri 21-Sep-12 11:04:09

I agree you need to do your homework on schools before you move (or buy) - some areas are massively oversubscribed, and therefore only the "poor" schools have any places.

But the migrant side of it isn't correct, from my experience. Certainly some areas have more pressure on schools than others, but migrants are not the cause in our area - several schools were closed (and land sold) 5+ years ago, and more housing built on the land sold - hey presto more families in the area and less school places - DOH.

Also, commuter towns to london suffer - millions of families want to live outside london, but without long commutes etc.

But it sucks majorly when you move (we came from overseas) and balance all your life factors (commute, support network, affordability, tranport etc) only to find there is no school for your kids - took us 18 months to get ours into the school we wanted, whereas if we had moved/applied 2 weeks earlier we would have got the places we wanted - but the middle child's class was then full by the time we moved.

RobinsonOnTheA24 Fri 21-Sep-12 11:07:51

The birth rate has surged everywhere and the schools haven't kept up. I would say you are generally better off in an area with a lot of migrants if you are looking for mid-term admissions as school places are likely to come up more frequently as people move on.

(Btw, if you are moving because you can't afford to stay in your current area, surely that makes you an economic migrant too??)

prh47bridge Fri 21-Sep-12 11:11:36

I'm a bit puzzled by your statement about waiting lists. They are not "per term". It is just a straightforward waiting list. If no-one gets a place this term the waiting list will still have the same 40-50 children on it next term.

In the situation you describe is that it is quite likely that the same people are on the waiting list for all of the popular schools near you. The chances are once they've got a place at one of the schools they will come off the waiting lists for the others. So to clear the waiting lists it needs all the schools between them to come up with 40-50 places, rather than each school needing that many.

As has been pointed out on your other thread you won't necessarily be last on the waiting list. If your new house is close to a school you will be at or near the head of the waiting list for that school. The fact you have applied later than all the other people on the list is irrelevant. Waiting lists are not first come, first served. They are ordered by the school's admission criteria.

I would repeat the advice I and others have given you on your other thread. Don't rely on the Ofsted rating or the school's reputation. If a school is rated unacceptable there will be intensive efforts going on to turn it round and address the issues raised by Ofsted. You may be pleasantly surprised if you visit.

On your primary argument, economic migrants may add to the problem a little but in most areas that is not the real problem. The birth rate has been going up for some time but many councils have failed to ensure there are enough primary school places to cope. Indeed, some have continued to close down primary schools even though it was clear more would be needed. This has been exacerbated by the poor state of the economy, meaning fewer parents than normal are sending their children to indpendent schools. I would be very suspicious of any council that blames economic migrants for a shortage of places in infants. They may be right but I suspect they are covering up for their own failings.

steppemum Fri 21-Sep-12 11:20:47

several schools round us have added a reception class this year and will next year as well. There is baby boom hitting schools and the lea only started plannin for it 6 months ago. Not really large numbers pf migrants here.

We moved house. For every area we looked in I had researched schools. I wouldn't look at houses in one area with good housing, because I didn't like closest school. My 2 got in by the skin of their teeth. Both their classes are now full and I don't think there has been much movement.

Find your blame game a bit odd. Hardly the immigrants fault that you are moving?

Challen Fri 21-Sep-12 11:27:09

Steppemum, it's not a blame game about immigrants (children are part-Polish), but it's just one factor, as other people have said, the baby boom, schools closing down, etc all play a part too. I just thought it made some sense that towns with a higher immigrant population would significantly add to over-subscription.

It's a very reassuring point though someone made that this same fact may mean a more transient population in the town, so that In-Year admissions could be less of a waiting game than I first anticipated.

Frikadellen Fri 21-Sep-12 13:16:29

When we moved schools 4 years ago with 3 (then) Y5 Y3 and Y1 children the only school in the area able to accommodate all 3 is now 4 years later sought after over subscribed (I am talking 62 applications for 15 spaces this year - considered one of the best in the area) School. Don't make the assumption you will always get the bottom of everything it is not always so.

In our case we moved our kids from an Outstanding to a Good school However the Good school has been FAR better for our children than the outstanding was. I can certainly see how they achieve the outstanding the good school may not have the academia but the kids leave with self confidence and belief in themselves. IMO that's worth more. * Disclaimer I am not claiming all outstanding schools are like this just in the case of the one I had experience of.

I wouldn't assume that it will automatically be poor schools. Sometimes things will slot in well.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Fri 21-Sep-12 13:20:47

Changes in migrant populations do have an impact. In my city there is a decent RC school. This school is situated in a very popular 'family' neighbourhood where the LEA school was not that great. About 5 years ago there was gnashing of teeth in all the nice middle class homes because their non RC but local dc could not get in to the good school because an increase in the local Polish population had meant an influx of RC children. So the darling dcs had to go to the not so good school - which is now definately improving. All round a good result I think.

crazymum53 Fri 21-Sep-12 13:52:18

The main reasons for a shortage of primary school places in my area are:
1. rising birth rate
2. people relocating to our city from elsewhere in the UK
3. increasing house prices and recession has meant fewer families moving to rural areas (and hence other LEA) for school places
4. increasing house prices and recession has meant fewer families are sending their children to independent schools for primary education
5. migrants moving to the city from abroad.
This sort of pattern will be true in may areas. In areas where there is a large shortage of school places, some schools are adding "bulge" classes and are taking on extra pupils. But there is unlikely to be government funding to do this if there are several local schools with vacancies.
Immigration is a factor but looking at my point 3, in past years families like yours moving from a rural area to the town were likely to be balanced out by families from the town moving to the country.

meditrina Fri 21-Sep-12 14:02:21

OP doesn't report a shortage of places though. She says there are three schools with vacancies. So the LA has got it's numbers right, so although it is obviously true that a population influx for whatever reason may put pressure on school places, it doesn't automatically follow, as demonstrated by OP, that there will not be enough places.

How to tackle the unpopularity of certain schools is a totally separate question, requiring work on both standards (if there are weaknesses) and reputation, which may have only a tenuous relationship to what is actually happening in the school.

pinkdelight Fri 21-Sep-12 14:02:45

A good result, northern, except for the insinuation that all mc kids are darlings, and what? The Polish kids parents wouldn't gnash their teeth if their non-darlings hadn't got into a decent school? Honestly, why is it okay to bash mc parents? Parents are parents, immigrant or mc or whatever they are.

pinkdelight Fri 21-Sep-12 14:04:16

Sorry, hadn't finished. Most of them just want the best for their kids.

Um, that's it.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Fri 21-Sep-12 15:59:40

Pink - I'm a MC parent myself - though not from that part of town. I have sensible friends there who were on the receiving end of 'should we go private, we've always been able to get in aaaaaarrgh' type wailing. My point was that it all worked out fine and yes of course all parents want the best for their dcs.

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