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Admissions help. Moving in 2 weeks and Surrey say you cant apply for a new school until completion and then it might take a month to find a school place!

(19 Posts)
pollmeister Fri 28-Sep-12 16:54:29

Completion is the day we move in (Fri 12 Oct). We have exchanged. I have been phoning all the local schools in the area and they all seem full (Leatherhead area - state schools), I had already put myself on the waiting list for the 2 nearest schools (but I know they are full; Eastwick & Fetcham Infants). The council say I cant apply anywhere until completion! So we move in on a Friday and I will obvs phone on the Monday - but they said it might be a whole MONTH before they can allocate a school place. Surely it isnt allowed for a (Year 1) child not attend school for that long? There is a school in Cobham that told me they have spaces which I would (just about) be prepared to drive to. If I said I wanted to go on that list and there are spaces surely they can allocate you a space in a couple of days? ARGHHHH I AM AT MY WITS END. My daughter (nearly 6) is already incredibly anxious about the move as it is.
Oh and her old school is about 17 miles away and dont really fancy driving there and back every day...
Boo hoo me what can i do?

tiggytape Fri 28-Sep-12 18:03:14

pollmeister - most LAs have this policy - it is the norm not to be able to apply for a school place in a new area until completion. You can however download / request the form in advance and have it all filled out and ready to go so that you can drop it in to the office in person on the Monday (and get a receipt).

Once the form is handed in the LA must proceed 'without delay' to process it. This is what the Admission Code says. A month is not acceptable if places exist in one of the schools you have listed so once you have handed in your form, you should chase them at least every 2 days by phone and / or email.

Just because the schools know they have a space doesn't mean it will automatically be yours so whilst it is good to ring schools, they don't hand out the places. It may be that no school has a place and the council may have to make enquiries furtehr and further out to try and secure one for you. It is the LA that does this. This can take longer but you can ring for updates and in the meantime, be added to the waiting lists of all the schools you've applied to (I think Surrey is one that limits the number of waiting lists you can join to either 3 or 6 so you would need to check).

springrain Fri 28-Sep-12 21:06:03

Hi Pollmeister. Surrey should be able to tell you where there are places regardless of when you move. Have you tried St Lawrence, Polesden Lacey, Dawnay or St Matthew's in Cobham?
Whilst you cannot apply based on new address until you move, If any of these have spaces then you can apply from your current address and they must give you the place, as you are the nearest applicant. I have a friend who is moving at half term and she did this recently (and she is also SCC) and her DD is now at new school (with a bit of a drive for school run) so they really are not being very helpful to you. PM me if I can help more.

pollmeister Tue 02-Oct-12 13:04:09

Hi thanks for the reply. Ive rung many schools and places are so limited (none in Polesden Lacey - not surprised there, and surprisingly none at the Dawnay. St Matthews is not a bad idea though - although Cobham is a bit too far). I guess I should add the extra schools to my list at Merton council....)

WhoAteTheLastBrownie Tue 02-Oct-12 13:14:02

We were in same situation a few months ago, different councils though, but we were able to give our new address on Exchange rather than wait for completion. Would this be an option for you?

pollmeister Tue 02-Oct-12 13:30:03

Some councils are cool with exchange date - appara its a recent thing with snotty old Surrey to make it on completion only. Grrrrr

mummytime Tue 02-Oct-12 13:47:43

Surrey schools are generally massively over subscribed. There are lots of 'bulge' classes at schools.
However if your child is older than year 2 you can appeal for a place, and possibly have a reasonable chance of success (it depends on how over sull the classes already are). I also don't think that legally they can restrict how many waiting lists you are on, so if you want more than 6 I would challenge any restriction.

Saracen Tue 02-Oct-12 16:04:16

Surely they must allow you to apply at any time, based on your current address rather than your new address? After all, if you were in a neighbouring area and wanted to change to a Surrey school then that would be allowed. So IF there is a place free at a school you want, you should be able to have it. I don't see why you couldn't have the place in Cobham if it's true there is a vacancy there.

Of course, that won't help you in the case of oversubscribed schools because it puts you at the bottom of the waiting list based on distance from school, and an appeal wouldn't succeed.

Are you in a position to home educate for a short while until the dust settles and it's clearer what the school options are? If your daughter is feeling anxious, I should think that would be better for her than starting at whichever school has spaces and then possibly changing soon after, if she reaches the top of the waiting list at a more local school or you have a successful appeal for it. Starting at a new school is hard work emotionally, and I wouldn't want to put a child through it twice in a short space of time if she is feeling fragile. Home educating is quite straightforward, especially in the case of a child who is just five or six.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Oct-12 16:49:40

Just to clarify given Saracen's comments, you can apply at any time based on your current address but you must do so through your home LA. So you can apply immediately to your current LA. They will forward your application to Surrey and, if there is a place available at one of your preferred schools, they must offer you that place. However, if there is no place available they don't have to come up with an alternative. You would be on the waiting list for each school you named but based on your current address, so almost certainly at the bottom of the list. When you move to Surrey your position on the waiting list will change to reflect your new address.

The other approach is to wait until you have completed and then apply to Surrey. That may mean you miss out on places that are available today. However, if there is no place available at one of your preferred schools Surrey would have to come up with an alternative.

And just to correct mummytime - it used to be the view of admissions experts that you were entitled to be on as many waiting lists as you want. Unfortunately, and somewhat to my surprise, the Schools Adjudicator disagreed when a parent took a case to them on this very point. So the current position is that LAs can restrict the number of waiting lists you are on. This will not change unless the government changes the Admissions Code to explicitly give parents the right to go on as many waiting lists as they want or someone takes the matter to judicial review.

mummytime Tue 02-Oct-12 16:58:58

I stand corrected prh47bridge. It sounds ridiculous for people in cities where there can be a lot of schools very very close.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Oct-12 17:51:45

I agree. I think the Adjudicator got this one wrong.

admission Tue 02-Oct-12 21:14:57

A key issue for your child is that they are year 1 and therefore in many schools the infant class size regs will be relevant, which limits the class to 30 pupils with one school teacher.
My inclination, given we are only talking just over a week is to leave it until you complete and then hit the admission offices hard with schools that you want a place at. If you apply now through your current LA, my guess is they will still be processing it when the 12th comes around.

Autumnalis Tue 02-Oct-12 21:24:57

We moved Oct 1st last year. DD started at a new school just after half-term, so about 3 weeks. I found the Council quite helpful (maybe because DH dealt with it and I didn't get any of the stress). Good luck, a few more weeks only.

Winterwardrobetime Tue 02-Oct-12 21:29:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

springrain Wed 03-Oct-12 00:07:01

I have pm'd you

muzzybee Wed 03-Oct-12 09:16:22

Have you tried the infant school in Mickleham? I think it is called St Michaels.

pollmeister Wed 03-Oct-12 09:39:17

Admissions - thanks for that advice: good point! The school in Cobahm is St Andrews - my 3 lovely stepchildren (who dont live with us) all went there and seems very good - I just wanted somewhere nearer so I can meet locals that we can share drops offs/collections with etc. There seems to be spaces at St Lawrences though so I feel that is a good option. Re Cobham 'Free' school - the negative press about these have put me off a bit to be honest. Am I being silly?

mummytime Wed 03-Oct-12 09:45:33

I wouldn't judge any one free school by the reputation of others, the Cobham one is very different to Toby Young's one in Hammersmith.
However St Lawrence will be far more convenient, and is a feeder I think for Howard of Effingham if you live in the catchment.

JellyLellyBean Wed 07-Nov-12 07:20:54

I've not heard good things about the free school in Cobham actually. I think people think it's better than it actually is because that's what they want it to be like. A bit of see what you want to see. Everyone is hopeful when a new school is set up when in fact there are other local schools that are wonderful and with excellent teachers. I know someone with a child at St. Matthews (for infant ages) and have only heard good things. Likewise with St. Andrews they're also supposed to be a lovely school. I hope that's helpful

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