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In-year application stuff consuming every waking moment - words of encouragement pls

(8 Posts)
notsoperfect33 Mon 01-Oct-12 13:19:44

I'm new to mumsnet, although I have been a passive viewer for a while. We have 2 DC's currently in independent school DS1 Y3 and DS2 Reception. Due to both my husband and my work positions significantly changing this year we have had to make the hard decision to take them both out and put them into state school.

We are not weathly by any stretch, but liked the school we chose and at the time could afford the fees with little sacrifice. Although we know this decision will devestate DS1 who is very settled, happy and thriving, financially it is just not doable anymore.

Initially both DH and me felt a big sense of relief in making this decision until we realised that getting into a school of even mediocre standard would be hard. So far the LEA (inner London) has not been very helpful and of course all of the schools I have seen that are good have huge waiting lists. I have been very proactive in checking which schools have places, but it seems to be 1 step forward and 2 steps back!

We have given the current school provisional notice as we really do need them to leave by the end of the year and this is like a ticking time bomb in my head. The only way we can keep them in the current school is if I find a job before the end of the year (currently self employed), another added pressure.

Sorry a long post, but I could do with some support from anyone who has faced this situation and come through the other side.

BranchingOut Mon 01-Oct-12 13:24:39

Hi, I didn't want to read and not post, as you seem pretty worried.

There are lots of parents on here who have had experience of both state and private education, so should be able to help.

The main thing is not to build up a negative picture in your mind of what state education might be. There are so many brilliant state schools out there that offer what private schools like to charge you £££ for! Where do you live? What are your nearest schools like?

purpleroses Mon 01-Oct-12 13:47:54

The difficulty will be finding a schol with a place in both years - unless you can manage getting them to different schools - worth checking this out as an option if there are schools that are near enough to one another.

The LEA does have an obligation to offer them both places somewhere within two miles (or else provide transport), though it doesn't have to be at the same school and doesn't have to be one you like.

Worth checking out if you can get one DS in, where that would place your other one on the waiting list - once he has a sibling at the school your other DS may move to the top of the waiting list. So it might be worth moving one to a school with a space initially and hoping on a place for your other one by the end of the year (and crossing your fingers in the meantime...)

I can understand that it must be unsettling for your DSs, but most kids once they move settle really quickly. I moved my DD during Y3 (from one state school to another one nearer home) and she settled within weeks, and now has two lots of friends! On the plus side of going to a state school - he's likely to find friends that are much more local which should be nice for him.

notsoperfect33 Mon 01-Oct-12 14:09:17

Thank to you both for your quick replies - the schools in our area are mostly outstanding and oversubscribed SE12/SE3. There are a number of schools I really like but as you said purpleroses the difficulty is getting a place. We know our best hope is getting a place for DS1 Y3 and then moving up the list for DS2. We could probably scrape through leaving DS2 where she is until the end of the academic year if DS2 were to move.

The positive is that it has really opened my eyes to the variations in the quality of schools across the state system - there are certainly a couple which stand up to the levels we have been paying for. Our primary interest is the welfare of our DCs and us all as a family. We are active in supporting both our DCs outside of school, so I know they will be fine wherever they end up - its just this period of not knowing that is driving me a bit nuts!

tiggytape Mon 01-Oct-12 14:23:18

Have you applied yet to the LA? You are doing the right thing by looking at schools and considering your options but the whole process is done via the council not individual schools.

You are not obliged to track down schools with spaces yourself - you fill in a form with your choice of schools and see if you are offered one (knowing in advance one of them does have definite spaces though cannot hurt but isn't necessary). The council then writes and tells you your allocation. This is supposed to happen fast but doesn't always and you may need to chase it so do start by getting your form filled in.

If you can get DS2 a Reception place that is half the battle. Reception classes are governed by laws on class sizes that Year 3 is not. So if you can get DS2 in to a school you like, DS1 will be high up their waiting list plus you have the option to appeal for a place. You cannot realistically do it the other way round as Reception appeals rarely succeed where the class already has 30 children (because of the laws that exist for YR that don't exist for Y3)

Mutteroo Mon 01-Oct-12 14:27:08

I can feel your anxiety!
My DC attended a private nursery & moved into the state sector for reception. We had contemplated staying within the private sector for primary but couldn't afford it & so considered numerous state schools. The one we picked had the lowest SATS results & meant a short car journey each morning. We put the local outstanding school second & were extremely nervous about doing this as it would have been a guaranteed place at a top school! 15 years on, we stand by our choice. Both kids loved their primary years & while the juniors was not as academically great as the infants, we felt these 'good' (later to become very good with outstanding features) schools were right for the children.

What I'm trying to say in a round about way is that the perfect school doesn't exist. Take Ofsted & SATs with a pinch of salt & trust your instincts. We selected the infant school because it was undersubscribed & this meant small classes (18-26). We liked the HT, we loved how the teachers taught & the environment reminded us of our own primary schools. Try not to worry too much because being the person you are, you'll ensure your children will do well at school wherever they go. smile

notsoperfect33 Mon 01-Oct-12 15:14:37

Thanks for sharing your experience Mutteroo!

Tiggytape - I have put the forms into Lewisham I'm not entirely convinced they know what they are doing as they have until Friday to offer me a place somewhere. They keep telling me there may be a place at a school and then when they check with the school there isn't. As I go to church with the DCs I have also been calling the cofe's and nearly got a place for DS1, but they had to confirm with the person ahead who on prompting accepted the place, so dissapointed.

So I'm frantically trying to find a job, so that we can at least sit on the waiting lists for our preferred schools for a bit longer. DC1 is very academic and so we have to ensure they are in a school that will continue to stretch them.

admission Mon 01-Oct-12 21:22:41

If you are going to move both children, then the biggest problem is likely to be the younger child as in many schools the infant class size regs will be in force. That means a maximum of 30 in a class with one school teacher and the rules around admission appeals in such cases means that you would be very unlikely to gain a place. When it comes to a year 3 child they are in junior years and the regs do not apply. You will still need to convince an appeal panel to give you a place but at least there is no restriction about going over 30.
I think you do need to be realistic and any school is likely to be a bit of a let down in comparison with the independent school you are at now.

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