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Does a school have to give you a place if there is one available? (admissions/ appeals)

(13 Posts)
doobiedoobiedoobie Fri 19-Oct-12 21:36:34

Sorry, wasn't sure how to phrase the question!

To cut a long story short, if a school has the capacity to accommodate up to 90 pupils, can they only accept say 60 pupils via the first stage admissions procedure and appeals, thus keeping the other 30 places free for children possibly moving into catchment at a later stage? Or are they obliged to offer it to someone who has applied and wants a place at that school immediately even of out of catchment?

Thank you!

RueDeWakening Fri 19-Oct-12 23:06:15

It depends on the schools admission number - if their admissions number is 60 (even if they have capacity for 90) then that's all they can admit without breaking infant class size regs.

If their admissions number is 90 but they currently have only 60 enrolled and someone applies to that school for a place, then that person must be admitted afaik, even if they apparently live miles away.

I don't believe schools are permitted to "reserve" places for people moving into catchment at a later date.

prh47bridge Sat 20-Oct-12 01:24:32

If there is a place available it must be offered. They cannot hold places back for appeals, people moving into the area or for any other reason. They are not allowed to set an artificially low admission number either.

Would you like to tell us more about the story behind this question?

admission Sat 20-Oct-12 17:45:18

It does depend on the exact circumstances, so as PRH says, tell us more!
If however it is a straight forward question of can the school save places for pupils moving into the area the answer is definitely no.

doobiedoobiedoobie Sun 21-Oct-12 16:16:46

Thanks for the information, sorry ive taken so long to come back!

I got the figures wrong actually, a primary school I'm interested in for DD1 has room for an intake of 60 (which has always been the intake up till this year) but are planning to only take 55 pupils in sept 2013.

I got the figures wrong initially as I know they spilt the usual 60 up to 3 classes of 20 but didn't correlate that with 2 classes of 30 each when they hit ks2 because I'm dim blush

When we went to go and look round I asked how mid year applications work (we are hoping to find somewhere to live within catchment if we need to as we are just out of catchment for it ATM, literally across the road and out catchment school is ofsted outstanding but also terrifying!) and the head said that between us, if we moved mid year he would have to offer us a place at the school, and that it happens a lot. I was just a bit confused tbh as I thought that if there were spaces there, they had to offer them out during the initial round. If not, I'll feel a lot better as we can relax a bit and I'm more than happy to HE for a bit if we need to whilst finding a house/ re applying etc.

With regards to the accepting 55 pupils, would I be right in thinking that we'd have more chance of getting in on appeal if it got that far, or if they are happy to take 60, they need to take them straight away?

Sorry if the information is a bit confusing, I'll be back later as DD2 has just woken and started to cry smile

doobiedoobiedoobie Sun 21-Oct-12 16:17:59

Sorry, that wass meant to read our current catchment school is terrifying. Just very academically orientated which wouldn't be right for DD1 I feel.

prh47bridge Sun 21-Oct-12 16:30:54

Have they actually reduced PAN to 55?

If it is still 60 they must offer those places in the initial round of offers if there are people applying. They cannot hold 5 back.

If they have reduced PAN the head is wrong to say that they would have to offer you a place if you moved mid year. However, as any appeal would not be ICS you would stand a decent chance of winning. If they have reduced PAN I would want to know why - what has changed to justify the reduction. If nothing has changed they would struggle to justify the reduction to an appeal panel in my view.

admission Sun 21-Oct-12 19:59:29

AS PRH says you need to check that they have formally reduced the PAN to 55, which you can check by looking at the admission booklet on the LA web site.

Assuming that they have formally reduced to 55, then they can only take 55 and anything above that has to go to appeal. Yes until the cohort reaches 60, it will not be an infant class size appeal and therefore much more orientated to your personal circumstances and reasons for the school. However there must be a reason for the reduction and I suspect that the reason they had 3 classes of 20 in reception (apart from being good for the kids) is that the classrooms generally are smaller than they should be.

What would be interesting to find out is exactly what the classroom organisation is now and what it is going to be in 2013, because that will give you a big clue as to the reasoning behind the decision and what chance you might have at appeal.

doobiedoobiedoobie Mon 22-Oct-12 21:09:42

Interesting, thank you. Having looked around the school, I know that nothing is changing with the layout regarding the foundation stage, just that the headmaster wishes to downsize to 55 pupils for some reason. He said because he believes smaller class sizes are better for the pupils although this could be BS grin He did also say he couldn't guarantee it would be 55 either, that was up the LA ad he hadn't been told yet, is this likely? I'm planning to phone our admissions helpline tomorrow anyway to ask ome thing so may check then.

prh47bridge Mon 22-Oct-12 22:38:33

If this is a community school it is up to the LA to set PAN. They won't necessarily reduce it just because that is what the head wants.

admission Tue 23-Oct-12 10:35:20

The PAN for September 2013 has already been agreed and what is in the school admission booklet of the LA is the agreed PAN. The only way that can be changed officially for September 2013 is to get agreement from the School Adjudicator. I would say that is unlikely unless there has been a very significant change in the school building.
What could well be happening, because it is the right time of year, is that there is some discussion between the school and the LA over a change of PAN for September 2014 admissions. However the head teacher liking small classes is irrelevant when it comes to decisions on the PAN, it is around the size of the available classrooms. So if they are normal size classrooms, then the LA is not likely to want to reduce the PAN, especially if there is pressure on school places locally. The LA will also have one eye focused on the knowledge that a PAN of 55 in classrooms designed for 60, is more or less a guarantee, as far as I am concerned, that there would be successful appeals up to the magic figure of 60, when infant class size regs would come into force with 2 classes of 30.
I am afraid that if the head teacher thinks that he can reduce intake to 55, then he needs to overcome not only the issue around class size but also an issue of the funding to the school reducing. A reduction of 5 in each year group, is 35 less pupils, which equates to around £120K of funding . Don't honestly believe that they can afford to do this, as this is a sizable reduction in their funding (about 10%).

nlondondad Tue 23-Oct-12 23:00:22

It is possible the school is underrecruiting -there can be good reasons for this- and so effectivily he reckons he is pretty sure to have a place for you.

prh47bridge Tue 23-Oct-12 23:38:41

No it is not possible for the school to underrecruit regardless of their reasons. If they have a PAN of 60 they must admit 60 children. They cannot arbitrarily decide to only admit 55.

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