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Need to make decision on in year admission place but without all the info I need

(9 Posts)
MurderOfProse Mon 12-Nov-12 12:39:39

We've just moved to a new area and my oldest DD is in Y1.

We're 150m from a decent school, but it is oversubscribed. We knew this when we moved here, but we have DD2 who is reception age in September so it's relevant for her as we'd like to send her there and obviously ideally DD1 eventually too.

As expected, DD has been offered a place at our third preference school, which is vastly undersubscribed (18 in Y1!) and may or may not be very good - there's a new head teacher which could drastically change things but who knows. It's much further away but not insurmountable.

Anyway, if we knew DD was top of the waiting list for the local decent school, I'd just home educate her until a place became available.

I got the letter offering a place on Saturday (dated 6th November, posted second class) saying we had ten days to accept this place, which gives me until Thursday to post the form.

I rang the council today (Hertfordshire, for the interested) to find out where she is on the waiting list. They won't give me that information over the phone due to the data protection act and people ringing up pretending to be others to find out information. Apparently I have to wait up to TEN WORKING DAYS before they will tell me in writing.. it's not that they don't have the info, it's just how long they take to respond to requests.

I need that information before I can make a decision over what to do about the school place she has been offered. Chances are good I won't know before the post leaves on Thursday, let's face it.

Right now I am leaning towards accepting it anyway but she's quite a sensitive child and I hate the thought of her being at a new school for a month or two before starting yet another new school. She's a person, not a statistic to be pushed around.

And if I accept it and then decline it later before she actually starts, I've no idea if that prejudices the continuing interest list or not. And of course if I don't send her when they expect her to have started, we will be done for truancy and so on.

Any thoughts?

GateGipsy Mon 12-Nov-12 12:57:33

Accept the place. I know that there's other experts on admissions here so you can wait for them to come along. But that would be my advice because even if you're the first person on the waiting list it DOESN'T mean you'll actually get the next available space.

Twq reasons for this. First, a space may come up at the same time that someone with a higher priority than you eg special needs, sibling, comes along. Second, you may be first on the waiting list today, but for the same reasons, you may find yourself bumped down to third place next week as families move in that are higher on the priority list than you (for the same reasons just listed).

A new head teacher is hugely promising. Schools in special measures get a lot of funding and support too. I would visit the school, meet the new head teacher, get an idea of what their plans are for the future, and just go for it. You could be putting your daughter into a school that is about to become really very good - and with just 18 pupils in the class. Or worst case scenario she is at the school until a place comes up at the school you want. Either way with such a small class number her education wouldn't be at issue I wouldn't have thought?

GateGipsy Mon 12-Nov-12 12:58:31

Also meant to say, accept the place - you can always decline it later if you feel the head teacher doesn't seem good enough or you decide to home ed until a place comes up at closer school.

clam Mon 12-Nov-12 13:04:43

Accept the place. It won't prejudice anything if you change your mind.

DeWe Mon 12-Nov-12 13:22:50

Agree with the others. Accept the place.

Even if you're top of the waiting list it won't guarantee you a place. I know someone who was top of the waiting list for nearly 2 years for a two form entry place. In that time one person left, but it happened to coincide with someone's sibling in a non-full year starting, so they bumped her under the sibling rule.

MurderOfProse Mon 12-Nov-12 15:10:28

Thanks everyone. You're absolutely right of course that she could move down the waiting list even if she's at the top right now. I am looking around the school tomorrow because of DD2's potential application for September entry so I may ask them what the movement is typically like just to get an idea.

You're absolutely right too in that if the other school doesn't work out then I can pull her out to home educate her anyway.

I did look round a month ago and it seemed okay, if a little disorganised but that's pretty much what you'd expect with a new head. A few of her answers to questions were not hugely reassuring but she clearly cared about the school and wants it to succeed. I haven't yet been able to look round the "decent" school because as they had no places they wouldn't let me look round, so I am only able to do so now due to DD2's potential application for September and the formal slots they have for that. It may well be after all this that I don't like the look of the "decent" school anyway and then that'll be interesting..!!

Blu Mon 12-Nov-12 15:14:17

Accept the place, and make sure you are still on the waiting list for your nearby top choice. Once your DD2 starts reception your DD1 will have sibling status.

tiggytape Mon 12-Nov-12 16:55:36

Definitely accept the place. It has zero impact on your position on any other waiting list (lists are ordered strictly by admission criteria not by who needs a place more or who went on the list first).

The other thing to remember is that being number 1 on a waiting list does not mean a place will be yours soon. At some schools they have a couple of children leave in the first term. But, at other schools not a single child leaves until Year 3 or 4. Being number 1 on the list is only helpful is someone is planning on leaving.

Finally, assuming your DD2 gets a place for Reception at the school you like, this may mean your DD1 is automatically moved right to the top of the waiting list (sibling link often trumps distance in the criteria) so even if her chances are slim now, this may well change in the September that her sister starts.

MurderOfProse Tue 13-Nov-12 21:11:01

Thanks all.

We're going to accept the place. I was shown around the more local school today and asked about waiting lists and child movement etc and was told hardly anyone ever moved (it's a good school, so nobody would want to short of a move out of the area), so even if she was top of the list we could be waiting years.

If there are genuine educational grounds I guess we might stand a chance in Y3 when infant class size regulations no longer apply, so I'll hold out for that! In the meantime she may well love her new school anyway and we might not want to move her by then..

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