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No reception place for DD

(92 Posts)
skandi1 Wed 17-Apr-13 19:49:24

So the email verdict is in and they were unable to offer a place to my DD who is due to start reception in September.

What does this mean and what should I do next?? Any experiences please as I am desperate and so sad as this isn't the start I had hoped for, for my pfb. Also any useful advice. I am in London and have 6 primaries each with 90 place reception intake all less than half a mile from me. How can this be??

monkeytennismum Mon 10-Jun-13 09:54:27

I've just found this thread as am planning to move into the Bromley borough. I'm wondering how you got on skandi1 - did you get a state school place yet?

BlackeyedSusan Thu 25-Apr-13 22:00:02

it is quite possible that they will do different playtimes for erceptioon children, who ae likely to have a small fenced of bit of space an outdoor classroom to themselves anyway. the junio children ae likely to mollycoddle and look after the infants too, so it may not be as bad as you imagine.

sleeplessinderbyshire Thu 25-Apr-13 21:02:16

hoping it all goes ok for you OP. I have a friend whose 2 children are incredibly happy at St Christopher's and she raves about it. It does sound very academic and is very formal about homework and learning joined up writing in reception and wearing a very old fashioned posh uniform but her 2 kids are thriving there

Caro19 Thu 25-Apr-13 17:08:30

Good luck as well. We've had friends who are in the same boat this year. The Council doesn't have any new council controlled schools planned for opening (because of the Education Act) but there are local parents hove applied to open a French- English primary free school in Bromley next year, and the website is

The Harris chain has also applied to open up a Primary school in Beckenham fas a free school too.

allyfe Wed 24-Apr-13 21:29:25

I so feel for you skandi1. We are in Beckenham and I can really understand why you would not want to send your child to Worsley Bridge, particularly not as one infant class in a junior school. I just wanted to say that a friend of mine who was looking at private schools in the area really liked St David's. It is in West Wycombe. It may be on your list, but I wanted to mention it. I also know a child at Bishop Challoner (a little older) but she loves it.

My husband was telling me that someone he knows got offered a place at St Mary's in year 3 (having been on the waiting list all that time). They were a lot further away and it is a church school, but if you want to leave your DD on the list she may get a place later on. Just worth thinking about if private school is financially cripplling.

Really have my fingers crossed it all works out for you.

angel1976 Mon 22-Apr-13 13:59:20

skandi1 I sympathised but think very carefully about going down the prep route is it is going to 'bankrupt' you.

We had 5 schools down on our list <in oversubscribed Lewisham, waves hi to SE13mummy> last year for DS1. We were confident of getting into at least 1 as we would have gotten into 2 based on previous years' 'catchments'. We got nothing and got sent to a school 3 miles away, I went to look at that school and it was a failing school which they were 'expanding' from 2-form to 3-form. No way was I going to send my child there.

We held off committing to a prep school till last minute, I called every day week the local council and there was some movement on the wait lists but not enough (we were going from 6th to 9th then to 7th on one list through summer!).

So we ended up in an independent prep. DS1 started there and was very happy. 4 weeks after school started, we got a phone call from the principle of our local CofE school (5th choice as it was one-form entry, outstanding and we didn't think we had a chance of getting in!) saying DS1 has a place if he wants it. We went to look at the school, loved the principal, the teacher and the school. We were very worried about pulling DS1 out of the prep school as he was very happy there but the drive was doing my head in (6 miles return but on some of London's busiest roads!) but we did it as we wanted him to have local friends etc.

But we didn't have to worry, he loved his new school and that was it for him. We ended up paying 2 terms' fees to the prep school due to the term's notice period (so it was 4 weeks of the most expensive education of DS1's life!). But I am so glad we did it now as my husband I have since split up and not having that set of school fees to worry about is a HUGE relief.

If I had known what I know now, I would have either 'home schooled' DS1 or held him back till he got a place. It doesn't take long in London as people do move in and out a lot! Would have saved us a lot of dosh and to be honest, he hasn't suffered from it. I probably have gained a whole bunch of white hairs since due to the stress of it all!

Zofia Mon 22-Apr-13 11:11:20

Hi Skandi - I've also been offered a place at Worsley Bridge... I must be another memeber of the Bermuda triangle although I'm in Shortlands!

lizardqueenie Fri 19-Apr-13 17:43:50

Thanks Skandi

If it helps I also have a friend with 2 dd's at st Christopher's & another friend who will prob send her dd to Breaside.

Bromley high is prob closest to me but again I'm not sure about single sex schools from a young age. Sorry you have had no joy with the LA hmm

skandi1 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:43:22

Pooka. Thanks. That's really useful to know.

What a saga this is turning into.

I did slightly lose it last night with DH because he was the one who insisted we sell our beautiful house in Islington and move out here because the Islington schools were crap and we'd struggle to get in. And out here were sooo many schools with plenty of space. Meh.

Back to bath time in the educational Bermuda Triangle.....,

pooka Fri 19-Apr-13 17:31:31

I have a friend with dcs (boy and girl) at st Christopher's. She's very very happy. Another friend used to teach there. She is lovely and has always said that she loved the school.

skandi1 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:13:29

Went to look at preps today. Saw three. All very fantastic and would take DD (and DS later). St Christopher the Hall, bishop challenors and wickham court.

There are two others to see next week but one is in Chislehurst, babbington (too far) and the One in bromley, bromley high. Both a girls schools and I really want a co-ed so DS can go there too. At the moment I am not too sure about those two.

I am still all over the place. You would have thought bromley council collected stats on how many children lived here and required schools etc.

Spoke to bromley admissions again and they are still singing the same tune. I don't expect they will know anything for a few weeks.

lizardqueenie Fri 19-Apr-13 10:40:55


Just coming in to offer you a hand to hold and a stiff wine & I really hope it all works out best for your DD. we are also within LBB but towards Bickley/ PW & my dd is only 2.5 but with all the talk of shortage of school places it's really got me thinking which brought me on to this part of MN.

If you have a moment (when you aren't kicking LBB up the bum!) I would be really keen to know which independent schools you have contacted/ seen (happy for this to be in a PM if that's better for you) as it might be something we are thinking of for our DD. thanks

noramum Fri 19-Apr-13 09:56:21

Skandi, you are not whinny at all.

The problem even with the distances advise from last year is that the council managed to get 9 schools to do a bulge class but not all of them can do it again, so what may have look good last year was a minefield this year.

Bromley really had its head in the sand but for the last three years running. Friends only managed to get into their school thanks to a bulge class which is now a permanent third entry form.

The only good thing on new classes mean totally new resources. As a Junior school doesn't have any Infant set up they will have to build and buy all the resources from scratch. Plus new teachers qualified to teach infant.

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 21:47:44

Scotts Park and Clare House have also gone to three form entry.

But if there were places at ANY school in LBB, I reckon the OP would have been offered one.

Looking through the admission booklet, it does seem to be a trend - reduction in size of catchment in schools in general. Though some schools are relatively static i.e. Balgowan and Raglan - suppose they're always popular?

Beckenham/Shortlands in particular seems tricky - Valley, Balgowan, Marion Vian all go out really rather short distances, and then schools the previously could have been safety nets have shrinking catchments. Scary.

parabelle Thu 18-Apr-13 21:40:29

Is Bickley too far for you to go? I heard a rumour Bickley primary is going to 3 forms this year.

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 21:37:25

The furthest place offered was 30cm and you live 92.5cm away as measured by our special triangulation system that isn't the same as Google maps or anything you can get your hands on

Ahhh (nods sagely) - the standard London rejection letter!

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 21:31:15

skiandi - I think you have held it together very well and not been whiney at all. It is horrendously stressful being in that position and very shocking too. You expect you might not get one of your top choices or maybe any of your choices but nobody expects to get no offer at all.

We were in the exact same position last year and (very embarrassingly) I literally couldn't stop sobbing long enough to even tell the admissions lady my postcode over the telephone. I was sort of hyperventilating at her instead!
And once the shock wore off I was then very cross about it especially as the lists started moving and people with their 3rd choice got offered their 1st choice whilst we still had no offer at all.
It did feel very unfair and I don’t think it is whiney to say that because it is unfair even when the rules have been adhered to fully.
Luckily prh and all the others who offer advice each year were on hand to help and you will get a lot of support as well as sympathy here because so many people have been in the same boat.

SE13Mummy Thu 18-Apr-13 21:29:15

Sorry my post was so long blush.

Meant to say, DD2 is eligible to start Reception in September...she'll be 4 and a quarter. Her big sister will be very nearly 9 and, although it's an age gap I wouldn't have chosen, it's a great one. The Reception children at the Junior school will be spoiled rotten by the Y3s who will be thrilled not to be 'small fish in a big pond'.

SE13Mummy Thu 18-Apr-13 21:23:49

So sorry to hear that your DD hasn't been offered a Reception place at all - it's a horrid situation to be in.

We're in Lewisham, so not far from you. Four years ago DD1 was offered a place at a school that was about 2 miles away (our first choice, where she was at nursery was 650m from us) but, thanks to the positioning of trainlines, would have taken about an hour to walk to. The alternative was to catch two buses which wouldn't have been feasible come September as DD2 would be three months old and getting prams/buggies on buses for the school 'run' is a nightmare. Childcare once I returned to work (as a teacher) from maternity leave would have been impossible; no childminder within walking distance of our home would consider a drop-off etc at our allocated school.

So, my initial response was to cry lots but then to keep my fingers crossed that Bexley borough would come up trumps - this was before all the boroughs were fully in sync - and that DD1 would be offered a place at a school more than 5 miles away but opposite the secondary that DH teaches at. Meanwhile, I rejected the Lewisham school and said I'd defer entry until DD1 reached statutory school age (the term after her 5th birthday which, for her, was January 2010). This confused the admissions team hmm as did most legalities associated with admissions or so it seemed so I told them to tick the 'home school' box and to put DD1 on the waiting list for every one of the 17 schools that was closer to us than the allocated one.

Bexley did come up trumps and DD1 was offered a place 5.something miles away which we accepted, whilst remaining on the waiting lists of 17 schools. Weekly phonecalls to the admissions team eventually resulted in the news that DD1 could be offered a place at our closest community school which, although it wasn't where we wanted her to be at all, it was local and do-able. At that point we accepted that place and contacted Bexley to turn down theirs.

Fast forward to September and DD1 starts Reception at our closest school. She is 10th on the waiting list for the school where I teach/she was at nursery. Weekly phonecalls continue.

By December she is 3rd on the waiting list for 'my school'. I learn that a child in Reception is moving to another very local school as the result of fraudulent behaviour by a parent whose child was due to start in January. I ring admissions with the name of the moving child and ask where that puts us on the waiting list. I even ask about the January-intake child who is currently being assessed for a statement of SEN and whose parents want to name 'my school' in the statement i.e. that child jumps the waiting list. Cue enormous cock up by the LA who tell me that they will be offering the place to DD1 as that child can be admitted as an 'excepted pupil'. I immediately e-mail and seek written response that DD1 will be offered place officially.

January 2010 arrives and I receive a phone call from 'my school' advising that the LA have over offered the vacancy - not only has it been offered to DD1 and the child with a statement but also now to the child with the fraudulent parent. 1 vacancy but 3 children to fill it so the LA want to withdraw DD1's place angry even though the fraudulent parent hasn't actually provided the evidence required for a priority place at 'my school'.

In the end, DD1 started back at 'my school', rejoining her nursery friends, rather rapidly - the second day of term instead of the original plan which was for her to do two days at the local school (to say goodbye properly and for coat pegs etc. to be set up at 'my school') - so that she had started before the January intake home visits happened/children started. Eventually the LA admitted DD1 as the child filling the vacancy, the child with the statement as an 'excepted pupil' and the child of the fraudulent parent as an 'excepted pupil' too. By the end of Reception the child with a statement had moved to a special school and the LGO overturned the ruling that fraudulent parent's child should lose a school place that had been obtained fraudulently shock so that child moved to the other very local school.

It was hellish and I sympathise with you trying to navigate the ins and outs of how to secure a place that's workable longterm and shorterm, for the whole family. What I would say is, this is London: there is a massive amount of movement both on waiting lists and within the schools themselves. Accept whatever apparently madcapped scheme that Bromley offer and contact them weekly for an update on where your DD is on the many waiting lists she is on. You will probably receive 6 depressing letters that state 'you applied for XX school but we could not offer you a place. The furthest place offered was 30cm and you live 92.5cm away as measured by our special triangulation system that isn't the same as Google maps or anything you can get your hands on'.

As Bromley measure proximity 'in a straight line from home to school' doublecheck that they are using 'as the crow flies' rather than 'by safest walking route' then borrow a trundle wheel* and measure the distance from your front door/boundary to the front entrance of Balgowan. Last year's furthest place was approx. 482m and, although that is not an indication of what this year's will be (one year it was 161m) it might make you feel better to know they haven't made up the numbers/to spot a mistake!

*I'll bring one home from school if you need it smile.

Good luck with it all.

JustOneMoreBite Thu 18-Apr-13 20:52:23

Yes, good luck, skandi1 - we're in Shortlands and just squeaked into our third choice - without that we'd probably have been in the same boat as you as everywhere else would have been hopeless.

BananaPie - admissions distances are published in the admissions booklet. Next year's won't come out til sometime in the Autumn, but this year's is here (from page 40):

ohforfoxsake Thu 18-Apr-13 20:51:08

You haven't been whiney at all! It's incredibly stressful at this stage - especially when it's your first.

I'm surprised at Bromley - how any LEA can be so under-prepared is beyond me. It seems to have taken them by surprise confused

Do keep us updated - we're rooting for you smile

BananaPie Thu 18-Apr-13 20:44:47

Good luck skandi1 - I don't think you've been whiny, just understandably upset. I hope it all works out, I'm sure it will. We live in the same area as you, although we're a couple of years behind you as DD has only just turned 2.

Does anyone know whether Bromley still publishes admissions distances for the previous year? They used to be on their website, but don't seem to be there anymore (trying to plan ahead to work out how to hedge our bets!)

skandi1 Thu 18-Apr-13 20:35:36

Tiggy. That is correct. An email and letter saying that they were unable to offer a place. When I spoke to them and asked them what would be done about it, they explained that they were speeding up their expansion programme at worsley bridge junior school and shortly would be able to offer those who hadn't qualified with a space there. In other words, once they have placed a couple of temporary buildings on the site of that school they will be in a position to offer a space.

As you say, we may actually be too far away to qualify given the situation.

I researched and applied to the 6 closest schools. All are well under a mile from home.

I am hoping some people will give up their offers and go for the independent schools but its a bit of a wing and prayer.

It may be as you say that I live in some sort of Bermuda Triangle for school places.

Essentially they are working on finding a place for us and the letter said they will be in contact with an "update" after 20th of May or sooner if a space becomes available.

I know I live in a London borough and schools provision is tight. And I know I have sounded like a moany whiny spoilt child here in MN today but I was genuinely taken aback. And quite pissed off that the local authority's reassurance and "backup" plan is to shove my pfb into a temporary building with children twice her age.

Sorry. I know lots of people are much worse off and this is a real elitist first world problem. Thanks all of you for your suggestions and hand holding. It's helped a lot. Thanks for listening. smile

pooka Thu 18-Apr-13 20:27:19

I wonder if because they are an academy they have more autonomy over scheduling of bulge classes. this is going to get much worse in coming years if that is the case as more and more schools academise.

JustOneMoreBite Thu 18-Apr-13 20:19:05

Balgowan were supposed to have a bulge class this year, weren't they? But looking at their website they decided at the end of Feb to defer it to next year (presumably after an outcry from current parents). I guess that means that Bromley were caught on the hop a bit with one less class than they thought they'd have.

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