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Limit to number of waiting lists you can be on?

(8 Posts)
Itspardonnotwhat Tue 23-Apr-13 12:12:09

Is there a legal limit does anyone know? My LA are insisting I can only be on four as we had four preferences (we didn't get any of them). I don't want to spam the system by insisting on being on every list in the borough but there are a couple more schools I would like to be on the waiting list for to increase our overall chances of finding a place we are happy with!

learnandsay Tue 23-Apr-13 12:16:37

Maybe it depends on the LEA? I don't remember ours having a limit. Only problem is once you're offered a place the current place is withdrawn. Luckily our LEA lets you list waiting lists in order of preference.

tiggytape Tue 23-Apr-13 12:58:10

This is one of the grey areas (unless the Schools Adjudicator has ruled on it in the last year - if so prh or admissions will know)

There is nothing in the admissions code that limits the number of waiting lists a child can be on. In fact the spirit of the code aims to increases parental choice and decisions over education. However there is nothing that says LAs can't limit the number of lists a child can be placed on and some LAs (at least Surrey that I know of) does so. It makes parents swap one list for another rather than be added to more and more.

The grey area is that a parent has the right to ask for a place at any school and, if the school is full, should be added to a list. If you ask for a place now it is outside the normal admissions rounds and therefore you should be allowed to make that request. I think the people who argued the case against Surrey did not get very far going direct to the council and were considering asking the SA to make a ruling one way or the other but I don't know what came of that.

I take it your LA are standing form on this and won't budge? Most LAs do allow it.

Itspardonnotwhat Tue 23-Apr-13 13:37:12

Thanks both.

Tiggytape - no. They won't budge at the moment, saying I have to swap one. However this has only been on the phone to date. I wanted to get a bit more clarity before challenging it further and also wait until I can be told whereabouts I am on the waiting lists for our current four preferences - which they can't do before Tuesday.

Another piece of information they wouldn't give me is historical data on how many children have been admitted from the waiting lists in previous years. They said it had no bearing on whether we would get a place or not. I appreciate that on a very basic level that is the case, but I think the data will be useful in giving me some insight about how much movement there is on lists in this area. I don't really want to go down the FoI routes but I will if I need to. I presume this is information that they should be able and happy to disclose without me going down that route though?

tiggytape Tue 23-Apr-13 13:45:17

I cannot see why they wouldn't tell you if they have the figures collated but I can understand them wanting to reiterate that the figures cannot be relied upon to give any indication as to what might happen this year.
Waiting lists, more than initial allocations, can be very much down to luck. Well more down to the personal circumstances of a very few people who, in any given year, happen to live closer to a school or have a siblings eg if those families happen to move away, go private, favour Home Ed, get a job offer etc.
I expect there are some schools in areas where the population is transient where you can guess many places will come up in every academic year. And there are other places that are totally static, nobody declines a place and nobody leaves before Year 3. And of course big schools tend to have more movement than small ones and highly desirable schools possibly have less movement that only averagely popular ones. Mostly though, I guess it varies so much that the council could give you any number at all and it might not mean much.

prh47bridge Tue 23-Apr-13 14:10:45

The Schools Adjudicator has made a decision on this. They ruled that an LA can limit the number of waiting lists you can go on. I think they got this wrong but, short of someone taking this to judicial review (or persuading Michael Gove to clarify this in the Admissions Code), there is no way of challenging this.

Itspardonnotwhat Tue 23-Apr-13 14:13:12

Of course, and what I think happens is that there is very little, if any movement around here, especially as so many of the places go to siblings. I'd just like to know if this is actually the case.

I also suspect that despite two of the schools being in our catchment their popularity and the pressure on places this year both means that we will be pretty far down the waiting list. And if its never gone down far as us before I can pretty much guarantee it won't go near us this year - and that would give me further cause to look at schools more further afield and their waiting lists.

Itspardonnotwhat Tue 23-Apr-13 14:15:07

Ah sorry, cross posted with you prh47bridge. Thank you. I don't think I'll be the one taking it to a JR but its helpful to know what the position is.

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