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Not got siblings into the same primary school?

(37 Posts)
mrscostello Tue 23-Apr-13 14:37:17

We are a group of parents who have set up a support forum for affected families. Take a look at our FB page for more info. 'Siblings at the Same School'. We're also on Twitter @SibsSameSchool

Shellywelly1973 Tue 23-Apr-13 14:42:18


ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 23-Apr-13 16:45:53

What is the issue here? Is it about no priority being given to siblings? Or siblings out of catchment being low on the admissions criteria? Or something else?

MirandaWest Tue 23-Apr-13 16:47:58

What is the admissions policy? Presumably you knew about it when making the application for a younger child.,

annh Tue 23-Apr-13 17:19:15

I can't work out what the issue is? Why are these siblings not getting places at the same school? Are these schools where siblings do not get priority or schools where the classes are full of siblings with some left over?

TheChimpParadox Tue 23-Apr-13 17:19:49

OP - please could you explain further what the problem is ?

1.Siblings within catchment area - yes they should go to the same school

2. Siblings out of catchment area - then no .

We have a problem in our area then when we had the bulge years people from outside the main admissions area got into school and it subsequently followed that due to the sibling policy many local children didn't get into the school the following years- and it being their nearest.

School has now changed admission policy so that siblings to which that school is the nearest get priority over other siblings.

I'm afraid its a fact that with ever decreasing school places the second scenerio is going to be more common .

There needs to be a campaign for more school places in general.

Ladymuck Tue 23-Apr-13 17:21:40

But Miranda, the problem in some areas is that you get allocated a school, not one that you chose, possibly in a bulge class. When you then have subsequent children applying, you live at a distance from the school, there are fewer places, and without sibling priority your younger child doesn't get a place. So for all the families who don't get one of their local schools because catchment has shrunk, they have the double whammy that their subsequent children can't join their sibling at a non-local school.

SadOldGit Tue 23-Apr-13 17:39:20

Hmm I live local to this and know the schools mentioned. Being careful what I say as I can see both sides, WCC has clear catchment areas and priority admission policy, however some schools are much more popular than others, for example we are in catchment area for one very oversubscribed school but also live similar walking distance to another one that is less popular.

What has happened locally is in past small birth years parents from out of catchment have got places at oversubscribed school but now birth rate is increasing they can't get siblings into same school, this group is campaigning for those siblings to get priority OVER catchment area children, which may mean that local children can't get places at local school.

My own thoughts are if you opt for an out of catchment school for a child then you do so with knowledge that siblings may not get a place if large birth rate year.

I may be wrong but I don't think that the problem is in this area is like that in some large urban areas where schools are so oversubscribed that children get no offers, but more that some school are more popular than others

radicalsubstitution Tue 23-Apr-13 17:51:02

Ladymuck our LEA has introduced a fairly sensible way of dealing with the scenario you suggest.

There are a number of families who don't get into their (popular) designated area school. They then get allocated a school they are not in catchment for.

They are classed as 'preferential siblings' for subsequent applications for siblings and are put into the same category and designated area siblings.

This only applies where the applicant applied for their local school as a higher priority than the one they actually got into (if that makes sense).

Seems sensible to me...

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 23-Apr-13 19:40:31

Radical that does seem really sensible, I'd not heard of that solution before.

jamtoast12 Tue 23-Apr-13 21:08:59

I totally agree with this campaign. I can understand to some degree why they dont give priority to out of catchment (if you choose the school you take the risk- we did ) but they absolutely should give out of catchment children sibling priority if you are put there because of no other school available. That's plain wrong. Tbh though there isn't a rc school near me which gives siblings priority - everyone goes by distance in parish.

ReallyTired Tue 23-Apr-13 22:47:02

I think a lot depends on how big the catchment area of the school is. Some people move out of catchment for reasons of necessity and cannot get a place at the local school. They have no choice but to send the older child to a school out of catchment as the catchment school will not take them.

Primary admissions have been hell across the UK. Our government have tied the hands of the LEA by making it hard for them to open new schools. Labour shut a lot of primary schools and then built houses on them about five years ago.

tiggytape Tue 23-Apr-13 23:09:23

I can see both sides too.

If you are forced to attend a school out of catchment because your local schools are full, it is only fair you don't then suffer twice by having your younger children denied sibling places at that school in future years.

However if you take a calculated risk and it doesn't pay off that's different. If you apply to a really popular school, out of catchment, in a low birth-rate year knowing all future siblings risk being denied a place, then that's a risk you accept at the time. It is a bit cheeky years later to start campaigning that the risk you voluntarily took hasn't worked out so well and you want the rules changed so that siblings get priority afterall.

ReallyTired Wed 24-Apr-13 11:40:57

I think the system of "preferential sibblings" that radicalsubstitution's LEA has sounds good. However I think that you need to have a realistic size of catchment area a family can move within. (Ie. prehaps 1 km as opposed to 200 metres.)

We need more schools so that the older sibbling can transfer to a local school if the family moves.

McGillycuddy Wed 24-Apr-13 14:03:48

Without passing judgment on the rights and wrongs of sibling preference generally, I want to describe my situation to highlight some of the problems families can have. DD is in Year 1 and when we were making our application for Year R, we believed we were moving house and made an application accordingly. As it happens, we ended up staying put, and so made a late application to our catchment school which was unsuccessful. We were then offered a place at a good out-of-catchment school which we gratefully accepted as we were just desperate for a school place.

Fast forward a couple of years. We have been unsuccessful at getting a place for DS at DD's school. We have instead been offered a place for him at our catchment school which I would happily accept if they had a place for his sister in Year 2 for September, which they don't.

We live in a rural area and have only one car. I am expecting DC3 in November, and so for obvious reasons it would be a nightmare for me to have my two older children in different schools. I accept it was our mistake that DD did not originally get a place at our catchment school, thus saving us all this hassle, but it was a mistake that we made in good conscience. Our catchment school have also told us that even if someone leaves Year 1, they may use that as an opportunity to allocate an extra place to a child waiting for a Year R place. What on earth do I do?

Sorry for extra-long post but this is doing my head in!

JedwardScissorhands Wed 24-Apr-13 14:16:45

There can't be exceptions in the rules for people who 'thought they were moving'. Everyone would just say that. It may be TRUE in your case McGilly, but how would LEA's assess that?

TheChimpParadox Wed 24-Apr-13 14:24:08

The upshot is there is a shortage of school paces and it is going to get worse. Successive governments and LEAs have sat on this for years.

There is always somebody who loses out with admission priorities and when schools changes their admission areas 5 years after you have moved into an area thinking you would get into a certain school.

Sadly nothing in life is guaranteed and school places is in that list sadly.

McGillycuddy Wed 24-Apr-13 14:25:36

I understand that Jedward, I'm not really asking for special treatment, I would just really like both my children in the same school, whichever way round. Either DS gets in to DD's school, or DD moves out of her school to join DS at our catchment school, but it is physically impossible for me to have them in two separate schools. This is where I think there has to be some flexibility. As soon as we knew we were staying put we did try and get DD into our catchment school, but it was too late.

McGillycuddy Wed 24-Apr-13 14:28:52

Mind you, our catchment school would be more practical given that we may have to go through this again with DC3 a few years down the line.....

TheChimpParadox Wed 24-Apr-13 14:29:11

Have you appealed against the decisions that they have no room in Yr 2 ?

tiggytape Wed 24-Apr-13 14:33:23

McGilly - to be honest, it isn't your fault that things turned out that way but it isn't the LA's fault either. There's just no slack in the system - every place at the school is accounted so people wanting to move have to take their chances along with people who have never moved but have seen catchment areas shrink around them.

As as Chimp says - whatever criteria they use, people with very genuine reasons for wanting a school will lose out whether it is people with a sibling at the school who can't manage 2 school runs or people who live metres from the school gates who don't want their children put in taxis to travel 3 miles to another school instead.

tiggytape Wed 24-Apr-13 14:34:29

Appeals for extra places can only really start (or be possibly successful) in Year 3.
Year 2 is subject to the same class size laws as reception and Year 1.

McGillycuddy Wed 24-Apr-13 14:35:18

Not yet. I have been told that they can't consider 'out-of-rounds' applications until June as they are busy with Year R/Year 3 applications. We have been told that they do not have a place but have to wait until our application is formally rejected until we can make an appeal.

Meanwhile DS is automatically on a waiting list for his sister's school. I have to decide whether to appeal for a place for DS at his sister's school, or a place for DD at our catchment school where DS has been allocated a place.

I think I may be more likely to win an appeal for our catchment school in that we have a stronger case: ie catchment AND sibling.

McGillycuddy Wed 24-Apr-13 14:37:51

tiggytape - but I have been told that although there is at least one child leaving in my daughter's year group, they may use that to grant an extra place in Year R. Is this right? Given that we are also in catchment? It's a rural school with mixed year group classes which also complicates things.

tiggytape Wed 24-Apr-13 14:39:26

McGilly - I would push to be allowed to apply (and be rejected) now not in June.
It is true admissions are busy right now but they cannot prevent other parents from making applications until they feel a bit less busy! Fill in the forms and formally ask that your application is considered.
The Admissions Code says that it must be processed without delay (which is why I suspect they are trying to put you off submitting it just yet - if you submit it they can't just ignore it until June)

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