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Rejected my sons place offer for September, what happens now?

(252 Posts)
PoppyPia Sat 04-May-13 18:52:23

We were allocated a terrible primary school miles away earlier this month for reception, I have thought about it and there's no way I can send my son there, so I have rejected the offer. What happens now?

DeWe Sat 04-May-13 19:34:32

If you refuse then the LEA has no obligation to find you a place. It's a common misunderstanding that refusing the place means they have to find you a place, or gives you a better standing at appeal.

If it meant that they had to find you a place you would accept, then people would just refuse all except the one they wanted, which couldn't work.

The general advice is do not refuse even if you have no intention of taking it up, as you can then end up with no school place.

You need to find out where you are on the waiting lists, and if there's any hope of getting what you want.

seeker Sat 04-May-13 19:36:49

What do you mean by very few British children? What do you mean by poor SATs results- and how far away is it?

As others have said, you will not go up the waiting list because you have rejected the school. You need to have a plan B for September.

JakeBullet Sat 04-May-13 19:38:05

Don't be totally downhearted about it all though as there can be a lot of movementbetween alliallocations and September. Its possible your DS will get a place nearer to home by the time September comes around. It must be such a worry though.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 04-May-13 19:38:07

If you ring the LEA first thing Tuesday and say you rejected in error, you may be lucky if waiting lists are still tbc and be able to keep the place you had.

What did you think your options might be?

stickortwist Sat 04-May-13 19:41:42

Id be looking to move/ rent elsewhere in the country to be honest.
There are huge parts of the country where there is no school admissions angst and unless you can home ed or afford private then sometrhing has to give. I know things arent aways that straight forward but i would be looking where i could live with a reasonable commute. We live in a suffolk village.... Loads of school places but some ppl commute into london from here. Horrible situation for you

sybilwibble Sat 04-May-13 19:46:39

Oh lord, your options are threefold.
1. Pray your son reaches the top of one of the schools you are on the waiting list for. His position will not change from the ones you've been given just because you've rejected the offered school. If you are not confident he will top the waiting list on one very soon, you need to put his name down on other schools in your vicinity, that you may have already mentally rejected, or you may be left with no offer, but you will still havea legal obligation to educate your son. If the worst happens and you don't find a suitable place in your vicinity you will have to either:
2. Home educate or
3. Go private.

Don't bury your head in the sand, the onus is ALL ON YOU now to find a school.

tiggytape Sat 04-May-13 20:38:04

Or the 4th option - ring the council on Tuesday and ask them to reinstate your offer. Seriously - you need to act now else he is going to have no school place at all to go to.

There is no obligation for them to find you another school now you've been offered one and turned it down. They have met their duty to you.

If there are 30 children per class in the schools you want and no LEA mistake (you say they've checked and there isn't) you have virtually zero chance of winning an appeal.
If there are less than 30 per class, you may have a case (but not because you've made yourself school-less. That won't help you)

His place on the list is purely to do with your distance from school (or whatever the school uses for admissions criteria eg siblings, faith, distance). Just because you have no school place doesn't put you higher up the list.

The onus is now on you to sort this out. If he is low down on the lists and the schools only take 30-60 children you may never reach the top of the list. Or oyu might be forced to keep him at home or nursery hoping a place comes up before the term after he's 5 (or much sooner if he's a summer baby).

I am a bit worried that you don't seem to know the admissions rules and the position you've left yourself in.
You might get lucky. The lists might move loads. But you won't get special treatment for making yourself school-less.
You need to ring the council and either ask for your old place back or find the nearest school that still has a vacancy and snap it up quick no matter where it is located

You can stay on waiting lists even after accepting a school you don't want and you can keep him at home until nearer his 5th Birthday if you want to as well (if you think you'll get lucky from the lists) so he needn't actually start at the school - you just hang on to the offer there as a plan B until he gets a better offer or until he is so old he has to start somewhere.

tiggytape Sat 04-May-13 20:41:47

Oh - I've just seen he's 5 in September. In that case, you can only defer until January at the latest. So you can accept an offer but not send him there until January and hope something better comes up in the meantime

The advice of everyone here still stands though:
If you can't Home Ed or afford private then ring the council and ask for the place back
or move house now nextdoor to the school you like so you jump up the waiting list a bit (but even that's no guarantee - some waiting lists don't ever move or not for years)

Cloverer Sat 04-May-13 20:44:45

Could you move nearer to another school?

mrz Sat 04-May-13 20:45:19

The OP has said her son is 5 in September

tiggytape Sat 04-May-13 20:53:28

Cloverer - but that only helps waiting list position. The places are all allocated now. Moving closer to a full school won't get OP a place. If it is a big school with a lot of movement, it might pay off but if it is a 30 intake school where nobody leaves before Year 3, there's no advantage to moving house to be higher up a waiting list that won't change.

Op needs to find out from the council if she can have her old place back or which other schools still have vacancies and opt for one quickly. Relying on lists is tricky enough if you have a place (and therefore a definite plan B) but if you have no place, it isn't a good strategy.

LIZS Sat 04-May-13 21:05:24

My son is on waiting lists but very low down all of them, I'm assuming this will change now he has no place at all.

Sorry but it won't make an iota of difference, whoever advised you of that has misled you. If he is 5 in September he needs to be in education by the New Year. Can you find a child-minder who can take him to the allocated school, assuming you can reinstate the place, even as a shortterm option while you wait for a place closer. Alternatively he stays in his current childcare until a place comes up if they will keep him but as one of the eldest in his year he may well have outgrown it.

AvrilPoisson Sat 04-May-13 21:16:42

I know it's too late now... but I think what you should have done was accept the place, and then get on all the waiting lists at all the alternative schools you can find.

I don't think there's any obligation on the LA's part now to find him a place- they have found him one already. You've rejected it, not their problem IYSWIM. sad

DoodleAlley Sat 04-May-13 21:18:51

If I remember correctly you don't have to have him in full time school til January ie the term after the term he turns five which might buy you some time.

But please don't rely on my guess work please check unless someone more knowledgeable comes along.

Karoleann Sat 04-May-13 21:31:18

What do you do or childcare t the moment? If he's not 5 til later in the year, you can just keep him at nursery.

freddiemisagreatshag Sat 04-May-13 21:32:48

You've made a lot of incorrect assumptions. If I were you I'd get some proper advice - ring the LA on Tuesday and see what they say.

NorthernLurker Sat 04-May-13 21:37:08

Oh dear. Right well you need to think very broadly about possible schools. No good thinking about what you want. You need to take what you can get now and try for something better as and when it comes up. Exactly how many waiting lists are you already on?
Are there other schools near your place of work that might have places?

piprabbit Sat 04-May-13 21:41:30

You could also start exploring options for before and after school clubs at all the schools you could possibly use. Or childminders. That way you'll be able to make quick decisions.

teacherwith2kids Sat 04-May-13 21:43:18


Legally, your child has to be in full-time education in January. If you have robust childcare in place - e.g. a childminder or a nursery used to children starting school at different points in the year & not all leaving in July / August - then you can keep him there until then.

There may be a little movement in waiting lists after September (as some children don't turn up to take their places e.g. through moving or going private) and you can sometimes be lucky as someone may be on the waiting list ahead of you but decide not to move schools once their child has started elsewhere. However, in some areas, waiting lists are 'wiped clean' in September as it is assumed that everyone is now happy in their allocated school, so if that is the case where you live, you need to make certain that you remain on the waiting list after September.

You need to get on the 'phone to the LA on Tuesday, and find out whether there are any schools with vacancies for September (these are likely to be poor schools, but may e.g. be more convenient for you to pass on your journey to work), and also to place your child's name on EVERY SINGLE waiting list that you consider remotely acceptable (as the place that you have turned down may well have already been given to another child).

And you need to start planning now for what you will do if, come January 1st (or September, if your childcare cannot manage the extra term) your child has no school place. As others have said, you will have caused the situation and so you will be deemed to be to blame for your child not meeting the legal obligation to receive a full time education - the defence 'well, I didn't like the place I was offered' is not acceptable to courts.

AmandaPayneAteTooMuchChocolate Sat 04-May-13 22:19:07

When you say you 'didn't even get the local school', did you apply to the local school? Did your letter explain how far outside the effective catchment area you were? The reason I ask is that you say you are low down on all your waiting lists, but if your closest school was on your application, in most cases if you had some sort of issue and missed out (like a huge sibling intake), I'd have thought you stood a fair chance of being reasonably high up the waiting list. Or do you have one of those difficult situations where you aren't actually close to any schools?

SavoyCabbage Sat 04-May-13 22:56:42

How far down on the lists are you?

prh47bridge Sat 04-May-13 23:07:19

To repeat some of the good advice you've had already:

- the LA is under no obligation to come up with another offer

- if they do it could well be even worse than the school already offered

- rejecting the place does not move you up the waiting list for other schools

- rejecting the place will not help you with appeals. In fact it could make it more difficult to win an appeal as the panel may think you are trying to blackmail them into giving you a place at your chosen school

I agree with others that the first thing you should do is see if the council will reinstate the offer and allow you to accept it. If they will not you will have to ask them what other schools have places available. If there are none you are running out of options, especially since you say you cannot HE or go private.

I presume your child will be 5 after 1st September. If that is the case you have the option of deferring entry until January in the hope that a place comes up at a school you would prefer.

You can appeal even if it is an infant class size case. However, you should only win if a mistake has been made. Of course the LA will say there hasn't been a mistake. You need to check that your child has been placed in the correct category for your preferred schools and that the home to school distance used by the LA sounds about right.

If you didn't apply to your local school that would explain why you didn't get it. People who name a school as one of their preferences always get priority for admission to that school. So if you didn't name your local school it could have been full with people who did name it, leaving no space for your child. If you did apply to your local school and didn't get in you need to know why so that you can see if a mistake was made.

PoppyPia Sun 05-May-13 13:29:17

Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm not going to ask for the place back as there's no way I'm prepared to send my son there. I will keep him at nursery for a term if need be.

I can't take leave from work, no, it would be impossible financially. The school we were given was 5 miles away in the opposite direction from my work, so not doable.

We are quite a long way down the lists for 3 schools, lots of private schools near us so I am hoping places will become available as private school parents reject. I had very limited options choosing a school because the ones closest to us are mostly catholic and you have to be practising to get in- we are not. I thought that if my son didnt get our first choice he would get the local school, which we leave within sight of.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 13:32:22

Did you apply for the local school? You must be quite high on the waiting list there if you are very close?

LIZS Sun 05-May-13 13:35:13

Will nursery keep him though , they aren't obliged to and with a full year's gap in age potentially between him and the next age group, they may feel they can no longer cater for him. Would private , even temporarily be an option for you. The EYFS grant would apply for the Autumn term but you need to give a term's notice or pay in lieu if a state place came up and move him at short notice. Most aprnts would have committed to private by now (same financial situation) so you can't rely on them dithering although there may be some yet to relinquish a state place..

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