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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?

freddiemisagreatshag Sun 05-May-13 14:30:04

But how on earth could you not know that you have to APPLY to the school you want to get your child into? The school won't know you want to send your child there unless you APPLY.

Also, it seems like the OP hasn't been to see any schools at all and is making judgements based on what exactly?

I might be missing the point spectacularly, for which I apologise if I am, but seriously, how do you get to the point of having a child go to school and not know that if you want them to go to a school you have to APPLY. I might as well start a thread saying I'm disappointed DS didn't get into Eton. But. Oh. I never applied.

AlienAttack Sun 05-May-13 15:06:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

JakeBullet Sun 05-May-13 15:23:40

Thank you Alien....was wondering too but didn't like to say.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 15:37:58

Poppypia the admissions process works like this.

The Local Authority first places children in schools according to the preferences on the application form.

If there are more children than places, they apply the admission guidelines for that school.

Finally they will have the children who did not make the guidelines for their preferences AND those who did not state a preference. Those children are allocated the closest school with vacancies.

These schools are never popular schools - otherwise they wouldn't have vacancies.

All the children who stated a preference for your local school got priority over your child even though they live further away.

You would only have got a place there if less than 30 pupils had applied.

People are surprised because it seems obvious that you have to put down the name of at least one school you find acceptable enough to cope with and have a good chance of getting in or at least don't mind going there while you wait.

It could be that an unpopular school, but in the direction of your work, has places. Ask the local authority. Apply to that school, ask the nursery if your child can stay till Jan, defer the place and keep fingers crossed you get in.

You MUST make sure yourself that his name is on the waiting lists. Some local authorities have rules about waiting lists for schools you don't put down as a preference. Do check on exactly what you need to do in your area.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 15:40:18

What I mean is, you have no choice but to find out what schools have vacancies near your work and take that no matter how awful it is. Then just sit on the waiting lists for the school you want.

ChasedByBees Sun 05-May-13 15:41:07

This thread terrifies me. I have a 16mo and already there's mutterings about schools from my friends with similar ages children. It sounds so complicated. confused

letseatgrandma Sun 05-May-13 15:57:07

I find it incredible that you have got yourself in this pickle; did you not read any of the admission information? You sound like you've listed lots of over-subscribed outstanding schools you were not in catchment for, on the off-chance you'd strike lucky. Now, unsurprisingly, you've been allocated somewhere you don't fancy and assume that because you've turned it down, the council will suddenly realise their massive error in upsetting you and create a reception space in Leafy Green Infants School immediately.

I would be v surprised if the nursery will continue to take your child once he's school-age; his place for September has probably been allocated already.

I can't see what else you're going to do other than beg for the rejected place back or give up work to HE. Good luck.

YoniOrNotYoni Sun 05-May-13 16:12:33

It's not that complicated ChasedByBees. Start looking at schools now-ish. Make sure there's at least one near you that you'd meet criteria for and would be happy for your child to go to. If not, move grin

ljny Sun 05-May-13 16:20:14

how do you get to the point of having a child go to school and not know that if you want them to go to a school you have to APPLY.

Op's child was assigned to a school she didn't apply for.

It was logical for her to assume, if they didn't any of their choices, her son would be assigned to the local school - not some random school across town.

If you're new to all this, it can be misleading - the printed information from most LAs encourages families to visit schools and implies you have a choice. In some areas, that's not really true, but how was the Op to know?

teacherwith2kids Sun 05-May-13 16:37:53


Just returning to this. I am sure that you have realised by now that your misunderstanding of admissions means, at least in the short term, that your child will spend some time in an environment you would have preferred them not to be in.

If you are lucky, it is simply that they will spend a few extra months in nursery.

If you are unlucky, they may spend years in a school that you would never otherwise have chosen.

Unfortunately, which one it ends up being is largely out of your hands, and as the only other alternative (unless you HE) is being prosecuted for not sending your child to school, you need to accept that your child may spend some time in a poor school.

You need a 3-pronged approach (as well as, obviously, becoming an expert on admissions and undertstanding it inside out - here MN can help you).

1. Find somewhere safe for your child to be from September until January. This does NOT have to be a school, but it would be unwise to assume that their place in nursery for those months is secure - check that on Tuesday. If not, then you will need to find another nursery or childminder who can take them .. or you will simply have to move on to Step 2 with greater urgency.

2. Find a school / educational place somewhere, that you KNOW will be yours. If you have managed Step 1, then you don't need it until January. If you haven't, you need it from September, but you do need it whichever, and it needs to be definite and in your hands - ie not dependent on waiting list movement, but a backstop (however undesirable) that will keep you from prosecution in January. It could be:
- Your original place reinstated.
- Unpaid leave to HE
- A private school (cheaper to pay for a term or two's fees at a private school than cope with the aftermath of prosecution).
- Any other school that currently has a place.
It is VERY unlikely - unless you go for the private option - that this fallback position will be in a school that you would choose under any other circumstances. However, beggars can't be choosers I'm afraid. However, if you are extremely pro-active about finding schools with vacancies e.g. near your work, you may find a school that will suit you a tiny bit better than your original allocation.

3. Get yourself on waiting lists for ANY school that you would consider acceptable but does not have a place, starting with the closest to you. Determine where you are on each waiting list. 4th on a list for a 60 or 90 entry school might sometimes be OK - 10th for a 30 entry is unlikely to be. School secretaries are usually excellent sources of information on how much waiting lists typically move. Check that you remain on those waiting lists after September, and hang in there. It may take YEARS for a place to come up - remember that families moving into the area close to the school and applying in future will leapfrog you - but in the end you may be able to move your child from the school that you had to take at Step 2 to one you would prefer.

And next time - read the information! This is no-one's fault but your own.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 05-May-13 16:47:28

Jack your job in and home educate?

LaVitaBellissima Sun 05-May-13 16:51:25

Is this for real?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 05-May-13 16:54:03

What I find crazy is that OP is asking the question "what happens now" after rejecting the place rather than before.

tiggytape Sun 05-May-13 17:33:20

Wow Poppy - that's not great.

I do sympathise though - you were in a tough position. All local schools Catholic and one CofE school that you had a small chance at (had you listed it). It is quite possible that you might not have got a local place no matter which schools you listed as you perhaps live too far from non faith schools to qualify

The only schools you can get a place at without listing them are the unpopular ones nobody else wants (or the less popular ones in a low population area)
There aren't spaces saved in any school for people who live close but have not applied. You can ask to go on their list now though (for the CofE school) and should be near the top for one of the non-faith places awarded by distance.

there's no way I'm prepared to send my son there. I will keep him at nursery for a term if need be.

That's fine. But supposing you're not top of any waiting lists by January? He'll have no school place yet you are still legally obliged to ensure he has an education. There's a chance some will reject and go private but that's less common now as fewer people can afford to pay fees. You certainly can't sit tight and just hope it happens.

You really must (I hate saying must to people on forums but it is true - you must) ring the council on Tuesday and let them offer you another place even if it is 5 miles away from home, if it is near where you work it could be viable? You must (sorry) find him a school place as a back up because some waiting lists never move.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 18:44:26

Chased by bees it isn't that complicated. You don't have a choice. What you do is put in an application based on preferences. I believe at the moment you have six.

Go online and look for schools closest to you (do a google, school locator will be near top). Then look each school up. Look at websites and read the last Ofsted but don't go by that alone. An outstanding school may not be right for your child. Call the schools and ask to visit.

They must have the admissions criteria on the site. Make sure you have at least one school on the list you are fairly sure you can get into. If you don't like it, at least you may have a place you can live with while looking/going on waiting lists.

If admission is based on proximity then call the school or local authority and find out what the furthest distance the last child got in last intake.

That gives you a guide but these distances can change a lot.

If you are in a black spot then look at moving. Check though with the LA. some will not take a rental address if you own a property nearby. Unless you can show you are renting a three bed because you can only afford to buy a one bed.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 18:46:05

Oh and read here! I did. Took me six months of reading through numerous appeals etc to work out how the system works so OP has my sympathy. If you don't have people to talk to in real life it isn't easy.

Op - a suggestion. If you think you might want to keep the nursery place, speak to nursery about it now . Most nurseries assume children turning 5 soon will no longer be attending, as they are going to school instead.

My DS's preschool sends out letters asking what sessions/hours people would like in September - the 4yo's don't get a letter because it is assumed they are going to school instead.

Anyone else reading this - you get to state a preference for several schools. Always use the last preference for a back up school - a nearby school that is not very popular. If you don't get any of the 'attractive' schools then you are better off getting a nearby 'crap' school than a far away 'crap' school.

Fizzypop001 Sun 05-May-13 18:56:59

you should have done your research on the primary schools locally to you and had a look at the distances that offers where given in 2012 you have not done this. you say you have a c e primary thats very close that offers places on distance as well if you had looked into this primary school and others you would not be in this situation you have applied for all the schools you have zero chance of getting into its very importance to look into the admissions process and it is also important to name atleast one school on your application that you have a good chance of getting into which is likely to be your local school which you havent done good luck with finding a place i hope you get what you want every year the council show the distances online and also have a little book with admissions process and distances in it which you can get from local school or sure start centres or council anyway good luck

HSMMaCM Sun 05-May-13 19:44:13

OP I rejected a school place, but did it on the basis that I would home educate. We were 5th on the waiting list for our favourite school and a year later we were 6th. Fortunately she got a place in another school that she is very happy at.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sun 05-May-13 20:45:54

Oh dear.

I think the advice that teacherwith2kids gave is very sound.

To be fair to the OP, she is not the first parent to have made inaccurate assumptions about the admissions process and she won't be the last. I know several people in real life who have gone through the process without researching or understanding it.

To anyone else who is reading this who has this yet to come, please take note. Most people do not get to choose the school their child goes to. You can list preferences. If you only list schools where your child doesn't meet the admissions criteria, then you might as well have left the form blank.

For future reference for people who are yet to apply:

Step 1: read the admissions criteria of all your local schools (availiable on their websites).

Step 2: based on the admissions criteria, make a shortlist of schools that your child has a realistic chance of getting into. Visit these schools, ask to meet the headteachers.

Step 3: list some schools from your shortlist in order of preference on the form (or application webpage), including at least one school where your child is certain to get a place.

Step 4: when you are allocated a school, accept the place before the deadline. If it wasn't your first choice, then you can choose whether or not to go on the continuing interest lists of the schools that were further up your preference list.

ChasedByBees Sun 05-May-13 21:02:22

Thanks for explaining NynaevesSister and Yoni. <starts reading up>

Clary Sun 05-May-13 21:20:04

Lots of good advice on here OP.

Can I add that IME (not complete of course) C of E schools, while they may show preference to those who are churchgoers, generally take much of their intake from people living locally.

In this I find they are different from Catholic schools - whether this is because there is more of an ethos in the catholic church to favour a faith school, I don't know (I am not catholic).

But eg the schools in most of the small villages near us are C of E and take all the residents' kids; there are also a number of C of e schools in my city and the nearest one is basically just the local primary for that area of town. Lots of non churchgoers I know go there. What I am saying is make sure your name is down on the waiting list for your local school.

Please please PLEASE don't assume that the LEA will magically produce a school for your son in January. It won't. What will happen, as teacher2kids says, is that you will be prosecuted for failing to ensure he is educated by the term after he turns 5, as is the law...

Fizzypop001 Sun 05-May-13 22:28:09

i totally agree with threebeeonegee and clary

Fizzypop001 Sun 05-May-13 22:29:01

some c and e do that

Snowme Sun 05-May-13 23:17:58

What's the panic fest?

Send to a childminder, home educate after you finish work* and then re-apply for a place next year,bearing in mind the advice contained herein.

Reception Year is basically just extended nursery anyway, 'learning through play'. There's no Three Rs, is there?

*As far as I read it, home educating demands NO curriculum whatsoever and you can tutor for as little as an hour a day.

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