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Finding out if a school has places

(10 Posts)
Missymoomum Thu 09-May-13 04:09:30

Hi, i was just wondering if there is any way to find out online if a school has spare places. We live abroad so it's not easy to ring around schools and it looks like we may suddenly be returning to the UK in the summer so i'm now trying to research schools. I'm not even entirely sure where we'll be moving back to yet although there are 2 or 3 possibilities, so i'm trying to get a feel for these possibilities just so that i feel like i'm preparing as i'm starting to panic over how much will need to be done in such a short amount of time if we do leave! My children will be going into Yr1 & Yr 2.

WomblesOfCairngorm Thu 09-May-13 04:40:42

I would probably send out an email to the schools you are interested in. I think you could email the local authority, but the individual schools data will be more accurate.

pofacedlemonsucker Thu 09-May-13 04:51:49

I usually telephone or email. If you can work it the time difference, it's best to call. Chatting to the secretary or head teacher is a great way to introduce yourself to the school and find out exactly where things stand. An email will usually result in a number, but no nuanced discussion.

It will also give you a good flavour of the school ethos. I find emails don't give a lot away - chatting to a human being is far more useful.

I've spent more years than I care to remember arranging schooling long-distance, and I have an sn child to boot. People have always been keen to help - keeping me informed about what might happen to the wait list - letting me know the chances, what I can do to move higher up the placings as necessary etc.

Missymoomum Fri 10-May-13 07:55:12

Thanks both for the advice, i think i may just email initially while i'm still trying to get an idea of location and then obviously move on to phone calls once i know for definite where we will be moving to.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 10-May-13 07:59:02

Hi, will you both be going to work as soon as you get back? If not, then remember you have an option to home educate and you could do that for a half term whilst you look for the right school.

That way you can spend the time finding the right school once you are in the location rather than trying to do it all remotely.

wonkylegs Fri 10-May-13 08:27:08

We are moving within the UK and tried the school directly - we are moving to a village with only one school. The school couldn't give us much information and going to the local education authority was far more use. There are no places where we want to be ATM so he will go on waiting list and the authority told us the other options.
Unfortunately parental choice is a misnomer and you will get a place where there is one.

mummytime Fri 10-May-13 09:22:29

Are you looking at state or private?
If a State school is generally undersubscribed, then an email will give you an idea; but there are limited areas in the country where that is likely. However if the schools are generally over-subscribed, then if they have a place now they may well not have a place in two weeks time, as they have to offer places as soon as they are available.

The best idea is to move to somewhere with several schools close by, all of a reasonable standard. Then when you apply to the LA, you have a reasonable chance of being offered places at local schools as people move.

I wouldn't panic, but just deal with the situation as it arrives, things you can't change have to be coped with. People here will be able to give you advice when the time comes. Although if possible I would move before the end of term in July, and apply straight away.

If you are going down the private route then schools can give you far more useful advice.

pofacedlemonsucker Fri 10-May-13 14:17:27

Not entirely true, mummy time. Schools can hold a place for 6 weeks, so if you find a place within six weeks of the end of the summer term, they will hold it until September. If you find one between the six week point and now, it might be released to someone else.

Missy, if you are military, schools are more than used to dealing with prospective enquiries from people who may or may not be moving there - and are not so strict about address proof etc. if you get stuck, CEAS are sometimes helpful. If not, disregard this para!

mummytime Fri 10-May-13 16:59:06

If you are military or "Crown Servants" then the situation is much better! The LA can admit you under the fair access protocol, despite pushing numbers over 30 in KS1.

Missymoomum Mon 20-May-13 04:18:29

Sorry i've not replied sooner and thank you for all your messages. Unfortunately we're neither military or Embassy so we will just have to keep our fingers crossed!! We'd ended up getting no further with our future plans since i first posted but now this morning, it again looks like it's going to happen soon but probably not before the end of this school year so that should make it interesting, trying to look for places with all the schools shut plus we won't be able to apply anywhere until we have an address! Ideally i'd like to stay where we are for a bit longer and maybe move October half term time but that probably won't be possible sad . I won't be working initially so yes home schooling could be a possible temporary measure, I have enough teacher friends that would be able to guide me on what to be looking at and i have the added advantage that my children are close in age so will be going into yr1 and yr2 so will both be KS1. We are also lucky enough that we could privately educate if necessary too although i would imagine private schools will be filling up now prior to September. Mmmm so much to think about and i just wish we knew for sure so we can properly start making plans rather than using guess work!! Thanks again

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