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If children are removed after fraud uncovered....

(29 Posts)
Wikkitikki Sun 10-Nov-13 14:12:58

Are allowed to go on waiting list at the school they were removed from?
There was a child removed from reception 3Years ago in an undersubscribed intake who's parents were separated and fraudulently claimed child's main address was with the parent who lived in catchment.
The child was later re admitted in year 2 after their sibling started in reception.

More recently, a child has been removed from reception who has a sibling in year 2. It was obvious that the family weren't living in or near catchment as they invited classmates to their home which is miles from school. I don't know if they rented in catchment to get their older child in or lied about the address. The older child didn't join the school until year 1 after genuine applicants lost out due to it being a very high birth rate. Some families who already had children attending couldn't get in.

Would the child that has been removed be able to go on the waiting list with a sibling priority or will genuine families be placed higher on the list ?

meditrina Sun 10-Nov-13 14:18:31

The first example doesn't quite make sense to me. If undersubscribed, all applicants would have been offered places. So any anomaly on the form would not have resulted in the award of a place at would not otherwise have been awarded, so there are no grounds to strip the place, because it would have been awarded even with the correct details.

Wikkitikki Sun 10-Nov-13 14:32:39

It was an undersubscribed year, the fraudulent address was in catchment, hence why the child got removed after term started. They might have been offered a place if they were honest at the start but other children out of catchment were offered places by then so reception was full at start of term.

teacherwith2kids Sun 10-Nov-13 14:33:45

In a case I know of, child removed just before Year 7 after fraid uncovered.

Placed on waiting list in correct position (ie the position they would be based on their correct address...quite low down)

Appealed in Year 7 unsuccessfully. Home educated for the year.
Just about to appeal again for Year 8, still on waiting list.

Next sibling (in Year 6) is about to apply, and presumably will go on waiting list (as current Year 6 is much bigger than current Year 8 locally, and the family hasn't moved)

ClayDavis Sun 10-Nov-13 15:28:47

I'm not sure that makes it any clearer, Wikki. AKAIK, the point of removing the place is not to punish the parents for making a fraudulent application but to ensure that the child who should have got that place gets it. If the school was undersubscribed from initial applications, no other child has lost out and the place is theirs regardless of whether they later filled the number of places before term started. I still don't see why the place was removed.

The same theory applies to the second case. So the child goes on the waiting list using the criteria they would have been under if they had made an honest application. That may well mean they are above other children without sibling priority.

Wikkitikki Sun 10-Nov-13 15:44:07

I thought under subscribed meant there were spare places after catchment and siblings were allocated which are then filled by out of catchment children. The first example I gave they lied saying they were in catchment to be ahead of other children out of catchment. I'm not sure how close to school they really lived other parents were disgruntled that the child got in knowing the family's living arrangements.

When the fraud was uncovered the place was withdrawn and given to the next child on the list

. Does undersubscribed mean there's no waiting list ? Surely it's not right for LA to discover school place fraud then treat the case as on 'On Time' application using the true address the dishonest parents tried to conceal?

bundaberg Sun 10-Nov-13 15:48:35

undersubscribed means they didn't fill all their spaces regardless of where applicants were from.

so, they had under 30 in the class (if 30 is the max)

there is no reason why the child in either case shouldn't go on the waiting list wherever they have have priority.
so if they have a sibling there they'd get priority over other children who don't, regardless of the fraud

Wikkitikki Sun 10-Nov-13 16:13:00

Sorry for my mis interpreting what under subscription means.

I've been told by LA that if a fraud is discovered after the first term that child was admitted then they don't remove the child but they don't allow future applications from siblings to benefit from sibling priority.

I just wondered in case of second example if they would use that policy in the case of removed child. I suppose a lot depends on being able to prove that the elder child in family had also gained their place by a fraudulent application.

ClayDavis Sun 10-Nov-13 16:20:21

That makes more sense. Undersubscribed means they have fewer applications in all categories than they have places i.e. 22 applications in total for 30 places. Wouldn't make much difference whether they treated it as on time or late as they'd have to give the place anyway.

I'm not entirely sure how places are reallocated after removal but the only situation I can see where treating it as a 'late' application rather than an 'on time' one might have an effect would be where a child got a place in an oversubscribed school that they would have got anyway even though they were further down the criteria. But even then no other child has been disadvantaged and the point of removing the place is so that it can be given to the child that should have qualified for it.

In both your cases the places have been removed after the children started reception. On time/late makes no difference to the waiting list and schools are specifically prohibited from using that as a criteria for organising waiting lists.

ClayDavis Sun 10-Nov-13 16:25:18

I think you are right that that will depend on how the elder child got into year 1. There are a number of ways that a child could have got there non-fraudulently even though others on the waiting list appear to meet the criteria better than they do.

prh47bridge Sun 10-Nov-13 16:44:38

If a fraudulent application is discovered the first question the LA must ask is whether or not the child would have got a place if the correct address was used. If the answer to that question is yes they are entitled to keep their place. If the answer is no they can lose the place but they are then entitled to go on the waiting list with their position determined by their correct home address. They are also entitled to appeal.

So, to take your examples, there is nothing wrong with the first case. The child could be admitted in Y2 by being at the head of the waiting list at the time a place became available. Assuming their younger sibling was admitted correctly and the school gives sibling priority to all siblings (some restrict it to cases where there is an older sibling at the school) the child is entitled to sibling priority.

In the second case the child who has been removed should be on the waiting list with sibling priority assuming the older child was admitted correctly. If there was a problem with the older child's admission they could refuse sibling priority provided it states this clearly in the oversubscription criteria.

Surely it's not right for LA to discover school place fraud then treat the case as on 'On Time' application using the true address the dishonest parents tried to conceal?

The LA must treat the application in this way otherwise they will be in breach of the Admissions Code. The Code is clear that if a fraudulent address is discovered the application must be considered again as if correct information had been provided.

I've been told by LA that if a fraud is discovered after the first term that child was admitted then they don't remove the child but they don't allow future applications from siblings to benefit from sibling priority.

I hope they state this clearly in their oversubscription criteria. If they do not they could find themselves losing appeals in this situation.

ClayDavis Sun 10-Nov-13 17:18:17

Just out of interest, how do they allocate another school if they do remove a place? Do they go back and look at the application using the correct details and give a place at the school they would have qualified for even if that school is now full or do they allocate a place at the nearest school with places available?

admission Sun 10-Nov-13 18:45:59

If the LA remove the place then the pupil is allocated a place at the nearest school with places, which could be a long way from the correct address and probably a school that the parents were anxious to not get originally.
In the second case that is referred to by OP, the situation does depend on the exact circumstances. Firstly did the elder sibling get the place correctly or not. If the parents deliberately used another address then presumably it was not discovered until such time as they had been in the school long enough that the elder sibling would not be remove from the school. As PRH says in this circumstance, if it says in the admission arrangements that in such situations the sibling priority will be removed then the LA can do so. If it does not then the LA are in my opinion taking a flyer that would probably be overturned at appeal, they cannot make the rules up as they go along.
If the elder sibling did get a place correctly then when the younger sibling applied then they must be treated as having sibling priority for admission purposes, no matter where they now live, unless the admission arrangements state that the priority is siblings in catchment, then catchment and then siblings living out of catchment. From the post however it seems that the younger sibling did start at the school before the incorrect address was discovered. Again as stated by PRH the LA then needed to decide whether a place would have been offered if the correct address was used. Presumably that was not the case and therefore led to the younger sibling being removed. As a panel member I would have had mixed views on this. On the one hand the parents cheated and therefore should suffer the consequences but if the elder sibling cannot be removed due to the time in school, then I would find it difficult in punishing only the younger sibling.

ClayDavis Sun 10-Nov-13 19:54:06

Thanks, admission. I had figured that might be the case otherwise it would just cause a massive mess with schools being forced to accept extra pupils through no fault or the LA.

Presumably, as the elder child was an in year admission to year 1 there are a couple of ways he could have been admitted legitimately even though there might have been others on the waiting list. Possibly a statement naming the school or if they had moved into the area and there are no schools within a reasonable distance that have a place in year 1.

admission Sun 10-Nov-13 21:20:09

There are all sorts of legitimate reasons for the admission of the pupil and without knowing much more detail it is not realistic to speculate further. One thing it does do is just highlight to anybody who is thinking of trying to bend the rules that people do get caught and certainly around my LA will get the place removed.
Locally we have a row of small terraced houses by a very popular school and some of them are currently up for rental, as they are ever year. I know one parent has already been warned off by the LA for submitting an application for one of these houses and told to resubmit with their correct address on it. As soon as any application is received for these addresses there are red flags waving on the computer system in the admission office of the LA and every one is thoroughly investigated. Some people never learn but i blame the estate agents who are peddling renting these houses as a means of getting a place at the school.

Wikkitikki Sun 10-Nov-13 21:26:31

I looked at the admission handbook and it states clearly that sibling link will be revoked in cases where fraud is discovered. If they are back on the waiting list without a sibling priority then the removed child will never get a place as people are moving into catchment all the time as the primary and secondary schools are outstanding.

The family weren't new to the area as the eldest attended a pre School with someone I know. I think they must have moved temporarily into catchment or just used fake address from outset.

It will be interesting to know if younger child was offered a place at a School near to their home or a School near the one the eldest child attends. The parents must be finding it a nightmare to get both children to School on time but I have more sympathy for the honest parents whose children got pushed down the waiting list sad

Wikkitikki Sun 10-Nov-13 21:39:58

Admission, can parents really put any address down and get away with it if no one shops them?
I would have hoped that the admission office could somehow cross reference with council tax dept if the council us a unitary authority.

I hate any form of fiddling or fraud but if the system us easy to cheat then no wonder some try it on.

In my own case I've just applied for secondary School for my child. The yr 7 handbook came with a letter stating our catchment School so how do parents get round this if the primary School have the correct address ?

Do counci

Wikkitikki Sun 10-Nov-13 21:41:30

Sorry pressed wrong button. Do councils simply rely on whistle blowers to alert them to fraud ?

teacherwith2kids Sun 10-Nov-13 21:51:39

Where I live there is a pretty rigorous system of cross-checking - but that is because there are a few 'honeypot' schools that have had difficulties with fraudulent admissions for some time. The number of high-profile removals has reduced, but I suspect what is happening now is that more people are simply not getting to the stage of having school places awarded, as there is careful cross-checking between e.g council tax registers and applications.

In other areas, it seems to me that there are less rigorous processes in place.

Wikkitikki Sun 10-Nov-13 22:43:27

It's reassuring to know that, teacherwith2kids.

prh47bridge Sun 10-Nov-13 23:54:12

How much checking takes place varies from LA to LA. In general LAs where there is a history of parents giving false addresses to get a place at a popular school are more likely to have rigorous checks in place. Most LAs will as a minimum check with Council Tax records. Of course a parent that tries using a false address also runs the risk of being shopped by other parents who have missed out. This is becoming increasingly common.

Barbeasty Mon 11-Nov-13 07:50:19

Our LA has sent letters to all the children who should be applying now for primary schools, where they are awarevof them, with their code for accessing the online system.

To change this address they hold you have to provide proof of a change of address, and they specify what documents are considered acceptable.

The council should have an address for a high proportion of children, because of the free hours for 3 year olds.

It's got to be a pretty determined plan to use a false address from that early. Especially since the nursery/preschool will want the address to match their records too.

admission Mon 11-Nov-13 18:19:49

My LA has a vigorous system of knowing the schools and areas that are particularly prone to parents trying their luck and the computer system used red flags for such addresses. There is also a complicated system of checking addresses across various systems, so as barbeasty says someone has to be pretty determined to beat the system.
Certainly there is now have far fewer places being withdrawn because the inappropriate applications are weeded out before the cut off date and parents requested to think again about their permanent address. Personally I think I would wait till after the cut-off date and then they would be late applications, so that they are in some ways penalised for their attempt at deception.

MadameDefarge Mon 11-Nov-13 18:40:28

parents who are separated are allowed to choose which parent's address the child applies from.

It is not fraud.

ClayDavis Mon 11-Nov-13 18:50:40

Not always MadamDefarge. LA's often have strict rules about how the child's address is decided when parents are separated. Most often IMEb if it's not a 50/50 split then the address where they child is resident for most of the time is used. If it is a 50/50 split then the address of the parent receiving child benefit is used.
I haven't seen an admissions booklet that allows the parents to just choose in a while although I guess there might be some out there.

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