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How long is a Waiting list (piece of string...)

(11 Posts)
panicksbury Tue 25-Mar-14 11:41:00

My son is richocheting up and down the waiting list for our preferred school. He is in Y2 at the moment, and has gone from 20 to seven and is now at number 3. We are in inner London and the school we are waiting for is two form entry and is one of the most popular in the area. It is also our local school.
Shall we hold out or give up hope?
Stories please. (I know people who have been number one for at least a year at this school, bumped out of a place by priority categories like siblings and SEN). My son has moved up the list from seven to three in the last few months but before that was at seven for a year.
I want to move my son as he is not that happy where he is, but I don't know if waiting is the way to go. We could move elsewhere, but that seems desperate.

PastSellByDate Tue 25-Mar-14 12:12:59

Hi panicksbury:

We put DD1 and DD2 on a wait list for a very popular school when we moved to a new area and were more or less (although very nicely) told fat chance.

roll on 3 months - and the phone rings and there is a place for DD2. She visits, loves it and starts there 10 days later. Change of school fortunately was a great thing to do and she's a very happy kid these days.

You can remain on a waiting list as long as you like - just contact the school now and then to ensure they understand you're happy to remain on their list. Most schools try very hard to ensure settling in as the 'new kid' if you start later is well managed and usually children are assigned to help you settle in, find things, etc...

In some ways this is the best of both worlds. If you like the school which wasn't your first choice - you can opt to go off the list. If you're unhappy about it - staying on the list will give you some hope.


MirandaWest Tue 25-Mar-14 12:14:26

When he's in year 3 appealing may work as then they won't have to comply with infant class size regulations.

littlecrystal Tue 25-Mar-14 13:22:56

Popular 2-form catholic school here in South London. Was 11th on the waiting list and got offered a place 1 day before starting in another school.

tiggytape Tue 25-Mar-14 14:30:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fullyswindonian Wed 26-Mar-14 21:46:28

It's not a mystery, it can be analysed.

Waited for exactly a year for a Year 1 in year admission at an oversubscribed school (also my closest) .

Truth be, I only really stuck it out as I was overcompensating for my children not having a father in the home and having already moved my children house 4 times in 6 years, I was determined to find some stability that a small school, with it's reputation, and it's wraparound care facility, linked Junior and Secondary schools priority, and proximity to my immediate future work needs, could offer.

Bounced around from mid twenties down to two.
There's online stats out there and if you can analyse them with the other publicly available school allocations data, you'll find a pattern, as I eventually did, of when and why the waiting list fluctuates. I even found out who the other children were on the waiting list when we reached number three, but that may be down to circumstance - one of them was a family just moved in a few doors down from abroad and as they were a few doors closer to the school they got in. We saw the child in the playground.

Bizarrely, number two on the list was also from the same school as my child (village 5 miles away).

Ultimately, we either got in through sheer daily doggedness - ringing the admissions team daily (because list mobility can change daily), I wrote pleading letters to the various 'secret' departments such as Education Entitlement, requested an Education Welfare officer involvement, wrote to both head mistresses at each school suggesting they discuss our situation together and how a transfer could benefit both schools, hinted at the extra funding new school would receive by accepting my child under the Pupil Premium scheme and how that could waive the class size limit, and so many more suggestions and carefully worded pleas, all this after the failed Appeal of course.

Eventually we got our transfer, whilst aware that number one on the list still fulfilled the admission criteria that we didn't. That child is still at the same old school.

It coincided way youngest starting Reception at the new school. But younger sibling is not an admission priority. But being aware of the nooks amd crannies of our situation with two children at different schools, amd the personal involvement of the Education Entitlement officer at the end, who I phoned several times a day, we got the transfer. These last two factors may have helped. Or may have not.

Everyone around me thought I was ridiculous for sitting on this, to the detriment of certain people who assisted with the complicated logistics involved in transporting my child to her old school, detriment of my daily stress levels over the issue. When I could so easily have popped my child into the (third furthest away but with spaces) school and it all be over with.

Having enjoyed an exceptional Catholic ex convent education myself which my mother engineered from infant school age, making us walk 50 minutes to primary school in order to get the linked secondary school priory (itself a 40 minute bus or train journey to the next town), rather than packing us up off the lane to a rural primary ten minutes walk away, my fate was probably set on this course of action.

I spent a year in total disarray and stress, researching and following up every lead and opportunity, analysing data, recommending, suggesting, hinting, pleading between education and child welfare departments and the two heads themselves.

A good education is all I can hope to offer my children to make up for the lack of traditional two parent family life or home stability or income. It was worth it in the end.

Summarily, to answer your question, don't just apply, appeal and give up. Grow a journalist's nose for unearthing every hidden and visible route in and out of the situation, finding all leads and then some. You can fight the system if you don't give up. Good luck.

panicksbury Wed 26-Mar-14 22:45:17

I can't see that I'd have any grounds for appeal.

BambooBear13 Wed 26-Mar-14 22:48:07

Stick it out and follow advice above. That's what I would bd doing grin

MissWimpyDimple Wed 26-Mar-14 22:49:49

At our school yr 3 has 2 extra children per class as routine. So in theory you would get a place if you were no 3 on the waiting list still.

Might be worth checking that. The catchment for us is a good few hundred metres higher for the junior part of the school...

tiggytape Wed 26-Mar-14 22:51:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeamEdward Wed 26-Mar-14 22:59:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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