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School Application Disagreement separated parents

(40 Posts)
Bluebirdpie Sun 16-Nov-14 17:01:11

Also posted in legal section...

I'm hoping someone can offer some advise or perhaps just an outside opinion mate new options I hadn't thought of. I really want this to be resolved amicably outside of Court for obviously reasons, stress, finances etc but my ex is refusing to discuss and has threatened Court action if I don't agree with her. Also interested in opinions of what a Court is likely to make of this.

We have two daughters in year 1 and year 2. Both attend the Infants school (reception-year 2) in the village my ex lives in. There is a court order for the house she lives in (jointly owned) to be sold after Xmas as she has defaulted on the mortgage and if not sold it will be repossessed. It's likely to sell quickly. Local rentals are very high (much higher than the mortgage) and so she will have to move out of the village to a nearby town. I live in a nearby town (15 min drive from current school). Neither me or my partner drive so we get the bus to school- which is hard as it's a village service, rather infrequent and often cancelled meaning we have to get the early bus to ensure we are at school on time. My ex drives and has a car.

A school application for a Junior school for our eldest needs to be made by mid January as her current school is infant school only up to year 2.

My ex wants the application 1st choice to be the Junior School next to their current Infant school- in the village. Her reasons being that dd1 needs to stay with her friends, she is going to try and rent in the village next year once the house sells (says she will try and get a bank loan or ask for monthly help to be able to afford rental there but she hasn't done this to be able to afford the mortgage and village rental is very expensive so I think it's unlikely and more than she objects to the children being at school near my house - she's said before she'd rather it halfway to "be fair". ) Also that dd2 will be there for another year and doing two school runs will be impossible for a year.

I would like to apply for the local school near to our house as it's excellent and sought after and Ofsted Outstanding. It means dd1 doesn't have to get the bus to school, she can easily make new friends and although it means 2 school drop off for 1 year it's better than another 5 years of primary school with both children doing the school run by bus. There's a before and after school club for dd1 to attend for 1 year just 30mins a day while dd2 is collected/dropped off until dd2 join her the year after. She already knows children there as her Brownies group is near our house and the children are from that school and her Sunday school too. The Juniors next to the Infants in the village isn't great, below national average progress made and a less than amazing Ofsted report (not the be all and end all I know!) I just don't see it makes sense to have children in a school in a village where neither of their parents live.

Does anyone have any ideas? What factors will a Judge consider if we do have to ask a Court to decide? I've emailed her and asked her to meet to sit down as weigh up the pros and cons but she refuses and says the only option is the Junior school in the village and will not discuss.

Have name changed for obvious reasons.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 16-Nov-14 17:22:16

Can't really help with what a court may decide, but a couple of questions immediately spring to mind.

Is the school you want to go to a junior school or is an all through primary? If it is a primary does it actually have a space for her or are you going to have to go through appeal?

How is your children's care shared between you? One or another of the schools may essentially be ruled out depending on the LAs rules regarding home address, making the whole debate slightly irrelevant.

The same might apply for the LA's admissions criteria. Is priority given to children from feeder infant schools?

cece Sun 16-Nov-14 17:26:54

Can't the younger one move to an infants school near the junior school (in town) so that there are not two school runs for a year?

Ditto about whether you would get into your preferred school?

meditrina Sun 16-Nov-14 17:29:03

Rafa is right.

Where is your DD ordinarily resident right now? For that is the address that has to be used when making a school application. It will be no use whatsoever battling for leave to apply to a school near to you if she lives several miles away and its greatest distance offered is under 1.5km.

And it is the DC's ordinary residence that counts. An NRP's address cannot be used (and if use is discovered, it's grounds to strip the DC of the place even after they have started).

MaudantWit Sun 16-Nov-14 17:36:06

I agree with Rafa. I have no idea what a court would say about which school is in your daughters' best interests, but the court can (at most) offer a judgement on which schools you should apply to. The decision on where you get a place/places will be for the local education authority, and that will depend on each school's admissions criteria and (very largely) on your children's home address. As you don't yet know where your ex-partner will be living (and assuming, for the moment at least, that the nature of your living arrangements means that that will be the address the LEA uses for admission purposes) any discussion of where the girls will go to school seems premature.

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 16-Nov-14 17:40:25

Why haven't you helped your ex to pay some of the mortgage arrears? Surely it's better for your children to remain at the same school with their friends and with teachers they know, and in their home?

sleeponeday Sun 16-Nov-14 17:57:09

It's a jointly owned property, and your very small children's home. Why are you seemingly so relaxed about uprooting them from not only their school, and village, but actual home? That's an awful lot of disruption for small people. Why are you so keen to introduce even more changes, especially as, given their ages, the split can't have been that long ago, either? confused

You seem more interested in what suits you than anything else. I would suggest that a judge is unlikely to share that preoccupation.

Bluebirdpie Sun 16-Nov-14 17:57:33

Sorry. I forgot to put some very important info on my post! blush

We have Shared Residency. The children currently live with me most of the time and spend alternate weekends with my ex plus one midweek visit for tea. So she takes them to school two days a month and collects them 3 days a month. Ex has applied to Court for 50:50 shared residency but I am not in agreement to this for various reasons. The Court hearing isn't until after the deadline for the application and so whilst it is possible she may be awarded 50:50 residency I think it's unlikely for various reasons and because it's not until after the school application deadline I think we should make decisions based on what is now not what may be.

Dd1's year 3 application has to be made from my address as that is where the Child Benefit is registered and where she spends most school days. This means that we only have a chance of getting into schools near my house or the Junior school next to the Infant school (the application criteria gives priority to children attending infants even living outside of the area). This means a school halfway between our homes isn't an option.

Yes we could move dd2 mid year but I thought it would be better to let her finish the infants school. Even if ex agreed to dd1 moving to the school near me she'd definitely object to a mid year transfer for dd2.

Bluebirdpie Sun 16-Nov-14 18:01:46

Ladysybl and sleeponeday- I simply cannot afford to pay towards the mortgage on the house my ex lives in. I have primary care of our children and work full time to provide everything they need and to pay rent. I also have another child with my current partner. Ex doesn't pay any maintenance or support them financially in any way despite only having them alternate weekends.

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 16-Nov-14 18:06:16

It's usually a good idea to put as much information in the first post as you can. From your first post it looks as though you're forcing your children to move house and move schools closer to you, regardless of whether this is right for them.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 16-Nov-14 18:09:58

That clears up quite a lot, and I can see exactly why you have a problem.

Moving both children would be the sensible option, if possible but if she's set on putting her foot down and refusing to discuss it then court is probably the only option. You could offer mediation perhaps, but I don't think she's under any obligation to agree to it.

Sirzy Sun 16-Nov-14 18:11:03

With the information from your second post I think doing the application for the school local to you as in the long run it will be beneficial for her to have friends close to where she lives if possible

LineRunner Sun 16-Nov-14 18:15:17

Why did she get into mortgage arrears?

Bluebirdpie Sun 16-Nov-14 18:24:47

Linerunner. Because she can't afford it. Neither can I, hence why the house needs to be sold. When we separated I lived there for a bit and she rented elsewhere. After a year I suggested we sell it as I couldn't afford it, she wanted to live there so I moved out and rented and she moved into the house. She can't afford it, it was mortgaged on two full time wages.

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 16-Nov-14 18:28:10

Does your partner work? Could she contribute towards the mortgage if you move back in? It seems unfair to uproot the children. I get why you're doing it though, this can't be easy for any of you.

MyOneandYoni Sun 16-Nov-14 18:37:53

Poor kids.

Lots of changes. New half sibling. Being moved around. Moving from friends. Mum in financial difficulties. Dad with new partner.

Just calm down a bit.

Bluebirdpie Sun 16-Nov-14 18:42:45

Of course if we could live in the jointly owned house we would as that would be easier. My partner works but still it's not possible though as we have a child together and another on the way- the jointly owned house is simply not big enough for us all.

I realise it's not ideal but we are trying to make the best out of a difficult situation.

MyOneandYoni Sun 16-Nov-14 18:44:40

Oh, and here we go. Another one.

How about you learn to drive to help your eldest children out?

Sirzy Sun 16-Nov-14 18:46:42

Bit unfair meandmy, it seems like the op is trying to find the best solution to a less than ideal situation.

If the children live with him then yes it makes sense for them to attend school close to where they live.

Sirzy Sun 16-Nov-14 18:46:59

Myone even not me and my

Bluebirdpie Sun 16-Nov-14 18:47:54

Excuse me? blush Did you miss the bit where I explained I am the Resident Parent to my children? My ex refuses to pay maintenance to financially support them which means I have to work full time to afford our rent. I can't drive for medical reasons, if I could I would as it would make life far easier.

DontGotoRoehampton Sun 16-Nov-14 18:51:03

In these situations, I always wonder why the kids have to be unsettled by shuttling between two houses, while the parents remain comfortably in the same one all the time. How about the DC stay in the house near the school, and the parents rotate so that they partition their time between two dwellings.

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 16-Nov-14 19:01:57

That would be unfair on the OP's partners children, DontGotoRoehampton. It's a bit off to leave one set of children in one house, to move another set around.

How do you manage for space now? Surely it will be the same once your other child's born? There's ways to get around the sleeping arrangements.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 16-Nov-14 19:20:20

Don't be daft. If the parents are rotating, then the OP's children with his new partner will have to rotate too. Since he has custody that means he, his new partner and their children will have to move out on alternate weekends. Unless his ex takes all 4 children on alternative weekends, which is unlikely to go down well with his current partner.

DontGotoRoehampton Sun 16-Nov-14 19:32:37

No of course it doesn't happen - not convenient for the adults. The kids can do it tho' - they have no power and no say in the arrangements sad

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