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Primary School Waiting List Problem!

(21 Posts)
Rivers10 Tue 25-Nov-14 20:52:36

I'm after some advice. I want to make an in-year transfer from my children's current primary school to a different school. The new school has one place available in the appropriate class but, ahead of me on the waiting list, is a parent with twins. This parent wishes to start her twins at the same time and so has, effectively, refused this one remaining place. However, the school will not give it to me for one of my children as they are 'holding' it for this parent until a 2nd place becomes available too. This seems totally unjust to me - this place obviously should be offered to the other parent first, but if they choose not to take it up at this point, it should pass down the waiting list to the next parent rather than sit vacant and reserved! Effectively one of her children is occupying 2 school spaces in the County which can't be right surely??! Any advice welcome!

YonicScrewdriver Tue 25-Nov-14 20:55:17

I agree this doesn't seem right

If they were to tell that parent that she couldn't hold the place, wouldn't the likely outcome be that she did take it for one twin, though, and that you would remain behind the other twin on the waiting list?

LIZS Tue 25-Nov-14 20:55:58

I dolt think they can do this unless the parent is going to appeal for the second place.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 25-Nov-14 20:56:20

Do you know the other parent, is that how you know this?

Shadow1986 Tue 25-Nov-14 21:01:44

As a parent of twins I feel this is fair enough. How else will she ever get both her children in as surely only one space at a time comes up.

This parent was on the waiting list first. If she passed up this space and your child had it, then when the next space comes up, she will be in same position with only one space.

Annoying for you, I know. But definitely seems fair to me.

Shadow1986 Tue 25-Nov-14 21:03:06

Just to add it would be really awful to split twins by taking up one space without any idea when the next space would come up, and how on earth would she cope with the school run?

YonicScrewdriver Tue 25-Nov-14 21:09:13

Shadow

From now, the second of a pair of twins is an excepted child - this might not apply to in year applications though.

OP, is it for year 2 or below?

BaffledSomeMore Tue 25-Nov-14 21:27:42

I do remember reading that exception can be made if a twin would take an infant class over 30. I think that's the one thing that's allowed without needing additional staff.

nlondondad Tue 25-Nov-14 21:51:18

An infant class can be taken over 30 by a successful appeal; but successful appeals very rare, and I think something like an error in the process has to be shown, but I am no expert on appeals.

I also do not know how twins are treated. Clearly if one admitted off the waiting list then the other, must by sibling preference be secure of being next in line. But presunmably they would be equally placed on the waiting list anyway....

BaffledSomeMore Tue 25-Nov-14 21:58:16

London - the twins thing is without appeal if I read the info correctly.

It's a strange one this question because the school may technically be able to admit both twins in a 31 class but if a child left, there still wouldn't be a place for op's child as the class would be 30. Another child would have to leave to create a vacancy.

I'm using 30 as I don't know their PAN.

Rivers10 Tue 25-Nov-14 22:11:50

I don't really understand why the twins are being treated as a 'unit'. From a legal viewpoint, they are 2 separate individuals who happen to be the same age. I have 2 children both of whom require a place in this same class, but they are not being treated as one - I would be fully expected to undertake a school run to and from 2 different schools as and when I am offered a place, one by one. I can't see how this first twin is allowed to occupy a place at one school whilst holding another school place in reserve. If the parent wants both children to start together, by my logic they should have to wait until 2 spaces become available simultaneously. It is their choice to move schools after all from their current school where their twins are housed together.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 25-Nov-14 23:04:03

Rivers, that's the new law with respect to normal round admissions ie a class can take 31 in "breach" of the ICS rules if positions 30 and 31 are twins - the second twin is excepted. But I don't know the rules for twins and in year.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 25-Nov-14 23:05:22

Nlondon - before the twins exception for regular admission, twins could be split - not sure if it was parental choice, alphabetically or birth order.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 25-Nov-14 23:05:55

" I have 2 children both of whom require a place in this same class"

Class or school, OP?

Solastyeardotcom1 Tue 25-Nov-14 23:13:07

Sounds bollocks to me. You can't be expected to hang round indefinately. Why don't you phone the council for advice, and ask the twins parents why they don't appeal - surely she's got a good case? If all else fails, go to the press or your MP - what a waste of a funded place! good luck

pointlesslonging Tue 25-Nov-14 23:14:39

I am a parent of twins currently battling the admissions system for an in-year transfer so know about this.

If one twin gets a place in Reception, Y1 or Y2, the second child is an excepted child and the class size can go above 30. That's the law. That means two children will have to leave until a place becomes available in that class again.

Y2-Y6: the school has no legal obligation to accept the second child, although it is also within their right to do so (in our local education authority, the LEA lets the head make the choice). But the head can't 'hold the place' to wait for a second space to open up (where I live this could mean holding the place for up to a year!).

I know this from bitter experience: I have twins who do not want to be in separate classes, let alone separate schools, and we have just had to turn down a place we have waited for for three years at our local outstanding primary because the headmaster decided against creating a second place for the other twin. He does not have the legal right to hold it open, and so we are effectively locked out of changing schools.

If for some reason the parent above you is lucky enough to have a head who is willing to bend the law and wait to get the second child in, then hurrah for that head teacher, I say. But obviously I'm coming from a different place from you.

pointlesslonging Tue 25-Nov-14 23:17:05

Twins and in year: there is nothing in the admissions code that says in year admission are an exception to the rule allowing class size to go above PAN, so the presumption is that they are not an exception.

pointlesslonging Tue 25-Nov-14 23:18:37

Late at night. Meant to say, Y3-Y6, the second twin is no longer treated as an excepted child. Sorry for rambling.

prh47bridge Tue 25-Nov-14 23:58:44

Dealing with the twins first, if one is admitted the second would be an excepted pupil for infant class size purposes. The school does not have to admit the second twin but the parent concerned would have a good chance of success on appeal as it would be an ordinary prejudice case, not an infant class size case. It is therefore open to the parent to accept the offered place and appeal for a place for the other child. Of course, if the place is on Y3-Y6 infant class size is no longer relevant so any appeal would be an ordinary prejudice case.

Turning to your case the school may be in the wrong but it is not entirely clear. If this place is in Reception the parent could accept the offer and then defer entry provided the child is not yet of compulsory school age. That would allow this situation to arise.

However, if the place is in any other year the school is, in my view, wrong to allow the parent to sit on the place like this. If the parent concerned has not responded to the offer the school should write again and give a final deadline, after which the offer will be withdrawn. If the place has been offered and rejected the school must offer it to you. If the place has been offered and accepted but the child has not started the school should delete the child from the roll and offer it to the next person on the list (which will actually be the other twin before it comes to you).

In the circumstances it is worth appealing on the basis that the admission arrangements are not being administered correctly.

admission Wed 26-Nov-14 22:17:35

I agree with what PRH has said.
If the twins are in an infant class now, under the May 2014 LGO decision, the second twin would be deemed an excepted pupil and so any in-year appeal would be around normal prejudice rules. In fact certainly in my LA, the LA would not even go to appeal because they realise that they would not win such an appeal.
If it is in years 3 to 6, the school has the right to go above the PAN and admit the second twin in such circumstances without setting a precedent. That would certainly be what my school would do, assuming we would not go above 33 in the class.
The school and presumably the LA do not really understand the rules as well as they should.
That I am afraid does not help you in that the twins will be given places and as others have said the school will then need to loose 2 pupils before they can admit again in that year group, assuming it is an infant class situation.
However given the school seem to be somewhat "hazy" on the admission regs, it might be a good idea to check just exactly why the twins are considered to be first on the waiting list. It should be because they are higher up the admission criteria than you but I would check that it is not because they asked earlier than you, because that is definitely not how the places should be allocated.

tiggytape Wed 26-Nov-14 22:29:17

Agree with admission on checking the last point. The twins should only be above your child if they live closer to the school / live in catchment and you don't or have a sibling at the school.
Waiting lists are not ordered by who came first. They are kept in order of admissions criteria (so people who live closer but ask later jump above other people on the list). If the council don't know how to handle twins, it raises the concern that they may be making other errors.

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