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some (more or less) stupd questions about primary schools..

(32 Posts)
ScandinavianMummy Fri 05-Dec-14 09:02:11

We are moving to the UK,next year.. our dd will then be turning 6, so she would have to start year one (or am I mistaken? she is born in october 2010, so she would start reception year in september 2015? right?)

We want to move to Bristol, and I am realising that Bristol schools are hard to get into - but would this mean it is even more diffcult getting into a decent school since she is starting a year after everyone else?

We are thinking we would rent somewhere first, so establish where we really want to buy a house. But if we move, would she be able to stay in the same school? or can you be kicked out for moving out of the catchment area??

sorry about all the stupid questions, but this is all new to me
(completely different system in the county we now live in..)

Do schools prioritise kids with older siblings who's got a place? So that if we focus on getting DD into a good school, it should be fairly straightforward getting DS (who's two years younger) into the same school the year after?

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Fri 05-Dec-14 09:17:54

Yes you're right she would go straight into Year 1.

You would be doing something called an In Year Transfer. If you look at the council's website you'll find information about how this works - sometimes including which schools currently have places available - this obviously changes over time so offers no guarantees but would give you a vague idea of how over subscribed they are. If that info isn't on the website there should be a number to call. Nearer the time I would call the schools you are interested in direct - they may have info that the council aren't aware of eg children they know are moving over the summer. Also check what proof of address is required - you may need to have a signed rental agreement in place before you can apply.

I've just moved my 3 (they are all primary age) as we relocated. It's not easy but I think it should be more straightforward with only one child at school, especially if you are prepared to be a bit flexible about school preferences. Even very popular schools have children leave sometimes.

You won't be kicked out for moving out of catchment - once you have a place, you have a place.

You would need to check individual admission criteria for details of how siblings are treated. For schools under Local Authority control, this is set by the LA but academies, free schools and some church schools decide their own criteria. Most schools do prioritise siblings but you might find that siblings out of catchment have lower priority than children in catchment so check carefully.

Research is key here!

MirandaWest Fri 05-Dec-14 09:20:23

When exactly are you moving? She would start reception in the year 2015-16 and then year one in September 2016.

ScandinavianMummy Fri 05-Dec-14 09:24:03

thanks both smile

We are thinking we would plan the move so that we are there for when the school year starts in september 2016!

I realise this is all about research research research, but it is great to get other people's opinion, and some ideas about where to look for information (not always easy to know when we have been abroad for several years, and we have never had to deal with british school system before..)

meditrina Fri 05-Dec-14 09:25:49

"Do schools prioritise kids with older siblings who's got a place?"

Generally, yes for primaries.

But you need to check exactly what the criteria say, especially if you have moved to some distance away from the school. Some schools have a defined priority admissions area, and all children from within it will be admitted ahead of siblings outside it.

Heels99 Fri 05-Dec-14 09:28:50

Bristol primaries are over subscribed so it would be wherever they have a place and then you can go on waiting list for preferred school. I would start talking to the council now, they are helpful. It may seem a long way off but also think about secondary schools as they have areas of primary responsibility and there are a lot of duff secondaries in bristol!

Good luck

Heels99 Fri 05-Dec-14 09:29:47

Also put name down for private schools in case you get allocated primary which is rubbish, as a fall back

TeenAndTween Fri 05-Dec-14 11:02:43

Also be aware that the UK system of schooling appears to be very different from that in Scandinavia.

ScandinavianMummy Fri 05-Dec-14 12:12:26

We are aware of several differences TeenAndTween. My husband is English, so he definitely should know.. smile

But anything in particular you were thinking about??

TeenAndTween Fri 05-Dec-14 12:58:40

No, not really, just the running AIBU thread at the moment. smile

Spindelina Fri 05-Dec-14 13:44:45

Another thing you may or may not know is that the urban area known as "Bristol" actually comes under several LEAs: Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and maybe Bath & North East Somerset depending on how far out you want to look. So you may end up applying for schools in more than one LEA, but your application still goes to the LEA in which you live.

ScandinavianMummy Fri 05-Dec-14 19:02:35

Thanks Spindelina, that's very good to know

ScandinavianMummy Mon 08-Dec-14 07:45:49

would it be more difficult to get DD into a good school for year 1 than for reception year?

YonicScrewdriver Mon 08-Dec-14 07:58:57

If you move after places have been allocated for sep 2015 then you will be put on the roll of whichever school has space and you can stay on the waiting list for others. There is probably a bit more movement at this time as waiting lists change. But if you haven't got an address by mid Jan then you will be outside the main admission round.

catslife Mon 08-Dec-14 09:45:17

would it be more difficult to get DD into a good school for year 1 than for reception year?
Yes it probably would unless you are very fortunate.
School classes for infants are limited to 30 pupils and schools are full for Y1 if there are this may pupils on roll already. Many schools in the Bristol area will be full and although in theory you can list 3 local schools on an in-year transfer form, the chances are that most of these schools will be full. What you will be offered is a place at the school closest to your address with space available in Y1. Most of the "best" schools will already be full - indeed many people who apply on time may not qualify for places and will be offered a school further away.
The sibling rule is different between the different LEAs too. In Bristol primary schools younger siblings are given priority but in South Glos this only applies to catchment siblings. There is a mumsnetter on here whose second child missed out on a place for their second child (despite applying on-time) and is still on the waiting list, so if this important to you avoid South Gloucestershire LEA.
The good news is that overall primary schools in Bristol have improved over the past few years, so there are few really awful schools.
House prices (and rents) in Bristol have really increased over the past few years so you need to check which areas you can afford first and then consider schools.

Spindelina Mon 08-Dec-14 10:59:44

catslife, what you've said (that it's easier to get in for YR than Y1) only applies if you apply on time (i.e. by 15th Jan), though, right?

Assuming you miss the mid-Jan deadline, as Yonic says, the greatest movement on waiting lists is probably at the beginning of September of YR, when children fail to turn up to take their places. Usually this is because they have a place in a private school, and Bristol has thriving private system.

So, getting a local address (and hence places on the waiting lists) before September might be slightly advantageous, but nothing like as advantageous as doing it before mid Jan.

(Though the deadline might not actually be mid Jan - in some places you can get an "extension" for a few weeks if you are moving house. Look into it if this applies to you - it might even help you choose which LEA to move to!)

The other thing to note is that she doesn't actually legally need to be in education (home or school) until January (the term after her 5th birthday). So if you were allocated a school you didn't like for whatever reason, you could wait it out until then.

ScandinavianMummy Mon 08-Dec-14 12:16:09

sorry, for repeating this, I just want to make sure I'm getting this right..

everyone has to apply for YR before mid-Jan 2015 - to start school in Sept 2015. If we dont apply now, we could put in a late application, and be put on a waiting list for the schools we want? And maybe (if we are super lucky) someone simply doesn't show up for school start in september, coz they got in to for example a private school.. and then (if we live really close by) we could be lucky and get in..

You say DD isn't legally required to start school until January (coz she turns 5 in Oct) - but do people actually wait, or does everyone actually start in september? We dont want her falling behind the others..

any way to get prioritised because of language development?
DD speaks two languages - but I would assume her English is behind other 4 year olds raised in UK..

YonicScrewdriver Mon 08-Dec-14 13:12:55

OP, yes, that's mostly it, although waiting lists move all the time up to September and beyond, not just kids not showing up (some parents will decide before the summer re private school, meaning other parents get in on a waiting list, freeing up spaces in other schools etc. But yes, mid jan is the main deadline.

I'm afraid there is no priority re language etc but the LA is obliged to find you a place or to force the school deemed most able to cope with an extra pupil to create one.

YonicScrewdriver Mon 08-Dec-14 13:13:54

And few people wait, I would say...

YonicScrewdriver Mon 08-Dec-14 13:19:34

Ps in case of any misunderstanding... Yr 1 is the year after reception. If you are in the country next year, dd will join reception (which is referred to as Yr R on here!)

catslife Mon 08-Dec-14 13:34:19

There is very little chance of people not turning up Spindelina.
On Offer day, Bristol LEA asks parents to return a form to accept the state school place offered. Any places not accepted by parents are then offered in a "second round" between April and June. This second round includes people who applied late for all sorts of reasons including those who moved after the Jan deadline. So there is a chance if you miss the Jan deadline.
On offer day parents can also go on waiting lists. Some places will also be allocated from the waiting lists between April and June.

Spindelina Mon 08-Dec-14 13:46:57

Ah, good to know, catslife. Do you know if that's for Bristol LEA schools, or Bristol LEA residents?

Spindelina Mon 08-Dec-14 13:50:26

And, OP, people don't usually wait, no. But if you would move DD half way through the first term if a place in your preferred school came up, you might choose not to start her in the non-preferred school in the first place. Probably only relevant if the school you have been offered is e.g. really far away, and you are neR the top of the waiting list for the one you want.

catslife Mon 08-Dec-14 14:08:19

It's for Bristol LEA schools Spindela. The admissions criteria are based on where the school is located. So residents of all the local LEAs are treated the same.
If you live in South Glos and apply to a Bristol school you apply through the LEA where you live i.e. send in the form to South Glos, but they send your application to Bristol who will process it following their admissions criteria. South Glos will send out your offer letter.
Vice-versa if you live in Bristol and apply to South Glos schools.

Heels99 Mon 08-Dec-14 16:11:53

There is no language assessment or consideration, some children start school unable to speak the local language at all. There are 4 dual language children in my dds classes, out of 60. All are doing fine and are in no way behind the rest of the class. None get special help.

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