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Applying for a primary school place from abroad

(26 Posts)
krl198 Sun 07-Dec-14 06:04:14

I currently live abroad and my son is 3 yrs old, turning 4 in August 2015. We are unsure whether we will be back in the UK for the start of the school year in September 2015 at the moment, but we will definitely be back for 2016.

I am just wondering whether to apply for a primary school place for my son by 15th January 2015 for the academic year 2015-16. He will only just have turned 4 at the start of the year. I understand that I can only defer his place until the Spring or Summer term if I do, and not till the next academic year. Is there any kind of issue if I had to turn down the school place in terms of my chances to reapply the following year?

If I do not apply, can I apply for a primary school place in the usual way for 2016-17 and are there any disadvantages to this, i.e. less likely to get school of your choice?

SavoyCabbage Sun 07-Dec-14 06:05:58

You can't apply until you are actually there and have an address.

boxoftissues Sun 07-Dec-14 06:14:48

You can only apply once resident in the UK. Some private schools may accept applications from overseas.

Blu Sun 07-Dec-14 06:22:54

As the previous poster said, you need to be living here to apply, partly, I assume, because only residents can apply for school places and in practical terms the vast majority of schools use distance as part of the admissions criteria. So abroad is never going to bet you a place!

If you are coming to England and apply as soon as you get back and it is before September , you will be slotted into the waiting lists as a late applicant. If the school year has started, you ei be applying for an 'in year' place and will be put in the waiting list for places that come up. Waiting lists are held in order of applicants ability to meet the admissions criteria, not how long they have been on the list, so if you come back go a house on the doorstep of a school you wlll probably go to the too of the list. But once all places have been allocated and term starts you Re basically waiting for someone to leave.

However if you are moving to a part of the country where schools are not over subscribed it will be much simpler and there will be places .

Scotland and Wales have different admissions processes and it might be simpler.

krl198 Sun 07-Dec-14 08:31:10

Thanks for all the responses. I have an address in the UK. Does this make a difference or do I still have to actually be living there?We all hold UK passports.

SavoyCabbage Sun 07-Dec-14 08:38:39

You still have to be there. I'm in the same position so I've looked into it already.

I phoned the lea and they told me where there were spaces. It's not an unusual situation and there might be information on your lea's website as people are coming and going from the UK all the time.

In some cases, people are returning to a school they have attended before they went overseas but you still have to wait till you get there.

Blu Sun 07-Dec-14 17:24:25

To accept a place you generally have to show current council tax and a utility bill in your name for the address. That would be in March. They count the address at which the Child Benefit is registered to as the child's residential address.

The application is done online, unless there is a supplementary information form which has to be taken to the school. (this is only usually for faith or foundation or academy schools). For secondary applications we had to show a utility bill etc on application, but I don't think we had to do that for primary.

Your citizenship status doesn't come into it: it's solely on where you actually live at time of application and how far you fit the admission criteria for the school at that point.

LIZS Mon 08-Dec-14 08:29:52

Your address in UK would need to be otherwise unoccupied so that you are liable for bills and CT. Some LAs would accept this without you physically living there , others don't. Presumably your aren't claiming UK CB at the moment. If you delayed applying beyond September you would make an In Year application which means your dc gets allocated a school wherever there may be a space in the relevant year group, not necessarily local or of your choice.

meditrina Mon 08-Dec-14 08:43:21

LEAs generally do not bend the rules, but there's no harm in asking if they would consider it for your circumstances.

But unless you are a Forces or other qualifying Crown Service employee returing for a governmental posting, they should say no to any application from an address you are not currently living at.

pyrrah Mon 08-Dec-14 11:52:20

If you don't apply for a Reception place by January, and you come back at a point where you will be wanting a Sept 2016 start date, your child will need a place in Y1.

You can't apply for a Reception place starting Autumn 2016 as children have to stay in their chronological year group.

For any year group after the Reception intake, there isn't 'usual' way to apply, it's completely down to whether a Y1 space is available at a local school. If you don't get a school you want, you can apply to go on the waiting lists for those you do.

Do accept the school you are offered even if you don't like it, as the LA only have to offer you one. If you turn it down, they will assume you plan to HE or send them to a private school. It's worth finding out what the mobility in the area is - do lots of people move away (London normally has high mobility for example), do lots of people do 'state till 8', how over-subscribed are local schools etc.

Getting a place depends completely on how well you fulfil the admissions criteria, so you might have no school place and someone else may have a school place but be on the waiting list for a school they like better. Even though you don't yet have a school place, if the other family live closer to the school (or other criteria) then they will be allocated any space that comes up before you will be.

On the other hand, if you tick the boxes better, you could get allocated a school within days over someone else who has been waiting 6 months for one.

springrain Tue 09-Dec-14 21:40:30

you should speak to the LA where you are intending to live as the policy will vary by LA. For example Surrey will accept applications from overseas for a reception or Y7 place, as per their policy surrey policy here. The snag is that the address they measure distance from would be your overseas address. Still worth putting an application in though as you have nothing to lose and you are then in the system as an on time applicant, plus even some of the best schools will sometimes have a lower birth rate year and not actually be full initially.

prh47bridge Tue 09-Dec-14 22:35:02

Note that Surrey say, "A United Kingdom address will only be used once the child is residing at that address, and evidence will be required of this." That means an overseas applicant is almost certain to end up with a place at an unpopular school. Indeed, since Surrey use the child's address overseas, the logical conclusion is that you are likely to end up at an unpopular school near the coast regardless of where you will live in the UK. It may be that in practise they do something different but that isn't made clear from this document.

Blu Wed 10-Dec-14 00:00:32

Under the Surrey policy, if someone applied from the overseas address by the closing date, but then moved to the UK address during the process they could still get the applications considered from the new address ahead of people being considered with the late applications after offer day, couldn't they? So there would be some advantage?

prh47: the Surrey coast? I don't doubt that Surry has Costas...but a coast?

prh47bridge Wed 10-Dec-14 00:14:13

I regularly manage to get Surrey and Sussex confused! I've no idea why. I went to a cricket match at the Oval once (Surrey's ground for anyone who doesn't follow cricket) so I really should know the difference! smile

I agree that there is some advantage provided people move by Surrey's last date for changes. If you are going to move after that I don't think it makes any difference whether you apply before moving or wait until you have moved.

Blu Wed 10-Dec-14 00:18:00

Not that the Oval is in Surrey... grin

fatterface Wed 10-Dec-14 22:43:05

I was never asked for any details or utility bills when I applied for a school place. I just put an address on the online form.

springrain Wed 10-Dec-14 23:02:36

I don't know where OP is looking to move to so policy may be different, but if it is similar to Surrey policy then she has nothing to lose from applying from overseas and she may get a place somewhere she would like.

Surrey list out how many places were offered on their website and there are a number (generally outside of the main towns) which are not full on offer day (ie offered places are less than PAN). Surrey 2014 admissions is here. Whilst some of these "not full" schools are less popular ones, there are also some which are just not full because there are not enough children to fill the class in that area. Plus others that are not full due to past issues but are on the way up and would be well worth considering. OP could look at the equivalent lists for her area to get a feel for this. Plus if she does not get into where she wants, she can go on waitlists etc straight after offer day and target schools with places or no wait list (as some places are turned down with children moving, going private etc).

If she has not applied then she will not be in the system to do this after offer day and it will take longer. So I still think that if OP knows she will be coming back during the 2015/16 academic year, then she is better off being in the system as an overseas applicant than outside of it.

prh47bridge Wed 10-Dec-14 23:14:21

Even if she applies late she should be in the system. She may not get an offer in the initial round but she should be on the waiting lists and, if she has moved back to the UK, the LA will have to come up with an offer somewhere.

ScandinavianMummy Thu 11-Dec-14 11:35:37

We are in the same situation OP - and we have spoken to the LA in Bristol (where we are moving). We were told to apply online using our current address - then advise them as soon as we have a bristol address. They will then determine wether they can change the application and slot us in as a on-time application, or whether we will be considered late applicants. The decision will largely be based on how quickly we can provide them with an address.

catslife Sat 13-Dec-14 15:48:34

I am not sure that ScandinavianMummy is correct about Bristol LEA. The application handbook uses similar phrases to that prh47bridge uses for Surrey i.e. the child must be resident at that address for application purposes. The situation she has described is for when families move from elsewhere in the UK.
For faith schools in Bristol they will only consider attendance/baptism at churches in the UK, but at primary level this only applies for Catholic schools. C of E primary schools are VC schools for which faith criteria doesn't apply.

ScandinavianMummy Sun 14-Dec-14 21:26:15

Only letting u know what they told me.. smile

ScandinavianMummy Mon 15-Dec-14 11:41:37

This is what the LA told me:

"Once you have a Bristol address please contact us, the schools officer who oversees the allocations for your chosen school will contact you asking for proof of your Bristol address and may take this into consideration when making the allocations."

I proceeded by asking what 'may take this into consideration' means..

This is answer they gave me:
"Please stay in contact with us in February/March 2015 to determine the point at which we will have to proceed with the submitted allocation data that we have. Thank you."

catslife Tue 16-Dec-14 09:14:44

Anything they tell you over the phone Scandiavianmummy must be taken in context with what is stated in the Admissions Guidelines, which I assume that you have read. This has 2 categories: moving to Bristol from elsewhere in the UK and moving to Bristol from abroad.
If I were in your position and looking at your other threads, I am concerned that you are being very optimistic. The best primary schools in Bristol are very oversubscribed and there is a lot of demand for places. For places at these schools, I doubt whether just having an address is enough, you will need proof......hmm

ScandinavianMummy Tue 16-Dec-14 11:29:18

not on the phone.. email! so I have it in writing..

and again, only telling you what they've told me! smile

And proof wont be a problem - coz when we have the address it will be our actual address (so council tax, utility bills etc will all be ok)

meditrina Tue 16-Dec-14 11:46:51

I read the LEA letter as saying that you can update your address up to an (unspecified) date and have that address used for second round admissions.

They really ought to tell you the date by which you need to be resident in Bristol to be eligible for that round.

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