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Moving to the Catchment Area

(60 Posts)
bigdigger Wed 14-Jan-15 11:01:37

We want to move to near a good school with a tiny catchment area. Is it wrong to move into rented accommodation guaranteed to be in the catchment and then look for a house to buy which may be just outside the catchment area?

Only because there is no point being in the area at all if we cant get in.

PolyesterBride Wed 14-Jan-15 11:05:09

I'm sure some people would say it was wrong but presumably they would be able to afford to live inside the catchment area. Loads of people do what you are doing. It's a shame that people have to but that seems to be how it works.

I think you should check though that there are no restrictions on moving out of catchment at your local authority or in the school. Especially if you have younger kids who would want to get in on a sibling place.

elfonshelf Wed 14-Jan-15 11:53:51

Do you own a property elsewhere?

If you do and plan to rent short-term to get the school place then you may find that the council with withdraw the place if the school is oversubscribed. Renting a 1 bed flat near a good school to have the application address while living in a different property elsewhere was a common scam until councils got wise and started checking people out (even turning up at the property at different times of day to see if people were in).

If you are genuinely moving to a new area, and don't have another property, then it obviously makes sense to find a property as close as possible.

If you then need to move further out to buy a house, then just check if there is a sibling policy for out-of-catchment children or you may find yourself trying to get your children to 2 different schools everyday.

prh47bridge Wed 14-Jan-15 12:51:45

If you rent temporarily near a good school for the purpose of getting a place at that school you are breaking the rules. The LA may well refuse to accept the rental address at all. Even if they do accept it, if they then become aware that you broke the rules they can withdraw your child's place even after your child has started at the school. If that happens your child will have to move to the nearest school with places available which is likely to be an unpopular school and could be some distance from home.

presumably they would be able to afford to live inside the catchment area

Nothing to do with being able to afford to live inside a catchment area. The rules are clear. It is not allowed.

Loads of people do what you are doing

Loads of people try but most councils are wise to this. The success rate of those renting to get a place is much lower than many people think. Many parents will quite happily inform the council if they think someone has got a place by cheating.

footallsock Wed 14-Jan-15 13:08:26

Near me one of the LAs has priority for catchment children over siblings out of area. Didn't used to cause people too much concern as there were plenty of places anyway. Now there are loads of people with DC in two schools....

bigdigger Wed 14-Jan-15 13:33:43

I suppose part of the problem is that the catchment area changes from year to year, and are not explicitly defined.

We do have a house elsewhere, we do want to move to the area but houses for sale don't come up next to the school, and buying one on the fringes of the catchment area would be far too risky. Imagine if we didn't get into the school, it would be catastrophic. So the plan would be keep our existing house and rent it out, rent near the school, then assuming we got in, we would start looking for houses to buy. Is this morally wrong or against the rules?

Given that the catchment area of the school is not explicit, how close to the school would I need to buy in order not to fall foul of school rules and moral code?

RiverTam Wed 14-Jan-15 13:38:38

I think it's fine. As long as you are actually living in the rental, paying council tax and all the rest of it, I don't see it as an issue. A friend did this and in fact it's now looking like she'll be able to buy the rental which would be perfect.

To rent for the address and commute in from your owned house would be all kinds of wrong. But renting out your own house and renting and living in a house near the school - don't see the problem, and I don't think the LEA will either.

bigdigger Wed 14-Jan-15 13:48:35

RiverTam, thanks. My thoughts too. The line is not clear though! See my other post.

meditrina Wed 14-Jan-15 13:52:21

If you are buying, then it's presumably a permanent move so you would not be breaking the rules. It's temporary 'moves' that are the (all too discoverable) breach.

From what you've written it seems this school does not have a catchment (formally defined priority admissions area) and has a tiny footprint for the 'greatest distance offered'.

There are no guarantees. You can look at the size of the admissions footprint over the last few years and use that as the outer limits of your search. But it's not a sure-fire predictor of what future years will look like. Converting a few houses to flats, or a big sibling year, or triplets next to the school could all mean shrinkage of the greatest distance offered.

You'll have to go as close as you can find, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Do keep an eye on what school would be your next choice if you don't get this one, and see if there is an area where admissions footprints coincide.

titchy Wed 14-Jan-15 13:58:45

Is the school fairly near your current house? If it's only a couple of miles away then the LEA may well regard the move into rented, with no associated permanent disposal of your current home, to be a temporary measure designed to get your child into that school, even if you rent out your current home.

If you are moving 100 miles away then it would be clear that the move is a permanent one and you'd be on safe ground.

nickEcave Wed 14-Jan-15 14:30:56

Surely if you rent out the home you own (which clearly means you no longer live in it) and move into a rented home near to your chosen school there can't be a problem? I know quite a few people in London who have done this.

bigdigger Wed 14-Jan-15 14:40:27

nickEcave. If they investigate, you will be in trouble though! just discovered this in the Wandsworth application guide:

If a family move into a property temporarily to increase the chances of gaining a school place, the council will use the permanent residence for the purpose of the application. If the family own a property but are living at and apply from a different address, the council will assume that the second address is temporary and that the property they own is where the child ordinarily lives. Where the owned property is being renovated, this will still be considered the family’s permanent address. Evidence will otherwise be required that the property has been disposed of. If a family own more than one property, the council will request further evidence to demonstrate where they normally live to determine the address we will use for the child’s application.

orangepudding Wed 14-Jan-15 14:43:46

Be careful where you rent.

I know someone who bought a second home a few door away from a very good school to get their child in. It was their main address for a few months, their child got a place at the school. Then they rented it out, the next family to live there got their child in. After a child applied the year after the LEA realised what was happening and blacklisted the property.

Millionprammiles Wed 14-Jan-15 14:48:03

Some LAs are changing the sibling rule (largely because of this tactic) so if you have subsequent children after you move out of the catchment, they may have to attend a different school. So best to check.

prh47bridge Wed 14-Jan-15 16:43:34

As long as you are actually living in the rental, paying council tax and all the rest of it, I don't see it as an issue

You may not see it as an issue but you don't decide. The admission authority makes the rules. If they say that you cannot use a rented address if you own another property then that is final. It makes no difference where you are actually living.

Surely if you rent out the home you own (which clearly means you no longer live in it) and move into a rented home near to your chosen school there can't be a problem

Yes there can. If the home you are renting out is within commuting distance of the home you own the council may well insist on using the address of the home you own for admission purposes.

tiggytape Wed 14-Jan-15 16:58:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 14-Jan-15 17:03:02

How far are you moving? This makes a massive difference. If the house you own is in Brighton and the school you want to get into is in Bristol, the fact that you still own it is pretty academic. It's owning a house in the general area that people are talking about mostly. Where, yes, you can get in big trouble and get kicked out/lose your place.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 14-Jan-15 17:03:39

Cross post with Tiggy, who said it far better.

RiverTam Wed 14-Jan-15 21:03:08

oh well, a friend did this (and it would only have been a move of a couple of miles, but in inner London it's a completely different area) and her son got into the school near the rental no problem. It's now looking like they can buy the rental which they are really pleased about, they certainly never had any intention of moving back and commuting to the school, even though it's just a couple of miles, it would be through heavy London traffic and be utterly mad.

They had tenants and a proper rental agreement for their owned home.

This is in Southwark, if that helps.

prh47bridge Wed 14-Jan-15 22:41:55

What they did was legitimate in Southwark. In some other boroughs they would have struggled to get the council to use their rented address rather than the house they owned. And some would have ignored the rented address completely regardless of any evidence provided to show that they had no intention of moving back to their owned home.

alittletreat Thu 15-Jan-15 11:28:55

A friend of mine did just that last year and they did eventually bought a house closer to the school. However at the time they were renting they also put their owned house on the market. An estate agent told my friend that their agency can give a list of addresses that are readily available to rend and can guarantee her dc will get into the specific school so she didn't really need to buy. It is sad!

tiggytape Thu 15-Jan-15 11:50:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meditrina Thu 15-Jan-15 12:16:55

I wonder if those readily available to rent flats are now actually hard to rent flats as the council has blacklisted them?

Any estate agent who says a school place is ever guaranteed is talking out of their arse.

mmm1701 Thu 15-Jan-15 12:43:56

I know of someone who rented near to Honeywell School in Wandsworth and got a school place 2 years ago. Other families who were denied a place reported them to the LA and their child lost their place even though they had started at the school.
Also at Henry Cavendish school in Lambeth ( I think it's in Lambeth) a friend rented nearby and got a school place them moved back to their large family home outside of catchment and have been denied a place for dc2.
Just be careful what you wish for as other local parents will be onto you like a ton of bricks.

alittletreat Thu 15-Jan-15 13:25:59

Not just the local parents you have to be careful of but also parents of your dc's school just out of jealousy. So be careful what you say in and out of school at all times. That s the reason I moved into the catchment properly instead of renting. We are lucky enough to be able to buy a small property near the school but cannot afford to pay for private school for two kids.

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