Admission experts - please help(9 Posts)
We are currently trying to get a place for dd (y1) in our local school. We completed in-year application but they are full...fine for time being she is in decent enough school but will need to move her eventually for various reasons which I won't bother with now.
Anyway, our LA Admission team do not keep waiting list for in year and I know the December 2014 admission code says they don't have to for in year however, they are now telling us it is actually 'illegal' for them to keep in year waiting lists. Can this be true???
They are allocating places on first come first served basis (their words) and explained if a place becomes available and your form is the next on the pile you get the place.
It seems to us that they are not giving any regard to admission criteria by doing this and surely this can't be right either?
Any clarification would be much appreciated.
I'm not an expert, but my LEA's admissions handbook says that in-year admissions are subject to the same admissions criteria as applications received in the normal admissions period (which suggests in-year applications would be ranked in some sort of list).
They also say that applications, whether made direct to the school or via the council, are considered subject to any existing waiting lists.
They don't specifically say that they keep in year waiting lists, but the wording in the handbook certainly suggests that they keep waiting lists where required.
Aside from anything else, if they don't keep waiting lists, then how on earth can they even know who's interested in a place at oversubscribed school A if a place should become available? It sounds like a very disorganized system.
And in fact, on my council's website, on the page about changing schools during the school year, they say that if your application to another school is unsuccessful, you can ask to be put on the waiting list for that school.
And they say that positions on the waiting list can change as children join the list, as it's not first come first served, but it's ranked by normal admissions criteria (i.e. looked after children > children with exceptional medical need > siblings > closest walking distance)
So if it's illegal to keep in-year waiting lists, it sounds like my LEA are breaking the law.
Probably none of this helps you though. Hopefully an expert will be along soon for you.
The regulations say paragraph 2.14 that each admission authority must (which means a legal requirement) maintain a clear, fair and objective waiting list until at least 31st December of each school year of admission. It does not say it is illegal to maintain a list after that time (note the wording of until at least).
However when you are talking about in-year admissions, it says in 2.21 that there is no requirement for local authorities to co-ordinate in-year applications but that they must provide information in the composite prospectus on how in-year applications can be made and will be dealt with.
I know quite a few local authorities have turned this into we do not have waiting lists and as long as they say how you must apply then that is legal. The issue is clearly that you as parent are forced into continual applications for a place at the school, which is madness.
What has not been tested in law recently, as far as I am aware, is what happens when a place becomes available - does the school say hey we have a place, who wants to apply? or do they say anybody who has applied in the last week is an applicant and then agree on the right person to admit based on criteria order or what?
It is a bit of a mess in many respects.
I know our local schools do keep waiting lists but that they do apply the admissions criteria. So you could be first on the waiting list because you asked first but should a child move into the area who lives closer to the school they would be offered an available place first because they live closer.
I can see that keeping waiting lists is annoying for schools because they are then having to ask parents if they still want to keep children on the waiting list and waiting for them to make their minds up, etc.
I'm struggling to see how not having a waiting list would be less of a bother for schools.
As admission says, without a waiting list, how do they decide how to go about allocating a place that comes available mid-year? They'll have to contact parents who've expressed an interest and wait for a reply either way. And keeping a waiting list (ranked by admissions criteria) seems to be the fairest way of deciding who gets offered the place first.
so am I right in thinking that there would be nothing illegal about a local authority keeping in-year waiting lists?
There is nothing illegal about an LA keeping waiting lists. For them to say so is simply ridiculous. However, as Admission says, they don't have to keep one. Some do, some don't. My personal view is that if they don't keep a waiting list any vacancy has to go to the first person to apply after the place becomes available, so the only sensible tactic is to keep applying as often as you can. If everyone starts submitting daily applications it might persuade them to reinstate the waiting list!
Thank you for all your responses. It is extremely frustrating for us as we just would like some honesty from the LA about the situation.
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