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School admission/appeal advice re transferring school

(17 Posts)
Blackbeanchips Sat 20-Jun-15 22:41:30

Sorry for lengthy post. Will try to set out our circumstances clearly. Planning to move house and school, hoping DS starts year 1 in Sept. No new address in new area yet.

School had 3 spaces, no waiting list. Told we can therefore apply and be considered even though we are out of borough.

We visit school etc, very happy. We apply, call to check its being processed. Told there are now 2 more applicants but as there are 3 spaces we could still get a place. Two days later told all spaces now allocated to applicants with local addresses.

All done according to usual criteria that would be applied for reception intake.

I understand applying this criteria for reception intake, and also if there is a waiting list. But surely where there are vacancies they should be allocated on a first come basis. Otherwise a mini entrance process is created without a timescale. An unpublished deadline is effectively created with a different outcome produced depending on how long they sit on applications, when they decide to allocate resources to process them.

The criteria is so tight for infant classes that i cannot see us possibly getting the outcome we want at appeal. But I feel it worth us pointing out the problems with this process.

I imagine this is not an uncommon situation. I cannot find info in the Code or legislation dealing with timescales/procedure in these specific circumstances. Grateful for any thoughts or direction to any relevant clause.

prh47bridge Sat 20-Jun-15 23:01:52

You should appeal. You can argue that admissions have not been administered correctly in that at the time you applied there was a place available which should therefore have been allocated to you, not to someone who applied later even though they may have been higher on the admission criteria. You are correct that there is nothing in the current Admissions Code about this. The old (2010) Code used to say that in year applications must be considered "without delay", which would have made your case even stronger. But even without that I think you have a good case.

There is no guarantee but I think you may get the outcome you want.

Fizrim Sat 20-Jun-15 23:15:43

It does sound as if you will constantly lose out to residents of the borough until you get an address - I doubt they can hold a place for an out-of-area address if people within the borough are looking for a place too. How quickly could you get that (seemingly precious) local address?

We moved before our DD started reception and there was no way they would accept an application before we had a local address. Hope it gets sorted out quickly for you.

LIZS Sun 21-Jun-15 07:46:59

Would you have been close enough to take up the place immediately or were you specifically wanting them to hold it until September?

YonicScrewdriver Sun 21-Jun-15 08:31:02

I think lizs may be right - have the other 3 now started? Were you specifically applying for a September place because they are right (I think) if all the September places have now been taken by June applicants.

It's very strange they had 3 places for presumably a while and then 4 applicants within a week or two!

Blackbeanchips Sun 21-Jun-15 09:58:29

We applied for Sept but could have taken it up immediately or we could have entered a rental contract that day. I called the day I submitted the application to try and pin down in exactly what circs they would allocate out of area and whether we need to do any of these things. I was told they couldn't tell me anything until I had made an application. Then if they needed anything more they could ask for it but it could be really simple as there are empty spaces.

Yes the spaces have been empty all year so we were stupidly not expecting this either.I'm not sure what the circumstances of the other applicants are, whether they want to start now or Sept, or even if they have moved yet.

I think I will try an appeal but unfortunately the timescale prob will not allow us to move. I think DS needs a properly managed transition which we had made vague plans about with the SENCO at the new school.

I have asked for confirmation of when the other applications were received first. They could have been sat in a pile of unprocessed applications.

Fizrim Sun 21-Jun-15 15:39:16

Surely they are only able to deal with out-of-area applications if there are no in-area requests? It's not about who applied first, much more likely to be that the other three are already resident in the area and therefore get priority?

I think you'll have to move first (or get an address) and then try for the school. Could DS continue to go to his current school after you move to allow time for a managed transfer?

I had to provide a letter from my rental agency and a copy of the lease when I moved, to get a school place.

prh47bridge Sun 21-Jun-15 16:33:34

It's not about who applied first

If there is a waiting list you are correct. However, if there is no waiting list at the time someone applies and there is a place available they must be offered the place even if they live 400 miles away. The admission authority cannot hang onto a place just in case someone in the area applies.

Timings are everything in this case. If the other applicants applied before or at the same time as the OP the admission authority has got it right. However, if they applied later it is another matter and there is a strong argument that the admission authority has got it wrong, although the argument may fail if the OP made it clear at the time of application that her child wouldn't take up the place until September.

Blackbeanchips Sun 21-Jun-15 17:16:49

Feedback is all helpful thanks.

prh47 the relevant in year admission guidance states that places will allocated for the next available half term. Does that make a difference?

Blackbeanchips Sun 21-Jun-15 17:26:41

Or did I need to ask for an immediate start date and leave it to them to state Sept?

prh47bridge Sun 21-Jun-15 18:26:04

Does that make a difference?

I have been assuming you are in England. In that case allocating in year places like that is somewhat dubious. However, provided you didn't apply before half term, it takes away any argument that they could allocate the place to someone else because you weren't able to take up the place immediately. It make the case very simple in my view. If you applied before the local applicants you should have got the place. I think you have a good chance of success at appeal. It isn't nailed on - it is possible the appeal panel will accept an argument that by the time they processed your application there were local applicants who therefore take priority according to the admission criteria and that the delay was not unreasonable. But it is very definitely worth a try.

Blackbeanchips Sun 21-Jun-15 18:53:44

We are in England. Thanks for the reply. Will give it a go.

admission Sun 21-Jun-15 21:45:55

agree with ORH that the posts suggest that there is a case for an admission appeal, especially around the time before allocation of places.

tiggytape Mon 22-Jun-15 09:18:11

Surely they are only able to deal with out-of-area applications if there are no in-area requests?

Schools cannot refuse to give a place to a family living out of area in order to "save spaces" for local people who may come along later.
As prh says - if the school had vacancies and no waiting list, and if OP applied before the local residents did (all of which seems to be the case but will need to be clarifided at appeal) then she should have got the space.

The overriding rule is schools cannot save spaces for people who might move to the area over summer and apply late. When a space exists with no waiting list in place then the first person to ask for it gets it no matter where they live.

Millymollymama Mon 22-Jun-15 12:28:22

Could the people who did get the spaces have the school named because of SEN or be looked after children? Not sure if this would change anything, but I would be interested to know.

prh47bridge Mon 22-Jun-15 12:45:36

Possible but it wouldn't change anything. If there was a place available and no other applicants at the time the OP applied the place should have been offered.

Blackbeanchips Wed 24-Jun-15 14:12:41

I have had confirmation of the process - and it is being managed exactly as a waiting list.

Three applications were received up to a month before ours, so really there were never 4 spaces. Our actions would have been very different had this been known. The final space is being offered to an application received after ours. We need to wait until places have been accepted before we get an official decision and can appeal. If one place is declined then there is a further application received after ours but likely to be considered a priority over ours.

Given how difficult it is to meet part 2 of the appeal process, even if our case is convincing, I am wondering whether its worth taking this up with the LA before its all a done deal. We may just miss a further window of opportunity should a place be freed up.

Do any of you who are clearly knowledgeable of the admissions/appeals process have any advice on this please? I assume there is a legal team I can contact to point out a flaw in the process - or do you think they will refuse to consider outside of the appeal route?

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