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Moving to new area with school age children - how do you manage it??

(18 Posts)
Umbrelladilemma Sun 21-Jun-15 18:57:53

We are thinking of moving out of London and have a DC in yr 1 and another who will be starting reception in 2016.

The problem is, the possible places we've identified have v good state primaries (tick) BUT as a result they seem to be oversubscribed. So what do we do? I was thinking move before Jan to apply for younger DC with everyone else for usual Jan deadline. But what about our older DC? Would we just put her in whatever school had a place then move her when a space came up at our preferred school?

Has anyone else find this? It seems a potential nightmare, and I'm worried if we leave it until younger DC is also at school it will be even harder.

QuiteQuietly Sun 21-Jun-15 19:47:43

It is a bit of a nightmare tbh. You need to accept that in a popular area, it will probably be the least desirable schools that have spaces. Also check whether sibling priority works for older siblings as well as younger, as this may help get your elder into the same school. Is DD1 in juniors - this makes an appeal more feasible?

When we moved, I was planning to home ed DS (infant) for a few months anyway, so only had to worry about DD1 (junior) and DD2 (preschool). This made life substantially easier. I got a junior in (32nd in class, but school agreed), and then was top of waiting list for the infant place when it came up three months later. Preschool place came up two weeks after move - not the greatest setting, but she was out of my hair and making friends. I ensured I was in place before school applications for DD2. If you are able to keep DD1 at home for a bit, you would have a bit more wriggle room rather than having to take random school some distance away. But honestly, if you are committed to moving, then it does require a bit of a leap of faith.

SluiceSloosh Sun 21-Jun-15 19:51:38

I've been wondering the same. 3 dc who will be 8, 6 and 4 when we plan to move. All I can do is make sure we're moved in time for applications for reception for the youngest but God only knows what I'm going to do about the other 2. Both dh and i work full time and so home schooling indefinitely not really am option. It might actually stop us moving.

Earthbound Sun 21-Jun-15 19:58:33

I moved before DD started Reception to a lovely area with lovely schools - all over subscribed of course.

We applied for the local schools as soon as we arrived but expected they would be full (they were) and that we would have to go on the waiting lists. The LA then offered us a place at the nearest school with spaces. This was in Special Measures and after looking round I wasn't keen.

So I then asked the LA for a list of all schools in the town with spaces, had a look round the ones that looked doable logistically and applied to the one I liked best. It was undersubscribed so we were offered a place.

Once we had a place at the OK school, it was just a matter of keeping our fingers crossed a waiting list place came at a closer school. Which it did 5 months later. smile Just make sure you get your DC on the waiting lists for all schools you would find acceptable. We didn't get a place at our closest school in the end but one a bit further away. And is probably a better fit for DD!

Good luck OP.

Freezingmyarseoff Sun 21-Jun-15 19:59:07

We're considering the same move (yr 1 & reception start in Sept 2016) so watching with interest.

Umbrelladilemma Sun 21-Jun-15 20:56:34

Thanks QuiteQuietly and Earthbound. Food for thought. But depressing that it is going to be as tricky as I feared.
Sluice, I agree - I think this could stop us moving too. It's so difficult to know what to do for the best. Part of the reason for moving is to find good schools! But I think it would be so unsettling for DD to have to cope with a move of house, area and school only to then move schools again a few months later. I suppose I could phone the LAs now to find out about which schools have spaces...

Earthbound Sun 21-Jun-15 21:11:37

In retrospect OP, I should have asked the LA for a list of schools with spaces before we moved. I could then have applied for a place at one of those as well as our catchment schools as soon as we moved. Would have saved me some stress at least.

I was also worried about the upheaval. New home and new school and then another new school a few months later. But DD coped really well and it wasn't as stressful as I thought it might be.

QuiteQuietly Sun 21-Jun-15 21:20:52

I rang round schools before we moved, but the changes in who had spaces were so frequent, that I stopped worrying about it until the week before exchange. It was too disheartening.

A friend decided to rent in the new town and get a school place straight away and then sell/buy (which takes time). She chose a school and applied from old address and went on waiting list. Then when a space came up she had to take it up within 2 weeks, which was enough time to find somewhere to rent. Depends if you can afford to run two homes temporarily. But if the school is really, really oversubscribed, you would get beaten on distance - I suppose it only works if you are the only person on the waiting list.

Another friend moved and then parked her DD with a childminder while waiting for a school place.

Umbrelladilemma Sun 21-Jun-15 21:32:29

Hmmm. Or I suppose you could rent as close as possible to your chosen school (assuming it might be easier to find a rental property as you could compromise on size etc rather than it be your "dream house") then buy somewhere once in the school?

QuiteQuietly Sun 21-Jun-15 21:42:41

Yes, but renting nearby doesn't get you in if there isn't a space. The LA doesn't have to give you a space in your nearest school, just "a" school within a reasonable distance.

Guyropes Sun 21-Jun-15 21:49:15

The Scottish system is different though. Are you th I king of moving there? You might find it much more amenable.

Umbrelladilemma Sun 21-Jun-15 21:53:29

Sadly not looking at Scotland - it would probably be Kent, specifically Sevenoaks/Tonbridge areas I think!

Umbrelladilemma Sun 21-Jun-15 22:19:23

And yes, I realise renting near a school doesn't guarantee a space but the aim would be to live as close as possible so try to be as near to the top of the waiting list as possible and just take a gamble that a place comes up.

Earthbound Sun 21-Jun-15 22:25:58

It would also be worth phoning your preferred school and asking how many children they've admitted from the waiting list in the last year. Some schools have more movement than others and it is worth arming yourself with this sort of information before you rent somewhere. One of the schools close to us was single form entry, very sought after and oversubscribed. They hadn't admitted any child from the waiting list in 18 months! Having got their child in there, parents stayed put for the long term. Being first on the waiting list does you no good unless somebody already in the school moves.

catkind Sun 21-Jun-15 23:05:40

We did a similar move. Pretty much gave up on the "best school in town" (tho not sure it is) and moved very close to another good one. We were lucky enough to get in straight away. I'd say also though, in an area with great schools, look at the ones with the worse reputation too. They will have had money and attention thrown at them and reputation tends to lag behind reality. And worse is relative anyway.

Enkopkaffetak Mon 22-Jun-15 09:35:10

We moved with school age children who were about to go to years 5.3and1 we were turned down by 3 local schools as they were oversubscribed so i went back to drawing board aka Offsted site and found 2 further schools close by. Both village schools. One had been originally dismissed as it was a C of E school the other was a bit further away. Called them both they had places and cofe school inviteddus to come see it. I went with my mil and liked the school so we moved them all to this at the time 95 pupil school.(dd1 came from a 60 year group intake school massive difference)
The year after our move dd3 started in reception there and the school was for the first time ever oversubscribed anf had been ever since. It is now 7years on We have been happy with the school and dd1who is currently doing her as levels is this year going back to do her 2nd lot of work experience there. Dd3 leaves the school in a few weeks. I will both miss it and am very relieved I am so very ready to leave primary school behind.

So look again at what schools that are nearby. Be open minded go visit then make up your mimd. I didnt find it massively stressful through there were some moments where i thought we would never find a good school. We never went on the waiting list for the 2local desirable schools as we were happy with our choice. Dd3 will in july leave the school and i wont anymore have a child in primary. She will be the only of ours who have not moved school.

NoSquirrels Mon 22-Jun-15 09:50:37

Doing this at the moment. It is super-stressful. We made it worse by deciding late so applying after the Reception intake for September had been decided. If you can move before the Reception deadline as close as possible to the schools you want, then I'd do that. There will be a greater chance of getting your older child in then as a sibling off the waiting list. But it's not guaranteed, of course.

As PPs have said, do call and visit the other schools, they should be happy to show you round and tell you about movement on their lists and other local factors that could affect their admissions. It was invaluable to me.

We have had to compromise. Walking to school is very important to me (part of local community, prefer to avoid daily car use, exercise etc.) but in the end, like another poster, my DC will be going not to one of the walking distance schools but to one that's in a village a short drive away. Necessity is the mother of invention, and compromise is king etc. The walking distance schools are over-subscribed and have little waiting list movement. I won't accept having DC in different schools, and I love the village school and am looking forward to them being there. I won't put them down for the nearer schools anyway, as I don't want to move my DC twice.

If it's a move you think you need to make, do it now before you have 2 in school. It will be more disruptive later. Also consider secondary at this point - will where you want to move to benefit your DC when it becomes secondary choice time? You don't want to do this once now and then need to do it again in order to have secondary choices. If this works for the longer term, I would just suck up the stress if I were you (well, obviously, cos that's what we're doing!)

Good luck.

lantien Mon 22-Jun-15 12:00:43

We were looking to move to an area with a major shortage of primary places and we needed three primary places. We did find an area near a major hospital where some movement seemed to occur but them we looked at the secondary school situation.

Siblings weren't given much priority it was mainly based on distance - and the distances were getting very small and many children were basically commuting across town to not as well regarded secondary's.

We could have easily ended up with long waits on lists, three different school and very easily different secondary's and lots of stress.

We decided to look slightly further afield.

We are still going to have to move and then see what places are available and be prepared to be flexible - but we feel we stand a much better chance. The secondary school is done on catchments - so we should get them all in. It's not the best in the area - but the results and inspection reports all look ok.

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