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DS not yet allocated a reception place

(47 Posts)
RainbowSmash Mon 22-Jun-15 22:39:08

Hi All

Not a first time poster, but long time lurker anyway! I know there are a million and one threads on reception admissions and its clearly an emotive subject... Don't I know it!

I applied on time and DS was offered a place on NOD in April, however by that time I'd got a new job so I rejected DS's place. I called the new LEA on March 27th who told me to email them with my preferences which I did, was then told this was incorrect cue sending out a form etc - DS's application didn't end up being accepted until April 17th. I was then told as it was a "late" application he'd be allocated a school in the second round in May, I called and was told he hadn't been allocated a school but had been put on the waiting list for SIX schools in our area (South London/Surrey border) I ring weekly and there is no change, I aks when DS is going to be allocated a place, any place at any school in the borough and am basically fobed off, they are working through it, they go through the school's each week etc and I will hear BY AUGUST.

Waiting lists are as follows
1st Pref - 3rd
2nd pref - 39th
3rd pref - 11th
4th pref - 2nd (The other two are way down but all six are my closest schools and 1st pref is my closest at 300m away)

Today I call again and get told I just have to wait as nothing is happening, no-one can explain the process, so I emailed reminding them of the procedure on their website to allocate a place at the nearest school with a space (I know this could be 5/6 miles away!) then I called as I was told it takes them up to a week to go through the emails. Just by chance a lady was looking at DS's application and told me I would recieve a place in writing within the week. Great, except I know ALL local schools are full.

I am dreading this - I moved because I am a single parent away from my family so am moving back with my mum for a while. I teach and work long days and hate the fact DS is potentially going to be in a school miles away.

There isn't much point to this really except me moaning about an incompetent LEA really and wating reassurance it'll all be ok one way or another!

Thanks and sorry it's loooooooooooooong!

InexperiencedDisneyMum Tue 23-Jun-15 06:42:20

They offered you a place which you rejected. They are only obligated to offer you one place. You would have been better to keep the offered place and then go on waiting lists. Hopefully something will come up soon.

meditrina Tue 23-Jun-15 06:50:37

She moved: earlier offer was from previous LEA (where she no longer lives). Only application to this LEA is this one.

They are obliged to find her a place.

Unfortunately, the shortage of places in some areas means parents do not receive a timely offer (though LEAs do generally get it sorted before the start of term).

If all local schools are full, and their shortage is big enough, they may be contemplating a bulge class. Or if just a few to be found, they may need to activate the Fair Access Protocol to force some schools to take an additional pupil. Or they may place at a distance but supply transport.

I hope your wait is not long, now. And good luck.

Nolim Tue 23-Jun-15 06:56:17

They are obliged to find her a place.

My understanding is that this is not true but i would like to be corrected if i am wrong.

Op I wish i had some helpful advice. A colleague of mine moved to an area in south london last summer and they did get a place at a primary but it took time. Best of luck.

mugglingalong Tue 23-Jun-15 07:01:00

Although Inexperienced we don't know how far she moved, it is a different LEA, so she might have moved 300 miles in which case she has no option but to refuse the place and they should find her one under the free access protocol.

AuntieStella Tue 23-Jun-15 07:08:52

If you move, of course your new LEA has to find you a place confused

meditrina Tue 23-Jun-15 07:11:32

Yes, if you move to a new area, your new LEA is obliged to find you a place.

If you turn down that place, then yes you are on your own. But this LEA has yet to make any offer at all.

prh47bridge Tue 23-Jun-15 07:40:09

i would like to be corrected if i am wrong

You are wrong.

The OP's original LA has fulfilled its duty in offering a place and does not have to come up with another offer. However, if I understand it correctly, the OP has now moved and applied to another LA. They must find a place somewhere.

RainbowSmash - I suggest you appeal for all six schools. I wouldn't be surprised to find that a place magically appears before the first appeal. If not you will be able to argue that the LA has acted unreasonably in failing to come up with a place and that your son is clearly an excepted child as there are no places at any school within a reasonable distance.

Nolim Tue 23-Jun-15 07:50:30

My understanding is that there is no law that requires las to offer places to all kids. Obviously they do try to do so but if they dont there is no way to force them. If someone has legal knowledge otherwise please share.

Nolim Tue 23-Jun-15 08:41:25

I might be wrong after all.
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/education/school-education/access-to-education/

Ladymuck Tue 23-Jun-15 09:11:32

Which LA is it? I'm in Croydon, and in one of the black hole areas where all 6 closest schools are full. Typically our road gets nothing on NOD, but we would expect to hear in the next month (it's been this way for over 15 years). It is just the way it is I'm afraid. And to be honest we're not normally shoe-horned into the worst possible school at the other end of the borough - most people seem to get one of their preferences, a few go private. Most of us are in the same position as you, so on 6 or more waiting lists. However it does mean that once 1 person on the list gets a place, all the school waiting lists then change. You have a very good chance of getting into 2 of your schools in the next few weeks.

Nolim Tue 23-Jun-15 09:44:07

Op this school in the london-surrey boundary is having an open day, maybe they have spaces?
www.woodmansterne.surrey.sch.uk

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 23-Jun-15 09:56:28

It's covered under human rights legislation, Nolim. Every child has a right to education and in this country the government must provide free full time education for every child from the september after their 4th birthday. It doesn't have to be in a school of the parents choosing or a particular faith or no faith, but they must find a place.

The exception to this is where a place is offered and then turned down. At that point then the LA has filled it's statutory duty and it's up to the parents. As others have said, this is unlikely to apply to the OP since she has moved areas and is making a new application to a different LA.

RainbowSmash Tue 23-Jun-15 18:43:28

Ladymuck It is indeed Croydon! We have had a response from the Director of education/admissions and also the local counsellor. OBviously they can't magic DS a place in my 1st pref school but it may make them look at what an earth is going on......

Nolim That school is very close, out of borough, but I have called them and Surrey CC who told me DS would jump to 1 on the waiting list due to distance, so I am going to get him on the list. It is actually on my way to work, if I drive a different way (not much difference) so is actually easier than all the other schools in my town.

For reference yes I did reject a place in a completely different LEA, 60 miles away (East Sussex) as we are no longer living there, so Croydon DO have a responsibility to allocate DS a school place and I am aware there are no spaces at any of my preferred schools (which means NO PLACES in my town at all as I have only applied for the most local schools!) but they say on their website they will allocate to the closest school with a place - they have not done this and fobbed me off for over a month telling my I'll hear by August. That is not bloody good enough!

Ladymuck Tue 23-Jun-15 20:05:47

But this is for a reception place isn't it? He can't start school until September, and there will be movement between now and September - this is an area with a lot of movement, and larger schools will probably have 10-20 families whom they haven't been able to make contact with yet. Usually the induction days help speed matters along as it then becomes clear as nursery visits are made, and parents are asked to sign the various forms needed, that these children have left the area or are going to different schools. It is fairly normal in this area not to hear until towards end of July, and I'm not sure that the LA has failed in its duty unless you are without a place at the start of September? It would obviously be useful to know earlier, but the rate of turnover can be very high.

It is worth keeping an eye on the local paper (Advertiser), as they usually say which schools have been asked to take bulge classes.

Anaffaquine Tue 23-Jun-15 20:13:04

I am so glad that I'm Scotland, for the majority of kids, you just go to your local school. This sounds crazy and stressful. Hope it is resolved soon and your DS can start looking forward to starting school.

Ladymuck Tue 23-Jun-15 20:20:04

Looking at Croydon Council it looks as if Christchurch Purley, St Johns Shirley and Heavers Farm will each have a bulge class (approved at the 16 June Council mtg). Not sure if any of those were in your 6.

DinosaursRoar Tue 23-Jun-15 20:38:36

Anaffaquine - I'm always curious about the fact that scottish DCs just go to the local school, are there not class size limits in Scotland? As that's the problem in most areas (including ours!) in the UK, the class size limits mean that some 'boom' years your nearest school could easily have 30/60/90 children closer than you, so they get the places. I got my DC1 into our nearest school last year, we're 0.5miles from the school. There's a little girl further down our road, closer to the school than us, who is due to start school this September and she's not got a place, but then is too far away for all the other schools in the area and has been offered a place in a school in one of the villages outside our town. (It's a 3 form entry school as well, so 90 places, I can't believe how many children live in such a small geographical area)

OP - appeal the places, 3rd is good on the list, a lot of people do move over the summer and you may well get a place.

RainbowSmash Tue 23-Jun-15 20:44:31

Hi no they aren't in my area! They haven't failed yet, you are right and I'm probably going all super annoyed. However the process has been awful and they really have no clue or ability to explain the process, except tell me I'll hear something by August and that school could well be out of area in the next town or further, fair enough if they are holding out for movement but there might not be enough movement for DS to get a space locally and may end up further away than if they offered somewhere now. It's soo stressful!

RainbowSmash Tue 23-Jun-15 20:46:03

Dinosaursroars I don't think I can appeal as DS hasn't actually been offered yet? Plus we really have no valid basis of appeal if I'm honest.

DinosaursRoar Tue 23-Jun-15 20:51:45

pants, then I guess it's a waiting game.

No comfort, but I know a couple of people last year who got phone calls offering places a couple of days before school started last September, the list goes back to the school now in most areas, so if someone moves house out of the area (and a lot of people do move over the summer), the school office staff won't be back to reallocate that place off the list until the start of September.

RainbowSmash Tue 23-Jun-15 20:58:33

Council keep the lists going until Xmas here. I guess if you are waiting for a school because you didn't get offered your pref it's a bit different to having no school at all. But maybe seeing the views here being a little over paranoid about it all. I know he will have a school by sept I don't doubt that at all, just rather he was allocated somewhere now (suppose that's just to make me feel better!)

Ladymuck Tue 23-Jun-15 20:59:10

Having read the minute of the 16 Jun mtg, it would appear that the statitic that Croydon feels that it has to meet is that no child is without a school place for more than 20 days (and I'm guessing that equate to 4 school weeks rather than 3 weeks). So Croydon may feel that it has met its duty if you get a place by late September confused.

Anaffaquine Tue 23-Jun-15 21:00:44

In Scotland, if another class is needed then it is just done, general purpose rooms or it suite or library changed to a classroom.
The catchment areas get changed from time to time to ensure one school isn't bursting at the seams whilst another nearby is half empty.

AmandaTanen Tue 23-Jun-15 21:07:38

To help clarify the Scottish system. All homes are allocated 2 primaries and 2 secondaries, one non denominational and one normally catholic school. All schools are the responsibility of the local authority. You apply for the school of your choice, and you can apply for a school not in your catchment area. Criteria for getting into school, is catchment with sibling, catchment no sibling, out of catchment with sibling, out of catchment. Other criteria can include LAC and need. The vast majority of children attend a catchment school. Local authorities must produce school roll projections by stage so there hasn't really ever a shock in school numbers.

Classes sizes are capped and each school has a maximum number of classes. Very few schools are ever over occupied.

If a year group is ever particularly large, sometimes you can get team teaching, 2 teachers in the class. Or the LA will provide transport to the nearest school with space.

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