FAP and "reasonable distances"?

(6 Posts)
CinnamonStar Fri 11-Sep-15 08:17:50

We are looking to move to England, and have 2 primary school aged children.

We haven't moved yet, it won't be for a few months yet, but I am trying to research where to live, and look at schools.

The local authority say they can't tell me anything - including what their policy is - until we actually have a local address. Fair enough, they won't know where the spaces are until the time comes. But they can't tell me hypothetically how they would allocate either.

The place we would most like to move to has several primary schools within a 3 mile radius. But due to the local geography, the next nearest primary schools, which are in roughly a 3-10 mile radius are in a different local authority.

So if the local schools are full, the next closest schools for that LA are over 10 miles away. The place 10 miles away is a city, so has lots of schools; I would imagine there is more likely to be a place in one of them than in the more local schools, just because there are more of them, but obviously I don't know.

The LA are unable to tell me whether 10 miles counts as a reasonable distance and they would offer a space in a school in this city, OR if they would offer a place from the neighbouring LA, OR if they would invoke the FAP and offer a local (ie within 3 miles) place - they can only tell me once we have moved. (They do say that if they invoke the FAP for one child, then they will offer the same school to any siblings that also haven't a school place - that is the only concrete information I can find).

But if the DC are going to be at school 10 miles away, we won't really want to move there. We'll try to pick a more urban area with more schools within a smaller distance of one another.

So I was wondering if anyone knew of any precedents in the way schools are allocated in-year, and whether over 10 miles is likely to be viewed as a "reasonable distance."

(Btw the DC are Reception and Yr 4 age)

tiggytape Fri 11-Sep-15 09:16:40

Reasonable distance is not set in law. The guidelines that exist for it use time not distance and state 45 minutes is reasonable.
However that doesn't mean that 52 minutes or even 67 minutes would be totally unacceptable. It does however mean that if the journey was well over an hour and especially if it involved several changes of buses then you'd have grounds to object.

So it depends on your area, transport links and traffic but yes, it is possible that they will say 10 miles is reasonable.

EllaRees Fri 11-Sep-15 10:41:06

It is an infuriating process. We're in the midst now, and haven't got a Year 1 place for DS.

I found these links cross reference to a degree and help give some insight:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-admissions-code
www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/444
www.lgo.org.uk/publications/fact-sheets/complaints-about-infant-class-sizes/

It's a rotten system, now dramatized on stage:
www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2015/future-conditional/

Good luck!

FishWithABicycle Fri 11-Sep-15 11:06:24

It does depend on the area but in my experience the more urban areas have significantly greater pressure on school places and you would not necessarily have better luck by moving closer to a city. It is ridiculous that you have to live with this uncertainty, but the reality is it could take a while to get school places sorted. Could you possibly home-educate temporarily until the right school places become available? Could you feasibly rent temporarily until school places are sorted and then move to be closer to the school once you have places somewhere you are happy with?

The system as it currently stands creates a huge disincentive to moving when you have children between 4 and 18 - sorting this out could have a dramatic benefit to people's ability to move for work and career purposes which would only benefit the economy.

CinnamonStar Fri 11-Sep-15 11:56:21

Thank you for your replies.

That is interesting that urban areas are in a worse situation. We would prefer to be somewhere more rural.

We don't have much choice about moving. But we can be fairly flexible about where we choose to live - we just need to be able to commute to work, so we can look over a fairly wide area. But if we can't find out beforehand which areas are more likely to have school places available, that doesn't really help us much.

I could possibly home-educate for a short period - but I'll be needing to work myself, so it's not a long-term solution.

We will be renting first and then hoping to buy after a year or two. But I want to avoid any upheaval/change of area again as much as possible, as the DC will already have had to cope with a big move coming to the UK in the first place. Of course we may have no choice.

CinnamonStar Fri 11-Sep-15 12:05:53

EllaRees I hope you manage to sort something for your DS soon. How long have you been waiting?

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