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Confused re: admissions waiting lists/appeals

(20 Posts)
OhWhatAPalaver Tue 23-Feb-16 14:43:06

We are moving to Stretford in Manchester and most of the local schools are pretty good but over-subscribed. However there is one that is not so good and typically has a massive catchment area... Dd is due to start reception in September so will be classed as a late application. What I am confused and concerned about is if she ends up being put in the rubbish school (that is further away but we would still be just about in the catchment area) will we have to appeal just for her to be placed on the waiting list for the good school right next to us? Or are waiting lists and appeals two different things? Both the schools come under Trafford council. Thanks in advance.

PatriciaHolm Tue 23-Feb-16 14:48:17

They are different things. You can ask to be put on the waiting list and you will be, no problems, once you have an address. The waiting list will be ordered in the same priority that admissions are (so being on it longer confers no benefit.)

Appeals are different; here you are essentially saying I want to skip the waiting list, give me a place now! If class sizes are 30 in reception though, you stand very little chance of winning I'm afraid.

OhWhatAPalaver Tue 23-Feb-16 14:56:01

Right, I see... I'm not really sure how we would fare on a waiting list, distance would be our main reason I guess, along with a couple of her friends will be going there. Although I spoke to Trafford admissions and they said they do see some movements on the waiting list so who knows! It's a gamble. It's frustrating as if the property we want to move to was two streets to the left we wouldn't even be in the catchment for the other school :/

PatriciaHolm Tue 23-Feb-16 15:47:03

Catchments are largely irrelevant for waiting lists, as as friends at the school etc; do you mean appeal? I'm afraid for a class size appeal (if there are 30 in reception) then no, distance and friends aren't relevant at all. Appeals can only be won if the admissions authority had made a mistake or admissions criteria were unlawful, or the decision to admit was so perverse so rational person would make it.

The waiting list will purely be ranked on how you meet the admissions criteria, so for most it will be ordered on distance from school.

OhWhatAPalaver Tue 23-Feb-16 15:54:29

Oh right, maybe we will stand a chance with waiting list then as we will be really close by to the good school.

I don't think we will have any grounds for appeal so that's probably best left alone!

Inkymess Tue 23-Feb-16 16:43:32

Just get on waiting lists for any school you fancy as soon as you have proof of address. There is always quite a lot of movement round SManc and Trafford. Look at schools in Chorlton too and around there. There are some excellent schools around - inc in WRange etc

drspouse Tue 23-Feb-16 16:53:32

AIUI to some extent the time on waiting list does matter as if a place comes up and you are closest etc then you'd get it, rather than all the places being handed out in order of priority the day before school starts?

tiggytape Tue 23-Feb-16 17:14:56

Catchment areas doesn't really come into it if you are moving to an area outside the usual admissions time.
What matters at that stage is which schools have spaces spare.

When a child moves to a new area, they are allocated a place at the school closest to their new home that has a place.
This sometimes means they get one they like very much and very close to their new home.
But, if local or popular schools are full, they can be allocated one some distance away (if it is more than 2 miles away, the council must then pay for transport for them).

Waiting lists are held for each school and contain the names of every child who wanted a place but didn't get one. Your child can be added to lists of any school you like more than the one you're given. You won't be added to the bottom as lists are held in admissions order eg if you live closer you are usually nearer the top of the list. If a place becomes vacant, it is offered to the child at the top of the list.

Appeals are different. They require you to go before and appeal panel and explain why your child wants or needs a place at a particular school. For reception aged children, it is very hard to win appeals where schools already have 30 per class since that's the legal limit and they cannot take more except in very rare circumstances (eg an error with your application wrongly denied you a place that you should have been offered).

tiggytape Tue 23-Feb-16 17:18:47

AIUI to some extent the time on waiting list does matter as if a place comes up and you are closest etc then you'd get it, rather than all the places being handed out in order of priority the day before school starts?
You are correct. Position on the list goes by how well you meet the admissions criteria not how long you have waited.

For example if a new family move to an area in June with a Year 4 child and a child wanting a place in reception, if their older child gets a space at the school (because there are spare places in Year 4) then the younger sibling zooms straight to the top of the list.
So if a place becomes available for reception a few days later, it goes to the sibling of the Year 4 child who is now top of the waiting list not to the child who lives close to the school and who was number 1 on the list all through April and May but is now number 2.

OhWhatAPalaver Tue 23-Feb-16 17:28:20

We we will be moving in the next month so we will be applying before places have even been allocated. Hopefully we will get in the nearest school but if not I want to be prepared!

tiggytape Tue 23-Feb-16 17:39:13

Sorry - I worded that badly.
You are moving after the January deadline so although the places haven't been technically allocated yet, you won't be included in that batch of allocations.

Your application will be held back until all the people who applied on time have have been allocated a place.
After that happens, the council will deal with your application hence the risk that all the places might have been allocated by then.

Of course, if your local school still has a spare place after all the people who applied before the deadline have been dealt with then you will get one. But if not, they will allocate you another school.

Inkymess Tue 23-Feb-16 20:36:43

But catchment will come into it - priority on wait list will include in catchment children within Trafford LA and within specific boundary above those outside catchment?

OhWhatAPalaver Tue 23-Feb-16 20:37:45

Thanks so much for the replies and advice, it's a bit of a minefield it seems! We will just have to get on as many waiting lists as poss and hope for the best I think!

tiggytape Wed 24-Feb-16 08:31:36

Yes Inky - where an a school gives priority for people living in a certain catchment area, those people will be higher on any waiting list than people who live outside the area.

But in terms of moving house after the deadline and then getting allocated a school, being in catchment doesn't automatically lead to a place or even help much with getting a place if the catchment school is going to be full with people who applied on time. For example an out-of-catchment child who applied on January 14th will get priority over a child who moves in March to live within catchment (because all late applicants are dealt with last).

Being higher on a waiting list due to address is a great help if the school is one that takes 90 pupils and has a reasonable turnover and movement of pupils. However, there are some schools where waiting lists move very little or where places don't come up until Year 2 or Year 3 and where being in the top 5 on the list wouldn't necessarily lead to a place very soon.

In some countries moving into a school's catchment area means the school has to take you but in England moving late means having to take a place at whichever school happens to have a place and only being able to benefit from having a catchment address if and when the waiting list moves. Of course that doesn't mean people cannot get a catchment school - it might not get many applicants or might not be full. It is just that having a catchment address after the deadline counts for a lot less.

Inkymess Wed 24-Feb-16 08:55:00

The specific area may well have movement - Stretford is on the border of Trafford and Manchester. This is where a Trafford DC in catchment would be higher than a Manchester DC out of - even if they were closer..
The population can be quite transient due to high numbers working at the two local universities, teaching hospitals etc. people also move out to leafier areas for the super selective grammars. I do know loads of people in that whole area and all are happy enough with whatever school they are at.

OhWhatAPalaver Wed 24-Feb-16 11:12:43

Hi Inky, do you know anyone at Gorse Hill primary? That's the one I've heard not so good things about that I'm concerned dd might get put in...

Inkymess Wed 24-Feb-16 12:05:32

Not specifically but it's rated as good all round? Not heard that it's awful either. The local area is less affluent than other near by areas so that may effect its reputation? I'd go and have a good look round. Ask about how many move onto Stretford Grammar too.

I know people at Seymour, StJohn, Oswald Rd, Chorlton Pk, St Margaret's, St Mary's etc
Worse case, start there and move to a school you prefer when you can?

OhWhatAPalaver Wed 24-Feb-16 21:11:23

Thanks smile yep that's looking like the plan right now!

drspouse Wed 24-Feb-16 21:24:24

We're planning to keep DS in nursery for half a term if we don't have the place we want by September. Presumably your DC will go to nursery when you first move, could that be an option rather than two moves?

OhWhatAPalaver Wed 24-Feb-16 21:41:10

Hmm that's not a bad idea... She's already in a really good nursery at the moment but it's not particularly close to where we're moving to. We were considering a move to a nursery nearer the new house but didn't want to have lots of upheaval all at once so not really sure what to do.

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