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Primary Admissions and moving house

(7 Posts)
PippaFawcett Sun 03-Apr-16 23:17:57

We are trying to move house but I don't want to buy somewhere if there aren't any school places but everywhere in our county seems to be oversubscribed. Our LEA publishes an excel spreadsheet with up to date school places on it but the three schools in the town I am looking at all have no places in any age group. My DD is in Year 3, would it be likely she would be squeezed into our catchment school? And if so, what would that mean for my DS, who would need a reception place? Could we get her in and then appeal for him? Or would he be sent to the place at the nearest school out of catchment? It is so tricky trying to line everything up properly, I know there are rules to follow but I think with schools being as full as they are, it means no-one can move without all this stress! Obviously, like most people, we just want our DC to go to the local school to enable them to make local friends and be part of the community. I don't want them to have no friends where we move to. I will ring the education authority as well but they have a lot of stuff online and I imagine their advice will be to apply when we have our address and take it from there.

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Sun 03-Apr-16 23:20:25

From personal experience, we had to have a postcode and Council Tax bill before we could apply.

It really is a bit of a gamble.

Worked out well for us. 3 children, 2 schools, all happy.

Inkymess Sun 03-Apr-16 23:24:24

You need an address to apply. Very chicken and egg. Are you moving too far to keep her in her school for a while?

PippaFawcett Sun 03-Apr-16 23:27:35

Yes, it is in the same county but with traffic it would be at least 50 mins each way and as DH and I both work, that is not going to be feasible. I'm glad it worked out for you Sissy. It is a place where people move into and out of regularly but I would really prefer not to disrupt the DC more than we have to - i.e. accepting whatever school we are offered and then moving them further down the line if a space comes up.

It is very chicken and egg - the same as buying a house. We need to sell ours before we can offer on one we like but if we don't find one we like then we won't move - such a hard cycle!

prh47bridge Mon 04-Apr-16 00:37:29

My DD is in Year 3, would it be likely she would be squeezed into our catchment school

If there isn't a school with a place available within a reasonable distance you should be offered a place at the school best able to cope with an additional pupil. That may or may not be the catchment school.

And if so, what would that mean for my DS, who would need a reception place

If the schools give priority to siblings he will be at or near the head of the waiting list. However, as he needs a Reception place there may well be a problem with infant class size rules. The class size limit can be broken if there is no school with places within a reasonable distance. He will be offered a place somewhere. However, there is no guarantee it will be the same school as his sister. If infant class size rules apply an appeal is very unlikely to succeed.

tiggytape Mon 04-Apr-16 10:10:42

My DD is in Year 3, would it be likely she would be squeezed into our catchment school
If your catchment school is full but another school has a place, she would be offered that one. If the school on offer was beyond walking distance for a child her age (2 miles up to age 8) then the council is obliged to provide transport for her.

If, as prh says, literally every school within a 3 to 5 mile radius is full in Year 3 then they would have to use special emergency powers to force one already full school to take her. This will be the school deemed best able to cope with an extra child (so the one with a good staff ratio, more space etc). This may or may not be your catchment school. It is the council who decides which school is best set-up to cope.

For year 3 children though you do have a realistic option to win at appeal. Up until Year 3 all class sizes are limited by law and there is very little chance of parents winning a place for their child if classes are already at maximum numbers unless an admissions error has deprived them of a place that was rightfully theirs (which wouldn't usually apply to those new to an area and applying late).
In Year 3 though, that law ceases to apply so you can appeal on the grounds of wanting a local school, local friends and other reasons for wanting that particular school and you could win a place that way.

It is very unlikely you would win an appeal for a reception aged child if the school you wanted had 30 per class (or 15 per class with children joining together before Year 3 to form 30 per class). Again, emergency powers exist to ensure he won't be left without any school place at all but there is nothing that forces the council to choose the most local school or to choose the same school for all siblings.

If your DD however gets a place at appeal at the local school then it is likely her brother would then be placed at the top of the waiting list for that school (assuming sibling priority is one of their admissions categories). This is often how it works out for people in oversubscribed areas. They only need to get 1 child into the school to then jump to the top of the list and eventually get their other children in too.

PippaFawcett Mon 04-Apr-16 20:48:30

Thank you both, that is really helpful. I did try to ring our Admissions office today but there wasn't even an option to get through to a person to discuss, I don't know if that is usual or because it is the holidays. All of the primaries are rated 'good' so it isn't about preferring one to another on Ofsted grounds, just wanting them to be together and ideally at our local one to be part of the community - mostly why we are moving to this particular area in the first place.

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