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Primary school admission for 2017 - how does it work if you move house?

(8 Posts)
marushka82 Mon 11-Apr-16 10:05:13

Hi everyone, I hope someone would be able to help or direct me to a good source!
We currently live in Cambridge (CB4) and our DD is turning 3 at the end of July this year. I understand that based on this she will be starting school in Sep 2017 and we would have to make an application by Jan 2017.
We are thinking of buying a house as soon as our permanent residency is approved (shouldn't be too long now). As we cannot really afford to stay in Cambridge itself we'd be looking at towns/villages around Cambridge - St Ives will probably be a first choice.
Providing everything goes well we secure a house by Jan application deadline and will be applying for schools within our new local area/catchment (by the way, can we make applications for schools outside the catchment?). What happens if we don't manage to secure a house by January? I imagine we'd make applications for schools in Chesterton/Cambridge but what if we move before school starts in September? What are the chances of getting into a good school in our new area? Would we have to apply for a transfer or start the admission process from scratch or go on waiting list?

We haven't even started and this is already stressing me out!

Thanks for any advice!

TeenAndTween Mon 11-Apr-16 10:41:47

Cambridge area admissions information here
Part way down is a link to a pdf 'how to apply for a Primary school place' which states:

^What happens if I move address?
If you move address at any point during the admissions process, either within Cambridgeshire or into Cambridgeshire, it is your responsibility to immediately inform the Admissions Team, in writing, of this change and provide proof of your new address. Failure to do this may invalidate your child’s application.
If your house move takes place after the 15 January 2016, or you wish the school offer to be based on a future house move (to take place by September 2016), you will need to provide proof of the new address by 31 January 2016 in order for it to be considered.
If your proof of address is not / cannot be provided by 31 January 2016, your child’s school allocation will be based on your current address if this can be verified.
If you are moving from overseas or your child does not currently attend a Cambridgeshire Early Years Setting / maintained school and you are unable to provide your proof of address by 31 January 2016, your application will not be processed until the satisfactory proof is received.^

So it looks like it will need to be sorted by end Jan.
Somewhere on or near the linked page above there will be a document which gives allocation distances etc for schools in previous years, so you can see which are under allocated which you would have more chance of getting in to with a late application.

Chances of getting in from a waiting list are very much school dependent it depends on amount of movement to/from an area.

TeenAndTween Mon 11-Apr-16 10:44:51

To answer your specific questions.

You could make a late application / ask to go on waiting lists.

If your move is such that you can't go to school in your original area they would have to find you a place somewhere (but you may not like it much). You can always appeal for a more preferred school, but for infants it is difficult as they can only go above 30 in very exceptional circumstances.

prh47bridge Mon 11-Apr-16 10:56:04

If you move after the application date but before offers are made you will be able to change your preferences but this will probably be treated as a late application. Talk to Cambridgeshire about this to confirm - there is a very vague hint in their admission arrangements that they may allow you to change preferences without penalty if you move soon after the deadline for applications but this is not at all clear. If they say that you will not be dealt with as a late applicant make sure you get it in writing.

If your application is treated as late it won't be dealt with until all the on time applicants have places so you will be unlikely to get a place at a popular school. Once offers have been made the waiting list will be in operation. Your position on the waiting list depends on the school's admission criteria. You won't go to the back of the list just because you applied late.

If you move after offers have been made you will need to talk to Cambridgeshire but it is likely you will have to apply again from your new address. Popular schools will be full so you are unlikely to get a place at one of them straight away but you may get one through the waiting list.

prh47bridge Mon 11-Apr-16 10:58:28

Note that the extract quoted by TeenAndTween appears to apply to the situation where you move but want to stick to your original preferences. I am assuming you would want to change your preferences. The admission arrangements say this is allowed following a change of address but are not at all clear about what happens in this situation.

marushka82 Mon 11-Apr-16 11:17:57

Thanks a lot everyone! I read the document and I agree with you prh47bridge - I mainly want to find out what the process is if we don't have a new address by 15 Jan deadline.
It's all up in the air with lots of ifs and buts as a lot depends on when our permanent residency comes back from home office. We made the application in Jan so it shouldn't be too long now - providing they don't take a full 6 months!
Once we have PR in place we will start applying for mortgages and hopefully get one and then we can start looking! this is another thing that I'm not so sure about as my contract is fixed term but I have a good track record of not having any periods of unemployment since moving to the UK 7 years ago - not sure whether the banks actually look at that.
Anyway, I'm moving this into the mortgage area but it's all linked I suppose.
I will contact Cambridgeshire to find out what happens, I know there is one school in St Ives that is requiring improvement and the other three are good or outstanding - I'm just worried we'd end up in the worst one sad

NynaevesSister Mon 11-Apr-16 13:20:11

I am not sure which country you are from or how long you have been here. But the house buying process can be quite lengthy here. To avoid stress I would move into rented accommodation now in the area you want to buy in.

Some schools have catchments in England for specific reasons - but more commonly they don't. What they have is the furthest distance an offer was made on offer day, and people often refer to this as the catchment area. Which means that the 'catchment' area for a school can shrink and expand year on year.

For instance, the one form entry my son was in nursery at had two housing estates built on adjacent streets the year we applied! We lived just beyond the housing estates so naturally didn't get a place!

marushka82 Mon 11-Apr-16 16:07:43

I'm from Poland and DH is from NZ and we've been here for 7 years. To be honest while St Ives seems the best option we wouldn't want to go through the hassle of renting another flat and also have the flexibility to look at other villages/towns...

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