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Didn't get any of our FIVE choices for primary school

(42 Posts)
LieutenantAmerica Mon 18-Apr-16 17:31:34

We figured we wouldn't get into our first choice. We're right outside the sweet spot for the second. Surely we'd at least get our third choice. Or our fourth. Fifth choices don't even count, right?

Wrong. We didn't get into any of the five we put down. How common is this in London? We've been told our son is to go to a school we've never heard of and don't want.

The wrinkle--potentially a good one for us--is that our landlady is chucking us out on June 1, so we've almost secured a new place further away from the school they gave us. We live in East Dulwich; we were offered a place well southwest of us. We're moving north to Herne Hill on June 1. The school we were offered (and don't want) is 35 minutes away from the new place, Google Maps tells us. Is this decent ground for an appeal?

LIZS Mon 18-Apr-16 17:35:47

I don't think 35 minutes is deemed too far, so not grounds for appeal in itself. Obviously the LA can't yet allocate to your new address but you can go on waiting lists near your new address now and the position should be adjusted once you are in situ.

SwimInTea Mon 18-Apr-16 17:38:15

I don't have any answers, buy I also didn't want to read and run. Here's some flowers and wine to keep you calm till someone else comes along.

LieutenantAmerica Mon 18-Apr-16 17:40:28

That's of course 35 minutes for an adult walking full-speed. The trip involves two buses; I'd guess it'll take my wife 45-50 minutes each trip with our son.

bibbitybobbityyhat Mon 18-Apr-16 17:40:57

You could try asking on The East Dulwich Forum. They have a thread going there, in the Family Room ...

link, hopefully

bibbitybobbityyhat Mon 18-Apr-16 17:41:49

Did you put Bessemer Grange on your list?

PatriciaHolm Mon 18-Apr-16 17:43:47

First things first; make sure the LA had all the right details for you (address, any siblings etc) and put you in the correct admissions category.

However, in London, this is not all that uncommon unfortunately, so chances are it's not a mistake. Your options then revolve around the size of the classes in the school you wish to appeal for. If you are moving, do you still want your child to go to the first choice school?

If so, then check the number of children it admits into reception. If it is a multiple of 30, it will be an ICS (infant class size) appeal, which are very very hard to win. (It may also be ICS if the number is 15 or 45). ICS appeals can only be won on one of three grounds -

- the admissions authority made a mistake that cost you a place
- the admissions criteria are illegal
- the decision not to admit was so perverse no reasonable person would make it.

Realistically, you are very unlikely to have grounds under any of those assuming you have checked that they got your distance correct and you were considered under the correct category for each school.

Moving house doesn't give you grounds for appeal; the LA can't take into consideration something that may happen in the future when allocating places. It may change your place on waiting lists as they are ordered using admission criteria, which are usually done on distance after siblings/SEN etc but if you are looking at faith schools you would need to check.

When you move, you can apply for other schools nearer your new address, but at this point all spaces in local schools are likely to have been taken up so you may not be any better off.

tadpole39 Mon 18-Apr-16 17:44:28

Hi, this happened to us in herne hill, we stuck it out and several offers later, after being on all waiting lists, we were offered our first choice. This is just the first step in a long process of many steps!

tiggytape Mon 18-Apr-16 17:46:03

It isn't unheard of in London unfortunately. It means that none of the schools you listed can offer you a place right now but you still may get something off the waiting list

Did you list a local school that you felt certain of getting into based on last year's distances?
Do you have any sibling or faith links that you think they might have overlooked?
Get in touch with the council and make sure you are on the waiting list for all 5 schools. You can also ask to be added to lists of schools you did not originally apply for.

As for appeals, a longer than expected journey is not strong grounds for appeal and in fact 35 minutes is not considered excessive for children of this age

OddBoots Mon 18-Apr-16 17:54:10

Moving house won't make any difference at all to an appeal but it might mean you can either get a place straight at or move further up the waiting list for schools closer to your new home depending on if they have any spaces.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 18-Apr-16 18:13:35

You will accept the offer you have been given, yes? It's really important you do so.

MarvinKMooney Mon 18-Apr-16 18:45:46

This happened to friends of ours in South London. They accepted the offer they were given and went on the waiting list for their preferred school (which was literally a stone's throw away from their home).

They were offered a place for the preferred school two days before the start of term. Cue a mad rush to buy the right uniform!

Stressful times, but good luck. A lot can happen between now and September flowers

Toomanywheeliebinsagain Mon 18-Apr-16 18:56:16

Which school did you get? Know the schools there v well

shadylane Mon 18-Apr-16 19:01:39

This happened to us in the same ish area and now we are at our second choice school which we got into after one year. Stay on the waiting lists!

Witchend Mon 18-Apr-16 19:48:17

Our nearest juniors is 45 minutes walk.

LieutenantAmerica Mon 18-Apr-16 20:00:40

Dulwich Wood.

LieutenantAmerica Mon 18-Apr-16 20:03:57

What happens if we don't? Our son is also a "summer baby" -- under the new rules could in theory wait a year, an option we were considering anyway. He is tall and confident, but bilingual, not terribly articulate in English and perhaps would benefit from starting later--many kids (and while countries) do. He's 3 still. The idea of dragging him across two buses back and forth every day to a school several neighborhoods away appeals a bit less than spending another year in nursery.

PatriciaHolm Mon 18-Apr-16 20:06:24

You can defer his start until summer term then, you have a right to do that and keep his existing school place and hope for a place from the waiting list.

If you are talking about deferring to start in reception in Sept 17, then that is much harder to do and would almost certainly require documentation from specialists that it is the right thing to do, not just your wish to have another go at reception.

LieutenantAmerica Mon 18-Apr-16 20:06:35

Sorry I meant "whole countries" start later and do better. Some as late as 6-7 (Finland).

Toomanywheeliebinsagain Mon 18-Apr-16 20:17:13

Ah. Dulwich wood is on a journey. Think it was in special measures but has a new head who is turning it around. Seen very rapid changes in the last few years and could continue to improve.The problem is very few schools in HH will have spaces. Was dulwich wood a choice?

JeffreySadsacIsUnwell Mon 18-Apr-16 20:24:24

Sounds like you were "lucky". I know someone with a DC, now Y2, who lives in E Dulwich. They filled in all six spaces and didn't get any of their SIX choices. They were allocated a school the other side of Camberwell, up near Oval on the Lambeth boundary. They went private - possibly unsurprisingly. Were your first two choices Heber and Goodrich, by any chance?

PPs saying things like nearest school is 45 mins walk, well, yes, but if you choose to live 45 mins from the NEAREST school then you'd expect that, surely confused? It's a rather different situation when you're allocated a school you have to drive past NINETEEN schools to get to, or else get a rush hour train into central London, a tube, then another tube back out to school, then a tube back into central London, a tube back to your usual mainline terminus and a tube onwards to work, like the people we know... In SE London, walking is the fastest route, not the slowest option. I regularly walk a couple of miles with my 4yo and we overtake buses.

On the plus side, OP, there is a lot of movement as a PP has said. Even if there's no place by the start of term, there's a very strong chance something will come up within the first term or two. Depending on the age of your child (they don't have to be in school till the term after their 5th birthday) it may be worth accepting the place, going on the waiting list for all your local schools and simply deferring till the necessary term, in the hope a more convenient place will come up. You'd have to either have a SAHP or a willing nursery, but it's an option. That was our plan B for DC1, knowing that as a summerborn, there was no need to be in school till the following school year, which would have given us a year for a vacancy to come up at just one of our preferred schools...

Good luck, it's a horrible situation to be in.

JeffreySadsacIsUnwell Mon 18-Apr-16 20:27:37

X-post - just seen you've said summerborn. Accept the place (if you decline, the LA has discharged its obligation and doesn't need to find you any place at all...), go on the waiting lists of all the schools you'd consider, keep your DS in nursery and hopefully something will come up relatively soon. Just don't talk too much about schools or mention names.

RicStar Mon 18-Apr-16 20:42:56

I think you need to accept dw and get on the wait list for all the schools within acceptable distance of your new address. Once you move you will move up the list for those. Where abouts in Hh? I live in se24.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 18-Apr-16 20:51:17

If you don't accept the place then you could end up with no place at all if the waiting lists don't go your way. And the local authority won't be obliged to find you another.

Better to accept, defer and go on waiting lists.

LieutenantAmerica Mon 18-Apr-16 20:55:30

RicStar: Frankfurt Road. Between Jessop Bessemer and Judith Kerr.

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