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In Year Primary school places

(19 Posts)
nononsencemum Tue 19-Apr-16 11:49:30

We will be moving to a new area (mid size town in Hertfordshire) end of July. I will need three different primary school places namely for DD Y6, DS Y4 and DS Y2.

Ideally I would loved all three to get places at the same primary but being realistic I am hoping for at least two different schools to be able to take them on (cannot even begin to think of doing drop off/ pick ups at three diff locations? ;-0).

I understand that I need to contact the local authority asa we have an address in place (will be renting to start with and buying after we settled in) and it is entirely down to luck as to where (and if) the places become available.

I am really dreading any of the children ending up in a satisfactory school (they are all at outstanding primary at the moment). As such what are my options if I don't like the school allocated to one or more of my children?

I guess I will not have much room in relation to my DD as it will be her final year (Y6) so really having my fingers crossed. But in relation to my youngest (Y2) - do I need to accept the place allocated or can I turn it down on the grounds that I simply don't like the school (i.e. academically not good enough).

If I refuse to take up a space is LA obliged to carry on looking for another school space for us? I would be prepared to wait 2-3 months to see whether there will be any movement at the beginning of the year (Sep/ Oct) but how do I play it with LA?

Do I need to elect home schooling (HS) as an option in the meantime or can I simply 'sit and wait' (I will of course do some schooling with him at home).

Can I put my child's name on the waiting list to the schools we like? Do I ring the school or do I need to go via LA in order to do this? Also can I put my child name on the waiting list for the schools out of our catchment area?

Equally if we decide to accept a place at the school which we don't like, how is it going to affect our place on the waiting list of our preferred schools? Are they going to take us off the list or are we still allowed to remain on it?

Sorry for all the questions but it will be our first home move with the children and I am simply dreading the whole process...

meditrina Tue 19-Apr-16 12:03:16

"can I turn it down on the grounds that I simply don't like the school (i.e. academically not good enough)"

You can turn down a school place for any reason you want to, but it may not be a wise decision.

"If I refuse to take up a space is LA obliged to carry on looking for another school space for us?"


"I would be prepared to wait 2-3 months to see whether there will be any movement at the beginning of the year (Sep/ Oct) but how do I play it with LA?"

Are you genuinely prepared to home educate long term, or seek a private school place? If the answer to both those is 'no' then your best bet is to accept the offered school, so at least they have somewhere to go in the short term, whilst sitting it out on the waiting lists of schools you would prefer, or going through the appeals process (it is somewhat easier to win appeals once in year 3 or above, very very long shot for y2).

Accepting the offered school makes no difference whatsoever to where you are ranked open the waiting list for your preferred schools.

PatriciaHolm Tue 19-Apr-16 12:05:24

'If I refuse to take up a space is LA obliged to carry on looking for another school space for us? "

No. They will have discharged their duties towards you. You can stay on waiting lists, but it would be up to you then to ring round schools and try to find one with a spare place, and request to be given it. The LEA would have no responsibility.

Taking up a space has no affect on your place on waiting lists, assuming the schools in question run them. You would need to talk to the LEA about which schools they run lists for, and which run their own - it will be a mix often. It will take some ringing round to sort sometimes!

You can home school for as long as you want and remain on waiting lists, and you can go on waiting lists for schools outside your area.

So your approach would depend I think on how long you are prepared to home school for vs how long waiting lists are, and likely movement. In some areas of high mobility lists move quickly, in some areas a fair few kids go private at end of Yr2, in others not.

nononsencemum Tue 19-Apr-16 12:22:10

Thank you! I didn't realise that LEA is only obliged to find you one place and then, if I refuse to take it they duty to find us a new space ceases and it is down to me to liaise with the primaries...

Poor PS must spend most of their time updating the anxious parents as to the place of their DC on their waiting list and its probabilities of getting a place...

We are currently at the local Catholic primary so I wonder whether it would be somewhat different at the religious schools?

I am sorry but I really don't want to place them at the satisfactory school if they have been thriving at their current outstanding primary and are all very bright.

Meditrina you are right, I could do HM for a few months but have not envisaged it as a long term affair so I guess I would be better off accepting the 'given place' as not to end up with no primary place at all for my youngest.

And no, no private route possible in our circumstances I am afraid.

I just have a sneaky feeling that it will be the hardest to land a place for my Y2 DS. I wonder why is that a case? Where do the children go after Y2 that the places suddenly become more freely available (indies yes but that is a small percentage only)...

eddiemairswife Tue 19-Apr-16 16:39:02

After Y2 it is easier to win a place on appeal, and also quite a few schools have an admission number of more than 30 in KS2.

TennesseeDays Tue 19-Apr-16 20:02:02

We were going to move to Hertfordshire last year (though we didn't in the end) so I looked into it a bit.
They update the vacancy information for in year admissions on their website every couple of weeks here. When I was looking, most of the schools were full, and none had places for my DC at the same school. Hope you have better luck! Perhaps accepting a place for one child and appealing for the siblings would be the way to go.
Most of the schools in the areas I was looking at did seem to be good (probably why they were all full!)

nononsencemum Wed 20-Apr-16 12:48:19

Thank you Tennessee - absolutely brilliant info! I had no idea something like that exists, I will go through the list now but from what I have already seen there is not a single school which could offer the places for all three (not that I am in slightest surprised).

Would you know how easy it is to win an appeal based only on the 'siblings at the same school' criteria? I know from mumsnet already that it is by far easier to appeal the Junior school places than the Infant ones. But I have read so many threads about mums having to juggle siblings in two/ three different schools so I am rather cautious when it comes to an appeal.

nononsencemum Wed 20-Apr-16 13:06:20

Also - as you all have been so helpful - what is the earliest time I can submit an in-year primary school application? We will be renting initially (to get to know the area first) so do I need to wait until our move in date or is simple exchange of letters between us and the estate agent or deposit payment enough as a proof of the address?

We will be moving around end of July but we shall know our new address at least a month before our move in date hence my question.

nononsencemum Wed 20-Apr-16 13:07:26

Eddie I didn't realise you can have more that 30 in some Junior schools. here where we live it is all capped at 30 at both Infant and Junior.

tobysmum77 Thu 21-Apr-16 07:32:02

What exactly is a 'satisfactory' school?

Kariana Thu 21-Apr-16 07:59:41

There is no longer such a thing as a satisfactory school tobysmum. It used to be the Ofsted rating below good but it is now labelled as 'Requires Improvement' instead.

tobysmum77 Thu 21-Apr-16 08:09:49

Well quite. Schools are either good or are required to improve. So one with an RI OFSTED inspection may well have improved, its why its a good idea to actually visit and ask the HT about the improvements rather than write it off because your dc are 'very bright'.

nononsencemum Thu 21-Apr-16 10:41:21

A good point - thank you tobysmum.

The difficulty is that we will be moving end of July which is when all the schools are of course on holiday so it may not be possible to visit/ speak to the teachers. I would have to make a decision based on the website/ ofsted report and that's it really... not an ideal position to be in...

PoochiePoo Thu 21-Apr-16 10:43:54

We moved our DD in year and our local authority said that a place could only be held for 6 weeks.

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Apr-16 10:56:48


Do you have any idea at all of where you are going to live - I see that you already know the town? Can you narrow down the search to a slightly smaller area already, and thus identify a range of schools that you could be interested in - maybe including the local catholic ones - and visit them over this term? If you visit some that you know are likely to have places, as well as those that you would 'love to get into', you will have an idea of which 'might have spaces' are genuinely not that good, and those that are simply unpopular / suffering from previously poor inspection results / not in quite such a naice area of town but actually great schools.

And you move mentioned moving end July but knowing where you will be about a month earlier - most state primaries won't break up until 3rd / 4th week in July (22nd July is typical round here) so there should be time to schedule visits even once you know where you're living

BTW, if you have some of the 'entry tickets' for entry to a Catholic school - early baptism, regular attendance etc - then it would certainly be worth ringing the Catholic schools in the town where you are moving to. Catholic schools often have oversubscription (and thus waiting list) criteria that are different from 'plain vanilla' primaries, and having the right 'entry tickets' might mean that you have a higher chance of getting into a more distant Catholic school from your new address than you do to a non-denominational school much closer.

Also bear in mind that if you can get an elder child into a school hat gives priority to siblings, your younger children will jump up the waiting list when the elder child starts - and for this reason, it can be worth starting an older child at a school even for the last few days of the summer term if there are places.

We did this when moving to our current town when DS was end of Y1, DD wanting a place in reception. We moved in very late June, so were in-year applicants for DS and klate Reception applicants for DD. DS had been allocated a place given our old address - low birth year - so he started on the day we moved, and literally was driven to school in the van we were using for the removal. DD was 24th on the Reception waiting list the day before he started, and 2nd once he was on roll. Within the 3 weeks DS attended school at the end of that summer term, DD moved to 1st on the waiting list and then got a place. She was the last person from the waiting list to get a place until Year 2, so had we chosen to delay DS's start until September, she would not have been admitted to that school for 3 years.

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Apr-16 11:01:20

Poochie, you are right - in fact often places are expected to be taken up a couple of weeks after they are offered if they are in-year or from the waiting list. That was one of the reasons why we started DS when we did - but also on the advice of the wily school secretary, who explained to us exactly how this could improve DD's chance of a place. She was so delighted when it worked out - I can still remember her calling me at about 2.45 that afternoon, a matter of days before they broke up for the summer "County has called, DD has a place, I've got 2 school sweatshirts out for her. Come in when you pick DS up and we'll pop one on her to check it's the right size."

tobysmum77 Thu 21-Apr-16 11:53:03

But surely if you are moving into the area it is perfectly reasonable to go and have a look round ahead of physically being there? A good or outstanding school can be downgraded also so arguably can be worse. I guess if you are moving a long way this may not be easy.

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Apr-16 11:55:25

Agree with tobysmum. presumably you will be visiting to look at rental houses - call schools and make appointments to coincide with those visits. The vast majority of schools would be very happy to show you round.

PoochiePoo Thu 21-Apr-16 12:01:22

When we moved DD, we were living locally to her new school but was very unhappy in her previous school. We did plenty of research online (this was during school hols) into a couple of local schools then contacted each to enquire as to whether they had a place available. When they said yes (both head teachers replied in the hols which we were impressed with) I phoned up the 'favourite' on the first day of the new term and they showed us round that same day (this was before my DD had gone back herself so I wanted to do it then). They took DD for a taster day before they allowed us to make our decision. She loved it so we applied that night - at that point we learnt from the LA that it was 6 weeks. We wanted to move her after a full term but went for the half term instead to guarantee the space.

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