Catholics Primary School Admissions Frustration...aaarrg
Hello, can anyone offer some advice or suggestions please?
My son has been on the waiting list for reception class. The school seems a bit cagey about the waiting list information, but after being told that my son's position was "between 1st and 2nd" (huh?) , the secretary said he was first, but that could change at any time.
Last week a child left and I waited excitedly for the allocation offer. It didn't come, so I emailed the school. No reply. I called the school, only to be told that the governors would decide who'd get the place. I queried this and said surely it's by the admission criteria.
I emailed again asking for confirmation if my sons position on the list. Also that if he had moved down, the date that he had moved. I also asked his position on the date the school received the withdrawal letter from the parents if the child that left. The reply I for simply said. "The place had now been allocated to the child who lived closest to the school".
I'm do angry and frustrated. I don't know what to do now. I keep asking the school to tell me which category my son has been placed in but they won't tell me. Do they have to give me this information?
I have an appeal form but don't really know how to handle this. Can anyone give me some advice please? Thank you in advance.
It should be clear and open. Having said that, if the school uses random allocation then it means every time a new child joins the waiting list, the whole list has to be re-drawn. It doesn't sound like this is the case here. The only thing I can think is that someone has applied for special circumstances and that their policy is that governors can decide to give them the place at their discretion. Whatever the reason, their should be a clear, written procedure they provide and they follow. I would ask what their policy is at under which criteria they are considering who to give the place to. It might be worth reminding them that all state schools are required to follow the admissions code.
Thanks for replying. It definitely isn't by random allocation. I'm just banging my head against brick walks when trying to get any information from them. I don't know what to do or say to force or persuade them to tell me. It's so frustrating. Any ideas?
You might want to quote from this document www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/389388/School_Admissions_Code_2014_-_19_Dec.pdf
The section on waiting lists says this "Waiting lists
2.14 Each admission authority must maintain a clear, fair and objective waiting list until at least 31 December of each school year of admission, stating in their arrangements that each added child will require the list to be ranked again in line with the published oversubscription criteria. Priority must not be given to children based on the date their application was received or their name was added to the list. Looked after children, previously looked after children, and those allocated a place at the school in accordance with a Fair Access Protocol, must take precedence over those on a waiting list."
Hang in there are keep doing what you are doing. Keep copies of everything and dates
You might want to contact the LA admissions officer if your initial complaints aren't responded to, as they have a responsibility to ensure the admissions code is adhered to.
Your position on the waiting list can indeed change at any time. A late applicant may go ahead of you on the list.
It is correct that the governors decide who receives an offer. Their decision must be arrived at by applying their admission criteria but it must be made by the governors or a committee appointed by the governors. Having said that, if the governors have put the waiting list in order and a place becomes available it can be offered without referring back to the governors.
The school ought to tell you what category your child is in.
If you think you may have been placed in the wrong category and missed out on a place as a result you can appeal. The appeal panel will look into the matter and figure out if you should have got a place when the child left.
Is it an academy or LA maintained school - affects who is the admission authority, and who administers the waiting list.
Waiting list orders will change but should run on the same oversubscription criteria as published admission criteria. Ask the school in writing to explain, escalate to governors if needed and LA if LA maintained. Then if no joy go to the Office for the Schools Adjudicator and file a complaint.
you might find this site helpful fairadmissions.org.uk/get-involved/complain-to-the-schools-adjudicator/
Is it an academy or LA maintained school
A Catholic school will either be an academy or a VA school. That means it is its own admission authority.
Then if no joy go to the Office for the Schools Adjudicator and file a complaint
The OSA won't get involved in this. Their job is to ensure the admission arrangements comply with the Admissions Code. They do not police the way admission authorities implement the admission arrangements. If the wrong person has been admitted from the waiting list the OSA can't do anything about it. They also can't do anything about the school's failure to give information to the OP. If the OP believes her son has been unfairly deprived of a place the only way forward is to appeal.
Thank you so much for all your help. I have arranged a meeting with the Headteacher for next week.
My understanding is that of the policy itself is not fair and open as per the admission code the you can get the OSA involved but not if they hair fail to follow it. So does depend on the situation.
Thank you. It's frustrating that the school won't give me the information I'm asking for. I thought the place should be offered to child who was in 1st position when a vacancy came up.
I do understand that another child may have been 1st place, for whatever reason, but my son was 1st place at some point. I want to know when that changed because it wasn't that long after that the place became available.
If the Headteacher won't tell me when I see him next week, I don't reAlly know what to say or where I stand. Or what I can even do about it.
I think it's worth going into the meeting with the headteacher fairly firmly and prepared. At the least they have failed to communicate in a way which is open and has the appearance of being fair. At worst they have actually been unfair. It's impossible to know which it is because you have no information.
Is it the school or the LA holding the waiting list - do you know?
The waiting list is being held by the school.
The school has phoned to say that two governors will meet me but not the Headteacher.
I'd really like to be very prepared, but daft as it may sound, I don't know what that means in this situation. IE. what to ask for or what to say quite strongly, if need be. Do they have to give me certain info? I'm guessing I'll need certain things to build my case on for the appeal?
For example, if I ask what category the admitted pupil is in. What if they say they're not allowed to tell me due to confidentiality? If they give such stick answers, I'll be stumped.
I'd really welcome some help please. Thanks again for all the replies.
Have you tired gong to the school in person? We had the experience of being first on the waiting list for nursery. My friend declined her sons spot and let me know right after so I could call straight away and then they told me actually another kids got the spot bc of special circumstances. Even though I was told a few days prior we were still first on waiting list. So I went to the school to find out what happened. Apparently it was a special case. I was annoyed bc I thought what if it was just someone else that knew someone and jumped ahead. But I was told it was a special case that I would understand if I knew more, but they couldn't tell me. I understood that this child must have really needed the spot, so wasn't upset anymore after talking to the school and the next day a spot opened up for my daughter. It doesn't hurt to go ask in person what happened and get more details. Especially if you are friendly.
I think they can tell you what category. That info is listed on most starting school booklets. Like number of siblings admitted and child from last category accepted and distance. But if it is a special needs case. They can not tell you more then that.
My understanding is that of the policy itself is not fair and open as per the admission code the you can get the OSA involved
The OSA will get involved if the policy does not comply with the Admissions Code. However, they will simply tell the school to fix the policy. They cannot tell the school to admit any children who have been adversely affected.
I thought the place should be offered to child who was in 1st position when a vacancy came up.
That is correct.
Do they have to give me certain info?
If you appeal they have to give you any information you request within reason to help you prepare your case. In this case you need to know where your son was on the waiting list when the place became available and, if he wasn't first, why he wasn't first. They can definitely tell you which category your son is in. They may not be able to tell you which category the child admitted was in as that may be a breach of confidentiality but they should be able to tell you if that child was in a higher category or lived closer.
I think they can tell you what category
Not necessarily. Telling the OP that the child admitted was an ex-LAC or suffers from a medical problem would be a breach of confidentiality. However, telling the OP that the child's parents met the church attendance requirements to get priority whereas she did not should be ok.
OP did the school not answer your query when they said the place was allocated to the child who lived closest to the school? It sounds as if your child must have been equal to the child who got the place on all but distance which is where they pipped you at the post.
Hope you get a place soon. Your child is obviously close to the top of the list but I have heard of many cases where a last minute entrant goes to the top of the list because of the entrance criteria thereby pushing others down the list.
Thanks again all. No, school hasn't answered ANY of my questions. Yeah, you're probably right though, but I'd just like to know what happened, for my peace of mind. Feeling fed up and genuinely considering whether it's possible to have a positive relationship with school. I'll see what happens at meeting and then decide, but def have negative vibes now.
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