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single mum and student needs help with appealing a school refusal

(71 Posts)
nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 18:04:40

i would like some advice regarding appealing a refusal for a reception school place. My daughter has been refused her preferred school choices due to not being in their catchment area, and has been offered a school that is round the corner from me. However when applying i asked for my parents address to be taken into consideration as they will be taking her to and from school, they live 0.7 miles away from the preferred schools. i am a single mum and currently studying on a full time Nursing degree, i will be starting my 3rd year in September. There is no way possible that i will be able to take my daughter to and from school whilst on placement which consists of 50% of my degree. I would have to quit my degree in order to take my daughter to school, which inevitably will have a huge negative impact on my daughters life. my parents are not willing to take my daughter to the school that she has been offered as it is 4 miles away from their house. My dad will be taking my daughter to school after completing a night shift due to my mum working days and he does not drive. My daughter currently attends the preschool of one of the schools that we chose however she was still refused a place. i will be appealing their decision. do you think that i have a good enough case or should i quit my degree from now? could i change my daughters address as living with my parents, as she spend the majority of her time there while i study? will that help secure her a place at the preferred schools. im desperate.. help....

LIZS Tue 10-May-16 18:11:25

Sorry but your difficulties in logistics won't be grounds for successful appeal, presumably the class is already at max 30. Could you find a childminder or do they offer before or after school care, then parents could do either drop off or pick up. You might get tax credits towards the cost. You can still go on waiting list for a school nearer.

nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 18:36:39

when on placement i will working from 7am to 7.30pm meaning that i have to leave out at 6am, my mums working hours vary from starting at 6am-8am and my dad will not take her to breakfast club. tbh i wouldnt feel safe with having to use a childminder to take my 4 year old to and from school.. This school will be a new environment for my daughter therefore she needs a familiar face to reassure her in the mornings.. receptions and nurserys allow parents to come into the class in the morning to settle their child for this same reason, therefore it is not fair to expect me let a childminder take my scared and unsettled 4 year old daughter to school.

HandsomeGroomGiveHerRoom Tue 10-May-16 18:41:19

As LIZ says, unfortunately your logistical difficulties and career/study plans won't form grounds for appeal. Nor I believe will the fact your daughter attends the preschool.

You can still go on your preferred schools' waiting lists but again, your logistical problems won't sway anything. Changing your daughter's address would, I imagine, impact on any tax credits, student finance etc you're currently entitled to.

I think you need to broach the subject with your university. Might you be able to defer your third year? Alternatively, and this is a massive ask of them, would one of your parents be able to stay at yours when you're unable to do the school run? Can you move back in with them for a period? Where is your daughter's father - can you ask him to step up to the plate?

LIZS Tue 10-May-16 18:46:19

Unless you can demonstrate that she should have been considered under a social need category, assuming the school you are appealing for has that criteria, ahead of catchment, and you provided supporting information with the application which was overlooked , it is unlikely you have grounds. Lots of lone parents have to juggle logistics of work and child care. Class sizes are limited to 30 for infants so it is hard to appeal successfully. Presumably your address is where Child Benefit is registered to, so you can't argue she lives with your parents. Could your Df spend the day at your house, even as a short term measure , until a closer place comes up.

DonkeyOaty Tue 10-May-16 18:46:56

A settling in period with a childminder through late summer would obviate the "scared and unsettled" notion. No one would place a child with a carer with no prior introduction

If you won't consider this, how does stopping your studies for one year and restarting in yr 1 sound, is it possible?

(Am presuming you have accepted the offer otherwise you will find the LA has fulfilled their side by offering a place and you'll be in the Swamp of No School)

wannabestressfree Tue 10-May-16 18:53:16

I am.sorry but that's a childminders job. You sound daft saying its not 'safe'. Coupled with your dads reluctance to drop at breakfast club or school that Isn't that far I would defer or go part time.
What are you going to do when your shift working?

Tiggeryoubastard Tue 10-May-16 18:55:59

Single parent doesn't trump the rules. Neither does being at work, or student, why the hell should they?

nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 18:57:07

i would rather lose out on tax credits etc, to secure my daughter in a good school that she is familiar with, and where a trusted family member can take her and pick her up. her dad is useless hence why im a single mother :'( do u think its too late to change address?

its not fair that they would expect me to defer university when i have already completed 2 years and have achieved good grades. doing so will be detrimental to mine and my daughters well being.. we will be forced to rely on government, which will result in a low income making us financially unstable which can lead to depression and low mood, which will have a negative impact on my daughter.. how is this acting in the best interest of my child? which is something that all authorities should adhered to

AndNowItsSeven Tue 10-May-16 18:58:11

No it's not grounds for appeal , you are wasting your time.

AndNowItsSeven Tue 10-May-16 19:00:03

Op you are being ridiculous, your situation is not unique and you are actually in a very privileged position having parents willing to help out.

Tiggeryoubastard Tue 10-May-16 19:01:13

I think you're in for a shock when you encounter the real world, OP.

Wolfiefan Tue 10-May-16 19:03:21

You're not in catchment.
You don't get a place.

nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 19:05:55

circumstances are different for everyone, and what you perceive to be important may be different for someone else.. therefore i don't think its acceptable to call me daft etc.... these are the concerns that i have. It is also not my parents responsibility to take my daughter to school and why should he.. after completing a 12 hour night... it is silly to expect him to commit to that.

But take it that they will take it as a reasonable concern then sad

nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 19:07:56

is it too late to change my daughters address? as i really do not want to quit or defer my studies.. obviously i will if i have

nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 19:08:56

yes i am very grateful for my parents and they know just how much they are appreciated.

Tiggeryoubastard Tue 10-May-16 19:09:00

What, you mean lie about where she lives?

nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 19:12:43

thank you LIZS, i have mentioned her social needs but i will expand further.. i will try to get written evidence from her parents evenings where they have clearly stated that she lacks confidence.

hoping i will get a sympathy vote lol sad

SavoyCabbage Tue 10-May-16 19:13:44

What people are saying is that your situation is far from unusual. There are lots of single parents. Lots of people at university and on placement or who work full time.

Have you contacted the school that you want her to go to and put her on the waiting list there?

If so, where is she on the list?

Have you accepted the place you were offered? If not you should.

When is your dd five?

nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 19:18:43

no, as i already mentioned earlier that she spends the majority of her time there.. i would obviously notify tax credits and university etc. im not that silly to risk losing my career over a fraudulent claim.

i would be grateful if you could answer my question as opposed to assuming the worst

kippersyllabub Tue 10-May-16 19:18:51

I'm being direct rather than being nasty: these are not grounds for appeal that would be accepted by an appeals panel. The infant class size regulations are very strict, and all sorts of cases don't get through, even when the parents or children concerned seem very deserving.

These are your options:

1. Get on the waiting list for a place near your parents' house.
2. Make arrangements for a childminder to do the school run for your allocated school.
3. Move closer to your parents' house and apply for a place at the school you want (this would be via the waiting list, but you'd be higher up the list if you moved closer to the school.)
4. Find a private school near your parents' house, with a place for your dd
5. Stay put, send your child to the allocated school but make arrangements to change your course attendance to accommodate doing the school run yourself.

You're not going to win an appeal. It is always worth staying on waiting lists though, particularly for large schools.

nesey1 Tue 10-May-16 19:23:52

yes she is on their waiting lists and is in 4th and 5th position.. therefore i doubt she will be offered a place.
Yes i have accepted their offer.
she will be 5 in october.
i understand what you are all saying but im just trying my best (losing hope now tho)... you can obviously see that i am heartbroken by their decision and will be hugely impacted by it...
but i appreciate all your comments

PatriciaHolm Tue 10-May-16 19:24:07

The address used for applications needs to be the child's permanent address, which is with you, assuming she sleeps at your home during the week.

Even if you decided to have her actually move in with your parents - as in, sleeping there during the school week, and you can persuade the council that this is a real move (many will only accept a parents' address, especially if you live close by) that wouldn't get you a place; it would just move you up the waiting list.

Appealing for a reception place, assuming there are 30 per class in the school, can only be done on the grounds of -

- the authority made a factual mistake (measured your address wrong, for example)
- the admissions criteria are unlawful
- the decision not to admit was so unreasonable no sensible person would have made it (the threshold here is very very high)

I'm sorry, I know it's frustrating, but nothing you have said falls into any of those categories. It is the parent's responsibility to get children to and from school; school transport can be provided in some circumstances but that doesn't apply to you or help you anyway. In your circumstances you would be expected to use a childminder; your reluctance to is not the fault of the admissions authorities.

There is nothing to stop you appealing, but you need to be realistic that you have a very small chance of winning.

LIZS Tue 10-May-16 19:26:16

Social/medical need, and do check that category is even applicable to that specific school's criteria, has to be supported by documentary evidence - doctor, SW, specialist etc. Say-so of a nursery assistant won't cut it. You need to demonstrate that failure to consider her under that category deprived your dd of a place which was otherwise hers, ahead of those with siblings and in catchment. There is no discretion to admit her if the intake is full, otherwise everyone would appeal. If your parents can be trusted to take her to a local school then why not another. Changing address now won't guarantee admission, you'd still be wait listed. Presumably preschool isn't full time, what arrangements are in place now?

TheHobbitMum Tue 10-May-16 19:27:30

I don't think you'll have grounds for appeal, you could move but you'd have to move properly not just change address on a school form! They do check that people actually live where they say they do. Can you move closer to the school? Put your daughter on the waiting list in the meantime incase a place happens to open up

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