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Help! DC's primary school place withdrawn by council

(67 Posts)
RidiculousFruitcake Tue 14-Jun-16 03:31:05

Background: I have recently separated from ex due to his violent behaviour and am going through divorce. Before I discovered his violent nature we moved house specially for DC's primary school application. The tenancy was from March 2015 for two years.

In April DC received primary school offer and I was very happy as DC got into a sought after school. However yesterday afternoon I received an email from council admissions saying they are withdrawing the offer as they received an anonymous tip off that DC and I don't live in the address we used for the application.

I was forced out of the family house (the house I rented together with ex and address for the application) as my ex assaulted me in November and then he changed lock to the house to stop me going back. He then took me to court for child arrangement issues in December. Long story short there were a few weeks when DC didn't see exactly due to complications but from March DC has been having regular contact with ex at the family house.

During all this time I wasn't living at family house I have paid rent/council tax/utility bills so DC can use the address for school application.

After we heard the primary school offer, ex has given notice to landlord of moving out of it, partly because we can't afford to rent it anymore and partly because landlord has sold the house. Ex moved out end of May. I have checked with council and it is OK to move once offer was made.

Council said in the email that, basically they has investigated and discovered that DC and I don't live in the address in the application forms since November so...

This is very upsetting and I have been thinking about it all night couldn't sleep. I feel that DC is being penalised for something completely out of our control i.e. I was subject to domestic violence.

I think I'm going to appeal - do you think DC stands a chance to get into the school? I'd be grateful for any advice!

Arkwright Tue 14-Jun-16 05:55:39

You should have notified them of the address your child was living at. It is based on where your child lives not on a house you used to live in.

You say you checked with the council and it's ok to move once offers are made but the fact is you and your child moved out 5 months previous to that even before the deadline for applications. This is fraud.

LIZS Tue 14-Jun-16 06:19:37

Would you not have been as close to the school, at your current address. Presumably the school is oversubscribed and you not updating your details means another child should have been awarded a place ahead of yours. Unfortunately paying rent and bills is not enough if you reside elsewhere. Moving after the allocation date isn't the issue here, you moved before the application deadline.

insancerre Tue 14-Jun-16 06:37:45

I'd does seem harsh but it seems you didn't live at the address you used for the application, so you have made a fraudulent claim
You can try an appeal, but I don't see which grounds you have to appeal on
You have admitted you only rented the house to secure a place at the school.

DetestableHerytike Tue 14-Jun-16 06:39:20

First of all, I am sorry to hear about the abuse.

Secondly, unfortunately I think the council is right. The address should be the one at which the child resides at the application close date. If your child had stayed in the home with you or your partner, that would be the address, but that isn't what happened (which is presumably clear from court documents etc).

Is the school full with classes of 30 I.e. Is this an ICS appeal?

If your child is now primarily residing at the old address, that would be the address for any waiting list, but it sounds like that isn't the case.

DetestableHerytike Tue 14-Jun-16 06:40:40

"ou have admitted you only rented the house to secure a place at the school."

That part is fine as OP got a two year rental contract and had no other primary residence. It's where the child actually was that's the issue.

RidiculousFruitcake Tue 14-Jun-16 08:32:56

Thanks for everyone's reply. I suppose if the abuse has not happened DC would be still living at the address. I have considered the possibility of moving back with DC ie ex move out but things were very bad so that couldn't happen.

DetestableHerytike what is anow ICS appeal? The school class is 30 and I suppose it is full.

Where DC and I live now is about 10 mins walk to the school but it would have been too far for catchment.

RidiculousFruitcake Tue 14-Jun-16 08:50:29

I feel life played a gigantic joke on me - if domestic violence happened few months earlier or later the outcome would be completely different. If I knew that DC has to be in the address I would have tried to get somewhere else to live, near another good shool even if not to this one.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 14-Jun-16 08:55:44

In England there's a legal class size limit of 30 in Reception and KS1. It can only be breached in exceptional circumstances. An ICS appeal would be one where classes in those years are organised into classes of 30. They are harder to win than other appeals because a child can only be admitted by the appeals panel in a very limited set of circumstances.

In your case, the mistake seems to have been yours rather than the LA's so the chances of you winning are slim. Where were the children actually living on the 15th January?

prh47bridge Tue 14-Jun-16 08:57:10

The school class is 30 and I suppose it is full

In that case it will be an ICS (Infant Class Size) appeal. That means you can only win if you can show that the authority has made a mistake and you should have got a place or that their decision was unreasonable (which, in admission appeals terms, basically means irrational).

I'm afraid the council is right. You must apply from the address where you are actually living. You can try explaining the situation to an appeal panel and hope they are sympathetic but it is a long shot.

Imperialleather2 Tue 14-Jun-16 08:59:53

Life hasn't played a big joke on you. You knew the rules which is why you rented that particular house in the first place.

Have you been offered another

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Tue 14-Jun-16 09:05:24

There are some incredibly harsh responses on here. OP, I'm very sorry this has happened to you. I hope life gets better soon. I can entirely understand why with all the other stuff going on you didn't contact the LEA to ask about the school application rules. If this is your first time dealing with the bureaucratic nightmare that is the school admissions system why should you realise that this would be a problem?

You have presumably been offered another school place. What would that be like?

Please don't cave in and go back to your partner. The abuse will not stop or get better. Build a better life for you and your son without him.


NerrSnerr Tue 14-Jun-16 09:13:20

I'm sorry you're going through a hard time but they are following procedure. Has he been offered another place elsewhere?

Overrunwithlego Tue 14-Jun-16 09:18:13

Sorry you are going through this fruitcake. Agree that some responses have been harsh given your circumstances. It's not quite clear from your post when you moved out of the family home and how that compares to the application deadline?

Did you report the dv to the police? Did they advise you to leave?

I think it is worth a shot speaking to the council.

Hoppinggreen Tue 14-Jun-16 09:21:54

I'm sorry for what you have been through but an appeal is valid if procedure was not followed properly and it sounds like in your case it was.
You could try speaking to the council no provide any evidence you can it it sounds like by the letter of the law they have withdrawn the place correctly.

Floggingmolly Tue 14-Jun-16 09:29:07

The replies might seem harsh, but seriously? You don't live there. You haven't lived there since last November, and you won't be in a position to live there again for the duration of the tenancy.
Why do you imagine the decision to withdraw your place is wrong?

Arkwright Tue 14-Jun-16 10:29:25

Overrun the OP moved out in November. The application deadline is 15th January. Places are allocated on 16th April.

Arkwright Tue 14-Jun-16 10:33:18

It should clearly state either in booklet form or online by your local authority the rules.

irvineoneohone Tue 14-Jun-16 10:37:53

I agree some response is a bit harsh, but it would be better for op to realize she doesn't have a grounds for appeal, since her dc never lived there while application process took place.

easiersaidthandone Tue 14-Jun-16 11:51:48

I agree with others but it's hard not to come across harsh, it isn't Op fault she had to leave the family home like a lot of us that leave similar situations but she had a choice in regards to the application and chose to submit a fraudulent claim for a school place and the council did what they had to do in that situation. My children didn't get into their first choice school nor the second choice they all got into third choice school over a mile walk (we walk 20-30 mins) that was all because we had to leave our family home. I was upset to begin with but they are happy and doing well and that is all that matters now.

What about the parents and children that genuinely live in that catchment area?, they would potentially miss out out on places that should be allocated to them if the council allowed people to lie about where they are living in order to get a place.

It doesn't sound like you will have much grounds for appeal due to the fraudulent information you supplied while the application process took place. Some councils have pulled children out of school once they have started on similar grounds.

branofthemist Tue 14-Jun-16 13:37:26

Op I am sorry for what happen to you. However

During all this time I wasn't living at family house I have paid rent/council tax/utility bills so DC can use the address for school application.

this suggests you did indeed know you should have told them, but thought of you were paying the bills it would be fine. Rather than you didn't think to let them know.

It sounds like they followed the correct procedure and I don't think an appeal would be successful.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Tue 14-Jun-16 14:25:04

My reading of the timeline here is:

November - OP moves out with the children; partner stays in what had been family home (rented)
January - OP applies for school place as from what had been the family home. Partner is still living there. OP is still paying part of the costs of the house. Children would have been visiting/staying if there hadn't been an argument over this between OP and her partner.
March - children resume contact with their father, so are now regularly staying at/visiting former home. Offer of school place is made.
May - father moves out of what had been family home, but council have confirmed that as offer had already been made it is not relevant that none of them now live in the catchment.

I don't think that's nearly as clear cut as some of you are making out.

Floggingmolly Tue 14-Jun-16 14:33:02

But "regular contact" just means visiting; the kids were officially resident elsewhere. Plus the school application would have been made in January, a whole two months before even this level of contact began to take place.
Op unfortunately doesn't have a leg to stand on.
She made the application whilst living elsewhere.
She was extremely misguided if she did indeed continue to pay rent / council tax / utility bills so DC can use address for school application, which suggests she knew exactly what she was doing.

irvineoneohone Tue 14-Jun-16 14:36:25

But Gasp0de, do you really believe she stand a chance on appeal? It's really unfortunate situation, but I think OP's time and energy should be spent on more realistic solutions. Waiting list, house move if possible, get positive info about allocated school, etc.

Arkwright Tue 14-Jun-16 14:39:44

Gasp it's completely clear. The OP and her child have not lived at this house since November.

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