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Bumped down waiting list just as space arrives

(9 Posts)
Kindredspir1ts Thu 16-Jun-16 13:34:13

I'm gutted. DS has spent last couple of months on waiting list for school as an in-year admission. I found out a child was leaving at the end of last week, we were still No1on Friday (I checked) and know the child didn't turn up on Monday. Great we have a place I thought. But when I rang up the council they hadn't received notification from school of anyone leaving and we are now No2 so won't get the place. Even though Monday morning when place was available we were number 1. . .

Is there anything I can do? Anything which says how quickly spaces must be offered/filled? Or is it just really, really bad luck???

RubyGates Thu 16-Jun-16 13:39:44

It may be that the space is ear-marked for a looked-after child.

Radiatorvalves Thu 16-Jun-16 13:54:40

We were in this position. End of Year 1 (this is 5 years ago). Spoke to the school - 2 spaces available. Thought YES!! (We'd been trying for ages and had been messed about. DS was desperate to go to school but hadn't had a place for over a month after we moved). However, 2 kids in care completely pipped him.

We were offered a place soon after at a different school. Turns out there had been 29 kids in the class for the previous 5 months. Maybe I should have lobbied harder. Sometimes I think the council / school are not on same page.

I wrote to EVERYONE. And the Head of X Council Education services rang me just before offer and said "We really want to sort this one out."

Moving forward, we are now Number 2 on waiting list for secondary school of choice. It's London, we want to go to the nearest one, but have been allocated one 3 km away (because we are 130m too far from the nearest one). No grounds for appeal.

PatriciaHolm Thu 16-Jun-16 14:32:14

There are a number of things going on here. Firstly, just because the child failed to turn up doesn't mean the space is now free; the admissions authority need to ascertain for certain that the child has left, so need to communicate with the parents. If the parents don't communicate, then the place can be withdrawn anyway, but that will take a couple of weeks. So it may be the case that the admissions authority don't actually know officially that there is a place yet, so cannot give it to anyone. I would suggest keeping in close touch with the admissions over the next few days to try to ascertain what the position is.

Secondly, it would appear that someone else has gone onto the waiting list and they fit the criteria better than you (live nearer, or are in a higher admissions category) so are higher. This can of course happen at any time, but you need to check exactly when they went on. If the admissions authority don't officially know there is a space yet, then the issue is moot anyway because there was no space to give on monday and the new person is first on the list; if they did know officially on, say, friday evening and the new person went on this week, then that is a different story. You need to be absolutely clear on the timelines!

tiggytape Thu 16-Jun-16 14:44:51

As Patricia says, whilst this is frustrating, it is the correct procedure that the person who was at the top of the list when the new vacancy becomes official is the person to get it.
I think Patricia is probably right to suggest that on Monday the space may not have been officially vacant. It may not even be considered vacant today unless the family wrote and gave up their place in a way that satisfies the council it is permanent. If they didn't, the council may chase them for confirmation before acknowledging the vacancy exists. At which time, whoever is top of the list gets it.

If however the vacancy officially existed last Friday then you would have a good case to say the space should be yours and that's why establishing the timeline (and asking for that information) could be important.

Kindredspir1ts Thu 16-Jun-16 16:26:20

Thanks for all your advice. It's such a horrid thing to go through with emotions all over the place.

The family gave a letter to the school on Friday morning confirming that the child was leaving at the end of the day. But it seems that the school have taken their time to pass this on to the council. By Tuesday, when I again contacted the council they informed me that another child had moved closer to the school. We are a 7 minute walk away about 1/4 of a mile. What are the chances!!!!!!

I was pretty upset on phone to council so didn't really get anything from them. They just said the other family must have moved in last couple of days and didn't know when application arrived.

Can I ask the council to specify exactly when the new application arrived with them. Would it make any difference - does the school knowing of a place matter? Also should the council let me know the distance this child has been admitted on? We live pretty close to the school and I would like to double check that this was correctly measured/administered.

admission Thu 16-Jun-16 18:10:41

The only way that you will be able to potentially get that information is if you can apply for a place again, be told it is full and then appeal. At appeal you can then ask questions about the last pupil to get a place, when the school knew there was a place, when the other pupil was put on the waiting list etc.

It is unlikely that the LA will disclose that information under normal circumstances, they will simply just say what they have already said. Another application came in who had a higher admission priority.

Kindredspir1ts Thu 16-Jun-16 19:39:19

We do actually have an appeal pending so I will ask those questions. I guess the key is when does a space occur. When the school is informed? Or when the council is told by the school? I've tried googling and nothing definitive comes up. Anyone know?

admission Thu 16-Jun-16 22:12:21

If it is a community school then the admission authority is the LA, not the school. As such in theory the place becomes vacant when the LA have been told that there is a vacancy by the school.
I would ask the question of when the letter from the parent is dated and then when the LA received and actioned the fact that there was a place available. If there is a significant period of time, you might be able to persuade the panel that the school / LA have been unreasonable in the time they took to action the vacancy.
The other key issue is of course when did this new application for a place, get notified to the school / LA. If that happened to be in the period between the letter being written and the LA accepting that there was a place available then I would want to be very sure about how the request for a place came to the LA. If it was via the school, then I might start to question what has been going on. If the application was before the letter was dated and in school, then you have just been very unfortunate on timing.
The other thing area you might want to explore with the school representative is who holds the waiting list, the school or the LA. If it is the school then the question needs to be asked as to how on Friday and Monday morning according to the school you were first on the waiting list but somehow after the school were well aware of the vacancy, that this other person applied and was given priority.

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