Offered a place at chosen school- advice please!

(21 Posts)
TheBakeryQueen Thu 01-Sep-16 20:40:28

Hi everyone,

My children go to an OK primary school and are relatively happy there.

An opportunity came up last year to apply for an Independent School that was due to become a free school starting this September.

We are 3 miles away so I didn't think we'd get a place but nevertheless went to an open day, loved it and applied for a yr4 & yr2 place.

Their term started today.

I received an email today saying my eldest is next on the waiting list and place has become available to start this term!

So I'm really happy for my eldest but concerned for my middle child who would love to start there too.

Happy to send them both to different schools temporarily while waiting for a second place.

Wonder what the chances are of getting the second place?

I don't understand the waiting list rules but if I were to rent closer to the school would my middle child move up the waiting list?

Has this happened to anyone else?

LIZS Thu 01-Sep-16 20:45:11

Is it still independent ? If so there are no fixed rules and your dc2 may well be next in line for their year group, or they may be flexible on class size and take him anyway.

gillybeanz Thu 01-Sep-16 20:49:11

You need to understand the waiting list to begin with, so maybe call them?
If your dc are happy, why would you want to move them and maybe have to move house too.
Free schools do get a lot of bad press, do you know their policies and procedures? Most importantly, do you agree with the principles and philosophy/ ethos of the school.
If you haven't already you need to do your homework on how the school will be managed, not easy when it's a new venture.
The old saying of "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it" springs to mind. Not sure if this applies to you or not though.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 01-Sep-16 20:56:43

Ask whether there is a sibling priority and if so what the rules around it are - e.g. do you need to live a certain distance in order to count as sibling. If they are top of the list then you could wait a few weeks or a few years, depends on the turnover.

I guess that my only other concern would be if/why it didn't work out as an independent school, why did it become a free school. Check too whether holidays overlap.

TheBakeryQueen Thu 01-Sep-16 21:00:08

Thank you both.

No, I'll be honest, I don't understand how it will be managed.

Obviously, from their website and talking to the staff and pupils at the open day, I had a really good feel for the school.

The facilities and extra-curricular opportunities are so much better than their current school.

The eldest has a lovely year group, but we could maintain those friendships to a certain point I hope.

My middle child has never really settled in the current school, so when I said 'relatively happy' it's just that. He is ok but not thriving in his year group. He is old in the year and also really quite academic and seems frustrated rather a lot.

I will phone them tomorrow, they were shut by the time I read the email.

To add, our local secondary schools aren't great, to say the least. This school is the one where I hoped they would apply for secondary places, where it's entrance exams. Was thinking that being educated there would help them get a place maybe.

TheBakeryQueen Thu 01-Sep-16 21:00:58

Thank you shouldwestayorshouldwego definitely lots to think about.

TheBakeryQueen Thu 01-Sep-16 21:01:59

Please ignore typos, am on iPhone.

gillybeanz Thu 01-Sep-16 21:15:38

FWIW as it is going to be a new school in effect and probably managed differently to now, my advice would be to wait if you possibly can and review once you have some feedback from the changes that will take place.
You may find it's completely different to what has been offered before.

I know it's hard when your choices for secondary are poor or non existent, you have my sympathy thanks

Many schools offer a sibling priority so if your eldest gets a place that might move your middle child higher up his list. When you call you could ask where this would place ds2 on his list.

TheBakeryQueen Thu 01-Sep-16 21:19:58

Thank you gillybeanz really appreciate your advice.
I'm inclined to send him there but if he doesn't enjoy it move him back again, is that really silly?

It just feels like it could be a great opportunity. But I know what you mean, it's all totally new and untested right now.

TheBakeryQueen Thu 01-Sep-16 21:20:58

Thank you atruthuniversallyacknowledged I will remember to ask that tomorrow and fingers crossed that is the case!

gillybeanz Thu 01-Sep-16 22:00:51

Extra curricular activities are usually very good at private schools. I would look whether these are definitely going to continue, the cost and also if it was a way of luring parents in as it will be a new school.
I don't know anything about Free schools though so unfortunately can't help with this.

TheBakeryQueen Thu 01-Sep-16 22:09:07

You've been lots of help gillybeanz thank you.

mouldycheesefan Fri 02-Sep-16 12:17:18

Some schools in our town have changed from being fee paying schools but to academies not free schools.
Entrance to both is by banded lottery.
They are both mixed ability.
Going to the primary school is not a consideration for entry to the secondary school. You may want to check the admission to the secondary school, is it based on whether you went to the primary? If not then does attending the primary give you any advantage for entry to the secondary?
Schools csn change quite considerably when they cease to be fee paying.

TheBakeryQueen Fri 02-Sep-16 19:40:33

Mouldycheesefan I spoke to the admissions person today and she said my eldest now has a place until year 11.

This doesn't benefit my second son now because they won't apply the sibling rule to the current application and he can't re-apply until year 7.

However, the sibling rule will apply for year 7 and she said he is pretty much guaranteed a place (although never 100%) so even though I'm gutted for my middle child (and will be working on ways to even things out by paying for extra curricular things of his choice) in the longer term it will benefit him and my youngest.

I hope I'm making the right decision for all of them. And fingers crossed a miracle occurs and my middle son gets a place sooner than year 7.

I realise it could change quite a lot but I guess that's not something that's predictable either way.

swisschocolate Fri 02-Sep-16 19:54:03

This doesn't benefit my second son now because they won't apply the sibling rule to the current application and he can't re-apply until year 7.

I would double check that. Usually reception admission )or admission on that round- so sept 2016) doesn't prioritise an older child at a converting free school but once the child is in the school (so after start of term) then the sibling will usually be in the highest category of admission. So if a place comes up in their year group they will be at/towards the top depending on the number of siblings

Make sure that your older child is on the waiting list for their year group. Check in early October that they are still on the list.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Fri 02-Sep-16 19:57:11

That is strange that the sibling rule doesn't kick in when the older one joins, that's how it nearly always happens. I have heard of sibling rule only applying to younger children not older siblings. It might be worth sending a pm to one of the admissions experts on here to see what they make of it and whether their admission criteria actually say that. Could it be that the catchment for siblings is only a mile or two but at secondary it is larger - in which case moving nearer might help. You might have grounds for appeal if it's not clearly laid out.

TheBakeryQueen Fri 02-Sep-16 19:57:42

Swisschocolate I'll double check and ask them to clarify. Thank you.

TheBakeryQueen Fri 02-Sep-16 19:59:16

Shouldwestayorshouldwego can I appeal for my middle child (the one waiting for a yr2 place) now? Or have I missed the appeal deadline?

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 04-Sep-16 14:46:48

You can generally appeal once per year group, so you could appeal for yr2 but unless the class sizes are smaller than the usual 30 then you probably won't succeed, you might have more luck appealing for a yr 3 place. Alternatively if you think that there is a problem with their admission guidelines (but they won't move you up the list) then it might be worth appealing when you know that a place has been offered from the waiting list and then appeal on the basis that the place should have been your dc's. If a mistake has been made then they can admit over 30.

Try pming prh47bridge, admission or tiggytape, they are the mumsnet experts. If there isn't a place then there isn't a place but it seems strange that the sibling rule only applies at two time points.

TheBakeryQueen Sun 04-Sep-16 15:55:26

Thank you very much shouldwestayorshouldwego you've been so helpful, I shall pm those posters.

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