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Primary school admissions - Help

(85 Posts)
ThisAintALoveSong Thu 29-Sep-16 14:23:34

Sorry if this kind of question has been asked to death but I'd love some advice.

I have to apply for my sons primary school for September 2017 start. My preferred choice is a faith school (CofE) which I believe is out of my catchment area. I'm not 100% certain of this though as I don't know how I would find out the boundaries.

I work in a completely different city to where I live. My children attend a CM who lives down the road from my preferred choice of school and her son attends said school. Suffice to say she does drop offs and picks ups from this school and I have cited this as a 'reason' on my application form to the LA. The other reason being that my parents live round the corner from this school so if CM was unavailable my parents could step in.

Do you think this is a valid reason to cite as to my preference? I am out of the house from 8 am and don't get home til after 6pm. I don't follow any particular religion (I'm catholic by default but non-practicing. I've attended church a handful of times since my eldest son was born).

It makes sense to me that both my sons are happy and settled with CM, her son attends the school I would like them to attend, she is on hand and already does pick ups and drop offs for before and after school club. Does this go in my favour for admission? Most of the criteria is based on children with a previous looked after sibling, those with social or medical needs, then all the faith criteria after that.

I think I fall into the criteria of 'other children'. I'm getting stressed about the whole process as there is no way on this planet I can finish work any earlier than I currently do!

Can anyone advise??

HollyAndIvyTime Thu 29-Sep-16 14:26:30

I don't know where you live. But where I am the schools follow strict over subscription criteria which is listed on the council website. You either get into a school under those criteria or you don't. I'm afraid here your reasons wouldn't help at all.

whatsagoodusername Thu 29-Sep-16 14:27:49

They'll sympathise, but it won't make any difference to your chances.

CodeBreaker16 Thu 29-Sep-16 14:30:22

As far as I'm aware, once siblings/looked after children etc have been sorted, it works on catchment area and distance measured in a straight line from school to your house. So I don't think your reasons as mentioned above will help at all. You'll be most likely to be placed in your catchment school I think. I'm not in school admissions but I am a teacher and will also be applying for next year for my DC. Someone may correct me but that's how I think it works where I am at any rate.

CodeBreaker16 Thu 29-Sep-16 14:32:31

Basically you might need to find a different childminder that picks up from your nearest school. Or use before/after school clubs. Or move house.

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-16 14:33:06

Your childcare arrangements won't be considered relevant to the application. You need to look at the specific criteria and how far the last child admitted under each category was admitted this year. That info should be on the LA website or available on request.

CryingShame Thu 29-Sep-16 14:40:21

Have you also put your catchment school on the form, as a back up in case you don't get this school?

If the school prioritised practising CoE over distance / catchment, and you did go to church, it would help in your favour, but in the circumstances you've described there wouldn't be anything to bump you up the list, your child isn't in catchment (but do check on the council website) and you're not practising the religion.

ReggaeShark Thu 29-Sep-16 14:43:44

No. Those reasons wont help you one jot. You need to ring your Local Authority Admissions Dept to find out your catchment school and admissions criteria. Do this without delay. You seem a bit clueless tbh.

PassTheCremeEggs Thu 29-Sep-16 14:49:26

Reggae that's pretty harsh. OP is obviously posting here for help because she doesn't understand it. It is pretty confusing first time round.

OP the others are right. Places are offered following the admissions criteria, and they can't step outside them. Your childcare needs won't be taken into account at all. Can you imagine the nightmare if everyone had their own reasons for asking for a particular school and they all had to be considered? There'd be no fairness at all if admissions people were judging them all as to whether the reason was good enough or not.

ThisAintALoveSong Thu 29-Sep-16 14:51:03

Oh cheers Reggae, I'm not clueless!! The schools just don't give out catchment area maps so I'm working on the assumption I'm out of the catchment area based on proximity of my house as the crow flies from this school. And as mentioned, I do have the admissions criteria and plainly stated I think I fall into the category of 'other children'.

Only the LA gives out catchment area info which I have requested and not received as yet. I just wanted to know whether using childcare has worked for anybody else in a similar situation to myself. It's a ball ache when you know you can't be around to do school runs....ever!

ThisAintALoveSong Thu 29-Sep-16 14:53:42

Cryingshame - I have put 2 other schools on my preference list... I think I fall into the catchment area for these schools as they are not too far away. Again, I've been to visit these schools on open days recently but they don't have a catchment map. They've said the same thing - that it can only be retrieved via the LA sad

AndNowItsSeven Thu 29-Sep-16 14:53:53

If you fall into the " other children " category then you have slim to none chNce for an over subscribed church school.

ThisAintALoveSong Thu 29-Sep-16 14:55:43

My friend who is the CM said it's worth putting down that my sons attend her setting purely for the fact that as my youngest child will still be there during the week whilst I'm at work, the admissions people tend to do what's best for the child.... as in it would be continuity of care in a way. But maybe she's got that wrong

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-16 14:56:10

Not all LAs have catchment areas, many use distance which will vary from one year to another.

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-16 14:57:18

She has it wrong! There is no such discretion, sounds like she just wants to keep your business.

t4nut Thu 29-Sep-16 15:04:14

Faith schools tend not to have catchment areas - please do check the admission criteria as whilst not CofE the catholic school may recognise this in the criteria and require evidence.

ThisAintALoveSong Thu 29-Sep-16 15:04:48

Do you think they would consider it if I had to appeal since I've already stated it as a reason? Or should I just resign myself to the fact DS probably won't be admitted?

MrsJoeyMaynard Thu 29-Sep-16 15:07:55

Only religious schools have catchment areas (typically based on parishes) where I live. The rest are purely based on closest walking distance, which varies from year to year depending on how many children of the right age live near the schools.

My council is also not able to consider childcare as a reason when allocating school places, regardless of however much individuals working in school admissions may sympathise with your reasons for wanting the preferred school.

Also, if you do get the preferred school for your eldest DC, how does that affect the chances of your younger DC getting in? Some of the religious schools near me prioritise all faith children over siblings who aren't of the "correct" faith.

mouldycheesefan Thu 29-Sep-16 15:09:21

It is not a valid reason. Childcare arrangements are not considered.

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-16 15:09:32

No , wouldn't help at appeal. They examine if the criteria have been correctly applied and if a place has been unfairly denied. CM may be thinking of Looked After children who are those in , or who have been, in care , or Social criteria but that wouldn't apply to you , even assuming the school lists it.

mouldycheesefan Thu 29-Sep-16 15:10:24

But have you checked the faith requirements for the school you want e.g church attendance? As that may work in your favour.

titchy Thu 29-Sep-16 15:17:04

Do they actually have fixed catchment areas though? The fact that the school doesn't have them to hand, and that they're not on the LEA website, suggests that there is no such thing as catchment. Or is 'catchment' specifically stated as one of the criteria?

Most schools don't use catchment, simply proximity to school, which obviously changes from year to year depending on the profile of kids who apply. The LEA should be able to tell you over the phone though the furthest distance admitted from the 'proximity' category.

In any case, childcare reasons will not bump you up a list, nor will they win you an appeal. You will have to come to terms with changing childminder - which really isn't a big deal tbh, though not ideal.

ThisAintALoveSong Thu 29-Sep-16 15:18:34

Yes, MrsJoey the catchment areas are based on Parishes, but they don't give you the boundaries etc upfront. I'm just not a very churchey person, to be fair most people I know aren't so it seems bizarre how some kids get into faith schools when their parents aren't practicing.

Siblings in the school is a priority before the faith criteria is met so assuming I got the eldest in, I don't think I'd have too much of a problem.

Sigh, it's stressful thinking about schools. My second preference of school, I really do like and my nephew attends there.... It's a non-faith school but it's the opposite direction to my mother's house but closer to me. Meaning DM would have to pick DS up every day and its a bus ride away... she's not in the greatest of health. Argh such a faff. I'm trying not to burden people around me but I feel like I've too many obstacles in the way

mouldycheesefan Thu 29-Sep-16 15:20:10

Is there not an after school club at the school?

LIZS Thu 29-Sep-16 15:21:35

Or you swap cm? You'd get the outcome in April so plenty of time.

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