Timings for offering/accepting places in-year(6 Posts)
A child has left my DS' Y2 class - withdrawn from school to HE, in case that matters. Child left over a week ago.
A friend has her Y2 child on the waiting list for our school. She is very keen and if offered a space, would move her child immediately. She checked recently with the school office - it's a VA school - and was told she was second place on the waiting list.
Presumably now that a space has come up, the governors will review the waiting list according to admissions criteria, then offer the space to the child top of the list.
Now I'm curious about timings. I can imagine that the governors won't act super quickly, but I could be wrong - I just have a feeling that they will want to check legalities and stuff before offering away a place when the HE family might still change their mind or something. Then they offer to Number One child. What if that family says 'We'd really like the space but can our child start in January?' seeing as it's only a few weeks to Christmas and everyone is preparing Christmas productions and it would be an awkward time to move a child.
Can they do that? Could they do it if they'd offered the space today, with 4 weeks + to go in the term? What if they dithered and then offered the space in two weeks, basically then giving the family two weeks to move?
Or if they offer today, give them 2 weeks to decide, then after those two weeks they get two weeks to start. So start in January.
Basically I'm wondering, if no new child appears in class, at what point (if any) should/could my friend start making a fuss, pointing out that the place is available and can't be 'held' for anyone?
It is not that simple. The first question is how many pupils are there in the year and what is the Published Admission Number. So if say the school had 61 pupils in the year group, due to a successful appeal, with a PAN of 60, then one left there would be 60 left and the school does not have to admit another pupil, only when it gets to 59.
As it is a VA school the school are the admission authority. The first step for the school is to get in writing something from the parents something saying they are going to home educate. When they have that they can officially decide to remove the pupil from the register. This might not be as easy as it sounds because if the LA have any concerns over this particular child then they hold up the removal until they are satisfied that they know what they need to know about the circumstances of this decision to home educate.
As the admission authority the school GB are responsible for agreeing who is on the top of the waiting list and offering the place. However in most instances, whilst it is supposed to be a GB committee, the reality is that somebody in the school office deals with it.
Also in many LAs they only admit at half termly points, so for many schools they would be looking to a January start. It makes no difference to the school, because the census date for funding purposes was in October.
Given that the decision is all about who is at the top of the waiting list at the point where the pupils is de-registered, my inclination would be to get your friend to make very sure that they are on the waiting list, in fact why not submit a new application for a place in the year group. That has the advantage of putting a very large marker down in the sand to say I asked for the place on this date, why have I not got given the place.
There weren't any successful appeals for this year group, so although the school tends to be oversubscribed, the number of children was equal to PAN. And is now one less.
But it's good to understand that officially de-registering the child may take some time - I see it depends on quite a few factors (the family putting their decision into writing, the school taking it to LEA, LEA being happy with it). And none of those instances will feel any urgency to get it done. So I won't hold my breath for news!
I guess what my friend can hope for is that the place does get offered during this term, and that the family ahead of her decides not to take it (and makes that decision fairly quickly), and that the school is sufficiently on the ball to do a quick turnaround and offer it to her; so that her child could potentially start in the new year.
But I see that there is equally a possibility that the place isn't offered to the first-placed family until next term, and they accept for start after Feb half term. And she might not know until the new child starts.
It just feels a bit wrong that the process could take so long. That there could be an empty space in the class for the best part of a term despite there being demand for it. Oh well.
On the other hand, someone else in our neighbourhood changed schools very abruptly - they enquired after a space on a Friday, were told that there were spaces, and started at the new school on the Monday. Different schools involved but same LEA. Might that be an indication that our LEA doesn't encourage restricting admissions to half-termly points? Would that then mean that once offered, the family would have to take up the place 'immediately' i.e. within two weeks or so?
It just occurred to me - as long as the child who has left is still on the register, won't their absence wreak havoc with the school's attendance statistics? That would be a huge incentive for the school to move things along!
The school won't report stats weekly; in imagine there's a code for pending transfers that can be confirmed in final stats.
"But I see that there is equally a possibility that the place isn't offered to the first-placed family until next term, and they accept for start after Feb half term. And she might not know until the new child starts."
Well, that might happen! But it's also quite likely the family in question have already decided their plan if a space comes up, just like your friend has.
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