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Help please on school admission nightmare!

(31 Posts)
user1482261175 Tue 20-Dec-16 19:44:03


New to Mumsnet, but looks like this might well be my last and only hope for good advice!

Long story short, I am petrified today after talking to school admissions at my local council -- was told we would have to sell the property we own at our previous address prior to applying schools for my son at our current address, which is an impossible task given the deadline of 15th Jan 2017!

We moved to the area we are living at now, a little over 2 months ago, knowing it being a better area to raise family etc. We are renting here atm, but had been looking to buy for over a year and did not manage to find anything suitable (and within budget).

Problem is we do own the previous property we lived in, and thought it might represent a problem when it comes to school applications, so have called the current council before the move. We were told back then that we will need to provide evidence that the previous address (which we own) is either sold or rented out. We had since put the property on rental market immediately after moving into the new area, and have now someone living in there on a long-term (12 months) rental contract.

This morning, I called our current council to ask for what kind of evidence I would need to provide in order to support my son's school application, for example, whether I need to upload tenancy agreement of the property that we own to prove we are not living there at the moment, hence our current address is our main residence, and to my complete shock, I was given a blunt NO(!) and that I will need to actually sell that property (not rented out) to prove the current address is our main residence!

I am still pretty much in shock, and do not know what to do since selling our previous property is certainly not an option, and we can not move back as well since it is currently rented out!

Please any help would be hugely appreciated.

baggysoobs Tue 20-Dec-16 19:47:35

How far apart are the houses and what was the reason for moving from one to the other?

PinkSwimGoggles Tue 20-Dec-16 19:48:48

what does the actual information on the council website, the admission booklet, say?

IrenetheQuaint Tue 20-Dec-16 19:59:29

Sounds odd. Do you have a tenancy agreement for the property you're currently living in, and how long does it run for?

bittapitta Tue 20-Dec-16 20:01:14

This seems very very unlikely. You have plenty of proof of residence of the property you live in I assume. And is anyone living in your owned property, proof of that? Just apply as usual and submit proof of residential address if requested.

bittapitta Tue 20-Dec-16 20:02:55

Might be worth posting your Council as they all do it differently. Mine didn't ask for proof of residency, they do a random sample. Some boroughs in London ask for all sorts of evidence with the application.

meditrina Tue 20-Dec-16 20:03:02

Do you have the earlier advice in writing?

Unfortunately, what you gave done us exactly what those who attempt to cheat the system by address flipping. And yes, councils can take a very hard line.

Which is why distance between properties us also relevant. If you own a house in Aberdeen but are renting in Penzance, then the council would be acting perversely in insisting on the owned address. But if the two properties are within get a few minutes journey of each other, then they'll go with the owned.

So that's why I asked if you had the earlier advice in writing. Because it is reasonable for you to rely on advice issued from the admissions office.

user1482261175 Tue 20-Dec-16 20:03:21

Thanks, baggysoobs.

Southeast London to Southwest London, so it is really not that we moved a few streets up to better our chances at a better school...

bittapitta Tue 20-Dec-16 20:03:37

Sorry by "posting your Council" I meant writing on this thread where you're applying and someone might be able to help.

Girlwhowearsglasses Tue 20-Dec-16 20:07:25

I think that can't be right. Lots of people own more than one property. To be blunt I don't think to would stand up to appeal.

Does you area have a 'school preference advisor' ? This is a person employed by the council but impartial. They have to know the actual rules and are there to help with admissions and appeals. I have been told total utter poppycock by local authority admission departments before.

Paying your council tax as your main residence in a property and having your child benefit go there is what Lambeth ask for - and they're pretty 'on it' as so many people moving about for schools in London.

Middleoftheroad Tue 20-Dec-16 20:07:36

In our LA it's where you were paying council tax at the time of application, or if you move, you ring up with your new details of where you now pay council tax and they may update it in time or you may join the waiting list. What they told you does not sound right. Admissions were wrong when I had a query recently.

We applied for secondary in October and are due to move next month. as our current address is on the CAF I fully expect to have to join the waiting list for our new nearest due to the timings

Find the admissions criteria.
Then call up and challenge, speak to a manager and put it in writing if need be.

Girlwhowearsglasses Tue 20-Dec-16 20:10:56

Sorry I see you may even be in Lambeth. Having just done secondary admissions I can tell you that in the e admission system it asks for council tax and/or child benefit letter - and failing that a signed declaration witnessed by a solicitor

OopsDearyMe Tue 20-Dec-16 20:11:13

I would speak to a manager and ask for a copy of the policy these conditions in question relate to be sent to you. This will enable you to be sure of what is required, never take the word of the flunky at the desk... Won't go into my tale of woe on that as its a loooooooong story. If it DOES state that renting out the property is not good enough proof of it not being your main residence.Ask why as you could not live in said property as well the current tenant.
How long is your tenancy agreement for your current rental, if its got a good 12 months on it,that ought to be proof that you will be resident there for at least that amount of time.
So have the tenancy agreements for your rented out home.
The agreement for your current rental and any other documentation you have in regards to your attempts to buy in the area, mortgage applications, and forms you may have completed at local estate agencies or screen shots of internet searches.
Hit them with all of those and ask them how else would they like you to prove your intentions to remain in that area.
Another tack would be to explain that should they not place your child in a local school, they will be failing in their duties. As you would have no way together her to a school elsewhere.
If in any doubt .....
Go to the citizens advice bureau

user1482261175 Tue 20-Dec-16 20:12:21

Thanks all! really really appreciate it!

The booklet says "If you own a property which is, or has previously been, used as your home address and you state that you are living at, and apply from, a different address, we will treat the second address as temporary. Therefore, we will use the address of the property which you own as the valid address for school admissions purposes."

and no, I do not have any communications with the council in writing... which I hugely regret atm.

We do have a 12 months tenancy agreement on the current address, and the old address (which we own) is currently rented out on a 12 months rental contract as well.

DeepAndCrispAndEvenTheWind Tue 20-Dec-16 20:12:57


Lots of areas do apply this. As a PP said, if the distance is Aberdeen to Penzance then it should be fine, if it's a mile or two, less so. In London, this may be a few miles only.

DeepAndCrispAndEvenTheWind Tue 20-Dec-16 20:14:46

"Another tack would be to explain that should they not place your child in a local school, they will be failing in their duties. As you would have no way together her to a school elsewhere. "

That will not work, as op will get a school place based on her prior address, this fulfils the obligation to offer a place suitable within the rules.

bittapitta Tue 20-Dec-16 20:26:53

Oh dear, good luck then. Strange to have moved such a short distance and not sold though especially with a London-based school application coming up (notoriously hoop-jumpy)

user1482261175 Tue 20-Dec-16 20:34:40

Thanks again for all the messages posted -- really need to talk to someone as I can not even begin to imagine what would happen if my son has no school to attend to...

@DeepAndCrispAndEvenTheWind, being offered a place where we lived is really the last thing we want, and what we fear the most... my son likes the new area a lot and is actually attending the nursery of the school we are applying for and loves it there very much, plus the old property is being rented out for until Nov 2017, so if we do move back we will need to rent a new one instead -- all of these simply does not make sense to me...

LIZS Tue 20-Dec-16 20:38:42

Even if you are unsuccessful in your preferred local schools you'd still be able to go on waiting lists etc between Easter and September. When does dc turn 5? Put down at least one school which is likely to be successful from previous address if feasible.

SquirmOfEels Tue 20-Dec-16 20:44:47

The distance between eg SE11 and SW11 is less than between eg SE9 and SE10. So even though your intention isn't flipping, it could well be possible from the locations on the information you have given so far.

The wording you gave quoted sounds familiar. Is it Wandsworth? If so, they are pretty hot about checking, and seriously strict on applying the rule exactly as written (especially round their hotspot schools, but across the whole borough really these days). Sorry, that won't be what you want to hear.

Moves around the time of reception applications always seem to be scrutinised. And the pan-London system makes checking pretty easy too.

You could apply for an undersubscribed school, then hope to move when you fly to the top of waiting lists when you have bought your long-term home. There's always churn in London schools, so although frustrating right now it will all work out once you gave sold/bought.

FanDabbyFloozy Tue 20-Dec-16 20:49:34

I think you're in a difficult spot as this is exactly what people do to fix the entrance system. They conveniently find they can't find a house they can afford and move back to the original house

What is the distance involved? If it's less than 5 miles, I think you will find yourself hard pressed to get a place at the new location.

irvineoneohone Tue 20-Dec-16 20:54:13

"rented out for until Nov 2017" sounds a bit dodgy though. Technically, you can start school, than move back after school place has been confirmed.

Girlwhowearsglasses Tue 20-Dec-16 20:55:00

Gosh- so definitely you need the school preference advisor - - citizens advice won't know so much of the ins and outs. They usually hold open surgeries at admissions time

user1482261175 Tue 20-Dec-16 20:56:17

Really lovely to see the many helpful comments! thanks!

Distance would be more than 15 miles, so would involve an one-hour drive even without traffic -- do they take these things into consideration by any chance?

PinkSwimGoggles Tue 20-Dec-16 20:56:58

this rule makes absolutely no sense.
what if you can't sell, or you own more than one property?

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