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Need advise, Yr 1 DD out of school since Sept16

(28 Posts)
soeasybreezy Thu 12-Jan-17 21:45:42

We moved to a new city, two other DD were offered places in school, middle DD Yr 1 placed on waiting list (same school and 4 others). It has been 3 months and she's not been offered a place in any schools within our catchment.

Council has written to school who refused to go over their numbers. Have started an appeal process through school directly and Council.

Trying my best to home school her but feeling so sad that she is missing out. Just wondering if anyone can offer any advise?

rosewineisgreat Thu 12-Jan-17 21:57:21

Are you in England? The local authority is legally obliged to offer your child a school place. Have they offered a place at all?

soeasybreezy Thu 12-Jan-17 22:16:39

Yes I am, I've been talking to the Fair Access team at the council and they are doing their best, apparently it's a widespread logistic problem. I really am feeling at my wits end, I need them to be in the same school and not sure if this is likely as it's an academy.

rosewineisgreat Thu 12-Jan-17 22:57:54

Did the local authority offer your DD a school place? Did you reject this?

Crumbs1 Thu 12-Jan-17 23:06:35

They cannot just 'try' they must provide a school place. I would be telling them if they didn't find a state school place then they could fund private place. Use a solicitor to write a letter.

MamOfTwo Thu 12-Jan-17 23:12:54

Did they offer you a place out of your catchment?

But they must offer your DD a place. Surely accepting a place elsewhere would be better than keeping her out of school? (Unless you actively wanted to home school)

smellyboot Thu 12-Jan-17 23:28:42

Has she been offered anything at all??

rosewineisgreat Thu 12-Jan-17 23:30:41

I'm guessing OP has rejected a school place because it's not the same school as her other DC..... happy to be corrected!

soeasybreezy Fri 13-Jan-17 00:04:39

No place offered at all I'm afraid. The LA approached the school where the other two DDs are at and the school refused to oblige. I've had two home visits by LA as part of their protocol. I'd be happy to take on anything but have just been told there is no vacancies and I'd just have to wait.

soeasybreezy Fri 13-Jan-17 00:13:59

I've been informed that LA has taken the formal direction route, however as the school is an academy, there can be a push back and also unsure how long this process will take, which is why I've also appealed directly to the school board, though they meet every 6-8 weeks.

Home schooling is intense, for once I don't really know what I'm doing. Bought assessment books and following online worksheets but it is really frustrating for me as I get worked up with poor DD and it's not her fault. I need to be patient with her and I do try but sometimes I feel like a terrible mum.

Alorsmum Fri 13-Jan-17 00:34:29

Have you said you'll only accept the same school your other children are at? I am confused as you say you'll take anything but also that kids must be at same school. Do you mean you want to move them all?
Have you said you are now home schooling?
I think you need to make it clear that you are NOT home schooling you're just informally trying to ensure she doesn't fall too far behind - I'm not an expert but saying oh ok I'll have to home school then and being registered as home schooling may mean they don't have the obligation to offer a place anymore? Hopefully someone knowledgable can confirm

soeasybreezy Fri 13-Jan-17 00:57:47

Thanks everyone for your comments, I will see if I can speak to a solicitor that handles education today.

Sorry wasn't clear, the LA had their meeting and decided approaching the school where the other two DDs are at, because it is the closest and as her siblings are there. I had no say in this decision. I've also said that I'd be opened to other schools even if it's further but nothing has come up and it seems that the LA is pursuing action with this school but obviously facing resistance.

Shoot, I did use the term 'home school' but it was just to explain that am making sure she keeps up, they know this is not my intent.

AndNowItsSeven Fri 13-Jan-17 01:00:44

Why haven't they provided a tutor?

SuperRainbows Fri 13-Jan-17 01:13:11

I would put away the assessment books and not do any formal schoolwork, especially if you're getting frustrated with dd.
This situation is stressful enough and in most sensible countries dd wouldn't be in school anyway at this age.
Enjoy this time with your dd. Go out, maybe meet up with local home education groups so she gets lots of activities and socialising.
Take the pressure off yourself and your dd. She is definitely not losing out. This is a really special time for both of you.

prh47bridge Fri 13-Jan-17 08:18:00

I'm not sure a solicitor is going to be able to help you. Even those that specialise in education often have limited understanding of admissions.

The LA is failing you and your daughter badly. They have failed to find a place for your daughter and are not doing anything to ensure that she is still being educated. There is a good case that they should at least be providing a tutor. They have had more than long enough to sort this out. You should give them a deadline to either come up with a school place or provide a tutor and make it clear you will refer the matter to the LGO if they fail to do so. You should avoid talking about home schooling when talking to the LA. If you mention that term they might use it to get themselves off the hook. You need to be clear that your daughter has not been receiving any education since September.

Your appeal is to an independent appeal panel, not the school board or the LA. As the school is an academy it is responsible for arranging the appeal. The Appeals Code sets down a clear timetable for this. They cannot wait until the next meeting of the governors. As no place has been offered you should have a good chance of success unless the school is really so full that they can't handle any more pupils.

When the LA asked them to take your daughter under the FAP the school had one week to respond. The LA should then have consulted about issuing a direction to the school. That part of the process has taken far too long. Now that they have issued a direction the school has 15 calendar days to respond. If they do not agree a start date for your daughter within that timeframe the LA can apply for a direction from the Secretary of State, although they are supposed to try mediation first.

Megatherium Fri 13-Jan-17 09:22:44

Contact Simpson Millar - they're good on school admission issues, and I think you may well need a solicitors' letter to push all concerned to operate the law properly.

rosewineisgreat Fri 13-Jan-17 09:29:42

So the LA really has NO Year 1 places anywhere in the local authority?

soeasybreezy Fri 13-Jan-17 09:30:19

Thanks for the insight prh47bridge, I too believe it has taken far too long for this process to get going but I was assured by the LA that they had to follow procedures with regards to first writing to all the schools involved asking if any would volunteer to take DD in, then awaiting their response (all said no), then deciding which school to proceed with, sending them another letter of request and then the last I spoke, it has escalated to FAP.

When I asked the school about the appeals process, I was told to send a letter to the Chair of Governors, which I have done so for this particular academy. In addition, I've submitted for a place with another school through the appeals process. Perhaps I should wait the out the next 15 days but that does mean another fortnight that DD is out of school.

I don't understand why the resistance by the academy, I am aware there are other children on the waiting list but they are placed in other schools currently, so it's not affecting their education.

MsGameandWatch Fri 13-Jan-17 09:48:47

Bitterly amused by the utter outrage and disbelief on this thread that OP must have contributed in some way to this situation and legally the LA must provide a place. You're lucky if that has been your experience, certainly wasn't mine. There's not enough school places to go round hence the ever increasing intakes and bulge classes and the LA can be very slippery when it comes to meeting their obligations. If this wasn't the case there would be no need for all these solicitors specialising in admissions and education tribunals would there? And don't get me started on how much worse it gets if a child without a place just happens to have some additional needs alongside.

MsGameandWatch Fri 13-Jan-17 09:49:33

Disbelief should have been belief.

soeasybreezy Fri 13-Jan-17 09:56:08

rosewineisgreat I just got off the phone with the LA and there is a school with YR 1 placement, 6 miles away (20 mins driving) and I'm going to give them a ring now. There are 3 other schools more than 6 miles away, but as they are Catholic schools, it is not my preference to apply for any faith schools.

rosewineisgreat Fri 13-Jan-17 10:06:20

Will they be obliged to offer you transport seeing as the nearest school place is so far away?

soeasybreezy Fri 13-Jan-17 10:07:02

MsGameandWatch, I've explained my situation rather clearly, and don't appreciate that you say I may have contributed to it. I mean aside to moving into another city / LA and not being able to find a place for my child, this is hardly my fault. They've not offered me any school position for me to able to decline. Perhaps the only setback is not wanting my child to be in a faith school, this is a personal preference so I've not applied for any.

Having spoken to the school 6 miles away that supposedly has the spot, has just given that to a student last week, I am welcome to be to added to another waiting list.

Looks like I am resigned to wait out and see what comes through from the appeals and formal directions process. I've called the LGO and department of education and have been advised any complaints procedures will have to wait till after the appeals process.

soeasybreezy Fri 13-Jan-17 10:10:54

MsGameandWatch, ahm I'm sorry, didn't see your other post, obviously I am a touch sensitive about this situation as I am trying my best and fed up and not getting anywhere. I think I just need to take a step back and as SuperRainbows said, no more formal home education.

On the bright side, my DD2 (yr1) and DD3 (nursery) are happily playing Sylvanian Families so I need to chill.

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