Moving area, school places like gold dust!(19 Posts)
I recently moved with my four school aged dc's from Berkshire to Somerset. Due to a family member being diagnosed with cancer and needing support, I am now looking at moving back. Not ideal to be moving the children twice within a year and feel awful about it.
I won't be able to get the children back into their old school as it is so hugely over-subscribed. Other local schools are also over-subscribed. There is one school which has places in each of the year groups I need, it's out of the borough but no borough schools have places. The out of borough school is 1.8 miles from where we will be living, though, and I don't drive. The only bus service would get us to the school an hour early or 20 minutes late and would cost £65 a week! So the only option would be to walk. My youngest DS is 4, eldest DD is 8. I'm at a loss for what to do :-/
Put your name on every waiting list for local schools. Once you have one in, at a lot of schools, will be easier to get other one in.
You could home educate in the interim.
If that's not an option I think you'll have to get there an hour early (is their a breakfast club they could go in)? It's not great, but hopefully will only be short term option.
Could you all cycle ? Youngest on tag along or cargo bike. Older 2 on their own bikes.
1.8 miles is doable, they would get used to it especially with scooters. I would take a buggy to carry all the bags etc if needed.
Or in fact you could all scoot!
Due to some really busy roads on the route, I wouldn't be confident of their safety with them in bikes or scooters (and I can't ride a bike!) Does anyone know what happens if the local borough can't offer me school places at any school in the borough?
Sorry, meant to say, no breakfast club at the school :-/
If there aren't spaces in borough then LEA can satisfy duty to educate your child by finding space outside borough. In any event, 1.8 miles isn't considered that far (over 2 miles for primary school to get free transport). Why would a borough school further away have been better?
I don't think there's any way you can get in a closer school apart from going on waiting lists. So you'll either have to work out a way to get to school (including waiting an hour if necessary if you get bus) or home educating. Sorry, can't be more positive.
I think perhaps you need to get on top of your nerves about scootering, you don't let them go off at full pelt way ahead of you!
My youngest walked a mile each way from the age of just 2 and then scootered it from just 3 - so 2 miles each return trip. It will take getting used to but it's not excessively far. Make them walk any particularly awful bits.
How much is a regularly booked minicab? That is another back option on really horrid days, take your scooter with you and scoot back.
I think you need to get back to basics on this. You need to go to the LA admissions team and tell them you are moving back into the area and need places for your children. The fact that there are 4 will not make it an easy situation to find places. However the LA have a legal responsibility to find you places and so you do need to go through the process. Ask for places back at your old school and every other school that you think will be appropriate but you do need to be trying to emphasise that you need a school which has places for all your children not just one or two. Sometimes LAs can be very blind the obvious that it makes sense for them all to go to the same school. Unfortunately that is not always possible but at least make them look for suitable places. Most LAs expect pupils to get to school up to 2 miles away without giving any transport, so you do need to think about how this can be done and also what are therefore sensible school options.
If there are no places then the LA will confirm this and tell you that you can appeal. I am guessing that you will have some infant age children, which will be more difficult to win appeals for but you will probably have to take this route as a first step.
The second step after a few weeks when the children are off without a school place is to ask about the Fair Access Protocol that the LA operate. This is more usually for pupils who have been excluded but if you have 4 children and no school places the LA may consider invoking this protocol. This in effect allows the LA to place you children in a school even though they may be full.
I do have to warn you that the probability is that you will be given places at a school which is a considerable distance away, but if it is more than 2 miles then help with transport should be given.
Duckstar, the out of borough school is the one which is 1.8 miles away and the only one with spaces for all 4. An hour wait in decent weather wouldn't be the end if the world but I can't have 4 children standing outside a school for an hour in Winter.
Random, I don't think it's a case of nerves, I personally don't feel it would be safe to have four children aged between 4-8 years on scooters or bikes in a high traffic area.
admission, thanks for the advice.
I didn't think 1.8 miles was all that far and would give but when I mentioned it to a few friends they disagreed. I think I'll try to get them into the out of borough school and maybe get the bus on the home leg.
I suppose because I did a just 3, 5 & 6 year old on scooters for 5 years in a high traffic area I think it is an option, yes you have to take it slow and ensure they know they HAVE to stop at every kerb and wait for you to cross the road.
Preferable to standing around and freezing - the younger two were on mini and then maxi scooters for most of that time!
Each to their own, Random, but it's not an option for us. Narrow pavements busy with pedestrians and roads with lots of cars make the route unsafe for 4 DC's on bikes or scooters.
Why not walk if you don't want to scooter or bike? Would take about 30mins. I make our kids age 3 and 6 walk in all weathers ;-). That's what hats and coats are for! Good luck.
Clearly I was a completely irresponsible parent then!
Have to say I was horrified and how many Year 1 pupils were incapable of walking on a pavement to the local church when I helped out. No idea how to stay on the pavement and face forwards looking where they going... guess they were used to going by car everywhere.
Personally the youngest only a scooter will make the walk quicker for everyone even if for some of it they have to walk, hence recommending the mini/maxi micro scooter as they are easier to carry.
Random, clearly you are a parent who is confident of being able to control 4 young children whilst also negotiating narrow pavements lined with parked cars, other pedestrians and traffic. I, on the other hand, am not. As I said, each to their own.
My children have never been driven to school so are used to walking safely, my concern is whether the distance may be too much.
User, I was of the opinion that walking would be OK but had a bit of a wobble when several friends said they thought it would be too far to walk for my youngest 2.
I think walking will be OK, even for the youngest. People nowadays are not used to the thought of walking any distance, and automatically think young children aren't capable of it. But they are, and have been for centuries before the car became king.
You will also be helping their fitness levels and getting them to school with peak alertness from all that beneficial exercise.
I do believe you were correct in your original opinion, don't let doomsayers change your mind. Besides, you don't really have a lot of choice as it stands, do you? It's your best option. The bus services may change for the better at some point in the future, but until then, walking looks good.
If it's going to make life easier, could you rent nearer to the school? Assume your original home was rented out while you were in Somerset.
If you are so against every other option, then can you learn to drive? It's not just an investment for school commutes - it could really up any future job prospects too.
TheNoodles, thanks for the reassurance, a couple of people were quite shocked that I intended to "force the children to walk all that way" so it's nice to know I'm not being a monster :-D
Exploded, unfortunately not. House prices closer to the school are much more than I can afford.
Claudia, I'm not against all options, just looking for the best way forward. I do intend to learn to drive but realistically, I will be looking at a year or so to get on the road.
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