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What if sibling link no longer applies?

(20 Posts)
soapboxqueen Mon 27-Mar-17 12:35:57

I've applied for my dds school place for september using sibling link as one of the categories for admission (we are also in catchment and very close to the school). There is the possibility we might have to HE my ds before september so technically no sibling link would apply anymore.

Do we need to inform the council of this if it happened? Could it affect her place? I suspect we'd get in on catchment and distance alone but the school is over subscribed (only just though) but I'm just unsure.


BigWeald Mon 27-Mar-17 14:07:32

I'd be interested in the answer to this too.
I'm basically currently watching the Y6 kids being drilled for SATS and am musing what would happen if we'd HE for Y6 to avoid 'losing' that year (HE is something we are always considering anyway). The problem is that the school is a feeder school to a great looking secondary school. There is no chance of getting a place at the secondary school without having attended one of the named feeder schools, it's very oversubscribed. But if we withdrew DC after the application deadline, so they had still been at the feeder school when applying, how would that affect the application?

I believe for reception entry it is the situation at the time of applying that counts, that is, on 15th January.
So if the siblings category states 'anyone who has a sibling at the school at the point of applying' then your DC should keep the sibling status. If it is 'anyone who will have a sibling at the school at the time when they start school' or some such, it may be a bit trickier. Although, on 15th January when applications closed your older DC was at the school and was expected to still be at the school in September, that is, was not in Y6.

I think once offers have been made, mid April, they can only be removed (within a few days) if a big mistake was made, or (at any time) if the application was fraudulent; but not if your circumstances have since changed.

If your circumstances change before offer day, that may be different, I don't know.

PatriciaHolm Mon 27-Mar-17 14:12:15

You would need to check the policy wording. For example, Surrey say -

"Siblings must already be on roll at the school you are applying for (or another school which operates a shared sibling priority) and be expected to still be on roll at that school (or if you are applying for an infant school, a junior school which has both a feeder and sibling link with the school you are applying for) on the date of the child's admission."

So they might well have an issue with a planned withdrawal to home educate.

soapboxqueen Mon 27-Mar-17 14:12:36

I'm pretty sure it states, 'will be at the school in the september the applicant starts' or some such. Hence the confusion. Why can't things be simple?

BigWeald Mon 27-Mar-17 14:26:33

But there may have been no plan to HE at the time of application. The sibling WAS expected to still be on roll in September.

The plan to HE (or perhaps similarly, to move to a different school) may still be uncertain now. What if a decision were taken now, to HE from May half term onwards? What if a decision were taken only after offer day mid April?

soapboxqueen Mon 27-Mar-17 14:28:54

There is no firm plan now, nevermind previously. It's a SN mental health thing, not sure if and when it's going to happen but I don't want to give too much information and out myself.

PatriciaHolm Mon 27-Mar-17 14:34:56

You will need to check the exact wording - if it does say, explicitly, "in attendance when the sibling starts at the school" then clearly you will have an issue.
If it states something similar to Surrey, and the withdrawal/move happens before allocation day, I suspect you will have an issue.
If it happens afterwards, that is a greyer area, but chances are you could be fine - though I have known LAs remove siblings links in similar situations. If such a case went to appeal though you could argue that the withdrawal was not intended at the time of application, but an appeal would be stress you don't need I would imagine.

BigWeald Mon 27-Mar-17 14:38:47

I do think (but I'd wait for specialists for certainty) that your DC2 does qualify for the sibling link even if your circumstances change e.g. sibling leaves school between offer day and school start. Just as someone's place cannot be removed after having been offered, due to the family having moved house, e.g. out of catchment and no longer profiting from catchment preference. Provided it was not fraudulent, which may be hard to prove with house moves, but not an issue with sibling leaving school. There's no way anyone can claim you were just pretending that DC1 would still be in school in September in order to secure a school place for DC2.

PatriciaHolm Mon 27-Mar-17 14:56:31

"I do think (but I'd wait for specialists for certainty) that your DC2 does qualify for the sibling link even if your circumstances change e.g. sibling leaves school between offer day and school start"

Assuming it happens post allocation day, I would agree, but I would be tempted to get something in writing if the situation does occur.

As I said, I have seen examples where LEAS have withdrawn offers because siblings have been withdrawn from school post offer day but pre September start. When taken to appeal I would expect panels to reinstate under these circumstances but ideally you wouldn't get to that stage.

blaeberry Mon 27-Mar-17 23:24:54

soapbox could your older child be signed off sick on mental health grounds rather than be withdrawn from schooling?

soapboxqueen Tue 28-Mar-17 07:49:06

Not sure that would work blaeberry as he'd need to be signed off for such a long time but obviously if this all happens closer to the summer holidays it would certainly be worth a thought.

Wh0Kn0wsWhereTheTimeGoes Tue 28-Mar-17 09:47:18

In my LA it clearly states that the sibling must still be on the roll at the time of admission.

prh47bridge Tue 28-Mar-17 09:48:58

If you withdraw your son before offers are made the situation is clear cut - sibling priority no longer applies. Once an offer has been made the situation is very different.

The Admissions Code takes priority over anything councils say and it is clear that, once an offer has been made, it can only be withdrawn in limited circumstances. A sibling being withdrawn from the school is not one of those circumstances. The only way the council could legitimately withdraw the place is if they thought that your application was fraudulent or intentionally misleading, e.g. that you always intended to withdraw your son and only kept him in school long enough to get sibling priority for your daughter.

If your daughter still qualifies for a place without sibling priority they cannot withdraw the offer even if they think your application was fraudulent or intentionally misleading.

Unfortunately some councils do withdraw offers illegally as PatriciaHolm says. If the council withdrew your offer it should be a straightforward win at appeal. But ideally you don't want to be in that position.

I would recommend talking to the council before withdrawing your son (if it comes to that). If they say your daughter's place will be withdrawn point them to paragraph 2.12 of the Admissions Code.

prh47bridge Tue 28-Mar-17 09:53:58

In my LA it clearly states that the sibling must still be on the roll at the time of admission

I know a number of LAs that say this. It is unenforceable. The Admissions Code is clear that an offer can only be withdrawn if:

- it was made in error, or
- the parents have not accepted in a reasonable period of time, or
- the application was fraudulent or intentionally misleading

This is a compulsory provision of the Admissions Code. Admission authorities cannot withdraw places for any other reason. Anything in their admission arrangements that implies they can withdraw places is wrong and unenforceable.

soapboxqueen Tue 28-Mar-17 10:11:33

Thanks so much prh47bridge. I really hope we don't have to remove my ds and I do think my dd would get in anyway but you never know.

I doubt at this point he'll be out before offer day so fingers crossed.

Wh0Kn0wsWhereTheTimeGoes Tue 28-Mar-17 10:14:53

That doesn't surprise me at all about my LA, sadly. Hopefully it will all be fine Soapboxqueen, sounds as though you have enough to worry about without the LA messing you about.

blaeberry Tue 28-Mar-17 11:03:06

Thinking of your ds rather than your dd for the moment: I would be careful about removing him (de registering) to home ed in the first instance. The LA have a duty to provide him with the support necessary to enable him to have a full time education. HE lets them off the hook. i understand totally why you might want to do that - I think it is awful the way SEN kids have to fail before they get the help they need and the harm that causes them. But if you can have him signed off sick then that is part of the record of evidence you need should you wish to get him back into education in a more suitable placement. Perhaps it might be a first step before HE? Does he have an EHCP?

soapboxqueen Tue 28-Mar-17 12:00:02

Blaeberry He already has a statement and I totally get what you are saying. It's kind of why I've put off HE before now. There aren't any appropriate placements for him and the LEA know it. I'm trying to be vague as if I'm too specific it might out me.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 30-Mar-17 22:41:07

I would wait until you get the offer at this stage and then find out if she would have got in on distance and then make the decision. With Easter holidays it shouldn't mean many more days in school.

soapboxqueen Fri 31-Mar-17 08:20:11

shouldwestay I think that is my plan. I'm hoping to at least make it through until next week.

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