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Confusion around admissions criteria and moving house

(19 Posts)
KiaraS Sat 23-Sep-17 23:21:32

Hi,
We have lived in our home for over a decade. It is within catchment of an outstanding infant school and we will be applying for a place in January. An opportunity has arisen for us to buy a larger family home. The purchase would not have completed by January and it is two roads outside of catchment. So our plan would be to continue with the purchase but also continue to live in our current property (owned not rented) until after April and the school place is allocated. If we then move to the new house after April and put our current main residence on the market would we be investigated as having made a fraudulent application? We would be genuinely living here - where we have lived for over 10 years. The timing of all this is awful and makes me feel ill however the new property is our perfect forever home and the opportunity to buy is rare as they never come to market. I hate feeling like I'm doing something wrong. I've never been dishonest. I know you have to inform admissions of a change of address which we would do when we moved however if they investigated they would see we owned the property pre April however we resided genuinely in the catchment home that we have always lived in. The other school is also a very good school but is also over subscribed so we have to put current school down in January. If we moved pre April we wouldn't get either school. I'm stuck and losing sleep every night over this. Please can someone with knowledge help me. I've asked the LA and they won't give me a straight answer!
Thank you. confused

orangeowls Sat 23-Sep-17 23:38:36

I think I would put your current address down and go with that school. After all you never know what happens with house purchases so it could all fall through.

prh47bridge Sun 24-Sep-17 00:16:42

You may be investigated but there are no grounds under which your application could be treated as fraudulent. You will apply from the address where you genuinely live and have done for many years. You are not doing anything wrong.

KiaraS Sun 24-Sep-17 07:39:59

Thank you both.
Can my allocated place be withdrawn if we move from our main residence of 10 years to a home outside catchment that we purchased pre allocation but didn't move into and paid reduced council tax as vacant until after allocation in April?
Hopefully my final question on it unless your very helpful and much valued replies incite others!!

prh47bridge Sun 24-Sep-17 08:42:18

There are limited grounds under which an offer can be withdrawn once it has been made. Simply moving house isn't one of them.

However, it seems I misunderstood your OP. I thought you were intending to delay completion until offers were made. If you complete the purchase before offers are made but don't move for several months that may well look like you are trying to fiddle the process. Your council will have a date after which they will use your current address for school allocations regardless of any change of address. This will probably only be a few weeks after the application deadline. If you are in London, for example, most (possibly all) councils will use your current address provided you move after 9th February. Take a good look at your council's admissions booklet and see what it says about changes of address.

KiaraS Sun 24-Sep-17 09:45:39

Thank you. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

The information on the council website says: Address evidence received after 15 February 2018 (Year R and Year 3) cannot be considered for your application. It will be used to communicate the outcome of the application only.

So as long as we complete after 15 February then that would be acceptable and not deemed fraudulent or risk our place? This isn't about getting one school over the other it's about both schools being oversubscribed and being treated as a late application thus receiving a place at neither school.

I really appreciate your help. Thank you.

KiaraS Sun 24-Sep-17 09:46:54

* exchange not complete I assume prior to the 15th Feb would also be unacceptable I assume?

prh47bridge Sun 24-Sep-17 12:44:17

Yes, I would agree with that. And completion is the significant date rather than exchange as you can't move until you complete, although these days both events tend to happen fairly close together anyway. So if you complete after 15th February you will be ok. Delaying exchange until after 15th February will make doubly sure. They will use your new address to tell you what school is being offered but your old address to decide which school to offer.

Make sure you are completely open with the council about what is happening. Send everything in writing (email will do) and keep a copy. If they say anything to you in a telephone conversation send an email to confirm what was said. It is unlikely there will be any problems but it is always better to have the evidence just in case.

KiaraS Sun 24-Sep-17 19:28:42

Thank you again smile
We wouldn't be moving into the new home until after April so they could correspond at current address for allocation.
I've emailed the council school admissions team and asked them to confirm that our place will not be in jeopardy if we exchange/complete on a property after 15th Feb as long as we can prove our current main residence was provided legitimately - which it is as we have lived here since pre marriage and children!

I hope to sleep better tonight!
Best wishes

admission Sun 24-Sep-17 21:27:36

Everything that you have said would suggest that there are no issues here. However it might be a mistake to have asked the school admissions team at this point. Given that it is 7 months to April, your question may just set of a few alarm bells ringing as to whether you could complete before Feb 15th. However you will have to wait and see what transpires.
It is sensible to wait until early January before you apply so that you have a clearer picture of the evolving situation about the house move. If you do complete in the period from Feb15th to allocation day in April, you should immediately inform the school admission office in writing but make sure that you say that the new address is for communication purposes only and that you continue to use the old address for admission allocation purposes.
That is so the LA in their wisdom (although they should not) do not treat you as a late application at which point you would go to the bottom of the queue for allocation purposes.

KiaraS Sun 24-Sep-17 21:37:34

Thank you - I appreciate your advice. When I emailed the council I asked questions but didn't provide personal details or schools as at this moment in time we are fact finding to ensure we do the right (and legal) thing. We are not trying to beat the system but given its complexities we don't want to end up with neither school simply due to the opportunity to buy a home coming at the 'wrong' time. We would until at least April continue to own and live in our current main and primary residence.
I hate that this life decision is making me feel like I'm doing something wrong. Ironically we aren't trying to move to get into school B (the new catchment school). We would be more than happy with current school. We can't afford to not get either though!

NoSquirrels Sun 24-Sep-17 21:51:24

I would just be totally up front with your vendors about the dates issue, and that completion couldn't occur until after February 15. It sounds to me as if you're in a really great position, if you can buy and not have to have sold your current home first. So most vendors will be happy as long as you're upfront straight away.

For the council, it doesn't sound illegal. If you don't complete until after the cut-off date, you haven't got a home guaranteed elsewhere (anything can fall through before completion) so you're doing nothing wrong. In fact, it works the other way and you'd be prevented from applying from the new address until after proof of completion so it's all above board.

Completion before 15 Feb, and holding 2 properties, though, would be dodgy ground.

KiaraS Sun 24-Sep-17 21:54:19

Thank you NoSquirrels - I've taken everything you've said on board. smile

whoareyou123 Mon 25-Sep-17 08:24:46

Completion before 15 Feb, and holding 2 properties, though, would be dodgy ground.

Wouldn't this only be an issue if the old house was still used as the main residence for the application?

prh47bridge Mon 25-Sep-17 08:47:44

Wouldn't this only be an issue if the old house was still used as the main residence for the application

Up to the LA but I agree that it would be unreasonable to find that there was anything wrong with the application if the new house was used. I think any LA that tried that would struggle to justify that position to an appeal panel.

kuniloofdooksa Mon 25-Sep-17 09:13:21

If you can manage the financials for this plan, you would be in a stronger position if there is some kind of major work going on in the just-purchased house that makes it uninhabitable for a few months. Say for example you complete in late February and book a damp-course installer and electrician to come in the day after completion to perform a dc installation and total rewire, then book decorators for late March so that you can't possibly move in until April. If the council do try to cause trouble, the second property being uninhabitable is an established precedent for its existence to be overlooked.

KiaraS Sun 01-Oct-17 22:29:26

We got gazumped. Argh!!!!!

NoSquirrels Mon 02-Oct-17 17:47:01

Oh no! how disappointing. But I suppose at least the schools thing isn't so stressful, then. Every cloud... etc.

KiaraS Mon 02-Oct-17 21:27:35

Very true NoSquirrels!!

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