Will my DC get in any primary school?

(26 Posts)
Movingto Thu 08-Mar-18 12:57:42

We are planning to move to Bishops Stortford this summer. We are living in London at the moment and after a lot of research, reading forums and visits, we decided that Bishops Storford would be the best choice because of the commute and the good schools.
Our DC is 3 y old at the moment and I have seen that some schools are 3-11y. Will we have any chance for a place if we apply next year? Because I don't think we will get a space this year in the summer, because most of them are oversubscribed.
What happens if we don't get a space this year and neither the next year? Will we have to look at schools which are not oversubcribed?
We couldn't apply this year because we don't have a proof of adress.
Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated, even if it is not from someone from this area.

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TeenTimesTwo Thu 08-Mar-18 13:09:04

What academic year are they due to start reception?

Do they turn 5 between 1Sept18-31Aug19 or a year later?

Assuming they are due to start this Sept, you will be given a place at an undersubscribed school. If there are no vacancies anywhere then there is a Fair Access Protocol that can be invoked to get a place but I don't know how long that takes and whether if the child doesn't have to be in school until the Easter has an effect.

If they place you in a non-preferred school, you can still go on wait lists for other schools and a move at some point in primary isn't the end of the world. Children seem to fit in and adapt quite quickly.

If your DC isn't due to start school until Sept 19 then you just need to apply by Jan 19 along with everyone else.
The 3-11y is, I think, a red herring as being at a nursery attached to a state school is not, I think, allowed to give people preference to being given a place at the attached primary.

No doubt one of the admissions experts will correct me if I am wrong. smile

Hersetta427 Thu 08-Mar-18 13:38:46

3 just means it has a nursery setting but you actually attend school the September after they turn 4 so that maybe this September or next September. If next September you apply next winter for a place to start September 2019. Just be warned though Stortford schools are all very good and thus oversubscribed so you will most likely just get your closest school.

I like in Stortford so happy to answer questions.

BrendansDanceShoes Thu 08-Mar-18 13:39:48

I am not aware of any state schools with a nursery where gaining a nursery ave automatically gives you a reception place. Nursery admissions at my DDs school are done directly through school. Reception admission is done through the local authority using their strict catchment criteria. There is often dismay on reception offers day when out of catchment little Johnny at nursery fails to get a reception place because in catchment kids who went to other nurseries now apply for Reception.

pigshavecurlytails Thu 08-Mar-18 20:52:27

are you talking state or private?

Movingto Fri 09-Mar-18 07:14:12

Thank you all for your replies.
TeenTimesTwo : She is supposed to start reception in September 2019 when she will be 4years and 8 months. As the school is for 3-11y, I thought that whoever is at the nursery will automatically have a place at reception. This would mean that would be very difficult to get a place later on for reception. But as Hersetta427 and BrendansDanceShoes confirmed as well, this is not the case because the local authority does the admission process and will not take into account if a child did the nursery there or not.
This has put my mind at ease.
Hersetta427: Is there any school that is not so good? I have seen that Northgate is rated Outstanding. Is it really that good?
How is the Thorley/Larchwood area? I have seen that rent and house prices are lower. I know it is further away from the train station, but is it nice, quiet?
We didn't get a chance to see that area when we visited. But there are 2 schools closer to that area which are rated 3 and 4: Thorn Grove and Manor Fields.
We want to be in the catchment area for good schools. I know that the adress is not a guarantee because they can change the catchment area.
Thanks again.

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Movingto Fri 09-Mar-18 07:15:20

pigshavecurlytails : State. Sorry, I forgot to mention.

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RayRay9226 Fri 09-Mar-18 07:25:44

I don't know if this is helpful but where I live even if they attend nursery which is part of a school we have to apply again in September for a reception place and they don't take into account siblings at the school .. If you look on the local council website for nursery admissions it says it there for my area. Hopefully that will be the case for you.

Hersetta427 Fri 09-Mar-18 08:34:31

All the schools in stortford are really good and I really wouldn't say one was better than the other.

Depending on where you live will determine the primary school you will most likely get. If you live in the Thorley area you certainly won't get into Northgate or Thorn grove. I live in Thorley and it is quiet and have commuted to London for 15 years from here. The other nearby school is Richard Whittington (although you will need to live that side of Thorley park to get a place as all schools in towns have reasonably small 'catchments'.

I wouldn't read too much into headline ofsted numbers. Manor fields for example was outstanding for over 20 years, however at the time of the inspection it didn't have a permanent head, and its safeguarding training records were not complete so it was given a level 4 (however if you look at the report all the teaching, outcomes and Early years provision were all rated good). It has a marvellous new head and the backing of an academy trust run by the best secondary school in the town. I have 2 children at the school and the head is great - they will be inspected again this year - just watch their rating shoot up - I guarantee it.

Movingto Fri 09-Mar-18 09:30:06

rayray9226: thanks for the advice. I will check the local council for further information about dates and admission criteria.

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Movingto Fri 09-Mar-18 10:19:02

hersetta427: We live in London at the moment. We plan to move this summer when we will have more time off. I was asking about schools because we want to make sure we are not in a catchment area for a school which is not so good. I am glad to hear that there are all good.
I have seen that Northgate is in more central area and that's why I was asking about Thorley area, because I know is not in their catchment area.
It is nice to hear that Manor fields is not bad as it seems in the ofsted report. ( i know that they are not always v reliable).
Any advice on any areas that are not so nice for families?
How is the commute from Thorley? I know it is a bit further from the train station, but the area looks nice (online) and the houses as well ( at least the ones we have seen online for renting or selling). We are looking at buying in 1 or 2 years and this area seems more affordable. We don't want to rent in an area and then move too far from school and everything.
We are going to commute by train for a while and in time if it is easier we might commute by car. Are the trains reliable?
Thanks for taking the time to answer.

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Hersetta427 Fri 09-Mar-18 11:11:54

There are definitely more central schools than Northgate (which is in a very expensive area ). Windhill21 is much more centrally located and has a good ofsted rating. Personally the only area i am not keen on is the north east area of the town (heath Row/Northolt avenue area) but everywhere else is very family friendly.

Commuting from Thorley is OK - it is definitely walkable to the station 20-25 mins) although I catch a bus. Trains are reliable (most of the time) however be aware it is very expensive to commute to London from BS. An annual travelcard including tube to zone 1 is over £5,000 so you need to budget for increased transport costs.

Littlefish Fri 09-Mar-18 14:39:22

Attendance at a nursery, even one run by the school, very rarely has a benefit or direct link when it comes to getting a school place. You need to have a look at the admission criteria for the school you are interested in.

Applications for school in September 2019 will start in September 2018 and finish in January 2019. Applications are usually made online. The admission arrangements for local authority schools are usually controlled by the Local Authority. Academies and Faith schools might have slightly different arrangements.

Movingto Sat 10-Mar-18 15:43:09

hersetta427: we don't neccesarily want something in the centre because the most of the houses there are way over our budget. We would rather be closer to the train station, but most important to be close to a good school. Like you said, all the schools seem to be good, so we will see where we will find something nice to rent. We will keep in mind the area that you told me about to avoid it in case something near there comes up.
We looked at the seasonal tickets and i have seen that they are very expensive. Adding up everything, it is almost the same as London, but we think that Bishops Stortford is nicer, more quiet and better for families. We do like London, but working there and maybe a couple of extra visits will be enough.
Thank you for all the information. Greatly appreciated.

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Movingto Sat 10-Mar-18 15:50:12

LittleFish: I will have a look on the local authority website and look at the admission criteria better.
Where we live now, the schools don't have nurseries attached, so when i saw that those schools have 3-11y, i got stressed thinking that we missed the deadline for admissions because we couldn't move and that she will not get a place as everyone in the nursery will automatically get a place in the reception as well. As this is not the case, we have enough time now to look at the admission criteria for all the schools and the deadlines aa well.
Thanks for the info..

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Hersetta427 Sat 10-Mar-18 20:40:18

Just so you know you say you don't necessarily want something in the town centre but would rather be closer to the train station. Unfortunately the train station is right in the middle of the town !

Movingto Mon 12-Mar-18 11:00:54

hersetta427: I meant that, in general, being in the centre of the town is not a priority. But being next to a good school is and if it is close to the station is even better. But in Bishops Stortford, you are right, the train station is in the centre. I hope it makes sense what I am trying to say.
I was asking about Northgate, not because it is in the centre of the town, but because is graded as outstanding.
I forgot to ask. Do you know anything why Summercroft primary school is undersubscribed? It is graded as good, but it is the only one undersubscribed in 2017. Even though in 2016 it was oversubscribed.

Thank you.

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Hersetta427 Mon 12-Mar-18 11:17:59

Quite a lot of the Stortford schools have places left for 2017 starters. It was just a low birth year so many of the schools (like summercroft) have places available even though previously they have been over subscribed.

Movingto Mon 12-Mar-18 11:25:14

We are still thinking if we should rent closer to the train station, to reduce the commute and then move to an area which we can afford, but not too far from DC's school. Or to rent straight away in an area we can afford and enrol DC to the nearest school there.
How are children at school or people in general with non-British?

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Hersetta427 Mon 12-Mar-18 12:49:17

It's quite a multi- cultural town (probably due to the proximity to the airport) but we have polish supermarkets, Portuguese cafe, Greek supermarket etc.

Whether you rent and then move or just find somewhere now you can afford is up to you but if you end up having to drive to school everyday just to let you know the roads in and around Stortford are heaving and a 1 mile journey could easily take 20-30 mins. New developments in town (with no new schools being built initially) will put more pressure on the towns roads.

Movingto Tue 13-Mar-18 08:45:05

Thanks for all the advice hersetta247.
Thinking of what you said it is better to rent straight away in an area where we might buy in a couple of years so we don't have to drive too much or at all to school.
Do you know if house prices are negotiable? I have been reading the property forum and it seems that in some areas the property prices are negotiable, but in other areas people are biding on some houses, which means the house price is even more than on RM.
Our budget will be around £300k for a 2 bed house. Do you think this is ok or will not get us anything? We are thinking if we wait for more than 1 or 2 years, the house prices will go up even more and we won't be able to buy anything at all. The other option is to find a better paid job or work full time (which is not possible atm) in order to get a bigger mortgage.
I know I ask a lot of questions, but I am nervous and stressed about this move and whether we are doing the right thing.


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Hersetta427 Tue 13-Mar-18 11:13:30

There may be a little bit of negotiation (but no more than 5k) and some property types are so sought after that they go for more than asking price.

300k would definitely get you a 2 bed right now (there are even a few for sale very nr the train station) but who knows if that will be the case in 2 years time.

SleepFreeZone Tue 13-Mar-18 11:17:00

My MIL lives in BS and I know her house is worth silly money because she’s in the catchment of an excellent school. The only bit of BS I’ve seen hasn’t been pretty but I know the schools are considered excellent.

SleepFreeZone Tue 13-Mar-18 11:18:05

Two many excellent, but you get my drift ....


She’s right under the flight path too and waves to the planes 🤪

Movingto Fri 16-Mar-18 09:15:56

Thanks Hersetta247 and SleepFreeZone.
SleepFreeZone, can i ask which area is your MIL living in? Is it a lot of noise or pollution if she is under the flight path?

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