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In year application questions(19 Posts)
Hi. Won’t be an issue for a while but we’ll probably have to make an in-year application for my daughter, who will be starting year one when we move back to London. She’ll have completed reception abroad.
Will the council provide a list of primary schools with available places for us to choose from or do they just say ‘here’s a place’?
How early should we contact them to start the ball rolling (we’re crown servants so don’t have to actually be present in our house when we apply, if I’ve understood correctly)?
Can they allocate us any school in the borough/other boroughs? Is there a maximum distance they can offer us?
Thanks for reading!
The council should be able to tell you which schools have places available. Some councils are better at this than others.
You can apply once you have an official letter confirming the date when you will relocate to the UK and your UK address.
They must allocate you a place at one of your preferences if there is a place available. However, if none of them has a place they can allocate you a place anywhere. That could be in another borough although most councils would prefer to offer you a place within their area if they can.
There is no maximum distance as such but a journey of more than 45 minutes each way would be considered unreasonable so it should be within that. Note that your daughter will be entitled to free transport if the allocated place is more than 2 miles from home by the shortest safe walking route.
Thank you, that’s a big help. A few more of that’s okay?
What does free transport mean in a city like London, where a 6 year old couldn’t travel on a bus by themselves (and presumably travel for them would be free anyway). Would they just give me a bus pass and that’s it?
Does a school count as having places if there’s a waiting list? Presumably if there was a space in a school like that it would automatically go to someone on the list?
We know that we’ll be coming back over the school holidays, with a view of her joining a school at the start of the school year. When would be a good time to start asking about places do you think?
Unfortunately in London the "free travel" means you get precisely nothing - children travel free anyway and the cost of travel for an adult to look after the 6 year old is not their problem.
It is up to the council but, as Imchlibob says, they only have to provide free transport for your daughter, not for you. And, as Imchlibob says, in London children under 16 get free public transport anyway so the entitlement to free transport is meaningless.
If a school has a waiting list it does not have places. The school cannot hold places open. If it has a waiting list, any place that becomes available will immediately be offered to whoever is at the head of the list.
Start asking about places as soon as you have the official letter you need to apply. If you wait until the summer holidays you may find that nothing will happen until September, resulting in your daughter missing the first week or two of term.
If you are service personnel, a school being full isn't necessarily a problem. The council must find a place for you somewhere and your daughter will be what is known as an "excepted child". That means she won't count towards the infant class size limit of 30 pupils, so she can be admitted to a school even if it is full. However, this only applies if you are service personnel. But, even if you are not service personnel, if there is no school within a reasonable distance with a place available your daughter will be excepted and can be admitted to a school that is full.
That’s really helpful, thank you. Presumably the 45 min is by walking / car / public transport?
We’re not armed forces do assume we don’t count as service personnel
The 45 minutes is by whatever form of transport the council provides so, in London, that is likely to be by public transport.
This is so helpful, thank you. Does the council hold an ever-changing list of available places, or is it my job to call some schools / academies myself to inquire?
Also we’d like her to begin the year one school year with everyone else in the September but understand we need to get the ball roling before the school summer holidays. We can have the letter confirming our address whenever we need it so any advice on when we should start it all? We won’t be moving back until August so wouldn’t want to have them offer us a place to start in June /July which we couldn’t take up.
The council is supposed to be able to tell you which schools have places. However, some councils are better at this than others so you may need to contact schools.
Get the letter and start the process as soon as possible. The letter should include your relocation date. Neither the council nor the school will expect you to take up the place before you relocate.
Are you planning to move to, or require a school in Tower Hamlets? They have slightly different in year admission rules to other London boroughs. I think they are probably not in step with the Admissions Code, but they are what they are and in not sure anyone has legally challenged them. TH only admit children on a periodic basis- you apply for a school and even if it has a space they don't give it to your child. Instead you must wait for a specific date, it's every couple of months. TH looks at each child who wants the school place on that date and admits the child according to the councils admission policy. This means there could be an empty space for a school when you apply but someone comes in nearer the magic date and they are higher up the admission criteria and get the place.
Wow that sounds crackers (and stressful!). We are considering a few different boroughs but thankfully not that one.
On the ‘when should we start the process’ question - is it a lottery in terms of getting a place? If I kick everything off in May (for a September start) the council could look and see everywhere is full, but if I do it in June a place could have opened up? I suppose what I’m asking is, does there tend to be a time that’s best to apply in-year for a September start, or is it all a big guessing game?
I should say I know how lucky we are to be able to do all this from abroad, trying to coordinate all this plus actually having to be present in your house sounds like a very stressful business.
Once you apply the council must find a place for you somewhere, even if all schools are full. If you don't get your first preference you will go on the waiting list for that school plus any other schools that were higher preferences than the one you got. If a place at one of those schools opens up later and you are at the head of the waiting list, you will be offered that place. So there is no guessing game involved. Get your application in. The sooner you apply the better your chances of getting a place at a school you want.
I would start applying as soon as possible, towards the end of next week, we will be offering places out for September. If you are actually a crown servant, you could have been applying months ago, as places can be held for you.
The councils admissions team should be able to give you a rough idea of which schools have free places, but schools generally have more accurate info, so I would suggest calling schools in the area you are interested in.
Thank you, that’s really good to know. She won’t be needing a place for this September (I’m forward planning) but it’s reassuring to hear that we can apply so far in advance when the time comes. It’s been so helpful to have this advice, very much appreciated.