Do you have to live in school catchment for in- year admissions?

(27 Posts)
yoursworried Tue 07-May-19 21:09:32

We are moving abroad for a couple of years for a job contract then we are coming back to the UK. When we come back our children will be in year 2 and year 4. We will move back into our house in Town A for a while but ultimately we would like to sell it and move to another nearby area, Town B, which is in the catchment of a better secondary school.

We would like the children to attend any primary school with spaces in Town B, whilst we sort out selling and buying. This is to avoid them going to primary school in Town A, then another move to primary school in Town B.

So my question is are we allowed to apply to a school in Town B from our address in Town A? I know this is not allowed for reception admissions but not sure later on.

OP’s posts: |
admission Tue 07-May-19 21:18:11

You can apply for a place at any school you want, so there is no issue with what you are suggesting. However it will be more awkward to arrange if the two places are not in the same Local Authority, as frequently in-year admissions will be organised by the Local Authority. You will have to apply to the LA where you are living to go to a school in another local authority.
The school and LA do not have any capability to withhold a school place if the cohorts your children are in have spaces. The potential issue for you is most likely to be that your youngest is in year 2 and therefore many schools will be full and will not be able to admit because of the infant class size regulations. Of course if there is space this is not an issue but in many places will simply not the availability of spaces in appropriate year groups.

Wearywithteens Tue 07-May-19 21:21:43

Yes you can apply anywhere but whether you’d get a place is a different matter. It depends on the school’s Admission policy and how oversubscribed they are.

yoursworried Tue 07-May-19 22:06:03

Thank you. Our other option is not to move back into our house at all and just rent in town B. This might be better as Town A and town B do not fall into the same Local Authority.

OP’s posts: |
Aquifolium Tue 07-May-19 22:10:17

Even renting in town b you may find you can’t get spaces for both your kids in a) the same school b) a school you like,
It all depends on how oversubscribed the schools are in town b. You can have a look now, but bear in mind this may change in the next few years.

yoursworried Tue 07-May-19 22:12:57

@Aquifolium sure , I'm aware of those risks. I just wanted to know if I could make an application under these circumstances.
The schools in and around town B are all 'good' or better, so I don't have a major issue with them attending any with a space, even if they have to go to different schools.

OP’s posts: |
Varnas Tue 07-May-19 22:22:21

As far as I know, in year admission is on a "first come first served" basis and distance to the school is irrelevant. The issue is whether they will be 2 places in 2 different school year groups.

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bluebluezoo Tue 07-May-19 22:29:45

As far as I know, in year admission is on a "first come first served" basis and distance to the school is irrelevant. The issue is whether they will be 2 places in 2 different school year groups

No.

Waiting lists are positioned according to admission policy- looked after, siblings, distance or whatever. If a place becomes available whoever is higher priority gets the place, regardless of when they joined the list.

It can be incredibly hard to get in year places. It will depend on local mobility, and popularity of the school. Good schools tend not to have children leave.

AlunWynsKnee Tue 07-May-19 23:28:22

blue is right. If you apply to a school with spaces and no waiting list you will get a place. Even if you live in Truro and the school is in Cumbria.
If you apply to a school with no places you will be told there are no spaces and you have the option to join the waiting list and appeal. You will be placed on the waiting list according to the published admission criteria. If you are close to the school you might leapfrog everyone on the list and be at the top. If a place becomes available then you would be offered it.

Wearywithteens Tue 07-May-19 23:28:27

Varnas that is completely wrong. Bluebluezoo is right.

Tingface Tue 07-May-19 23:31:50

They’re both right, but talking about different scenarios.
Alun has it bang on for both.

Wearywithteens Tue 07-May-19 23:36:02

Tingface - there is nowhere that ‘first come first served’ is lawful at any point in the school admissions process.

Tingface Tue 07-May-19 23:40:13

But if you apply in-year to a school with spaces; that is the de facto position. You’re there, there’s a space, you get offered it.
If someone closer comes along a fortnight later it’s tough; it’s gone. Applications are dealt with as they come along; not batches and run to allocation schedules like Reception and Sec Trans.

Wearywithteens Tue 07-May-19 23:43:29

Yes agreed - sorry I thought we were talking about oversubscribed schools with waiting lists

Varnas Wed 08-May-19 00:10:10

Just to clarify my position about "first come first serve" :
-you apply in year, there is a place - you get it, whether you leave 1 mile or 100 miles from the school
-you apply, there is no place: 1. If your child currently attends school, you are put on a waiting list and priority criteria is applied
2. If your child is out of school it trumps the waiting list and becomes high priority as the council has a duty to offer a school place, and in some cases Fair access protocol needs to be applied.
So I any case, for a child without a school place at all, what I said previously is correct.

yoursworried Wed 08-May-19 07:24:49

Thanks for your help everyone. I think I have greater clarity on this now. It's possible that we would be away for 3 years and they would be in years 3 and 5 which might work better for my son re the infant class size thing. Either way looks like the sensible option would be to do some ringing around a little before we return to guage the spaces scenario.

OP’s posts: |
prh47bridge Wed 08-May-19 13:04:51

If your child is out of school it trumps the waiting list

Children do not automatically come under the Fair Access Protocol just because they don't have a place. It is up to the LA when the FAP kicks in but it only applies to children who are difficult to place. If there are places available within a reasonable distance from home the parents will be expected to take up one of them. Even if the FAP is applied, it doesn't mean the parents get their preferred school. They will get a place at whichever school is best placed to accept an additional pupil.

bluebluezoo Wed 08-May-19 18:04:45

*If your child is out of school it trumps the waiting list and becomes high priority as the council has a duty to offer a school place, and in some cases Fair access protocol needs to be applied.
So I any case, for a child without a school place at all, what I said previously is correct*

This would only apply if absolutely every school in the LA was full.

If they have spaces you will be offered that school, regardless of where it is or whether you want a place there or not. If the schools are full, it will be the LA who decides which school is best placed to accept an extra child.

Once a place is offered, if you turn it down the LA no longer have a duty to find another school place.

BallyHockeySticks Wed 08-May-19 18:31:18

Yes as long as there are spaces in town B you should be fine, but that is a pretty big "if" in some areas. I would do a lot of ringing round before you commit to a town, even if that means moving to secret option Town C.

lul37 Fri 10-May-19 00:03:56

@bluebluezoo

Once a place is offered, if you turn it down the LA no longer have a duty to find another school place.

They no longer have a duty to find another place at all? Or for that school year only? Or for that term only?

I'm in a similar predicament. Moving back next month from abroad to our local area in London. Need a Year 2 and a Year 5 place for my DC. Emailed the good schools in our catchment, all are full. One school said they have spaces but they have no idea if these places have been allocated by the LA yet.

Completed the 'in year' applications online using our abroad address. Dreading the outcome to be honest and wondering if I'm better off not sending them to any school when we get back and reapplying for them in July for the September term. Hopefully using our local U.K. address gives us better chance of getting a school in catchment than our abroad one? hmm

So if I reject the summer term places offer, am I allowed to apply again for my DC in September?

prh47bridge Fri 10-May-19 09:20:55

Depending on the LA, they may not accept your application until you have returned to the UK unless you are on Crown Service. If they accept your application and one of the schools you have named has a place available it will be allocated to you. If none of them have places the LA will normally allocate a place at the nearest school with places available. If you are using an overseas address it is not clear how the LA will decide where to allocate a place.

If you reject the place offered the LA does not have to come up with another offer. It is then up to you to find school places for your children or home educate them. You cannot legally skip a term waiting for a school you want. And you won't necessarily have more choice in September than you do today.

If, having rejected the offered place, you apply again a few months later the LA may come up with another offer. But the reality is that you need school places for your children. If the LA offers you a place you should accept it and go on the waiting list (if there is one) for any schools you prefer.

BlueCherries Fri 10-May-19 09:48:44

We have recently moved back to the UK to an area with full schools.

We rushed to find a rental house in order to get places sorted ahead of the move, but even with our new address and proof of signed contracts etc the LA wouldn't look at places until we physically moved in. I understand that if your desired school has places available you can be placed there using your overseas address (or an address in a neighbouring town or wherever) however you would need to be able to take the place up within a week or two from point of offer.

We are in catchment for 4 primary schools, all of which are totally full. The LA advised me that if they were still full on our UK arrival the school that we were living nearest to would take an additional pupil and squeeze us in- so we were strategic about where we rented! This could have backfired if a place had suddenly become available at our less favoured schools- we would have had no choice but to take the free space or homeschool in that scenario.

We ended up getting places at our desired school in the end so it can be done! Must say too that our LA was incredibly helpful and supportive throughout.

Enjoy your time overseas! We had a great couple of years away smile

bluebluezoo Fri 10-May-19 10:22:20

They no longer have a duty to find another place at all? Or for that school year only? Or for that term only?

Others may know better but I would think until another free space comes up. You turn down the place, if all other schools are full you go on waiting lists or try to appeal for a school. You will get a place if one becomes free. They have no immediate obligation to find you another place.

I don’t know if that’s absolute, or for that school year. It may differ from LA to LA- in our old area you applied, and you could stay on waiting lists indefinitely, hou just had to phone and say you still wanted to be waitlisted every 6 months. Our new area you have to do the whole application process every year, including getting letters from current school and needing a valid reason for switching. It’s a PITA- and they don’t tell you, I rang to find out where we were on the wait list to be told we’d been taken off it as we hadn’t reapplied that school year- when I’d rung two months previously there was no mention of needing to reapply. Not something that was on the LA website either..:

Aquifolium Sat 11-May-19 16:43:24

Blue Cherries. Well done may I ask if the school was LA or academy?

BlueCherries Sat 11-May-19 17:03:54

It's an LA school @Aquifolium smile

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