New to the UK, no place at primary school in my area

(47 Posts)
summertree0088 Wed 28-Aug-19 14:16:36

Recently I've moved to the Hammersmith&Fulham area, London, from Tokyo Japan. I applied for 6 schools at the end of July, but the council said there's no place for my 5-year DS because of a lack of capacity.

My DS is on the waiting lists of these schools but the council staff said the allocation process will not start until 2 September due to the summer holidays. But if they cannot manage to find a place, they said I have to make an appeal as the next step.

I am a full-time working mother and will start my job in the middle of September. I am very worried that the council can find a place for my DS at least 15 September.

Could anyone tell me how this process goes? Is such an appeal process common in the UK? If so, how long does it take to complete the process?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
prh47bridge Wed 28-Aug-19 14:43:49

The council must find a place for your son somewhere. They should not force you to go through an appeal to get a place. If they do I'm afraid it will be a slow process as they are allowed up to 30 school days from the time you lodge your appeal until it is heard. But you should keep the pressure on them to come up with a place as soon as possible after the start of term without needing an appeal.

NoBaggyPants Wed 28-Aug-19 14:48:19

Are there any places at any of the other schools in the borough?

summertree0088 Wed 28-Aug-19 17:06:49

@NoBaggyPants In my area, only one school has a place but it is very far from my apartment. It would be difficult to commute and pick him up after school.

@prh47bridge Thank you for the information! That's very helpful. I'll try to do so to find a place without an appeal.

OP’s posts: |
NoBaggyPants Wed 28-Aug-19 18:02:34

How far?

JoJoSM2 Wed 28-Aug-19 18:06:08

I don't think the coucil will be interested that the commute is inconvenient. It's only a small borough so probably not more than 2 miles? Your son can go there and carry on the waiting lists. There's always a chance that some children won't come back in September to your preferred schools and a place will become available.

underneaththeash Wed 28-Aug-19 19:05:28

OP there will be movement over the summer holidays, so hopefully you'll get a place in your preferred school at the start of September.

However, if there isn't the council legally only have to offer you a place.
It's too bad if they school they offer you is inconvenient.
If that is the case accept the one they offer you (with the place) and then appeal for the one you want - that can take several weeks and you need to have a really, really good reason as class sizes are capped at 30 for 5 year olds.
Having said that though, it's London and people move all the time, so stay on as many waiting lists as you can and it's likely that you'll be offered something soon.


summertree0088 Wed 28-Aug-19 21:12:19

Thank you all for the reply!

It's less than 2 miles to reach the available school. But if I walk to the school with my child it will take almost one hour - it's so inconvenient for my son and me. I don't have a valid driver's license in the UK, so using a car is not an option.

I appreciate your helpful advice. I'll do so if the council allocates him to an inconvenient school.

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Wed 28-Aug-19 21:17:28

Unfortunately inconvenience is not grounds for appeal and your child is presumably going into year 1 when class sizes are legally restricted to 30, so there either is a space or not. In London it should be possible to use public transport or even taxi, and maybe before school care or a local childminder so you can drop him earlier to get to work on time.

JoJoSM2 Wed 28-Aug-19 22:49:14

I was just going to say the same - plenty of public transport options.

GrandmaSharksDentures Wed 28-Aug-19 23:01:05

That's crazy. Hammersmith & Fulham have closed a Primary School this summer due to a lack of pupils. All of the non faith schools I know are undersubscribed in almost every year in the borough. Which schools are you on the waiting lists for?

summertree0088 Thu 29-Aug-19 16:36:14

Thank you all again for your reply. It may be best to find a childminder if my son is allocated to a school far from here.

It's around Ravenscourt Park. I am not sure of other areas of H&F, but it seems the schools in my area are mostly oversubscribed and several schools have very small catchment. The closest school is John Betts Primary where my son is on the waiting list. Also he is on the list of several community & church schools while church schools may not be realistic as we are not Christian.

I'll wait for the council's decision that will be made in early September and then decide my next step. Thank you guys again for your help!

OP’s posts: |
Bowerbird5 Fri 30-Aug-19 21:50:44

It won’t take an hour to walk two miles.

The reason the local authority waits is because some children don’t turn up on the first week back. The parents don’t bother to let the school know that they have moved/ sent the child to another school. School gets a phone call from the new school to send notes therefore a place becomes available. You will have to hope this happens and that your child is the next name on the list.

PullingMySocksUp Fri 30-Aug-19 21:53:17

It might with take an hour with a five yr old.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Fri 30-Aug-19 21:57:12

Wow is that how it works? You rock up in a new country and then moan because the council don’t give your child a place at a convenient (tax funded) school?

Plenty of children go to schools more than 2 miles away (mine do!) and you just have to get on with it.

Lara53 Sat 31-Aug-19 10:16:26

Get a couple of bikes or scooters to make the journey easier or get the bus or tube

HeadintheiClouds Sat 31-Aug-19 10:19:17

You haven’t a hope in hell of getting into John Betts, I’m afraid. The waiting list will be a mile long.

GlitchStitch Sat 31-Aug-19 10:24:47

Surely if you have been offered a place at a school under 2 miles away they have done their duty? I recently moved to a new city and with my DC starting reception I had to basically pick from what spaces were left, I managed to get a place at a lovely school 1.7 miles from our house and felt very lucky.

NoBaggyPants Sat 31-Aug-19 10:25:17

I don't think the OP is moaning, more that she doesn't understand how our system works (and to be fair, plenty of long term residents don't either!). In some countries you go to the catchment school and that's that, I can imagine the uncertainty of our system to be quite confusing.

drspouse Sun 01-Sep-19 08:53:27

Is it 2 miles walking or 2 miles in a straight line?
If he's 5 and it's more than 2 miles walking they need to provide transport.

JoJoSM2 Sun 01-Sep-19 13:46:57

I doubt there's anywhere in the borough you can't walk to in under 2 miles from home. It's also central London so public transport is extensive and very frequent.

I think the OP is disgruntled as they hoped to move close to one of the highest attaining state primaries in the country and get a space. Unfortunately, it's a one form entry school and as pp mentioned, the waiting list is probably a mile long and the chance of getting in almost impossible.

summertree0088 Wed 04-Sep-19 01:30:03

Thank you for your reply. Please let me make one thing clear - my question is whether or not 2miles is a walking distance. My original question is how long the appeal takes because the council hinted that I may have to do the appeal to get a place. I have to start my job in late September, so my biggest concern is the allocation is done by the time.

Also, I’m not stuck with John betts at all. I came to London for my work and my employer selected our accommodation. I just moved to the offered apartment and the closest school is John betts, thats it. If I am offered a place of any school by the middle of September, it’s fine. The school is 2miles away, it’s okay. I’ll find the transportation/childminder or buy a bicycle.

I am sorry if It seems I am moaning or complaining about the system. Actually I’m not. I just didn’t know even getting a place in community schools is very competitive ( in my country, you will be automatically offered a place of the closest school and usually within 10min walk if it’s the capital city ) Now I’ve started understanding what London’s education system is like. I hope I can get a place from any school as soon as possible.

OP’s posts: |
summertree0088 Wed 04-Sep-19 01:31:42

*my question is NOT whether or not 2miles is a walking distance.

I made a big mistake, should correct it!

OP’s posts: |
pumkinspicetime Wed 04-Sep-19 01:39:18

Wow is that how it works? You rock up in a new country and then moan because the council don’t give your child a place at a convenient (tax funded) school?

If OP is here she has been given a VISA.
She will also I imagine be paying taxes as she is working.
If you had ever lived in another country you would realize that systems vary hugely country to country.

pikapikachu Wed 04-Sep-19 01:44:54

Lots of UK born people don't know how the process works if you move home to a new area. We all want to live near our child's school but we can't apply for the school without an address and it's hard to commit to an address without knowing the school situation...

The OP is not unreasonable to wonder if her son will have a school place by the time that she starts working. If not, she'd have to look into childminders etc

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