School won't tell me waiting list position

(81 Posts)
SummerIsComing2019 Thu 19-Sep-19 00:16:12

CoE primary, it is our first option and we did not get in.
I have called the school at least 20 times since May, I have emailed them as well and still have not heard back. I just want to know where on the waiting list we are and they are blatantly blanking me.

I have left numerous messages with whoever picks up the phone and asked kindly to be contacted. No one has ever called, not only that, but the person in admissions never picks up the phone. This has been going for months.

What should I do? I have no idea how to tackle this.

OP’s posts: |
EmilyStar Thu 19-Sep-19 03:22:30

Have you tried asking the schools department at your council?

Most of the school admissions where I live are done through the local council, so round here they’d normally be the first place to ask about waiting lists.

Alicewond Thu 19-Sep-19 03:25:50

The school has no choice, its the decision of children’s services. If it’s a public school they control and decide on admissions

Rainbowqueeen Thu 19-Sep-19 03:28:57

It may be because waiting lists change. Someone with a higher priority may apply and be given a spot higher on the waiting list
They may have had a bad experience in the past where they have told someone eg that they are number 1 but then someone with higher priority comes along and the original number 1 gets really angry and upset and feels like their place has been taken.
In your shoes I would ask the LA but also try a different tack with the school. Maybe ask whether most people on the waiting list usually get in or when is the most likely time for you to hear something. So you might get some level of reassurance rather than the nothing you are currently getting.

SummerIsComing2019 Thu 19-Sep-19 07:54:39

I was under the impression that if it is a Church of England school they have all the choice, in the sense that they control the admissions process, set the criteria, etc, and the LA has no say in it?

OP’s posts: |
Soontobe60 Thu 19-Sep-19 07:59:24

No, that's not completely correct. When you applied was it for an in Year place?
Contact admissions at the LA. Ask for the admissions criteria for the school, and if you are still on a waiting list. If you applied last year, some LAs close the list and you have to start again for in Year admissions.

NiceViper Thu 19-Sep-19 08:04:12

The LA controls the main admissions round. The VA schools rank applicants according to the criteria (which they set, but which must conform to the Admissions Code) and then the LA turns every school's ranked list into a single offer per applicant.

Waiting lists are ranked according to the criteria, not time on the list and are held by the LA until the December. After that, they might be help by individual schools, by the LA, and indeed do not have to be held at all.

Have you asked the LA? If not, do so

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LoveWine123 Thu 19-Sep-19 10:01:31

The LA should be able to tell you what is his place on the waiting list...at least our council (London) does this. You shouldn't have to wait for the school. However, the way this is handled by the school will leave a bad impression about communication with parents overall...

brilliotic Thu 19-Sep-19 10:46:07

If this is for a reception place, I believe a waiting list should be kept until December at least, after that it is up to the school how they handle it.

I would expect the school to have the waiting list and to be able to tell you where on the list your child is, though they would caveat it with 'but positions on waiting lists can change, you can go up or down at any time'.

But that is really besides the point. The school clearly has bad communications with parents ... the fact they are 'blanking' you - that no-one has ever called you back, admissions person doesn't answer the phone - is a massive red flag. It would seriously affect my evaluation of the school. Obviously only you know if there are other factors that mean you want that school badly enough to still want to send your child there. But don't discount this warning sign.

quissum Thu 19-Sep-19 15:25:49

What brillotic said - I'd be seriously questioning whether I wanted a place after all! I don't think the school is actually obliged to tell you your list position, but it's still incredibly rude not to call you back. You should remain on the wait list until Christmas automatically, but if in any doubt you could always send in an in year application too for good measure. And yes, I'd phone the LA too, they might be happy to have a word with the school.

BuggerOffAndGoodDayToYou Thu 19-Sep-19 20:43:13

Your waiting list position is changeable. For example you might be at the top of the waiting list at the moment but tomorrow they could get an application from a child in a higher criteria (a looked after child for instance) and they would the go above you on the waiting list.

At my school the local authority have the lists, we tell them our priority criteria, they hold the list and only give us a name when we have a space and the LA have made an offer.

SummerIsComing2019 Thu 19-Sep-19 22:15:42

So I have called the LA today and was told they have no access to the waiting list, the school (being CoE) has the authority over it.
Managed to get through to the school and complained about the poor communication - I was told bluntly that I could be waiting forever and better to get dc settled and happy where he is right now. Those were her exact words, however she did not want to check nor confirm how many ahead of us.

OP’s posts: |
AllFourOfThem Thu 19-Sep-19 22:20:46

I think many schools are reluctant to give out waiting list positions because the reality is that it means very little. Your child could be first on the list all year but at the crucial moment another child could apply, who ranks above you, and get a place that opens up - and that could happen several times.

Does it have to be this specific school? If it’s just that you do not like the school your child is currently at, you can ask the council which schools do currently have spaces and put in another application to one of them.

EmilyStar Thu 19-Sep-19 23:58:47

TBH, although she could have put it more politely, she has a point.

There’s no guarantee that a place will become available from the waiting list even if you’re high up on the list, as it’s all dependant on pupils leaving the school. And as pp point out, the number of children ahead of you may change too.

Did she at least confirm that you’re on the waiting list?

brilliotic Fri 20-Sep-19 00:04:12

I'm thinking you may have had a lucky escape there, OP.

I thoroughly dislike that 'we won't tell you because you are probably not clever enough to understand' or 'it makes sense that they don't tell you because you would probably not understand' rather than e.g. 'You are currently 2nd on the waiting list, but that can change, you might go up, or down, for example if someone higher up in the admissions criteria joins the waiting list.'

RNBrie Fri 20-Sep-19 00:06:08

I'm part of the admissions panel for a CofE school. I spoke to the person who administers our list today and she wasn't able to tell me the exact number of people on the waiting list. We had 2 places available in reception and she has offered those out to places 1 and 2 on the list and is waiting to hear back. She's also dealing with admissions further up the school for classes where parents moved children away and didn't inform the school, they just didn't turn up. She's extremely stressed and busy as we want to get as many places accepted before the census in Oct which determines funding for the year.

I think you possibly have unreasonable expectations of the school and unfortunately you should probably accept the advice you've been given.

quissum Fri 20-Sep-19 07:11:33

I handle admissions for a big primary too. I'm also stressed and busy. But I still always manage to answer every enquiry I get politely and (hopefully) helpfully, if not always immediately. In this case I would have answered almost exactly as brillotic said (in fact I have a template email saved on my desktop), and it's a one minute job. Nor trying to blow my own trumpet, just saying that I don't think the OP's expectations are unreasonable.

stucknoue Fri 20-Sep-19 07:22:54

The problem is that even if you are number 2 on the list you may not get a place, well not this year and even at number one, a family could move in closer or with a looked after child etc and you loose your top spot - take their advice and accept the other school.

quissum Fri 20-Sep-19 07:49:15

Oh, absolutely she should accept the other place! Yes, I would also be saying in my polite email that it's perfectly possible she wouldn't get a place all year, even if she's top of the list and stays there.

prh47bridge Fri 20-Sep-19 07:52:46

If the school uses a lottery as the tie breaker they can't give your position on the waiting list as you don't actually have one. They have to redraw the lottery every time a place becomes available. However, most schools use distance as the tie breaker so don't have this problem.

Some schools are reluctant to tell people waiting list positions because some parents don't understand that you can go down as well as up and get aggressive when they find their child has dropped down the list. However, most schools in my experience are able and willing to give an answer.

Even if the school is going to refuse to give a position (or is unable to give one), there is, in my view, no excuse for ignoring the request or being rude about it. My personal view is that, unless the school uses a lottery, it ought to tell parents their position as that gives confidence that the list is being administered correctly.

greathat Fri 20-Sep-19 08:06:09

Yup you go down the waiting list. Plus if a "looked after" child starts the school, they wouldn't have to go on the list, so the numbers in the group would go over the allotted. More people would have to leave before a space becomes available

Wanderingraspberry Fri 20-Sep-19 08:20:45

When my son was on the waiting list for a Catholic Primary they wouldn't tell me his position as it could always be subject to change. It turns out that he was first, but didn't get a place for two years as that's when the first child left. Although the school aren't being very nice about it, the Secretary is correct you need to make the best of what you have, or put your child's name down on other waiting lists. Good luck.

LoveWine123 Fri 20-Sep-19 08:47:44

I honestly find them very rude. You don't have to give the position if that's what the school policy is but you can politely explain the reasons why. For a lot of families this is the first time going through this process and being busy or stressed is no excuse for being rude and unhelpful. The normal human thing will be to do what @quissum does. A warning sign, OP.

SummerIsComing2019 Fri 20-Sep-19 12:34:56

We are going through the process for the first time and it is unsettling to see how little support you get as a parent. I have been made to feel as an annoyance for asking what I think is a very reasonable question. I am a grown up and engage my brain enough to understand that positions can change driven by criteria.
It is a top 1% school and of course we have accepted our other place, but that does not mean I will stop hoping there will be enough movement to get us in at some point in the next couple of years.
I wonder if they treat all parents in this manner, or it is just the waiting list ones who are treated with contempt.

OP’s posts: |
EndoftheWorlds Sun 22-Sep-19 08:55:02

It is a top 1% school

What or earth does that mean?
Top 1% for what? Schools in the UK are not ranked by percentage.

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