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Can we be forced to take this school place?

(18 Posts)
themagickeybegan Tue 07-Oct-08 11:04:10

We are moving to a new area and a new LEA.

DD is in Key Stage 1 (so 30 limit on class sizes).

I've rung round all the schools in the area and they are all full. The LEA have said that they would place her within a 2 mile radius if all schools were full. I don't know how they would do this. I'm presuming that they can force a school to take a child despite class size limits, under certain circumstances.

I've rung round all the schools in the LEA 2 mile radius too and there is only one school with a place that might be coming up.

However, our last experience of this one school was driving past it with children running out of the playground with rocks (from a skip) which they were throwing at each other. We had to swerve to avoid them. When I got out I had a volley of abuse from them!

There is no way I would send DD there. However, could the LEA say that we had to take the place? Could they refuse to place her in another already full school if there is a place at this school?

AMumInScotland Tue 07-Oct-08 11:12:03

You're confusing me! I've pasted this from the untitled version grin

As far as I understand it, they only have to offer you one place - if you don't want to take it then I don't think they have any further responsibility to find you another one. If the other schools are full and this one has a place, then I think it's unlikely that they would force another school to take a child just because you "don't like it". (I know your feelings are based on more than that, but the LEA will take the view that all their schools are just fine thank you very much)

You would then have to look for a place further out yourselves, go private, or home educate until a suitable place becomes available.

Aliensloveunderpants Tue 07-Oct-08 11:16:35

From what I understand of trying to find a place for DD in Y1 AMumInScotland is correct. They only have to find you one place which you can accept or decline but after that you're on your own so to speak.

themagickeybegan Tue 07-Oct-08 11:17:55


themagickeybegan Tue 07-Oct-08 11:19:33

Just wondering if I should try and delay the move and hope that the place gets filled by someone else in the meantime. I'd be a nervous wreck sending her to that school.

AMumInScotland Tue 07-Oct-08 11:24:46

You could try that - but it's pure guesswork whether this place does come up or not, and how fast it is filled. I guess if you can be very flexible about the move you could contact schools you would like and see if you can keep up to date on them having a place available, and time your move, but it's all very hard to guess!

AMumInScotland Tue 07-Oct-08 11:32:00

Would you have any real possibility of home educating as a short term measure? That's another way of being flexible about taking a school place - you could again keep in touch with the schools to get a place in one which suits you.

themagickeybegan Tue 07-Oct-08 12:12:43

Well, I've just phoned the school again and they're now saying that they don't know anything about this place, maybe someone is leaving, perhaps its just something that someone has just heard! The Head says the school is full at the moment.

Spoke to the LEA again, and they said that once we've moved they will negotiate with the full schools within a 2 mile radius to find her a place (sounds like they just impose a child on a full school), but that there wouldn't be much flexibility for me to say which full school would be most appropriate for her.

AMumInScotland Tue 07-Oct-08 12:54:33

Well, that sounds like there isn't any more chance of a place at that school than any of the others, so the odds are not too bad. But no, I don't think you'll get any say in which of the schools they will squeeze her into - it probably depends whether any are already "over-full", and what extra provision would have to be made at any of them (and the cost!) to fit in another child.

themagickeybegan Tue 07-Oct-08 17:20:34

So how will they decide which school to 'over fill'? LEA said it was all by negotiation, but wouldn't say anymore.

LadyMuck Tue 07-Oct-08 17:30:18

Spaces come up fairly frequently though, so it is only an issue if you decide that she has to be in school asap. You could just go on the waiting list of your prefered schools and home ed untila place comes up. Home ed at KS1 isn't exactly a major hardship on a temporary basis.

Due to a local private school taking a spectacular dive I know 5 families who have had to try to get their children into state school. They've all moved up the waiting list spectacularly quickly - it would apper many famileis are on more than one list, and also don't actually want to take up the place when it arises (esp if it means moving in term).

themagickeybegan Tue 07-Oct-08 17:40:22

Thanks LadyMuck. I must admit that I was stunned that every school was full with waiting lists within the LEA's 2 mile radius. Even the school that I didn't want her to go to, said that they usually did run with spaces and that this was proving a very unusual year.

I did wonder whether the credit crunch was the cause ie. parents not being able to afford private schools. However, I rang the local private school and they were full too, and didn't envisage places coming up!

LadyMuck - you say you've heard that many families are on multiple waiting lists and don't actually want the places when they come up. Why do they actually go on them in the first place? Is it just an insurance policy in case things get any worse at their children's schools?

LadyMuck Tue 07-Oct-08 20:20:46

Usually it is just that they haven't got round to taking their name off the lists of other schools. So they move to an area, put name down on 6 lists, get a place in 1 school and don't bother to tell the others. Or it is a case of parents having been cheesed off with their present school, apply for another, but then when the place actually comes up they find that they are not bothered enough anymore to go ahead with the move. In this most recent instance, all bar one of the families had withdrawn their children and were homeschooling temporarily - in most cases for less than 2 weeks.One child went from being 20th on the wait list to being 4th in one week - this was for a year 6 place in a one form entry school.

And I know that this is obvious but spaces come up quicker at schools with more than 1 form entry.

Honestly, if you can home-ed for up to half a term or so, then I would. I think that would be less stressful than starting at a not very good school and then leaving again. And if you are happy to be on the wait list for several schools I would expect something to come up (my friends were all fairly picky about the schools they applied to, so each family applied to one school neaar them). Home edding on a short term basis at this age isn't that difficult, especially as the amount of formal work that they do at shool is relatively small.

Of course you might be given a school that you are happy with. It is always worth having a look - league tables, Ofsted and reputations don't always tell you whether the school would suit you or not.

themagickeybegan Tue 07-Oct-08 20:43:30

Thanks LadyMuck
That sounds hopeful. I have been pretty down since getting some advice on admissions and being told that by this time of the year the schools will have a very good idea of places ie. if there isn't a place now, its unlikely that one will come up. Ringing round the schools was pretty depressing too. One just responded: "No places, and don't envisage there being any" (had the impression that they'd had a number of calls!). Only one would tell me if their waiting list was 'up to date' ie if everyone on it was still after a place (and unfortunately they were at this particular school!).

I did get the overall impression that kids just weren't moving in and out of schools at the moment, and wondered if it was because of the credit crunch stopping people from moving area etc.

LadyMuck Tue 07-Oct-08 20:49:26

Well I'm in an outer London borough so I think that there is always some movement. And to be honest I've been surprised at how much movement. In less than half a term these 5 families, who have 12 primary aged children between them have been, have had offers of places for 8 of the children. And in no instance have they got in on an appeal to increase class size (though one family is now goign for this).

themagickeybegan Tue 07-Oct-08 21:10:11

Do you mind me asking if this is KS1 or 2 LadyMuck?

LadyMuck Tue 07-Oct-08 22:04:56

Of the 8 children who got places 4 were KS1 and 4 were KS2. I guess that it is fair to say that of the KS1 children 3 got places by virtue of their fact that their older KS2 siblings got places thereby propelling them to the top of the waiting list. 1 got in in her own right. But in general the KS2 pupils did get places more easily.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 07-Oct-08 22:08:26

The 30 limit can be broken, but each classroom has a physical size limit which cannot. So if any of the schools have small classrooms then they won't offer a place there....

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