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Applying to secondary school when moving house

(8 Posts)
MaccyH Sun 23-Oct-11 12:17:22

DH has an 11 year old son who lives with his XP 2 hours away. She has had her & her new partner's house on the market for over a year and intends to move to a different area (only half an hour away from us). Her partner already has a house in the new area which they will then live in (he splits his time currently between both houses). They have said that if the house doesn't sell soon, they will take a low offer to get it sold to ensure they can move in time for DSS to start secondary school next Sept.

DH is trying to get involved in the application process & which schools to apply to and have conversations with his XP who is not very forthcoming with any info. Now she is saying she is applying to schools in the area they live currently as they can't apply to the new area as they don't live there yet.

DH and I thought they could apply in the new area now as they already have the house there & so can confirm the address they will be living at. We are concerned that otherwise DSS will potentially end up at a last choice school or one far away if they don't apply now. Can anyone advise? Can you apply to schools in an area you don't currently live? Can you apply in more than one area? DH would like to be more involved in selecting the schools to apply to and has been pushing XP on it for the last few weeks, unfortunately she seems to think it is a matter for her and her partner to decide.

CustardCake Sun 23-Oct-11 17:08:18

Yes - technically there is nothing to stop applying to a school in an area that you don't live in BUT your chances of getting a place are tiny if most of the schools there are oversubscribed. All the children living closer will get priority (assuming not a selective school or no special needs / statement in place).

This is because the local authority uses your current address to measure distances and work out which schools you are closest too. Generally they use council tax information and child benefit information (the address the child benefit is paid to) to determine which is a child's "true" address. You are not allowed to put down the address of a house you own but don't live in even if you plan to live there one day. It has to be the house you live in at that point in time.

You also cannot apply in more than one local authority at once. You have a form with 3,4,5 or 6 choices to fill in depending on where you live and you can put down any schools on that form that you want to. But if you "waste" all your options putting down schools that are miles from your "true" address then you might not get any school place at all or you might get a poor school miles away from where you want.

It would have been more sensible to take the low offer on the house sooner to get the house sold and to be living at the new address in time for the October 31st deadline because its the address you live at now not in September 2012 that is the important one for schools applications. It sounds like her mum knows this but just hasn't been able to make the house move quick enough.

CustardCake Sun 23-Oct-11 17:19:28

Sorry I mean: you can apply to schools in other las on your own la's form but you cannot submit one application to council X with a list of local schools and another application to council Y with another list of different schools. All applications are based on where you live right now and they all go through your local council even if the school you are applying to is miles away in a different council.

Basically your DH's XP is correct to say she will have to apply to local schools although there is nothing to stop her "wasting" one of her choices on a school near her new house. If they get it then great but if not she needs to put local schools to her current house down else DS may get no place at all or a bad one. In that case she should fill in the form like this (assuming she gets 3 choices):

1st choice: School close to new house (preferably not majorly oversubscribed so there is a small chance of getting in even though she lives miles away)
2nd choice: The school she likes best near her new house
3rd choice: School she is most likely to be allocated based on distance even if she doesn't like it much (on the basis that a rubbish school 5 minutes walk away is better than a rubbish school 5 miles away on a bus)

If she gets 6 choices she could do this:
1st choice: Ideal school near to her new home even if it is oversubscribed and a long shot.
2nd choice: School close to new house (preferably not majorly oversubscribed so there is a small chance of getting in even though she lives miles away)
3rd choice: Another school close to new house (preferably not majorly oversubscribed so there is a small chance of getting in even though she lives miles away)
4th choice: Another school close to new house (preferably not majorly oversubscribed so there is a small chance of getting in even though she lives miles away)
5th choice: Ideal School closest to her current house that she would like the best in her local area
6th choice: School she is most likely to be allocated based on distance even if she doesn't like it much (on the basis that a rubbish school 5 minutes walk away is better than a rubbish school 5 miles away on a bus)

Choices are equal preference. If none of the schools near her new house have a place for someone living so far away, she will still get a place either at the local one she likes or the local one she likes less but lives on top of. It doesn't harm your chances of getting your local school by putting git last because they give you the highest preference you qualify for.

MaccyH Sun 23-Oct-11 17:25:20

Thanks for the clarification CustardCake, at least we know what the XP is saying is correct then, unfortunately just means that when they do move, he may be restricted as to what school he can get into in the new area.

Am trying to remain detached as he is my DSS not DS & at the end of the day it has to be his parents' decision, I can only discuss with DH, but it is just frustrating to realise the timing of their move (which we have no control over) may impact DSS's school quality.

MaccyH Sun 23-Oct-11 17:31:38

Sorry, custardcake, x post! Based on your 2nd post, i think we need another discussion with XP as it sounds like you are saying she can apply in new area but we will have to be aware that it will be her current address that is taken into acount not the new one. The fact all choices are given equal preference is good as well. Thanks for your help.

CustardCake Sun 23-Oct-11 22:50:22

That's O.K Maccy - I agree with you though that their timing is really awful. Moving house at school application time really messes up your chances of getting a good school (but of course lots of people have no choice and if some schools are undersubscribed but still pretty good then it might not be a problem at all).

Even if the worst happens and he doesn't get a place near the new house, he can go on waiting lists and he will be high up on the list if he moves closer to the school than others (its not first come, first served with waiting lists - they too are totally dependent on siblings and distance criteria).

I hope it all works out O.K.

mummytime Mon 24-Oct-11 06:39:21

I wouldn't panic, as there is usually a lot of movement after the places have been sorted. Also if they are moving to close to a good school, they will jump above people who applied "on time" but live further away. Also they have a chance with an appeal as the class size is not restricted to 30.

BTW there are a lot worse times to move.

Mico62 Mon 24-Oct-11 10:23:17

We receive similar applications each year but if the child moves before final allocations are made in March and we receive proof of the new address the allocation will be made based on that information.

Until then they would probably be bottom of the distance list for a place at any of our schools but we had one family who were moving 200 miles and their child got their first choice - I think we moved with them because mum would phone every week to give us an update!

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