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How on earth do you manage to get your DC into an oversubscribed school?

(58 Posts)
ripsishere Sat 09-Jun-12 08:46:27

Due to a change in circumstances, we are moving to the LB of Sutton. I have four schools that I would like DD to go to, all have massive waiting lists.
We (that is she and I) moved from abroad, bought a house and got her into a feeder school for the oversubscribed school she was due to start in September.
DH was unable to find a job locally so we hare moving to London.
I went down for two days and stayed with a lovely MNer (thanks frank) and tried to find a house to rent.
Unfortunately, there were very few. I have got one, all that is needed is contracts signing. DH is still abroad so it will have to be done by email.
The point is HOW the actual fuck does one go about getting into a decent school at this late point in the year?

dexter73 Sat 09-Jun-12 08:50:27

Is there no chance of your dh commuting from where you live at the moment?

ElizabethSwann Sat 09-Jun-12 08:55:55

Tbh rip I think you have to hope and pray. However, if you cn't get your DD into a decent school there is nothing wrong with adding her to the waiting lists for all preferred schools because almost certaainly vacancies will come up mid year. Obviously this means she might start off in a less good school for a few months.

AngelEyes46 Sat 09-Jun-12 09:16:04

Agree with Elizabeth - you will be pushed up the waiting list due depending on where you live. I am croydon borough and I asked our admissions dept how much movement there is between March and December of any year and they said around 300! Sutton isn't as big but due to their grammar schools, there is a some movement in that area.

Northernlurker Sat 09-Jun-12 09:19:24

You need to look at as many schools as you can and get on the waiting list for anything that is possible. Then when you have your address your position on the list will be adjusted according to the local admissions criteria. I assume you're renting for 6 months? If the school she ends up at is awful you could always spend those 6 months looking for another rental on the doorstep of a school you like. It's possible that could work out.

ripsishere Sat 09-Jun-12 09:23:37

No, we are physically moving. We aren't doing the six month rent thing. DH couldn't commute. It is nearly 250 miles away that we live now.
I'll just have to dedicate next week to trying.
We did consider him living away M-F and me and her staying here. Unfortunately I gave up her place at the local, very oversubscribed school. Someone in Warrington will now be rubbing their hands with glee.

tiggytape Sat 09-Jun-12 09:30:58

Agree with everyone else's advice. There is no guaranteed way to get into a popular school. The application process closed last October and most places were allocated in March of this year. Any popular school in Sutton is going to have been totally full for 3 months now.

All you can do is find a house and then get your DD added to as many waiting lists as possible. Don't just focus on 4 schools - try to find at least 6 even if it means looking at ones over the border in Merton / Croydon / Surrey. The reason to get added to several is that it gives you some control over where DD is sent.
If the council cannot offer you one of your choices, they will instead allocate you the closest school with spaces spare even if you didn't list it so it is better to cast your net a bit wider to maximise your chances of getting a school you have chosen.

The good news though is waiting lists aren't first come, first served. They are held according to the admission criteria. So if your rented house is very close to a particular school, you will be near the top of the waiting list for that school even though you joined late.

tiggytape Sat 09-Jun-12 09:37:36

...or you can appeal.

If no spaces come up in a school you really want you can appeal for a place. This involves writing a statement and going before a panel to explain why they should admit DD even though they are full.

Reasons for appealing might include your DD has a medical condition that makes the school you want the only suitable one or the school you want has a curriculum / clubs that match your daughter's needs and interests.

Things that don't win appeals include: reasons based on journey time or childcare or because the school you want has good grades / a good Ofsted report. If you have strong grounds though for needing a certain school this option is also open to you.

ripsishere Sat 09-Jun-12 09:42:47

Thanks, it seems the London stuff is different to the rules up here.
I'll just have to plough on. We've got the house, DH is arranging for our furniture to be shipped directly to that rather than come here then go down.
It is all so trying.

tiggytape Sat 09-Jun-12 09:58:56

Hi ripsishere - the London admissions should be roughly the same as elsewhere as it is all governed by the same Code. Some areas give you more choices than others but the main difference in London is that many schools have more applicants than places so all sorts of tie breakers are used that aren't needed in areas with less of a pressure on places.

Transport links from Sutton are good so if you are worried the council will allocate you a poor school, you can start looking at towns accessible from the bus and train for schools to add to your list. Its not ideal to have to travel but sometimes you can find a space at a school a few stops away on the bus that is better than a more local one with spaces spare.

mummytime Sat 09-Jun-12 11:29:21

Also do appeal! Find out things like classroom sizes to help your case, that the school can take another pupil and that it is the best school for your daughter. You may be lucky and someone might move so giving you a place. I have known plenty of people move into an area and get their children into very oversubscribed schools, so it can be done.

sashh Sun 10-Jun-12 08:15:35

All schools have to have a couple of places for people moving into the area so you have a better chance if you apply as someone moving in than as someone who has been there for 10 years.

ripsishere Sun 10-Jun-12 08:25:46

Glad to hear the last thing. Thanks. Will get on to it tomorrow. The long BH weekend really slows things down. Although to be fair, I didn't have a house until Thursday.

mankyscotslass Sun 10-Jun-12 09:14:16

Sorry, but I don't think the schools having to keep places is true. sad

I'm just begining to look at secondary schools and entrance criteria though, so not 100% sure on my facts.

I think there is special provision for Crown Servants/forces moving into an area, but other that that it's the Fair Access Protocol that applies.

LEA have to find you the nearest school with places, if there is nothing that would be considered reasonable (and remember they can expect DC to travel a fair distance for Secondary), then the Fair Access protocol would be applied to make space for your DC. (I think)

Admissions or PRH could tell you more.

mummytime Sun 10-Jun-12 09:31:01

Schools DO NOT keep places, they may have to take crown personnel over their admission numbers, but they don't reserve places (sometimes they do give them places in the normal admissions round although they haven't moved yet but have got thei relocation orders). LAs also have to find you a place although some try to wriggle out. They can also force a school to take additional pupils under fair access.

ripsishere Sun 10-Jun-12 09:33:05

Ah, back to square one. We are not service personnel. I assume by that you mean forces (Army, Navy, AF)?

mankyscotslass Sun 10-Jun-12 09:34:38

Yes, Forces, or the FO, for Crown Servants.

mummytime Sun 10-Jun-12 09:37:46

The LA still has to give you a school place once you live there.

mankyscotslass Sun 10-Jun-12 09:45:07

Mummytime is correct - they do have to find you a place, but not necessarily at the school you want.

If you don't get the school you want, you can always try the appeal route - no guarantee of success, but always worth a try.

ripsishere Sun 10-Jun-12 09:46:03

I know, it's just the variability of the schools.
Unfortunately, there are some outstanding ones and people rent houses to enable them to apply angry.
I went to the local area boards on here. There was someone fishing for a house to rent. Reading between the lines it was for that purpose.

tiggytape Sun 10-Jun-12 09:51:49

sassh is definitely incorrect. Schools do not save places. If an LA saved places this it would be illegal and every local child who had missed out on a space could report them. There are definitely never any spaces "saved".

What can sometimes happen (even if you are not a forces family) is that you move into an area and not one single school has a place spare (not even the bad ones).
Places like Sutton might fall into that category as they are a London borough that struggles to provide places even in the normal admission rounds.
In those cases the LA is obliged to force one of the full up schools to take you and this is called Fair Access Protocol.
But it won't necessarily be a school of your choosing and this force can only be applied if all schools are full. If there is a space even at a poor school you don't want, you would be allocated that instead.

The best approach is to be proactive. Get yourself on the waiting lists of every school you like within a feasible journey and think about submitting appeals for the schools you want the most. You can do multiple appeals as well as wait on the lists. This improves your chances of getting a school you are happy with rather than what the LA decide to allocate you.

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 10-Jun-12 09:56:00

Rip are you talking primary or secondary? There is some movement at some schools especially in primary at prep age for boys. Whereabouts are you renting?

ripsishere Sun 10-Jun-12 10:04:03

Secondary. She is just 11 and will go into the first year of senior school.
We are renting in Worcester Park.

AngelEyes46 Sun 10-Jun-12 10:11:34

How does it work for grammar schools? Could rip try wallington girls (dd to take the exam outside the normal cycle)?

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 10-Jun-12 10:18:46

Oh I see, yes that is tricky. I have no idea how in year admissions for the grammars work if that is the issue. Where else are you looking? Can you afford private until a place comes up?

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