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Looking for advice on getting a school place after moving home.

(6 Posts)
EarthMotherImNot Fri 10-May-13 11:44:05

Please bear with this is as it may be long winded:

DD1 has recently moved from Scotland to us here in England. Partly because of my health issues but also she was feeling quite isolated, hated her job etc etc.
After long discussion with our grandson 14 and us it was decided she would apply for jobs down here to get the lay of the land. Lo and behold she got one of the first she applied for so things began moving swiftly.

She informed grandsons school he would be leaving and she contacted our local secondary school who assured her there would be a place for him and all she had to do was contact them when she had definate start dates.
At the end of that conversation it emerged that GS had some one to one at his Scottish school and that he had undertaken one year again following a difficult time at his old school.

They are now saying they have given his place away and she has been called to an appeal regarding this. She will of course attend this but wonders what else she could be doing help him. At present he is stuck at home with us and while we are supervising work DD1 gives him each day it's not what he needs.

My health issues are such that stability, peers to have around and some semblance of normal life, not limbo, is what is needed.

This appeal is two more weeks away and she is unsure if she should be applying to schools further away when part of her case is that the desired school is very close to home.

I hope I've given enough info but please, anyone, ask if I haven't. Thank you

tiggytape Fri 10-May-13 12:10:51

From your post it sounds like you are dealing with the school direct? This is not how admissions work - in England all school admissions have to go via the council you live in and normally you would be asked to list more than one school when you apply. Has this happened?

It isn't guaranteed you will get a place at any of the schools you've asked for. Even if it has a space when you ring up to enquire, someone might move into the area before you or otherwise beat you to it.

An appeal happens when you are turned down for a school you have applied to on the grounds that it is full. An appeal means going before a panel to challenge this decision and state your reasons why it is in your child's best interests to attend the school you are asking for. If you win they will create an extra space for your child even though the school remains officially full.

If the schools you have asked for are all full and / if you lose at appeal, the council is still obliged to find a school place. It might not be at one of the schools you listed but will be at the nearest school to home that still has places spare.

The bits I am stuck on with your post is that you seem to be only applying to one school, you are dealing with the school direct and you have been summoned to an appeal not having requested one. All of those things are incorrect and are not how the admissions process is supposed to work. The year group / age thing may be an additional factor but doesn't excuse the council from their obligation of finding a school place although they may well insist your DGS goes into the correct year group for his age. They are unlikely to let him stay a year behind.

EarthMotherImNot Fri 10-May-13 14:48:21

Thank you tiggy. Applying for only one school has happened because we live in a town made up of lots of small villages so children from the village tend to go to the local nursery, infants then junior schools IYSWIM.

It was in DD's day too.

The school suggested not applying elsewhere when she first contacted them because they had a place for him. None of us saw any reason to go against this. It feels very much that she should have dealt directly with the council from the outset but hindsight only works afterwards.

My Macmillan nurse who visited today has offered to write to the appeal explaining the need for normality for our grandson, moving house, school area, country even, not withstanding and we are very tempted to try this. Will it come across as too heavy would you say? Again thank you for your help.

tiggytape Fri 10-May-13 15:03:26

No - not heavy handed at all. One function of appeals is to give consideration to difficult circumstances and the need for a local school place to offer additional support a child might need.
This letter should form part of your appeal and you should also list anything other reasons that the school best suits your DGS eg does it offer subjects or sports he is good at / interested in?

I do think though that you also need to speak to the council about a plan B. Whilst I very much hope you win your appeal, this can never be totally relied upon and you need to make sure DGS is also on the waiting list for that school in case a space comes up (waiting lists and appeals are separate things) and that a place will be found for him at another school if he cannot immediately attend the local one.

EarthMotherImNot Fri 24-May-13 05:59:51

Brief update for tiggytape: Our GS had his appeal yesterday and wonsmile on the grounds that the school had not presented it's case well enough.

We are very relieved and, hopefully, we move forward now. Its our first piece of good luck for ages. Thank you for your responses flowers

mummy1973 Fri 24-May-13 10:05:06

smile congratulations

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