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School advice

(37 Posts)
Lemonade19 Fri 19-Jun-15 05:49:45

We are in a difficult situation in which we have been asked to leave our accommodation by the end of next week by the council. As we have no where to go out social worker has said we go and stay with my aunt who lives in another borough approx 12 miles away from where we live and now. They have said it is mostly I will still be staying at my aunts in September which means he will not be able to continue at his school which would be 13 miles away and take approx 2 hours to get there. I've been told in September if he is not attending they cannot hold his place open the same as my dd due to start reception this year, I don't drive so journey for both children not feasible.

Technically I could just change schools but the problem is social services is helping me with accommodation in the borough which will be this year they reckon late October so not worth changing schools and forking out money on uniform on a new school for a month or so.

What I want to know us on my return does the council have to offer me a school within the borough. The borough is very very oversubscribed especially for secondary and I know for a fact his space will be gone at the old school and any other school in the borough. If there are no spaces do I need to sit and wait for a space to come available and keep him at home or can I appeal for him to attend his previous school if we live within a reasonable distance bearing in mind I don't know where I will be placed in the borough

FishWithABicycle Fri 19-Jun-15 06:35:04

How old are the children? (and when is the birthday of the younger who will be in reception?)

What is your work situation?

Whatever you do only needs to work for a few weeks if there is seriously a good chance of housing back in the right borough by October. Imo that's worth a bit of disruption. If you give up these school places the council will not be under any obligation to provide you with other options when you move back.

If you work, could you pay someone to get the kids to school? (Expensive obviously but only temporary)

Even if you only got them there 3 days a week they would still be "attending" albeit with a terrible attendance record.

meditrina Fri 19-Jun-15 07:06:23

As your DS is secondary age, and you're looking at a gap of a few weeks, then the best option is for him to just commute for those weeks. Because no, if a place is relinquished, you have no guarantee whatsoever of getting a place in that school again. As all this is out of your hands, not a move you chose, and and as they have said that they expect you to be able to return, could you see if they can find transport for him? It doesn't fall under the usual qualifying rules, but if they have any discretionary funding, you might be able to persuade them to pay. After all, moving in with family, not being placed in temp accommodation must be saving them a tidy sum.

As your DD has a place to start on September in your old borough, you can defer the place and start her there in January.

prh47bridge Fri 19-Jun-15 07:15:14

What happens when you return depends on your council. Some co-ordinate in year admissions which means you apply to the council and they have to come up with a place. Some leave you to apply to individual schools and only step in if none have a place available. Either way the council has to come up with a place for your son somewhere. It doesn't have to be within the borough but it must be within a reasonable distance of home. Government guidance suggests that means it must be no more than 1 hour 15 minutes journey in each direction using whatever form of transport is provided. If it is over 3 miles from home by the shortest safe walking route the council have to provide free transport.

Lemonade19 Fri 19-Jun-15 16:03:05

@fish my daughter was 4 in February and son 13. Not sure if I would actually be able to get him to school even 3 days a week as this would mean getting both kids up and leaving the house by 6:30 plus I've got a 3 month old as well.

I don't work so will not be able to pay for childcare

LIZS Fri 19-Jun-15 16:08:49

At 13 could your Ds not make the journey, even partly, on his own , or you leave younger ones with your aunt?

Lemonade19 Fri 19-Jun-15 16:09:42

@medtrina I've spoken to the school in which they have a long waiting list in most years and they have told me I need to speak to the LA. The LA has said they cannot hold the place open as there is no set date I'm moving back and cannot provide transport in which they suggested I change schools. They also said once I've moved and I don't attend they will give the place to someone else on the waiting lists coz I'm too far out the area to commute. Can a la force you to give up your child's place? Also interesting I can defer reception starting age which may be a good option for me.

LIZS Fri 19-Jun-15 16:12:33

Does the council not have an obligation to rehouse you locally or are the circumstances such that you are deemed to have made yourself homeless?

Lemonade19 Fri 19-Jun-15 16:13:51

@ Liz my aunt works so unable to. He could make half the journey alone but would still mean getting up after 5 each day to get the kids ready to take him some of the way

I'm not giving up his place yet will wait and see the situation in September

SuburbanRhonda Fri 19-Jun-15 16:19:01

What a horrible situation for you OP. Do please check that the reception place can be deferred as I'm not sure it's an automatic right, especially if the council is not able to house you back in the borough where the schools are.

While it's lovely of your aunt to put you up it might have been better if you'd had nowhere to go as the council would then have had to find you emergency accommodation and that may have been nearer.

Lemonade19 Fri 19-Jun-15 17:41:38

We was offered emergency temp accommodation but the nearest they had was in Birmingham in which they basically said take it or stay with a relative Til something comes up. I am from London

If worst comes to worst we may have to rent privately but without working many landlords don't accept housing benefits.

FishWithABicycle Fri 19-Jun-15 17:45:11

I know this isn't ideal, but your 13yo can make the journey unaccompanied for the short number of weeks before you can move back. Perhaps you could accompany him part of the way? If only just to the bas/tube stop? Even if he's late every day for 4 weeks he's still attending. A 13yo is plenty old enough to cope with that journey alone even though it's a bit unpleasant.

If your 4yo has a February birthday you are legally entitled to defer her start till after Christmas and the school and LA cannot prevent you from taking that right, and they MUST keep your DD's place open for you. They won't be happy because it will be extra work for them to have a child starting after Christmas who has missed the whole first term, but you can do this. It does need to be an official deferral though - if she just doesn't turn up then they can deregister her.

Lemonade19 Sat 20-Jun-15 06:44:07

Thanks fish will see how it turns out. I just worry as his very forgetful and can imagine how tiring the journey will be for him. I just know he will fall asleep on route and miss his stop and end up wherever although I know his smart enough to get the bus back. Do you think there is an option of home educating half of the week and then half the week in school

Charis1 Sat 20-Jun-15 06:56:33

sorry, seriously don't see the problem with leaving the house by 6.30 in the morning. Just do it for the sake of your kids. You don't want them disrupted, how selfish! I don't want to be judgy but to be even considering making your child change school just because you can't be bothered to get up in time to take him! That is crazy!

My god daughter was evicted, and moved into temporary accommodation about 50 miles from her children's schools a few years ago, and still got them there every ( well most) days for the few months they lived there. it became her full time job, to ensure continuity for her children.

We get up after 5 and leave by 6.30 every day anyway, because we live in London and DS have to get to school before the rush hour, as the buses round here are too full to get on by the time they reach our area, if we leave it any later.

Just do it, why are you making such a stink about it? It is a tiny thing to do for your child. Moving schools is a big deal, taking him away from his friends, disrupting his education, for nothing????

LIZS Sat 20-Jun-15 07:13:01

Perhaps you should ask him what he'd prefer to do . A long journey to keep his friend and school place or a school move, possibly twice. I think Part-time would set a poor precedent tbh , it could create further issues for you with ss , and many kids leave that early for school. Alternatively are there any friends he could stay with Monday to Friday? Maybe speak to the EWO about the situation and keep asking the council about temp accommodation as this must change all the time. If they know your aunt's house is an option then they won't be looking to help.

Lemonade19 Sat 20-Jun-15 18:59:52

@charis I am not being shellfish I'm trying to be as practical as I can. I don't want to have my son in class sleeping because his so tired as that's not good for his health or education. The problem is not just about leaving the house at 6:30 it's the whole process I am worried about for the children not myself. My aunt lives in an area not a London borough where the bus runs 2 hourly with the first bus just after 8am and the last just after 4. We would have to walk for about an hour if not more with a 4 year old walking and sleepy and I'm trying to think about my daughter and how this could affect her.

I don't need anyone slagging me off of judging me. I came here for advice. As I mentioned before I'm not changing schools for just a month or so as I can see that would be more damaging however getting him to school I have to look at the impact and how all the kids will be affected not just one.

Charis1 Sat 20-Jun-15 22:01:10

well, I am giving you advice! Don't disrupt your child's education over nothing. The journey isn't exceptional, and many children and parents manage similar, much longer term. Exercise is good for children, and they are likely to arrive at school calmer and more alert. The journey time is an excellent opportunity for meaningful conversation. There is absolutely no reason not to do it.

Saracen Sat 20-Jun-15 23:02:00

You do definitely have the right to defer your daughter's start, even if you have moved. Her February birthday means you can defer until the start of summer term, which buys you plenty of time.

If I were you I would get your son to school occasionally at least, and not enrol him elsewhere. He can't lose his place until he has been continuously absent for at least 20 school days. This does mean you run the risk of a fine, but if the LA recognises the difficulty of your situation and the temporariness, they may be lenient. Obviously that wouldn't be brilliant in the long term so if the situation drags on then you might have to move him.

swingofthings Sun 21-Jun-15 14:35:25

You clearly mean well and are seeking advice rightly, but you are not being practical when it comes to priority. Most importantly, your children need the best education they can get full-time. If your DS is in a good school currently, then your priority has to be to do everything so he remains there. the challenges you will face short term are nothing compared to the consequences of not facing them full term.

Why are you worried about your son falling asleep? 6:30 is early, but not seriously early. If he goes to bed by 9:30, there is no reason why he should fall asleep on his way or at school. Maybe you could do the trip with him a few times during the week-end when someone else can look after your other children so he can be confident about doing the journey on his own at some point. The key word is 'temporary' so however unpleasant it is, it will be worth it to remain at that school when you can be rehoused.

NynaevesSister Sun 21-Jun-15 15:50:22

The LA can't force you to change schools just because you have moved out of catchment. They can only force you to do so if your son does not turn up at school.

You are being rehomed at the end of October. Plus there is the October half term so you will need to do this commute for six weeks only in the new school year, and just the last few weeks this year.

First contact your daughter's school. Tell them that you are deferring her start until the start of the Spring term, which is just after Christmas. You don't have to start her until the term she turns 5.

Next, get a buggy board or a double buggy so you can push your four year old too if they get really tired. I expect you are very short of cash. You could look for a second hand one or go to an organisation like the Salvation Army and see if anyone can loan you one.

Does your son have a phone? Talk it over with him, see if you can get him to understand what is needed if he wants to continue at the school. Set the phone with alarms, so that if he falls asleep at any point it will wake him up.

You sound exhausted, traumatised and groggy. I can't imagine what you've been through lately but it sounds like a lot.

Can you go all or part of the trip with him for the first few weeks if you have a way of having the 4 year old ride buggy or on a scooter or on a scooter with older son? You may have to stay in town - look up libraries, one o'clock clubs, and Children's centres with stay and play sessions.

I really do hope it all goes well for you. Remember it does all get better xxx

Saracen Sun 21-Jun-15 16:26:40

@NynaevesSister: "Tell them that you are deferring her start until the start of the Spring term, which is just after Christmas. You don't have to start her until the term she turns 5."

I agree with all your ideas, with one small but potentially important correction: the place can be deferred until the child reaches compulsory school age or the start of summer term, whichever is earlier. Compulsory school age begins in the term after the child's fifth birthday. So with a February birthday, she needs to start by the beginning of summer term. She could start after Christmas but if there's a delay in getting re-housed, April is a possibility.

Icimoi Sun 21-Jun-15 18:16:36

Unless the council can actually offer you a school place in a nearer school, it will have to provide transport to the current school as a matter of law. Would that help?

titchy Sun 21-Jun-15 19:45:11

It doesn't help in London ici as kisser free bus transport anyway.

NynaevesSister Mon 22-Jun-15 04:09:25

Icimoi that's not entirely accurate. The LA is only obliged if it can't place you in a closer school. In the OP's situation there are school places near her aunt's. The LA have already said that they won't do anything without a confirmed moving date.

Bunbaker Mon 22-Jun-15 07:00:34

What a horrible post Charis. The OP has been put in a horrible situation and needs practical suggestions. Being told that she is being selfish is unhelpful to say the least.

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