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Can a free school refuse a place if they have room?

(8 Posts)
owlsintheflowerpatch Wed 16-Mar-16 20:49:16

Haven't applied yet. Spoke to a local school yesterday. Told they have room and you can apply through the LEA but not to as the prefer you to come for a meeting interview with their head then the head is to have a meeting with old school etc before applying.

I have no issue with this and we would go and look anyway but just wondered if we looked round and applied without the rest of it if they could refuse a place or if the lea can assign a place.

Mostly because i would like to initially apply without the old school initially knowing.

tiggytape Wed 16-Mar-16 21:17:02

Some schools can refuse. State grammar schools for example can keep places empty if too few pupils meet the entry requirements. They don't need to lower the pass mark to fill vacancies. Looking at your title, I doubt any Free Schools fall under that criteria though.
And if there's a waiting list, any newly created vacancy will go to the person at the top of the list already waiting not to the first person who finds out about it and asks for it.
However an interview forms no part of the application at state schools. Even at 6th form an interview is only to talk about subject options - it cannot be used to judge students or select some students over others.
And they cannot stop you applying if you don't let the old school know either. If you apply in the usual way and, if there is a space with no list of people waiting, the space should be yours.

prh47bridge Thu 17-Mar-16 01:09:58

A free school cannot select on academic ability so meeting the entry requirements is not a consideration. If they have a place available and no waiting list it must be offered to anyone who applies.

As Tiggytape says they cannot insist on a meeting with you and/or the head of the old school before you apply. They cannot use these meetings to decide whether or not to offer a place.

owlsintheflowerpatch Thu 17-Mar-16 04:58:37

Thanks both.
My dc are good at school so no behaviour issues and i would obviously want to look round again.

But i want to apply without current school knowing initially and i don't want to put them through unnessecary meetings with both schools together.

anklebitersmum Thu 17-Mar-16 05:50:15

If you know they have room then apply via the LEA and job done.
Interviews indeed shock angry some Headteachers need a swift kick in the ego.

begtodiffer Thu 17-Mar-16 21:23:41

I know of a case in a neighbouring borough to us where the head of a newly opened free school felt they were deliberately shafted by an established local school when a very troubled child's family was "encouraged" to transfer them. It should have been a "managed move" but the free school head was caught unawares by some very underhand tactics and is now more cautious as a result.

Perhaps the head of the OP's prospective free school was similarly caught out in the past.

Decorhate Fri 18-Mar-16 17:54:10

I think you are talking about an in-year transfer or managed move rather than applying for a Y7 place OP?

These moves are usually done by mutual agreement & often on a trial basis. It is perfectly normal for the school to invite you in for a meeting & to look around. They will also be looking to ascertain why you want to move & if your child is likely to adjust well to the move, etc

owlsintheflowerpatch Fri 18-Mar-16 18:27:34

Thank you. My dc is well behaved and a good pupil so im not worried about meetings but I am not on good terms with their current school having just put a complaint in.

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