Genuinely wanted to move close to Gordon School but...(76 Posts)
First time, please excuse my ignorance.
My DS is in year 5 and he will be starting his secondary school (year 7) in Sep 2017. I guess last date to apply for admission is Oct 2016.
For his secondary school, we really like Gordon School, West End in Woking which is 9 miles from our home. This area has a very nice primary school which our DD can join as well.
I was looking at school's admission criteria and has found the following:
The School, in conjunction with Surrey, will investigate any applications where records show a change of address within the previous 12 months
What does this mean?
A. Does this mean applicant has to move into area at-least more than 12 months? If this is the case, its not possible for us as only 5 months are left to apply for admission.
B Or is it just an investigation to find out its a genuine move?
My situation is that, I own a house which I am planning to sell and move close to school but that I wanted to do, only, once admission will be confirmed. Here is what I am planning:
1. Rent out my own home in June 2016.
2. Move to catchment area of school (on rent) in June 2016.
3. Get admission for DS and DD in the local primary school in June 2016.
3. Apply for admission for Gordon School in Oct 2016 for DS.
4. Wait for admission result in March 2017.
5. Sell my own home and buy a house in the catchment.
does it makes sense?
Just wanted to clarify that I have visited the school area and really like it. I can see myself and family living there. And later my DD can join this school as well. Work wise it will be closer as well, so win win situation.
Any input would be really appreciated.
Unfortunately I think that you are planning to do exactly the sort of thing that they might find suspicious. Hopefully the fact that you are moving primary school too for your younger child and the distances involved would work in your favour though? What's plan b? You sound pretty sure about the school? Why not just sell/buy as normal and save the hassle?
RapidlyOscillating - Thanks for your prompt reply, specially early morning
Plan b hmmm not sure yet. There are some other good school around where rules are less strict, maybe have to look at that (or private school which will be a bit difficult).
Can I discuss the above with Gordon School itself and convince them that I genuinely wanted to move and stay here forever?
I think the best way to convince the LA is to sell your current property. Renting while retaining an owned property elsewhere tends to ring the admission fraud alarm bells, sorry.
Not a question for you OP but how does the LA know you own a property elsewhere? I rent and also rent out my own property out but this never into came into my mind when I was applying (although different circumstances - primary and I'd rented mine out for 3 yrs plus at that point).
You do realise how close you have to live to Gordon's to get in don't you? You have to live within 10yds of the gate or something. You would also have to have sold your current house and bought and moved into a house 10yds from the gate by October. It doesn't really seem very possible.
I'd look at other options if I were you.
BurnTheBlackSuit - Thanks for your feedback, I am looking to rent within 500m or less, hope that is the definition of 10 yards? And yes I am looking for some other options as well, well working on it, prob little late ;)
DH used to teach there. Are you just looking for a day place? As pp have said, the distance is tiny.
We knew a lot of pupils whose parents were only down the road yet boarded to get a place. I'd make sure you are happy with the plan B just in case. Good luck!
I live a few roads away from Gordon's, probably a 3 min walk, if that, and I'm not even sure my DC will get in when the time comes...
It does seem very, very hard to get in to. As its a boarding school as well, a large proportion of the admissions will be full boarders, then there will be half boarders who go home at weekends and then there are day boarders - which is siblings and local children.
It seems slim to me that you'd get in when there will already be lots of local children who have lived here for years that may not even get in...
My DC still got years until secondary school so I have all this to look forward to!
I live nearby too and have colleagues whose children go to Gordon's.
My understanding is that although it's a state school, after-school activities until 5pm every school day are compulsory and have to be paid for. You cannot opt out of these activities and just do the schooling bit for free.
There seems to be quite an emphasis on the military aspect, as the school was founded by an ex-army general or similar. Sorry it's vague, I could google but I'm sure you've done that already.
The family of a child in DS's class bought a house practically in the playground of the school, got their child in and then moved back to our area. That was about six years ago though so may be why they've tightened the rules up since then.
I think it's a general rule that your address when you apply is taken into account. It would obviously be ridiculous if places were given out according to parents' "promise" to move to the area.
Although there's another thread in here somewhere where the OP is renovating a house near to the school her child has been offered a place in and plans to move in in the summer and now the LA are starting to question her application.
Your plan sounds lovely written down and completely unworkable in practice. It is also exactly the kind of practice that the school and Surrey CC will look at unfavourably. Don't you think that there are dozens of people looking at that school who could undertake exactly the same scenario you are planning?
So you are planning on renting out your home next months and finding a new rental close enough to Gordon's to allow you to apply for a school place there? What happens if your house doesn't rent? Can you afford to pay both rental and your mortgage? I hope you also have deep enough pockets to rent within what (hopefully) is the catchment area for Gordon's. Given that rentals in the area on Rightmove often give the exact distance in metres to the school gives you an indication that you are not the only person with this plan or some variation of it. What happens if you rent a house/apartment, are given notice by the landlord after 6 months and are not then living in catchment when you submit your application in January?
Does the local school have spaces for your children? What is your plan for educating them if you move and have no school places?
What will you do if you don't get a space in Gordon's? What other school will you be happy to accept in that area, if any? If your children don't get a space at Gordon's and you move back to your house, where will they then go to school. As you will be a late applicant, you will presumably end up with a school some distance from home and possibly one you are not happy with.
Can you afford the expense of implementing this plan? Costs of preparing your house for rental, moving costs, deposit etc for new rental, new uniforms for school etc etc?
I think your plan of presenting yourself to Gordon's as someone who really, really wants a space and who is genuinely preparing to move there is unrealistic - because really you're not prepared to move to the area at all are you, unless your children get a space at the school? Again, why is that different from lots of other people who could use exactly the same argument?
What you have described will trigger and investigation, and unless you have sold your current house it is almost certain that the LEA will disregard the rented address for admissions purposes.
What you are describing is pretty much exactly what Surrey/Gordons would be looking to exclude. The admissions policy explicitly says -
"We will not accept a temporary address if the main carer of the child still owns a property that has previously been used as a home address, nor will we accept a temporary address if we believe it has been used solely or mainly to obtain a school place when an alternative address is still available to that child."
You should be aware that school places can (and have) been removed even after a child has started if the admissions authority suspect the address was a temporary one deliberately designed to gain admission.
The answer is B
They investigate recent house moves to look for potential fraud especially in areas where schools are popular and oversubscribed.
You do not need to have resided in the area for years to qualify for a school place - not at all. Somebody genuinely moving to that area before October 2016 will be treated just the same as their next door neighbours who might have lived there for 25 years.
However, the reason they investigate is to spot people using a temporary address to secure admission which is what you say you're planning to do.
If you own a home and rent another, they will almost certainly use the home you own as your real address no matter what you state on the form (and to answer a question above - they use council tax and land registry records for initial checks and can do more detailed assessments of ownership and address records from other agencies in more suspicious cases).
The rented house is unlikely to be acceptable even if you physically live in it because:
1. It is and has been your family home. It isn't a little studio flat in Scotland that you've rented out for years, have never lived in with a family and realistically never return to and still commute to school.
2. It is habitable. There is nothing wrong with the house so nothing to stop you choosing to live in it again and no reason for you leaving it except to gain advantage for school places.
3. You won't have disposed of it. There would be nothing to stop you getting a school place, turfing out your tenants and moving back to your family home with a place secured at a school 9 miles away at the expense of those who genuinely live locally.
You make think all of these points rely on the council making assumptions about intentions that they cannot prove. But they don't have to prove it. They are entitled to say that they don't believe a rented address conveniently situated metres from a desirable school is your real address whilst you continue to own your family home and therefore they will disregard the rented address. If you disagree with that position, your only option is an appeal and to try to prove that your move is permanent and genuine (but appeal panels aren't very sympathetic to renting then house flipping just for a school place either).
I think you're on a hiding to nothing OP. I don't think your plan is workable, for all the reasons stated by others and you haven't got a back up. If your younger child doesn't get a place at primary school, you'll have to hope there is a place in Lightwater, Bagshot, Bisley or Knaphill. You'll probably have to drive there. If the older one doesn't get a place at Gordon's, your choices are Woking High, Collingwood, or Winston Churchill. Maybe not Woking High.
If Gordon's is the he only reason you're planning to move to West End, within yards of the school entrance, I'd think again. The houses down the Chobham Road are massively expensive and those very near to the school are often staff properties.
Consider boarding there? State boarding can be very economical and I know Gordon's is one of the pushier ones in the state boarding network and has a very high proportion of boarders of all types, so I'm not sure I'd like to have a children there as a day student.
Thank you everyone for giving this priceless input, really appreciate that!
A little disappointed as I wasn't aware of so many things involved but very thankful to this forum which has stopped me taking such a drastic step.
As a backup, we looked at Halliford School in Shepperton which is quite close to us and also St. James in Ashford. I will crate a separate thread to take advice choosing one of them.
Thank you once again and really appreciate your help
Both are private, Halliford is boys only up to year 11.
One thing to note about Gordons is that since they changed the catchment policy, the catchment area has broadened. in order to get a sibling in, you must live still live within 1km of the school. This has stopped many people just renting for a year and then moving on again but all the younger siblings still getting a place. Now people are more inclined to buy in the area and the catchment has been pushed out - this year went the furthest it has gone.
If you want Gordons, sell your house and either rent, or buy an end of chain house safely in the catchment within, say, 700m of the school - five months is not long, maybe easier to rent. But make sure that before your dd goes that you remain within 1km, or she will not get in.
Do sell your house though, otherwise that will cause you a problem.
You can access the full admissions criteria on the Admissions pages, its all there you just have to scroll down to the Main School Admissions Policies. It's not simple and there are different ones for each year.
Won't help now but just just noted on their Facebook page that there are girls 6th form residential places up for grabs in Sept. This might be an option for some people.
If I buy a second home near to Gordon (around 1000m radius) and live there and keep it as my main home AND (BIG QUESTION) never sell my first home (rather rent it out), will this plan work?
I have to live there for convenience (near to school) and for second child's place and its nice area anyway, so why not!
This way, I won't have to sell my first home, am I correct? OR is it absolutely necessary to sell my first home?
I think this will be viewed as admissions fraud, and they would either use your old address or, if they used your new address and found out your first property later, you risk having the place taken away even if your DC has started at the school. It's a pretty big gamble to take.
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