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Self inflicted admissions mess - long and complicated

(13 Posts)
Middleoftheroad Wed 15-Feb-17 17:06:24

I have a very complex school application situation and would welcome any positive stories and advice please. I've played a bit of roulette based on having to wait for the outcome of grammar results mid October - just two weeks before the CAF deadline. And because I have twins it is even more of a worry...we are due to move house this Friday. I feel like a shit parent, that I have gambled one son's education and happiness for the other's. We made various gambles and assumptions and may have been better off staying where we are. On offers day I face one delighted son and one potentially devastated son (sorry to be doom and gloom but feeling very low). Cue longwinded and confusing story....

- We live in a bit of a catchment black hole. I have twins. They both took the 11 plus in September and we hoped that if they both 'passed' we could stay put in our happy home and travel not too far to grammar. We border two local authorities. There were two grammars we had in mind.

- Both boys didn't score as expected for the grammar in county A. They reached the pass mark but I don't think it's high enough (although it is on the CAF but will be a little further from our new house as opposed to the one I sit in now for my last day or so here). One boy scored really high for the grammar in county B - the other boy is very borderline and may get in with a leg and a wing on appeal given his standard of school work/results and the fact the HT said he is more than happy to vouch for us.

- We realised we would have to move house to be nearer the one grammar, knowing that one boy had got the high score. If we stayed we knew that DT2 would not really get into any nearby school. There is a great state comp near grammar county B so we had a plan: one boy at the grammar one at the great local comp in the worst case scenario.

- we filled in the CAF form at our address as of 31 October, which sits in county B - a mixture of grammar and state in county A and B (knowing that we would need to move to county B) including the great comp (which is currently just out of catchment for our address in county A)

- we sold our house and bought a new one (it's not my dream house, it's been quite fraught but it ticks a few boxes, namely being near the great comp- I've posted on the difficult sale previously)

-A few weeks ago I called up admissions in our current LA (A) who I sent the original CAF to, a few weeks ago to let them know the move was going to be happening soon. An adviser confirmed that if I sent the contract to them - as long as it was in advance of March 1 - they would update our details and records before places were allocated on March 1. I even asked that if they are allocated on March 1 then what would be their actual cut off for filling in the data etc. They told me "about a week before March 1". They also advised me that as the new house was in county B I would need to inform that LA too once contracts were etc.

- I felt more relaxed that we would be in catchment for great secondary, moving 0.7 miles away from that school, if DT2 doesn't make grammar.
DT2 could get a short 2 mile bus ride to the grammar.

- This week after the fraught sale (which has left just three days before exchange and completion) I managed to get the exchange certificate to both LAs, letting them know we were completing Fri. Both sets of advisers were next to useless. County A said it would forward the information on but were a little confused by exchange and County B said they couldn't take over the application form and take us under their authority until we call them Fri from the property (I could be in Timbuktu and call them) and that the official solicitor email with exchange contract and completion date confirmed was not enough. I had to call them from my mobile this Fri to confirm I "was in".

- Today I called back County A and managed to speak to somebody senior. He said that I had been given incorrect information when I called a few weeks ago. He said the places were actually allocated and more or less set in stone before Dec. It was too late to update my preferences/form and that we would have to move to waiting list and be moved into the new LA's care.

- So now I move to a house I don't love after an awful, awful moving experience. DT2 should be sorted on March 1 happily going to his dream grammar school. DT1 will now be allocated a failing school that I suspect was not only several miles from the house we are moving, but will now be about seven miles away from new house.

- If we had stayed put at least he would be closer said school

- My options are 1) cry.... 2) wait for waiting lists and hope that at 0.7 miles we will be OK 3) hope DT1 gets into the grammar 4) appeal both schools

Does anybody have any positive admissions stories that might at least make Friday's move a little brighter?



Middleoftheroad Wed 15-Feb-17 17:09:21

Sorry DT1 = borderline grammar/potentially difficult allocation situation
DT2 = high grammar score, sorted

I mixed this up. Am not sleeping.

titchy Wed 15-Feb-17 17:16:41

Phone up county B and ask them how much the waiting list for the comp usually moves. There's normally plenty of movement, particularly in an area with grammars.

In the meantime think about what the comp offers that the likely allocated school doesn't in case you have to appeal.

Middleoftheroad Wed 15-Feb-17 17:16:50

Gah! Our address on 31 October (the one we are moving out of is in County A not B - Jeez!)

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 15-Feb-17 17:17:24

Option 5 - wait and see what schools they have actually been offered and take it from there at that stage.

You don't know for sure yet and you will tie yourself in knots until then worrying about what might not even happen.

Just have an idea of what DT2 will do if not at grammar and not at comp you want. Have numbers ready to check where on waiting list, when they generally know whether wait listed children have placed, are there any reasons/grounds gor appeal. Could you afford private for DT2 if all else looks bleak etc

Try not to overthink it - yet. Fingers crossed for you all.

Middleoftheroad Wed 15-Feb-17 17:21:06

Thanks - both great ideas. I was already going to appeal the grammar if need be, but would I be even more of a loon to appeal both the grammar and comp? would it dilute my grammar appeal?

prh47bridge Wed 15-Feb-17 17:29:43

Appealing for both would not dilute the grammar appeal. The appeal panel that hears your grammar appeal will not know that you have also appealed for the comprehensive.

Middleoftheroad Wed 15-Feb-17 17:35:33

Thanks. I realise that I am not the first parent who has faced not getting the school of their choice and it is very true that I can only predict what we might be offered. I know there isn't much I can do until March.

Middleoftheroad Wed 15-Feb-17 17:38:22

Oh - offers are 1 March. If I am not allocated the schools do I call up the individual schools to join the waiting list or do I have to wait until later in March one people have accepted and confirmed places?

swingofthings Wed 15-Feb-17 18:11:16

It is County A who told you that allocations were already made, not County B. County B has just said to call them on Friday, on what you can assume to mean that they will do something on that date.

You don't need to pay attention to what County A is saying, but need to work with County B. Maybe County B do allocate the last week unlike County A.

Call County B, asked to speak to a senior manager and ask confirmation that when you call on Friday -because you will!- to confirm your new address, the allocation will be based on this address not the old one. If not, ask what they advise you to do.

prh47bridge Wed 15-Feb-17 18:37:05

Maybe County B do allocate the last week unlike County A

They won't. It is far too late for that. All allocations will have been made some time ago and they will now be doing final checking before the offers go out. No LA would accept a change of address at this stage. It is far too late. If the OP speaks to a senior manager I can guarantee she will be told that allocations will use her address as it was at the time of application.

If I am not allocated the schools do I call up the individual schools to join the waiting list or do I have to wait until later in March one people have accepted and confirmed places

The waiting list should be in operation straight away and you should be on it automatically. It is likely to be the council rather than the school looking after waiting lists at this stage. It wouldn't do any harm to ring them and make sure you are on the right waiting lists.

admission Wed 15-Feb-17 21:41:30

You have a long tale of woe having being told all sorts of wrong information but I suspect none of it is in writing from the admission offices of LA A and LA B.

You will now have to wait and see what actually transpires on 1st March but I am confused so I guess the LAs will be as to exactly where you were living on the 31st October and where you are now living. The LA where you were living on the 31st October should have been given the preferences and they should be using the address of the 31st October to allocate places. You should get the allocations via the LA where you lived on the 31st October.

Thats the theory but i am in all honesty not sure what is going to happen seeing how you seem to have been in correspondence with both LAs.

What I suggest you do is wait till the 1st March and see whether you get a letter to your new address (or can look on-line). If that does not arrive that may mean that it has gone to the old address or it might mean that the LA has made no allocations at all in your case. In either case get on the phone to LA A as being the LA who should have been dealing with the applications.

Assuming that you do get an allocation then you need to look at them and decide whether they are what you want. From your post I am assuming the main issue is to get sibling DT1 into the preferred non-grammar school. You are I think now living in LA B, so you need to ensure that they have your information and that they have your correct address, as they will now be dealing with all admission issues as you have moved., so that you maximise the chances off the waiting list. Nothing much will happen for a couple of weeks, but after that there could be movement so you need to have got the correct details to LA B by then. You can then not only go on the waiting list but also appeal for the preferred school.

The other thing you need to do is consider whether there are any other schools that DT1 could go to and if so ask for a place at that school, go on the waiting list and then appeal for that school also.

Middleoftheroad Wed 15-Feb-17 22:25:02

Thanks everybody - that is helpful. When I call County B on Friday I will have a few questions to ask. I had a glass of wine with a friend tonight who has calmed me down a little. I always knew admissions and nothing 'bad' has actually happened to me yet, so I'm going to remain optimistic.

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