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Admissions experts please help! Can I move (closer to school) but technically out of catchment after accepting offer?

(19 Posts)
Harumff Thu 02-Mar-17 20:37:15

So I have a daughter already in year 8 of our catchment school (we currently live on edge of catchment about 2.5 miles from school) and we had an offer for my son to start year 7 in September and accepted it on Wednesday.
All great, except we have been hoping to move closer to school so they can walk and have sold our house really quickly. Found a house we want (less than half a mile from school) but due to the weird shape of the catchment area is just (only just!) outside it! Can't believe it!
I've read and heard conflicting things - can they take my son's place away if we move there before September now we've accepted offer. My application was in no way fraudulent as move only recently planned and it's blooming closer to school!
Will ring admissions for advice but am stressed tonight and hoped someone might be able to advise please? Thanks!

TittyGolightly Thu 02-Mar-17 20:54:41

I believe they can refund the offer if you love out of catchment, yes. Otherwise everyone would do that.

Trb17 Thu 02-Mar-17 21:11:32

I'm not sure. I think you might be fine as you lived at the address, that the application was based on, on offer day. Or I read something similar to this. However I'm sure an expert will be along soon to advise.

IrenetheQuaint Thu 02-Mar-17 21:16:07

The Admissions Code says:

"2.12 An admission authority must not withdraw an offer unless it has been offered in error, a parent has not responded within a reasonable period of time, or it is established that the offer was obtained through a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application."

Which sounds hopeful?

prh47bridge Thu 02-Mar-17 21:38:03

IrenetheQuaint has the correct part of the Admissions Code. Once you have been offered a place they cannot withdraw it just because you move. If you had been renting there would be a risk that they would think you had rented just to get a place at the school, in which case they could withdraw the place. However, since you are selling one house and buying another this is clearly a genuine move so you shouldn't have any problems.

Harumff Thu 02-Mar-17 22:00:59

Thanks, everyone, it sounds like there is some hope. His school place is more important than the house so if we're likely to lose it we'all pull out but, ironically, we're doing this to make is school experience better - being able to walk with his friends rather than having to get the bus.
There's no issue with our application being fraudulent - we've lived in a house we own in catchment for 13 years so definitely didn't move to get the place. It's simply that a new estate is building near the school and we thought it would be ideal. Was amazed when we saw the catchment line was just the wrong side :-(
Fingers crossed!

Harumff Thu 02-Mar-17 22:03:20

This is the bit that worries me.... but do they mean if you change address before or after the offer?!

IrenetheQuaint Thu 02-Mar-17 22:09:21

Hmm. Given that you will be moving closer to the school, in your position I might consider not informing the council... it would be natural to assume you would still be in catchment after your move.

Were any places offered to children living outside the catchment, do you know? Or is the school so over-subscribed that only catchment-dwellers get places?

Everythingsr0sie Thu 02-Mar-17 22:09:35

Would he not be in the school as a sibling anyway, even if you were out of catchment?

We don't have catchment areas but do have feeder schools, however, the sibling rule comes above the feeder schools so now I have DS1 in the high school of choice DD and DS2 could live anywhere or go to any school and still get in.

Harumff Thu 02-Mar-17 22:11:41

For here it goes looked after children, siblings in catchment, catchment, siblings out of catchment, distance...

I don't know this years statistics but he would have got in as a sibling out of catchment last year and then there were 37 got in on distance so it would 'probably' be ok. Hmmmm.

prh47bridge Thu 02-Mar-17 22:19:58

Whatever the LA say the reality is that they cannot withdraw an offer just because you move. The Admissions Code trumps anything they say in their admission arrangements. If they are stupid enough to try withdrawing the place it should be a straightforward win on appeal.

JeffreySadsacIsUnwell Thu 02-Mar-17 22:29:41

Alternatively, just string out the moving process... It took us over 6 months to actually move and that was with both us and our buyers piling on the pressure at every opportunity... Find a solicitor who keeps losing documents, as our vendors did, and you're halfway there.

On a more serious note, if the place is more important than the house and you'd be prepared to give up the house, it's worth asking about delayed completion if being at your current address in Sept is crucial. Obviously don't ask now, but if things are trundling along and you're looking at a June/July completion date, holidays start getting in the way (especially with school-age children) and it might not seem so preposterous to ask for delayed completion... We ended up having to do just that as things had taken so long that DC was just starting exams as we exchanged.

JeffreySadsacIsUnwell Thu 02-Mar-17 22:31:08

Alternatively listen to prh47bridge re admissions! I was thinking of the house-moving perspective!

admission Thu 02-Mar-17 23:00:10

I agree with PRH, the LA are wrong in suggesting it is up to when you start in september 2017. It is very clearly the address that the pupil was living on the final date of on-time applications being accepted as the address that should be used for agreeing who gets places.
You do not need to say anything to the LA until after you physically move, which I would assume will be 3 months or so, which is probably sometime in June. By that time it would be far to late for the school or the LA to do anything about the place offered.

Harumff Fri 03-Mar-17 09:57:10

Thanks so much for everyone's help. I rang the admissions this morning and they confirmed that it is the address on the date of application that matters and, although if there are changes before offer day they want to know, she said they wouldn't have any way of tracking people moving after offer day and so it is irrelevant.
Given that we didn't apply fraudulently, I've rang and confirmed the situation with them, we're moving closer to school not further away and he quite possibly would have still gotten in from this address anyway (well would have last year which is all I have to go on), I'm going to put it out of mind and hope for the best as if anything did get questioned I feel we'd have a good case.
She also said that I don't have to notify them about any change of address now as from this point on dealings are with the school - assuming house move goes through ok we will redirect post over summer and just let them know new address when he starts in September. And relax...

Strix Fri 03-Mar-17 10:02:45

I thought catchments were illegal and criteria had to be distance from school. Is this not the case?

prh47bridge Fri 03-Mar-17 10:27:14

No that is not the case. Nothing wrong with having a formal catchment area.

tiggytape Fri 03-Mar-17 10:31:54

Harumff - you can move house without worrying - they cannot withdraw the offer.
The rules are there to stop people house-flipping for an admissions advantage (eg people who rent a flat near the school or list their grandma's address etc) but you have only one home, it is genuinely your home, you have lived in it for years and haven't done anything at all that would dishonestly buy you an admissions advantage.

Catchments are fine Strix as prh says with a few caveats
Schools aren't allowed to have a banana shaped catchment area for example just to avoid a big council estate or to have a catchment area based just on the 4 wealthiest roads in the county to cherry pick the easiest intake.
It has to be justifiable which most of them are i.e. giving places to those who live closest or to those who are in a black hole and otherwise would be eligible for no school.

tiggytape Fri 03-Mar-17 10:32:38

*rent a flat near the school whilst owning another home I mean. Of course people are entitled to apply from a rented flat near a school if that's their genuine and only family home.

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