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desperate search for a secondary school

(28 Posts)
NewLondoner1 Sun 04-Mar-18 12:56:57

We're moving to London in June from another country due to my DH's job and we'll have our residential permit just in May.
Our DD has to attend a secondary school in Sep, 2018.
However, all the application and the admission period will be completed when we arrived.
In the first place we prefer state schools but when we understand that it's really impossible to be able to attend to an outstanding or good school,
we've just started to consider also the independent schools. However,
they also seem to have completed their registry procedures.
We think about another option: our DD was born on the 1st of Sep in 2006.
She's at the 6th year now. Is it possible for her to enroll to 6th year in the UK in Sep 2018
instead of the 7th year and then next year, we'll be able to apply for an outstanding secondary school in our catchment area.
We have to live near Heathrow Airport because of my DH's travel necessity.
What do you recommend us? We feel very much desperate. Thanks a lot.

OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Sun 04-Mar-18 15:16:34

With a birthday of Sep 1, 2006, your child would be the eldest in Year 6 here at the moment and thus the eldest in Year 7 in September.

In reality, you stand zero chance of getting her held back to the year below in any UK state school. Whilst it is becoming easier to hold a summer born 4 year old back into the year below when they start in reception, it very rarely happens at older ages, and is hard enough for children young in their year and with special needs; it isn't going to be approved for your daughter to make it easier for you to get a secondary place.

You may find it easier to negotiate with a private school to do it, but given she is old in the year already I suspect you may struggle unless the education system you are coming from means she will be at a disadvantage coming into secondary.

In reality, you need a provable address here and then the local education authority will find you a place. It may not be at a school of your choice, but you can go on waiting lists, and there is always the option of appealing for a school if you wish.

NewLondoner1 Sun 04-Mar-18 19:24:05

thanks for your guidance. We are aware that our child would not be comfortable with the younger children in case we enrolled her to year 6. The average age difference between our daughter and the others will be 1,5 years which is not easy to manage for her and for us either.

OP’s posts: |
1000sundowns Sun 04-Mar-18 19:33:22

I agree that putting her back one year is unlikely to help. If you are in the fortunate position to be able to look at both state and independent schools your plan would be as follows. For state school applications you need an address. The moment you have this you can make a late application for DD to your local council. Do your research in the meantime to see what schools are in the area you are likely to be living in, where may have been oversubscribed in previous years, and where there may be higher churn so likelier for places to come up. For independents, you can start now and cover a wider geographical area - anywhere with a sensible (1 hr max, on public transport) commute from your likely neighbourhood. Again, see where may have spaces (often prep schools that go up to 13 lose lots of girls at 11 and would be keen to have new ones in Yr 7) - you may have to be tactical rather than aim for the absolute best fit given the timings, but you will find somewhere. Do not despair, good luck.

SheilaFentiman Sun 04-Mar-18 19:50:32

How about Newton, it's a prep school to 13 on the right side of London for Heathrow?

NewLondoner1 Mon 05-Mar-18 15:26:26

Thanks for the good advise. We haven't thought about these prep schools that go up to 13. We'll look around them.

OP’s posts: |
sanam2010 Mon 05-Mar-18 15:34:48

Why don't you just try a late application and go for a less oversubscribed school? They can still be good and you would likely get in via waiting list. Schools like richmond park academy or fulham cross girls school!

LarkDescending Mon 05-Mar-18 16:15:10

Ealing might be a good area for you to consider - it's on the right side of town for Heathrow, and will become even better connected in both westerly and easterly directions when the Crossrail project is complete with the Elizabeth Line opening in phases this year and next.

ellsybells Mon 05-Mar-18 23:12:03

Another thought - if you are Catholic (and practising) and find a house near the school you'll go to the top of the waiting list in May. Lots of good catholic schools in the Hounslow/ Sunbury/ richmond area.

SheilaFentiman Tue 06-Mar-18 10:29:43

" and find a house near the school you'll go to the top of the waiting list in May"

Please do check this on a school by school basis as there may be higher criteria than generally practising, e.g. attending a specific church.

cuddleme Tue 06-Mar-18 21:41:51

Sheila, please don't feel desperate - it's not as bad as you think. I live in the Twickenham area, so very close to Heathrow, where most secondaries are oversubscribed - some are outstanding, some improving from previous poor performance, and some very new but with very good reputations already.

Although the Offer Day was March 1st there will be continuous waiting list movement between now and September, and even beyond September when term has started - there always is, because a lot of people are deciding whether or not to go private, and they hold onto their state places in the meantime. So there isn't a single school in the area that won't be offering more waiting-list places between May and September.

In the meantime, if you move very close to your preferred school you are likely to go straight to the top of the list (but obviously do check the admissions policy in case distance isn't the primary measure).

Ivebeenaroundtheblock Tue 06-Mar-18 22:30:35

Hill House International should be accessible, claims to take all that apply and have lower fees than other private schools.

Zhabr Wed 07-Mar-18 17:39:23

St Michael Steiner school is near Heathrow. I did not know about it, but just recently have talked with someone, whose child is there and very happy. It is private, but cheaper than the other independent schools.

Pythonesque Thu 08-Mar-18 19:50:36

Rather than considering putting her back a year (which as above, more or less won't happen in England) - with a 1st Sep birthday you might actually be able to have her put ahead a year. Only you can know where she is at academically and socially, whether she would handle going straight into year 8 instead of year 7. And of course you would be dependent on occasional spaces appearing - but it could be an option to discuss with the schools you approach, to be on a waiting list for both year 7 and year 8 even?

Miranda1980 Fri 09-Mar-18 10:54:06

you can check online for all the latest ofsted reports which may help

CountessDracula Fri 09-Mar-18 11:05:14

Try the Hall School in Wimbledon (it is a bit marmite but usually has places)

NewLondoner1 Fri 09-Mar-18 11:24:54

thanks to all for the comments...they're all very precious for us. We're getting a much better idea about what to do. It seems that we'll move to Richmond and try to rent a house very near to one of the state schools, maybe Turing House or Richmond Park Academy or any other. We have to figure out which one is not oversubscribed and settle very near itsmile Is there any source where we can learn the recent oversubscription situation of the schools?
If all of them are oversubscribed, then which school can they offer us? It must be a one in the borough, right? And also, if we mention that we don't want a girl's school, can they insist on that? Single sex schools are not common in our country, so my DD wants to attend to a co-ed school.
Thanks for all your kind responses...

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Fri 09-Mar-18 12:33:19

You won't have much choice re. single sex/coed, the LA is only obliged to offer a place, which may not be at a school of your choice or local. Secondary school age children often travel a good distance by public transport.

cuddleme Fri 09-Mar-18 17:12:21

@NewLondoner1, someone recently posted cut-off distance data for the last 3 years to a schools thread on mumsnet's local Richmond site, and it included September distances (after waiting list movement) as well as March Offer Day distances. Here they are .....

School,National Offer Day 1 Mar 2018,By 1 Sep 2018 (not avail yet)
Christ’s School, Open places 1.380 km,
Grey Court School, 3.146 km,
Hampton High School,Not oversubscribed,
Orleans Park School, 1.530 km,
Richmond Park Academy, 2.981 km,
St Richard Reynolds, Randomly allocated within criterion 2,
Teddington School, 2.660 km,
Richmond Upon Thames School, 3.590 km,
Turing House School," 20% 6(a) 1.308 km, 80% 6(b) 2.457 km",
Twickenham Academy,Not oversubscribed,
Waldegrave School,"Area A 1.533 km, Area B 5.028 km",
School,National Offer Day 1 Mar 2017,By 1 Sep 2017
Christs (open places),1.291 km,1.344 km
Grey Court,2.941 km,3.788 km
Hampton High,Not oversubscribed,N/A
Orleans Park,1.611km,2.724 km
Richmond Park Academy,Not oversubscribed,N/A
St Richard Reynolds,Random allocation,N/A
Teddington,3.429 km,8.593 km
Richmond Upon Thames School,5.445 km,33.00 km
Turing House,3.235 km,4.137 km
Twickenham Academy,Not oversubscribed,N/A
Waldegrave Area 1,1.911 km,2.04 km
Waldegrave Area 2,5.304 km,5.719 km
School,National Offer Day 1 Mar 2016,By 1 Sep 2016
Christs (open places),1.438 km,2.532 km
Grey Court,3.243 km,4.314 km
Hampton High,Not oversubscribed,N/A
Orleans Park,1.466 km,1.786 km
Richmond Park Academy,Not oversubscribed,N/A
St Richard Reynolds,Random allocation,N/A
Teddington,2.433 km,5.422 km
Turing House,2.526 km,4.159 km
Twickenham Academy,Not oversubscribed,N/A
Waldegrave Area 1,1.616 km,1.777 km
Waldegrave Area 2,5.172 km,6.077 km

All the distances are walking distance rather than crow-flies, but once you know where you're going to live you should be able to measure that using Google maps or else phone the LA admissions department. Check the policy for Turing House carefully as they use admissions point that aren't at the school itself (and they also have maps of previous years admissions on their website which might help). You've got a good chance of getting in there as it's a new school. It doesn't have an Ofsted report yet, but has a very good reputation locally. Best to go and visit if you can.

RTS is another new local school - it just opened last September.

cuddleme Fri 09-Mar-18 17:34:21

Sorry, RTS = Richmond Upon Thames School

Needmoresleep Fri 09-Mar-18 17:44:41

Best go to an established prep like Newton for a couple of years. Classes will be small so a good way of transitioning to the English system. Take school advice on registering for occasional places at 11-18 independent schools, and speak to Local Authority about being added to the wait list for local state schools.

YimminiYoudar Fri 09-Mar-18 18:11:24

I would suggest you play the long game. A lot of private senior schools have intakes in year 8 or 9. The desirable schools will actually have a small number of places come up as pupils there get places at somewhere even more desirable. At my school - which was perfectly decent - we had quite a bit of movement as pupils left to go to even more aspirational schools. Your DC can survive slumming it at whatever sink-estate comp has a place for them for a year and then will be able to move, so long as you are the closest family on the waiting list when the places come up.

cuddleme Fri 09-Mar-18 18:36:09

@NewLondoner1 there's something else worth thinking about. If a school isn't oversubscribed and has places now then you can apply now, from your current address abroad and you should get a place ok. Then when you arrive you can tell the Local Authority about your new address and join the waiting list for your higher preference schools.

For example Twickenham Academy (now renamed Twickenham School) is likely to have places. It had a really terrible Ofsted report, but since then it's got a completely new leadership who is turning it around and they've got a lot of great new staff, so they're likely to get a much better report next time they're inspected. They're trying really hard to get people through the door to show them the improvements.

NewLondoner1 Sun 11-Mar-18 06:14:33

@cuddleme very useful and promising data you provided. according to your experience, what is our DD's chance on getting a place in an outstanding secondary school if we rent a property which is less then half a mile ( let's say closest apartment around) but not in march when the waiting list movement starts, but around end of April? when does waiting list allocations start?

OP’s posts: |
YimminiYoudar Sun 11-Mar-18 07:42:35

Waiting list allocations will start in the second half of March. Everyone who got an offer on 1st March this year was given a deadline of 15th March to accept or reject it. Many families who are planning to use private schools will have put in a state school application too just in case they get a place somewhere outstanding. There will usually be a second round of allocations before the end of March.

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