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sibling admissions criteria(19 Posts)
Hello, I wondered if anyone had any experience challenging school admission criteria based on step/half siblings. The secondary school my step sons go to have the following policy:
Where a child has shared care and spends time with both parents/carers in separate homes and both have parental responsibility,
the home at which the child spends the majority of school nights will be treated as the home address.
My step sons spend more time at their mother's address on school nights but have a strong sibling bond with their step brother and half brother ... but this isn't factored in at all with this criteria? Has anyone had any experience of challenging this? I feel it is unfair that they cannot be treated as siblings, when in one instance they have had a sibling relationship since (my son) was two and in the other instance they are related through their father. I believe if it is shared parental responsibility then two addresses should be considered. My son is in Year Four so I have time to challenge this. Any experience of this very welcome.
Is that a criteria that actually relates to siblings, or just to determining the address to use for admissions?
A sibling criteria would normally look more like -
"A sibling will be considered to be a brother or sister (that is, another child of the same parents, whether living at the same address or not), a half-brother or half- sister or a step-brother or step-sister or an adoptive or foster sibling, ordinarily living as part of the same family unit at the same address."
You don't stand a chance of getting them to consider 2 addresses, as that wouldn't produce just one school offer.
In some cases, schools allow parents who have 50/50 care to say which address they would like to be used, which might be a suggestion you could make, though this would rely on the child's mother agreeing to use your address. Is that likely, if he spends more of his school nights there?
Sorry - I think I misunderstood - your step sons are already at the school and you want to use them as the sibling link for your son, but the main address the school will have for them is their mother's, but you are arguing your son should get sibling priority.
I would talk to admissions about this in advance (ideally on email so you have a record). What kind of care arrangement with the step sons is in place? Anything formal?
Just checked our school, and siblings are defined as Patricia says, so living at same address as family unit or related but at different address.
You need to check the definition of sibling, not just the definition of which address will be used.
Hello, I spoke to admissions and they said that the child (my step son) needed to have the same main address as my step sons unless my partner (the step sons' dad) had parental responsibility for my step son which obviously he hasn't (his dad has.) I guess though, it would mean that my other son who is related to my step sons would be ok (although they will have left by the time he starts!)
She seemed a little unsure and didn't really have an answer when I challenged her on it. Said she needed to speak to the Deputy Head. This is why I thought it would be good to get others' experiences in the meantime. It is possible that my step sons' mother would put their father's address as the main address but not until nearer the time and I'm not sure how it affects say her entitlement , for free school meals? Child benefit? The school might suspect we are trying to manipulate the system when I'm taking the open approach well in advance. It comes from a genuine place of wanting all our boys to go to the same school.
Sorry, there is no formal care arrangement for our step sons but we have them at our house 5/6 nights out of 14.
Sorry!! What I meant in my post was that the school said my partner had to have parental responsibility for my SON not my STEP SON.... which obviously he does not have..
Free school meals and child benefit are not affected by the address used for school applications. However, in this situation it is clear that the mother's address must be used on the application unless the care arrangements change as that is where your step-son stays most school nights. He therefore won't get sibling priority.
I'm afraid there is no realistic chance that you can successfully challenge this. It is a pretty standard policy.
Seems unfair. And easily manipulated. How would they check?
As we are talking about secondary school admissions, they would start by looking at the address used at primary school. But they have other sources of information too. And plenty of people are willing to tip off the authorities if they think someone has cheated.
I am totally confused by your post.
Are you wanting your Yr 4 son to be able to go to the same secondary school as your older step sons?
Yes TammyWhyNot, that exactly.
Cheat is a strong word. I would say it's more like a system that doesn't reflect modern parenting/family structures and means 3 boys that have a strong sibling relationship aren't entitled to go to the same school.
If you lie about where you’re living in order to get a place at a school at which you’re not entitled to a place, that is cheating.
The rules may well not reflect every permutation of a modern family but if you disagree with them, challenge them with the local authority.
Many people who cheat justify it to themselves on the grounds that the rules are wrong or don't reflect their situation. If you break the rules you are cheating.
Sibling priority at secondary school is predominantly about convenience for families. Transport arrangements are easier if all siblings go to the same school. If they are in different years they will have little or no interaction during the day. They might see each other during breaks and at lunch time but they will almost certainly spend those times with their friends rather than their siblings. It is, therefore, perfectly reasonable that sibling priority only goes to siblings living at the same address.
By all means lobby to get the rules changed but I suspect you won't succeed. I think you will find that most parents won't want a situation where separated parents can manipulate the system by using the address of the parent living closest to their preferred school even if the child spends hardly any time there.
I should also point out that, in this situation, the application for a place will come from the boy's mother. She may not name your son's school as one of her preferences, in which case the whole question is academic.
I am the boy's mother and I'm not intending to lie. Just wondered if anyone had been in a similar situation. Seems reasonable to want them all to go to the same school considering their relationship. Sometimes the system is flawed. Look at the Windrush case. That is a system not fit for purpose. Society is constantly changing, the system never keeps up. But thanks for all your charitable responses.
Many secondary schools don’t list a sibling criteria at all, presumably because where do exist it’s all predicated around convenience and travel, hence that it is partly based around address. Many ‘full’ siblings go to different schools.
As I see it, as soon as you allow both addresses, you could be opening up a whole chain of step and half siblings. So if for example your son got into school by linkage to his older stepbrothers, but also had step-siblings by his father, then they could get in too. If their mother also had other children by a different partner they would qualify too, it would be impossible to be fair in all circumstances.
I don't mean to be harsh BTW, I can totally see your point, but the rules need to be simple and clear which inevitably means they won't work in all circumstances.
Yes, I do see that it could open up a whole set of complications and I hadn't really thought of that before. I do understand they have to have clear guidelines. I wondered before if it was worth challenging but it seems, on balance, that it probably isn't. It does feel unfair to our situation but part of the reason for posting was to get an all-round view.
I have no intentions to cheat (I would imagine that's actually really difficult to do) but I did want to understand the system more.
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