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Secondary School place messed up. Please help!

(21 Posts)
Chocolatehat Tue 03-Sep-19 17:09:45

Desperate for help for my friend:
Friend is EAL. She filled in the forms incorrectly for a secondary school place for year 7 starting this week.

She was given a place at a school many miles away that would involve her 11 year old commuting 35 mins to Brixton and changing buses there on his own and commuting another 30 mins. There is no one who can take him to school and she is desperate for any school place nearby. She is currently on the waiting list for schools nearby.

Her eldest son was recently stabbed in Brixton and there is no way she will let her 11 year old do this journey.

She has received a letter from the school saying they will fine her if her son does not attend. Her son has a 100% attendance at primary school.The letter states she must formally withdraw and home-school or send him.

If she withdraws him and home-educates for a few weeks can her son still stay on the waiting lists for nearby schools?

Should she withdraw him and say she is homeschooling him and then try a midterm entry into a nearer school?

What is the best thing to do? Lambeth are not being terribly helpful.

Please Please help. He is a bright lad who wants to be at school.

OP’s posts: |
DobbinsVeil Tue 03-Sep-19 18:18:44

First of all I hope your friend"s older child is recovering. I can't imagine the worry and stress.

I wonder if @prh47bridge @admission @panelchair could give you some of the best advice

I think now term has started , f the child is enrolled but not attending the LA can fine if absence is deemed unauthorised. I know in my LA they state they will do so if the first 6 sessions (3 days) of term are unauthorised absence.

Is your friend on waiting lists? Has she already appealed?

JoJoSM2 Tue 03-Sep-19 18:26:38

She could also try going on other waiting lists in less stabby boroughs like Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton etc wherever there might be a single bus/train to take.

Chocolatehat Tue 03-Sep-19 18:34:45

She is on the waiting list for nearby schools in Streatham and Wandsworth. She just needs to know if she will be taken off the lists if she withdraws him from the far away school and says she is homeschooling.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Tue 03-Sep-19 18:40:13

No she won't be taken off lists. But it may well be months, or years, before a vacancy at her desired school becomes available.

Has she appealed? And why has she left this till the day before term starts?!

Chocolatehat Tue 03-Sep-19 18:51:38

She left it this late because she thought she would get a place on appeal. She doesn’t really understand the system and thought her boy would get a place because he is a good boy. She had an appointment with Lambeth to sort it out but then her other son was stabbed so she has been preoccupied.

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Tue 03-Sep-19 18:57:52

If they’re in Streatham, they should definitely try Sutton. Some of the schools in Carshalton and Sutton are only 10-15mins by train. Overton Grange bear Sutton station is often undersubscribed but a good school with excellent behaviour. They might have a space.

prh47bridge Tue 03-Sep-19 18:59:00

She won't be taken off waiting lists if she home educates but it won't bump her up the waiting list either. As titchy says, she may have a long wait before a place becomes available.

The letter she has received is correct. She must either formally withdraw her son from the school and home educate (and she must genuinely home educate, not just say she is going to do so) or send him to school at the place allocated. Unless she is willing and able to home educate her son she may have no choice but to send him to the allocated school, I'm afraid.

She can appeal for the school she wants if she hasn't already done so but she won't win based on transport. It sounds like the journey is around 65 minutes each way. That is viewed as reasonable for a secondary school pupil.

Whilst her concern following her older son's stabbing is understandable, it may not carry much weight with an appeal panel. If she appeals she will need a better case. However, if she has already appealed she can't appeal for a Y7 place again.

Chocolatehat Tue 03-Sep-19 19:21:33

Thank you all so much for the advice.

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Tue 03-Sep-19 19:37:22

Actually OP, couldn't she just work out a different way to get to the allocated school? Train, tube etc. Less time and less worry about him going through rough areas.

Sunflowers211 Tue 03-Sep-19 21:13:03

Tell her to Home School him and write to the school informing them that she is removing him from the school with the intentions of Home Schooling him until a suitable school becomes available to him. They cannot fine you providing you follow the guidance on informing them so they can remove him from their register.

ReasonedCamper Tue 03-Sep-19 21:19:50

Where does she live, roughly?

ReasonedCamper Tue 03-Sep-19 21:20:28

And where is the school he has been allocated?

Chocolatehat Wed 04-Sep-19 01:01:33

Lives in Streatham and the school is in Camberwell.

OP’s posts: |
Trumpton Wed 04-Sep-19 01:25:29

Obviously I have guessed the precise starting and stopping points but would this route help ?
When I visit my family in Brixton I tend to use the overground trains or buses . ( country girl )

ReasonedCamper Wed 04-Sep-19 08:04:38

She needs to get on the waiting list of every school within travelling distance.

Changing buses on Brixton High Road is not remotely a risky thing to do but I can understand her fear is triggered by even the name of the area her older son was hurt.

ReasonedCamper Wed 04-Sep-19 08:05:59

If it is the Camberwell school I think it is, lots of children in that uniform are at the Brixton bus stops.

Quartz2208 Wed 04-Sep-19 08:11:45

Overton grange isn’t a bad shout direct train from streatham common to Sutton then short walk and good school

missl1 Thu 05-Sep-19 09:38:21

This sounds like a terrible situation to be in... poor lady.

As an aside, Wandsworth has had the same number of fatal stabbings as Lambeth in 2017 and 2018. Interesting people consider it a 'less-stabby' borough.

JoJoSM2 Thu 05-Sep-19 09:59:16


I'd consider Wandsworth less stabby than Lambeth as it has lower rates of youth knife crime and is lower for non-fatal stabbings/knife and gun possession.

Best escape to Sutton lol no gangs and I think only one homicide in the borough in the last 7 years.

PeppermintSoda Thu 05-Sep-19 11:17:05

Maybe avoid Croydon. There seems to be stabbings there every few days at the moment. I'm not sure the government's noticed. confused Probably otherwise engaged.

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