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in year private secondary school admission

(22 Posts)
zaclown Thu 19-Nov-20 19:19:11

Hello, I am in a bind dealing with my son’s secondary school situation. Let me preface this by saying that I have moved to London from overseas relatively recently and I am aware that many of my points will sound utterly naive.
My 11 years old son has not been going to school since graduating from primary last July, as the school he has been assigned to by Southwark council –Peckham Harris Academy- is such a poor fit for him, according to his primary teachers, that I was advised to keep him home instead. I have since relocated very near an outstanding secondary state school in north Dulwich, where my son is currently third in the waiting list. While most people tell me to rejoice for how close he is to be admitted, I find the prospective of home schooling him for an indefinite period of time very daunting, and I fear that he is growing isolated. I have looked into private schools in the area (SE24), but I can’t find any that would take him in at this stage of the school year. I really dread the thought of him missing not only what’s left of this term, but perhaps even the entire school year. I would be immensely grateful if anyone could help by pointing me to secondary private schools that could accept a new pupil midway through the school year. South London would be preferable, but I realise that I can’t be picky. I can hardly afford the cost of private education but I am willing to take the plunge in the hope that his spot in the state school nearby becomes available before complete financial ruin.

OP’s posts: |
Milomonster Thu 19-Nov-20 19:25:22

Dulwich accepts in-year applications.

Fightthebear Thu 19-Nov-20 19:27:29

This sounds really stressful op.

All you can do is ring the admissions team of all the private schools within travelling distance and ask about in year admissions and if your ds can sit the rest/be added to a waiting list.

We managed to move our dc during Y8 as a family moved abroad and a space became available. I don’t know about the South London indies though sorry.

BoardingSchoolMater Thu 19-Nov-20 19:32:18

I don't know about London schools either - but in-year admissions are not uncommon in independent schools. I suggest you ring up every school that looks as if it might be a decent 'fit' (in terms of your DS's particular character/interests/abilities, plus logistics). From that, you draw up a shortlist of schools to investigate further (tricky at the moment, as you can't visit). Generally, schools with spaces have spaces for a reason (i.e. they can't fill them) - but there is more movement in independent schools than in state schools (in that parents are quite quick to remove children if they're not happy with a particular school for their particular child; it's also easier for people who are already in the independent sector to move cities for jobs etc and be pretty certain that they will find another independent school for their DC). Good luck...

zaclown Thu 19-Nov-20 19:35:36

Charter North Dulwich does accept in year applications, and my son's application is third in the waiting list. I am trying to get him in a private school while we are waiting for a spot to become available at Charter North Dulwich, as I fear that it could take months, or even that entire school year

OP’s posts: |
Fightthebear Thu 19-Nov-20 19:43:24

I think milo monster is referring to Dulwich College:-

If you’re not aware of that as a very well known private school in South London then you could definitely do with some pointers towards possible schools. Hopefully someone will come along with more knowledge.

Sporty boys seem to like Whitgift.

Ripple11 Thu 19-Nov-20 20:20:23

Looking back on the historical waiting lists this school has.....can they give you any indication on when the 3rd in the list gets admitted?

As said, search schools within travelling distance and ring admissions. Almost any private school takes admissions mid year if there is a space, but not sure they would be keen if you tell them you are off in a term or two!?

Puffthemagicdragongoestobed Thu 19-Nov-20 20:25:13

Also try St Dunstans in Catford and Colfe's.

NotDonna Thu 19-Nov-20 21:53:58

Are you hoping to just use the private school as a stop gap? If so, you need to be aware that there’s a number of costs involved in private education beyond the usual fees including a non-refundable deposit and providing a term’s notice prior to removing your son. I’ve no idea about online learning but it maybe worth investigating the ‘home education’ threads here on MN. I’ve heard of inter high, which could be an option in the interim. It could be a good cost effective alternative to private education for a few months. Just an idea. And good luck!

Milomonster Thu 19-Nov-20 22:14:22

Apologies. Yes I meant Dulwich College. He will need to sit an entrance exam and you can find specimen papers on the website.

Bvop Thu 19-Nov-20 22:20:52

OP, if a place comes up at the state school you can’t defer, or you’ll lose it. You need to give a full term’s notice at the private school as you’ll be liable for the fees.

For example if you got your ds a place at a private school before Christmas and one day into their January term he was offered the state school place, you’d be liable for school fees until the end of the summer term and your ds would need to take up the state place straight away, so you’d be paying for almost two terms of fees for nothing.

Patience and home education is probably a better option, or taking an alternative state school place and remaining on the waiting list for the school of your choice.

zaclown Fri 20-Nov-20 01:22:49

Thank you all for your very helpful responses. They did confirm how little I know of the independent schools and their admission process. @Ripple11, @NotDonna, @Bvop: I am indeed thinking of this as a stop gap; the points you raise about the non-refundable deposits and full term’s notice are very important ones, to which I hadn’t given much thought. Under different circumstances, persevering with home schooling and holding tight for a spot in state school would be the sensitive thing to do, but as a single parent with a job that can’t be done from home I feel that it’s becoming a difficult feat to pull off. I am very grateful for all your thoughts and suggestions.

OP’s posts: |
Bvop Fri 20-Nov-20 07:25:19

Unless you think your ds will actually be damaged by a few weeks or months in an alternative state school, it would probably be the best option to take up a place where you can. This won’t affect your waiting list position at the school of your choice. If your son has SN which the other schools wouldn’t cater for, you might find that appealing for your first choice school would be the best route.

Superspecs Fri 20-Nov-20 07:35:37

Could you hire a nanny that would be happy to work through online classes with your son while you're at work to fill in the gap? He loses out on socialisation of course but otherwise if you're planning for him to go to one school for a short time then move him then this may not be too much of a problem.

NotDonna Fri 20-Nov-20 07:54:29

I agree with Bvop that taking a place at a less favoured school is an option. You’ve no idea if that 3rd place will appear in a months time or a years. The LA have to provide somewhere until that 3rd place becomes available. But you’ll need to ensure he stays on the list.
If you’re very opposed to the less favoured schools for whatever reasons is there no way you can do your job from home? Just for now? Could you speak to your employer? If you’re an essential worker could you highlight that and the fact you’re a single parent to your favoured school? And the LA.
Alternatively, is there anyone who could be with your son whilst he works at home? A friend or a neighbour? Even just popped in now & again? As a single parent you are permitted to join another household as a bubble. I think there’s a rule permitting childcare too. I’ve a Yr7 and wouldn’t like her home alone all day everyday either!
I would certainly be looking at a state school for the interim.

HBGKC Fri 20-Nov-20 08:04:10

My sons are at The Cedars school in Croydon. The journey will depend where exactly in South London you live (we're in Peckham, the journey's an hour and a quarter).

I reckon they're open to In-Year admissions; it's a small, new school, Catholic ethos but admits other faiths and none. Great sports provision, committed staff, I can't recommend it highly enough, particularly on a pastoral level.

mdh2020 Fri 20-Nov-20 08:41:45

May i just add that another expense at private schools is the cost of the uniform and sports kit and you may also have to pay for text books. There are tutors who are working either face to face or online who can provide tuition for your son while he awaits admission to the school of your choice. You should definitely ask the school how long, on average, that wait will be, Private school should only be thought of as an option if you are going to leave him there permanently.

Clymene Fri 20-Nov-20 08:51:38

Please don't put your so. Into a private school for a couple of terms and then pull him out. I'd put him in the Peckham school.

DownToTheSeaAgain Fri 20-Nov-20 08:53:52

Hi OP I'd really encourage you to ask the school for an indication of how likely it is that a place may come up and what timeframe. They can't know for definite but they can perhaps give you some data from previous years.

The problem you have is that if someone were to join the in year list with a sibling, additional need or live closer then you may go down the list. If you can't really afford private school then any length of time may be a problem.

(Anecdotal I know) My neighbour DC sat on the Yr 8 in year waiting list for almost a year before she gave up and he stayed where he was. My kids go to Charter N and so she is/ was roughly 'in catchment' if such a thing exists.

I'd encourage you to look at other state options and go on their lists if this is an option. Charter E, Kingsdale, Elm Green spring to mind as they are the most local.

SE13Mummy Sat 21-Nov-20 14:55:30

Where is your closest state secondary with spaces? The borough will be able to give you this information and your DS should be able to start fairly quickly.

It does seem strange for the primary school he was attending to have advised you to keep him out of school indefinitely, especially as it sounds as though he may not have been with them for long, you're a single parent and unable to work from home. What were their actual words?

There is lots of movement in London schools so you may find it doesn't take too long before your DS is offered a place at the school you'd like but just because a school is 'outstanding' doesn't mean it will be right for him. In the same way, an unpopular school may turn out to be brilliant for your DS... but you won't know if you don't let him try!

LIZS Sat 21-Nov-20 18:59:17

I wonder if your fear regarding his placement school is more about a lack of understanding of English system than real issues. What advice did the primary school give instead? It seems he never attended that school yet you have not found a state replacement even having moved. Did you apply to the new LA for an alternative offer , if the one you prefer is currently full. Has he been formally refused a place there. Could you appeal? Sadly he may never get a place from the waiting list as he could go down if others apply and meet the admissions criteria more closely.

If you go private and a place were to come up you only have a short window to move, leaving you with fees to pay in lieu of notice plus the upfront registration cost, deposit and uniform etc. Alternatively are there any local prep schools (also fee paying) which go up to year 8, then reapply for a state option later?

BoardingSchoolMater Sat 21-Nov-20 19:44:38


May i just add that another expense at private schools is the cost of the uniform and sports kit and you may also have to pay for text books. There are tutors who are working either face to face or online who can provide tuition for your son while he awaits admission to the school of your choice. You should definitely ask the school how long, on average, that wait will be, Private school should only be thought of as an option if you are going to leave him there permanently.

Well... there's a good market in second hand uniform and sports stuff at independent schools. I was given most of the uniform for one of my DC by a previous parent (and in turn gave it to someone else).

I did know someone who put her DD into one of my DC's schools for one year only (Year 6) as she was so fed up with their local primary school. Her DD then moved back to the state system for Year 7. It worked well - she fitted in very well, made some extra friends, then slotted back in a year later. However, I'm not sure that would work with all children. And you do have to bear in mind the fact that you have to give a term's notice or you are liable for the fees for the following term too.

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