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Primary-school places shortfall: what's happening where you live?

(217 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 15-Mar-13 10:16:39


It's headline news today that one in five primary schools are now full or near capacity.

And, with 240,000 new primary-school places needed for 2014, the National Audit Office is saying the Department of Education "faces a real challenge... there are indications of strain on school places".

We were wondering how you all feel about this? Do you have a child due to start primary school in September? Are you aware of a shortage of places in your area? What steps are your local council taking to make school places available to all those who need one?

Please do let us know.

tiggytape Fri 22-Mar-13 08:48:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 21-Mar-13 23:23:02

Oh, we KNOW they aren't going to come in time - the 'new' Primary school that opened 3 years ago was opened a full 10 YEARS after it was desperately needed. It was full before it opened...

Then the school we are waiting for was meant to be opened 6 YEARS ago. It will (hopefully) be open September 2016 - but only for Reception. Which means that DS3 will be a year too old.

Then again, that's how they intended to open the 'new' Primary too - and were swept away with the demand for places (Can't see how, they KNEW they had built 3 full housing estates in that area...) that they HAD to open it up to all year groups.

The same thing will happen with this one.

We might be slightly luckier with the extra Secondary places needed - but that's because they are going to build an 'additional site' for a pre-existing Secondary, rather than a 'new' school. I don't see it being open for September 2015 when it is needed, mind you. They are being wildly optimistic in that, in my view, when you consider that they haven't even decided on the exact site yet...

So I could be facing DS2 without a Secondary place AND DS3 without a Primary place AT THE SAME TIME.

<<Lies down in a darkened room at the sheer thought of that...>>

tiggytape Thu 21-Mar-13 17:45:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerryCouthyMows Thu 21-Mar-13 17:27:10

My 1.998 mile journey takes me 25 minutes in morning rush hour...

There's no way they could get to the town 30 miles away, in morning rush hour, in less than 90 mins, IMO.

But all the village schools in between the two towns are too oversubscribed too. So they can't send them there. And NONE of the local schools have ANY more expansion room!

tiggytape Thu 21-Mar-13 12:47:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggytape Thu 21-Mar-13 12:31:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerryCouthyMows Thu 21-Mar-13 12:30:11

Mooring = mooting. Autocorrect.

MerryCouthyMows Thu 21-Mar-13 12:29:30

I'm asking because one of the solutions my LA is currently mooring is to send 4yo's in minibuses or hired school buses to the next town over, 30+ miles away, to a school in Special Measures, that during rush hour would take 90 mins+ to get to...

I personally don't think that that is a viable solution - I wouldn't want my 11yo DS1 to have a journey time to Secondary school of more than an hour, much less a 4yo.

MerryCouthyMows Thu 21-Mar-13 12:27:10

If the place is halfway across the county, what is classed as a 'reasonable' travel time in the provided transport?

30 minutes? 45 minutes? An hour? There's no way most people would want their 4yo to have a journey time of more than an hour to get to school, and rush hour traffic has to be accounted for.

Would the LA send them halfway across the county irrespective of the journey time, or is there any regulations on what is classed as an 'acceptable' and 'reasonable' journey time for a 4yo?

RubyGates Wed 20-Mar-13 10:37:16

This is interesting:

lljkk Wed 20-Mar-13 09:40:20

if an area really HASN'T got a school place for a child, what happens to that child?

LA is obliged to find the child a place but it could be half way across the county (transport would be provided). There is a standard appeals procedure, waiting lists, etc., but I've figured out our LEA doesn't adhere to all the national admissions guidelines, either.

We were keen to move to Wymondham in Norfolk but decided against because of the nightmare impossibility of getting DC into any local school. Anyone know if Cambridge is just as bad?

tiggytape Wed 20-Mar-13 09:36:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RubyGates Wed 20-Mar-13 09:22:00

Plus I'm a librarian, not working for the education department and swearing and cursing at me is not appropriate in any circumstances. I'm trying to help.

RubyGates Wed 20-Mar-13 09:20:26

Tiggy, I'm talking about people who move for non-work reasons. Most of them who end up here don't/can't work. They move here for community/family support, and get outraged that there is not a limitless supply of instant school places.

Obviously if you have to move for work reasons that's very different. But it seems that many families don't think beyind the fact that Auntie/Uncle/Grandma/ lives here and there will be a happy ending.

tiggytape Wed 20-Mar-13 09:16:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gazzalw Wed 20-Mar-13 09:15:15

When our Borough asked for suggestions regarding solutions to the shortfall in primary school places, DW thought outside the box and suggested that it would be cheaper to send the children without places to pre-prep schools - needless to say that went down like a lead-balloon grin.

It is more than worrying though....

RubyGates Wed 20-Mar-13 09:08:34

As for providing a tutor, no, I don't think they do.
There are/is herds a large number of school age children visible every day in our part of the world shopping with their parents/hanging out in the local cafes.

I know a family of three girls, the oldest of whom (7) didn't get a school place for about 6 months after the family moved into the area.

They are not HE, they are, in the main, families who have moved into the area without any research simply because they have an appropriate ethnic/cultural support network here, without realising that the area is already stuffed with small chlildren and that the local council DON' T have any more capacity for school places. (And I've been on the receiving end of more than one unpeasant barrage from an outraged parent about this).

The local surestarts/children's centres are having to provide extra sessions for their younger siblings whilst simultaneously having their budgets cut.

tiggytape Wed 20-Mar-13 08:46:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerryCouthyMows Wed 20-Mar-13 05:46:02

And I'm concerned about this given the fact that they year DS3 is due to start school, there will be a shortage of 157 places in the North end of my town (where I am), and a shortage of 22 places in the South side of my town (which is inaccessible from the North side by public transport in rush hour, at least not to be ON TIME for school start...)

Worried that as DS3 has no sibling link, we are already outside the last catchment area for ANY Primary in our area (black spot), and he won't have a sibling link as DS2 will have left by the time he starts, that it will be DS3 left without a school place.

And that will be complicated by his medical needs.

And compounded by his other SN's.

<<Keeps fingers crossed that Statementing process that has already started goes through ok for SN Nursery, as then I will have the pick if the MS Primaries...>>

If not, we are probably going to be in the situation where DS3 ends up with NO place at all...

MerryCouthyMows Wed 20-Mar-13 05:40:12

Out of curiosity, if an area really HASN'T got a school place for a child, what happens to that child?

Surely the LA has to do something? Do they provide a tutor? Do they force a school to take an additional pupil over the ICS regs?

If they do nothing, what happens when that child is still not in school after their 5th birthday? What happens if it gets to halfway through Reception year and they still haven't got a school place? Do the parents then get the EWO sent out because their DC is still not in school?

What about if it gets to halfway through Y1 and the DC is still not in school?

Has that happened? Where a parent is unable or unwilling to HE the DC, for whatever reason, maybe low educational level themselves, or they are out at work, unable to travel to the neighbouring area due to lack of transport, or simply because it was always their intention to send the DC to school, and the DC is still not in school?

Do they get in trouble for not providing their school age DC with a suitable education? Surely that would be breaking the Education Act that states that every child should be receiving some form of education by the term after their 5th Birthday?

Surely in that case, the parent has a case against the LA for forcing them to HE against their wishes?

Confused about the eventual outcome...

Mirage Tue 19-Mar-13 19:56:40

All the county primary schools around us were full up this year.Even the one which had less than 10 pupils, had a full reception class this year.The lady next door but one to me failed to get her DD into the village school and tried every primary within a 10 mile radius,and there was not one space.

PlasticLentilWeaver Tue 19-Mar-13 13:23:35

We weren't offered anything either. It was only my own hunting through neighbouring LEAs that found a place, my own LEA abdicated all responsibility. The fact that it was in special measures and we decided not to take the place is neither here nor there, the LEA simply couldn't be bothered to do their job and just said there were no places.

tiggytape Tue 19-Mar-13 13:14:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerryCouthyMows Tue 19-Mar-13 13:05:17

Tiggytape is right - there are areas where NO schools have spaces, not even the ones in 'Special Measures'. Yet there are still DC's in that area without places ANYWHERE, because 1,500 DC's cannot fit into 1,000 school places...

tiggytape Tue 19-Mar-13 12:52:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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