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How does someone get a primary school place directly through the school without LA being involved?

72 replies

Ellaeyre · 29/08/2015 22:29

Hi, I am sure someone will know the answer to this. I'm curious as I thought all school place (in-year) had to go through the local authority.

My child is at the top of a waiting list and the space that became available was given to a child with special educational needs who went directly to the school. The local authority have told me they were not involved in this allocation.

The space was left open for a term (since Easter) until the child can start in September.

Can anyone shed some light on the allocation process here? Thank you.

OP posts:
Mehitabel6 · 30/08/2015 07:36

I would look at the admissions criteria. I would guess that SEN comes before anything else and so it goes automatically above you on the waiting list- even if you were top.

Charis1 · 30/08/2015 07:38

You are completely wrong in thinking that there is a space just because a child moved. It doesn't work like that AT ALL. As a parent, you wouldn't know if there was a space or not.

LIZS · 30/08/2015 07:44

It could be that the school was already over numbers due to a previous priority admission so one child leaving may not have released a place to the waiting list. However I am Hmm that the LA have apparently discussed details of another child so openly with you, or are you reading between the lines perhaps.

choc4ddict · 30/08/2015 07:45

OP, if the child is statemented then they do not go through through the normal admission procedure. to get a statement is a long and complicated process and you don't simply apply to school Hmm
a child with a statement usually takes priority over a child without a statement/ ehcp.

Youarentkiddingme · 30/08/2015 07:53

I would question this with the LA extremely carefully and cleverly.

A child admitted with an EHCP does not apply for a place. They are allocated that school after a lengthy assessment of needs process and looking at which school has the facilities to meet those needs.

So if a place came up and your DD was top she should have been offered it (if the school hadn't already received the admission for child with EHCP.)

I'd also question about them deferring the place. I was unaware that places could be held open - in my LA you get x days to accept and then have to start or place is withdrawn.
What I'd want to know is why they didn't take your DD as they had a space and take the pupil with EHCP as over class size (it's one of the situations where they have to).

If all admissions have to go through the the alas I'd be appealing this decision on the basis protocol wasn't followed. There are loads of very knowledgable posters could could assist you with this and give you the right information.

(My knowledge is generally on EHCP as my ds has SN)

SouthWestmom · 30/08/2015 08:01

I'm not sure the Op k ' we whether the child has an echo or statement. It could be that Sen ranks higher on the admissions criteria.

Spartans · 30/08/2015 08:16

Sen does rank higher than sibling priority. And there is a different process.

In my experience individual people at the LA have no idea what's going on. We appealed to get my dd into our secondary school of choice and won. I rang the minute we got the letter and accepted the place. Went to the school and got the paperwork, 3 days later we went and filled in some paperwork and df was given a set off uniform. She was on the schools list as attending. A week after that, I got a letter from my LA (we are in a different area than the school she is attending) saying a place had become available through people refusing places and she had been allocated one. I called my LA who said they had no clue.

Called the LA in the area where the school is who had no clue then discovered that she had 2 places. They said we didn't accept the place after the appeal. I explained that the school had her down and even given her the uniform so clearly we had. After 4 months of waiting and going through the appeal (which was awful) the LA had no clue what was happening, why she was sti on a waiting list and why she perhaps had been given 2 places.

To this day we have no idea what happened.

I suspect that the person you spoke to doesn't really know how it works and has misinformed you slightly leaving you with feeling something dodgy is going on. It maybe that simply it wasn't the LAs decision and she has taken that as 'it didn't go through us'

HaplessHousewife · 30/08/2015 08:28

They can and do hold places open. There was a child in my DC's class that has gone to a different school (we don't know where or why) and they weren't allowed to replace them.

Apparently they're coming back at the start of this school year (having gone last October half term) but we shall see. So we've had almost a whole school year with only 29 children.

I don't know the why's and wherefores of what's happened because it's none of my business but I assume it's due to some exceptional circumstances.

lifesalongsong · 30/08/2015 08:29

I don't think the SEN child is necessarily the issue you here.

It's clear that child has a place regardless of anything else and the mechanism of how that comes about isn't in question.

Imo the OP needs to find out the full details of the child who apparently left last year. If there has been a mistake made that was when in happened. Did a child leave, did that creat a place and if so why wasn't she offered it

SouthWestmom · 30/08/2015 08:32

Sen doesn't always rank higher or feature. Having a statement or echp does take priority but you can have sen without these. So the admissions criteria may rank sen above siblings.

honkinghaddock · 30/08/2015 08:33

If a child has a ehcp or statement the parents can apply to change the mainstream school. As long as the school is suitable for the child and the childs move would not be very expensive or cause major problems for the new school, the move to the new school has to be accepted. The start date has to be one which works for the child and new school and could easily be the next term.

Fairylea · 30/08/2015 08:39

We are currently in the middle of the ehcp process for our son who is starting school September 2016. He has severe autism and we are in the middle of trying to decide whether he would be better at a complex needs school or at mainstream with support (the paediatrician has basically said it is up to us to decide). It's not true that you cannot choose the school if you have an ehcp - unless your child has severe physical disability needs that would only be met at a specific school then you can request a specific school and as long as the child's needs can be met at that school then they have to apply for a place there and the school is named on the ehcp form.

If a child has an ehcp the local authority will consider a mainstream school that is not necessarily in the catchment area if it means the child's needs will be more adequately met. They will then provide the appropriate funding and support to the child.

In our case for example our local school is no good to us at all - too big, too crowded, not geared up enough for sen. Despite being excellent for my older child there is no way I would send my child with autism there. So yes we may well apply to a school further away (if he doesn't attend complex needs schools which are 25 miles away on a supervised mini bus....).

Spartans · 30/08/2015 08:39

Dh has just reminded me about a similar situation.

Ds is starting full time school and goes to the nursery at that school. A child with disabilities didn't get a place because the mother submitted the form late and they were told they would have to appeal. A week later the head teacher came over and told her it was all sorted and their child would be given a place. The parents didn't go trough the LA, not sure how it came about but the Head teacher sorted it.

prh47bridge · 30/08/2015 08:47

Some of the information on this thread is correct, some is partly correct.

If a child gets a statement of SEN or an EHCP the parents are asked what school should be named. In most cases the LA has to name the school chosen by the parents. The school must then admit the child even if the school is already full. For infant class size purposes the SEN child is excepted, which means they don't count towards the limit. However, if admitting the SEN child takes the school over PAN no further pupils will be admitted until they get back below PAN. So if the school is full to PAN and then admit an SEN child, two pupils will have to leave before a place will be offered through the waiting list.

Getting away from SEN, you say, "curious as I thought all school place (in-year) had to go through the local authority". This used to be correct but ceased to be so a few years ago. It is now up to the LA whether or not they co-ordinate in-year admissions. Many have chosen not to do so, which means that in-year admissions are dealt with by the schools, not the LA.

If you think a mistake has been made and your child should have been offered the place you should appeal. If nothing else that may help to clarify exactly what has happened here.

prh47bridge · 30/08/2015 08:54

The parents didn't go trough the LA, not sure how it came about but the Head teacher sorted it

It is not unknown for heads to exceed their authority but the head teacher cannot simply choose to admit a pupil if they act within the rules. If they do that can lead to successful appeals. The disabled child may have gone straight to the head of the waiting list when they applied if the school has an admissions category for medical needs so it is likely the place came to them that way.

prh47bridge · 30/08/2015 08:57

They can and do hold places open

They cannot and do not. Any place that becomes available must be offered to anyone who applies by law. If a child leaves the place must be offered to the waiting list unless they are over PAN. However, there is special provision that allows some children who live part of the year in one place and part in another to be registered at multiple schools. From the description you give that may be what has happened here. If it is the child moving does not create a vacancy unless they fail to return.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone · 30/08/2015 09:05

I would expect SEN or "looked after" children to skip waiting lists.

I also suspect that LA may just be choosing not to discuss this with you, at least not the specifics of this case, which I think is correct, why should you be told the reasons why another child got a place?

Frusso · 30/08/2015 09:08

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeenAndTween · 30/08/2015 09:10

OP prh47bridge is one of the mumsnet experts on admissions. Listen to her(?) she knows what she's on about.

Barbeasty · 30/08/2015 09:46

prh47bridge Would it be the case that the OP could appeal and ask some very specific questions?

  • When the pupil left the school at Easter did this bring the number of registered pupils down to 29 (or below 30 or a multiple of 30)?

  • if the answer to that 1st question is yes, at that point was OP's DC number 1 on the waiting list?

If the answer to that is yes then hasn't a mistake been made, meaning the OP's child could be admitted as an excepted pupil?

The answer to question 1 could be no because the other child had been admitted but not started either because they had the school named on a statement and were excepted or because they had been given a place in the normal admissions round and not started yet but someone else is an excepted pupil taking the official number to 31.

The answer to question 2 could be no because this pupil happened to apply just as the space came up and have very briefly displaced OP's child to number 2 on the waiting list.
lifesalongsong · 30/08/2015 11:42

I'm so pleased to see that prh47bridge (a man I think but could be wrong) has categorically stated that places aren't held back for random reasons.

I see this stated so many times, maybe not so much on here but very often in facebook discussions, and it makes me cross to think that people are being given false information presented as fact.

hackmum · 30/08/2015 11:51

OP, it does sound dodgy.

Years ago we had a similar problem with our local primary school. In those days, however (about 12 years ago), our local authority allowed primary schools to take charge of their own waiting lists. This has changed now in our area - until I saw prh47bridge's post, I assumed it had changed nationally.

The school secretary was deliberately misapplying the rules to give preference to older children, rather than those children who were at the top of the list. This was at a time of staggered starts, and the school wanted as many children starting in September as possible for financial reasons.

I reported it to the LA who put a stop to it.

eddiemairswife · 30/08/2015 12:17

In some LAs the in-year applications are dealt with by the school. In others they go through the LA.

Arsenic · 30/08/2015 13:57

No hack it does NOT sound dodgy.

This isn't the first thread recently making snide insinuations about SN school admissions and it is not very pleasant.

prh47bridge · 30/08/2015 14:07

Would it be the case that the OP could appeal and ask some very specific questions?

Yes, the OP could ask the questions you suggest. She can't ask anything that would reveal personal information about any other pupil but I can't see anything wrong with your questions.

(BTW lifesalongsong is right - I am a man. But I don't take offence at people getting my gender wrong. This is Mumsnet after all!)

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