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Moving to UK in August, not sure where, DS is 5..... how do the schools work?!?!

24 replies

chocolatequeen · 04/04/2007 14:31

Please can someone shed some light on the UK school system!

We have been living abroad for 3 years, expecting to return to UK over the summer. However, we still have no idea where exactly we are coming back to. Will definitely be London or surrounding area, but that is not much help for school selection.

If, hypothetically, we arrive in the UK on August 1st (DS will be 5 on September 12th), how do we go about getting him into a school for September? Would the private schools be any more likely to give him a place?

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islandofsodor · 04/04/2007 15:22

The application dtaes for most schools have passed so technically you need to either contact schools individually to see if they have any places remaining or the LEA and they will allocate somewhere.

As your child will be going into year 1 not reception you may strike lucky and get a decent place. Most private school soperate waitinglists but again you may just strike lucky, at my daughter's private school a boy left last term as he moved away from the area for example.

purpleturtle · 04/04/2007 15:23

I think he'd be going into Reception, not Y1

sniff · 04/04/2007 15:25

when we moved in the summer I went round all the local schools the day before the children went back to visit and choose which one I wanted they will tell you over the phone if they have any spaces

purpleturtle · 04/04/2007 15:26

Facing a similar problem chocolatequeen: we hope to move cities in the summer, and will need school places for Y2 and reception, but can't do anything till we have more definite plans.

mankyscotslass · 04/04/2007 15:26

Think he will be one of the oldest but will be in reception...cut off date is august 31st..(i think)if five after that will go into reception in september....hth

islandofsodor · 04/04/2007 15:36

Sorry, misread the age, it is reception so it will be a case of take what is left I am afraid.

chocolatequeen · 05/04/2007 12:12

Thanks for answering!

Does reception mean that the state does not NEED to provide him with a place, therefore it is oversubscribed? How come the discrepancy between Year 1 and Reception? As you can tell, totally clueless.....

Yes, he will be old for his year, the international school here would also put him into reception this year, so I am expecting the same in the UK. Until now though, he has not been in an english speaking environment, so getting an extra year in will be an advantage I think.

Do church schools count as private or state? Are we more likely to get a place at one if we can prove church attendance where we are now?

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cazzybabs · 05/04/2007 12:14

He would need a place in reception. I doubt you get a place at good private school especially in London unless you get lucky. Likewise most state schools will have filled their places, but they will find you somewhere but it might not be in the school you want or near your house because of the cap on 30 in a class.

I would start thinking about where you are likely to come back to and start phoning schools now.

RustyBear · 05/04/2007 12:15

The schools won't necessarily be able to tell you if they have a place - in some areas the LA does it all & the schools are specifically not allowed to tell enquiring parents that they have a space - so I'd contact the LA first and ask what the procedure is.

purpleturtle · 05/04/2007 12:16

I think the thing about reception level entry is that the popular schools will have already allocated all their places to new starters. You may find though that due to housemoves, etc. there's the odd place in Y1 or further up the school, which will have less take-up because most people don't move schools unless they have to. Do you see what I mean?

It won't make a difference to you, because you can't change your child's age!

purpleturtle · 05/04/2007 12:18

There are state church schools, and I would have thought that church attendance where you are would fulfil that aspect of their selection criteria. However, you would still be below children with siblings already at the school, children with SEN, and children of the particular denomination (if yours is different). That would be the case in Sheffield, anyway.

Hope that helps.

fennel · 05/04/2007 12:20

We moved twice last year, with children aged 4 and 5. It wasn't actually as traumatic as we'd imagined getting them places in the new schools.

our LEA had a special admissions policy for children who move into the area so not being there for the initial application system would not matter in this area. The LEA had a way of prioritising children moving into the area (here, they had a right to admission to one of their two closest primary schools, even if both schools were officially full. But that will vary with your area.

But here it's not a case of take what's left, there is better provision than that, so we actually had as much choice as if we'd always lived here. Which I was very grateful for really.

fennel · 05/04/2007 12:21

With our second move, the school was officially full, and officially oversubscribed in Reception. But we moved late august, applied and appealed in early sept, and were granted a place in our local school starting immediately.

chocolatequeen · 05/04/2007 15:54

Thanks so much. Sadly, we really don´t know where we are going to be, other than commutable to the City. So anywhere basically within the M25.

Thanks purpleturtle for being so patient!!

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chocolatequeen · 05/04/2007 15:55

Do you have any idea if most LEA´s have the same policy Fennel? Sounds like it almost favours new arrivals!

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TheAngelWearsPrada · 05/04/2007 15:56

good luck with the move

fennel · 05/04/2007 16:40

chocolatequeen, I know they don't all, but I have no idea how normal ours is. This is Devon, which is very keen on catchment areas and prioritises children going to their local school.

RustyBear · 05/04/2007 16:43

This is the new admissions code which came into force in February. Chapter 3 is the section on in-year admissions - it specifically states:
"Admission authorities must not
refuse to admit a child solely because they have applied later than other applicants"

sarflondon · 05/04/2007 18:05

Hi Chocolatequeen. If you are lkely to apply for church schools, I would suggest that you get a supporting letter if you can from the church that you go to now as this will help. good luck

londongirl1 · 05/04/2007 21:23

Re the private schools - I think you may well strike lucky (if that's what you want) and get a place - we were offered one here, from a school that had previously said it was full up. Just be persistent and keep on ringing them!

purpleturtle · 05/04/2007 21:28

How are you coping with the unknown-ness, chocolatequeen? At least you seem to know you'll definitely be moving, just not where to. Is it dependent on finding a house you like?

We will only be moving if funding is released for dh to train from this September. We will have been living a kind of temporary life for 2 years by then, and I am getting a bit desperate for some kind of "normality". (whatever that is) I guess it's that we have no control over what happens that I find hardest.

chocolatequeen · 06/04/2007 11:43

Thanks so much all of you -it´s such a great help.

Our move is dependent on DH´s job - we have been in Portugal for 3 years now (DH is portuguese), and we are beginning to feel that it is time to come back, for a variety of reasons. It is a bit unsettling, not being able to plan even the simplest things (summer holidays, schools etc), but if we end up deciding to postpone our move, then I don´t mind at all, as I love being here. I have my moments though of pure frustration!! Can totally identify with you purpleturtle - I sometimes find it very hard to deal with, especially as I am more of a settler and DH is happy to move around. We have been in a state of limbo for over a year now, not really being able to plan more than 6 months ahead, and it is tiring. But I guess you have to try to be a bit pragmatic about it. Easier said than done in my case!!!

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purpleturtle · 06/04/2007 17:51

We should start ourselves a support group, chocolatequeen! I think we're planning a holiday for the end of May. Unless dh gets interview dates that week.

Our summer has a couple of fixed points - a week away with a church group, and my sister's wedding, and hopefully moving house sometime in between.

Not the world's greatest plan.

chocolatequeen · 09/04/2007 14:00

Hi purpleturtle, sorry took so long to reply - not a very good weekend mner!

Think a support group of 2 sounds like a very good start to me - we can be each others small voice of sanity!! Going to plan a small holiday for the long weekend in May, that at least will satisfy my holiday planning criteria for the time being!

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