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Help - looks like our DS may not get a place in his catchment school! [sad]

19 replies

pralinegirl · 01/02/2008 16:34

Our catchment area school and first choice school for DS, who will be 5 in Nov is a Voluntary Aided Church of England School. It is oversubscribed due to new housing in that village, we cannot fulfill the priority clause of attending church and hence he may not get in. I am so worried - he attends a nursery through my work where none of those kids live near him and I was so looking forward to him making friends in our village as I work four days a week and theres been no real chance to yet. His next school on the list is also oversubscribed and would not provide transport, which this one does. Has anyone been in this situation and did it work out ok? Is it worthwhile appealing if he doesn't get a place at any of his three choices? I had even enrolled him in the pre-school in that village so he could start to make friends - I don't want the poor little thing then doing so and not going to school with those kids either! I only put him in there on Friday mornings for that reason and he understands why and has been settling in.

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GrapefruitMoon · 01/02/2008 16:38

it's always worth going on the continuing interest list of a school you really want - you'd be surprised how many people don't take up their places at the last minute... whether an appeal is justified depends on whether you believe they didn't apply the admission rules fairly I think... is your first choice school the only school in the village?

Oblomov · 01/02/2008 16:46

Have you just moved to this area praline ?
Why did you not fulfill the citeria for church attendance ?

pralinegirl · 01/02/2008 16:48

Our own village doesn't even have a primary school, hence the appeal of the bus they provide when hes older I'd use it. All the other schools are at least 2 miles away. What do you mean please re the continuing interest list? I thought we could only give three choices, which we did and they are all good but some other local ones are not, hence the worry.Could they just allocate us anywhere or do we get the chance to express more preferences?

OP posts:
hanaflower · 01/02/2008 16:51

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pralinegirl · 01/02/2008 16:53

We just aren't religious so don't go. We have lived here for 6 years though. Must admit even if we'd had the slightest doubt he wouldn't get in I wouldn't have attended church just to make sure , it seems very wrong and anyway working nearly full-time we like our freedom as a family on a Sunday.Lots of kids attend the school who don't attend church - I have a close friend with her girls there so I know.

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GrapefruitMoon · 01/02/2008 16:57

The continuing interest list is a sort of waiting list - there should be something in the allocation letter explaining how to do this - or else ask the school directly. Usually though you go on the waiting list in order of priority - eg if someone else moved into the area and was closer to the school or a churchgoer, they would go before you on the waiting list.

Smurfs · 01/02/2008 21:00

pralinegirl - I know exactly how you feel. You need a battle plan as it is an awful situation to find yourself in. DS was offered a place at a dreadful school in town whereas we had nominated lovely village school. World came crashing down last year when we found out - after a week in a daze came out fighting and went to appeal. Traumatic but worth it we got in and DS loves his school. You need to speak to unquietdad on here he was so supportive last year and has been through an appeal twice if I recall correctly. best of luck with this Smurfs.

Smurfs · 01/02/2008 21:06

pralinegirl - forgot to mention we didn't get offered a place at any of the 3 schools we had put down. So immediately phoned 2 of the 3 schools and asked to be put on waiting list, made a nuisance of myself with the LEA phoning up for bits of info so they would recognise my name and they were so, so helpful! We also employed an appeal specialist who helped with the writing of the appeal and coached me before we went into the appeal - expensive but worth it! Less than first terms fees at public school! This is something I am very passionate about so if you need anything furthur do shout. Smurfs

princessosyth · 01/02/2008 21:09

On what grounds did you win appeal smurfs? Going through same situation ourselves.

Smurfs · 01/02/2008 21:17

We won on the basis that the very supportive head would admit 2 more children to the school as the years above were very small and the school would be able to accommodate the extra children over the years if that makes sense? Also my long and rambling appeal document all 8 pages must have worn them down! We are probably the worst case scenario as there was no real reason DS should be admitted to that school as there were 4 other schools from memory that were closer to us. Get the crying done and over and then go into battle mode.

  1. Go and look at school offered and be very friendly to head - so that at appeal they cannot say you can't reject a school you haven't seen.

  2. Don't use the asthma/health angel as I was advised that a high percentage of appealants put it down and appeal panels are bored with it and it actually goes against you.

    shall I stop now and pause for breath!?
pralinegirl · 01/02/2008 22:17

Thanks all for replies! Smurfs we haven't actually been told by the allocations department at County Hall that we won't get a place but have been contacted by our first choice and catchment school to say that they have more applicants than places and hence need further info, i.e. the church thing, to guarantee us a place. But if we don't get one our other two schools which we picked are also oversubscribed. Have been worrying so much started looking at independent schools but our local schools, the three we picked are excellent and it seems so unfair that our school should have places taken up by people on the new estate houses who have just moved there when we've lived here 6 years! Trouble is its a small school with only 24 in reception class. I spoke to the head today, partly to confirm that we weren't religious and partly to express our concern and hope that he'd get a place.wHAT i ASSUMED WAS THAT ALL THE FAMILIES HAVE THIS SCHOOL AS THEIR FIRST CHOICE, WOULD THIS BE RIGHT? She said not to give up hope...I think there is talk of a new build school there in 2010 to replace this one so I guess there may be capacity over the years as you said. How do you go about finding an appeals specialist if you need to?
Thanks for that

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pralinegirl · 01/02/2008 22:29

Forgot to mention we can't really afford independent school fees without making massive financial sacrifices, was shocked by how expensive they are!

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Smurfs · 02/02/2008 16:07

Pralinegirl, our DS school has just 9 places in reception class and initially 4 of us went to appeal. Don't lose hope it is amazing how many people move out of the area or opt for private school before school actually commences in September. 2 actually dropped out of appealing a few weeks before the appeal. Where is your DS in terms of year age - our DS is a summer baby and that was one of the arguements we used at appeal that due to having just turned 4 he needed a small nurturing environment etc. If your Ds is young for his year you could always keep him at his pre-school and do an out of term entry when places are a little more easily come by. Legally your DS does not have to be in school until after his 5th birthday. I am not sure why the head contacted you as generally in my experience it is the LEA who makes the decision who is admitted and not the head. I can dig out the info on the appeal specialist if you would like. Please do not panic which I know is easier said than done but it is amazing how in most cases it all turns out ok. Smurfs

foxythesnowman · 02/02/2008 16:12

There is a website I think it is, with downloadable documents - I think its a fiver. I used it for my appeal at primary school.

There are some people who just don't bother turning up on the first day, and don't let the school know, so there is definately always hope! Good luck.

pralinegirl · 02/02/2008 17:09

Hi Smurfs - he is a winter baby with a 5th bithday in November but according to the head's letter this will help possibly, as the school gives priority to older kids if otherwise their admission is of equal merit. The head has contacted us purely for proof of church attendence and I e-mailed her today to find out if we'd hear anything before April. Also asked her if she could say if he was among the oldest seeking places.The head won't make the decision but needs to gather info to send back to County Hall.We will hope and I'll come back to you if I may about appeals if I need to. Foxythesnowman thanks I will keep a note of this.

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mummyeme · 24/02/2008 17:57

Only just found this thread and it's really helpful, esp smurfs. If you read this, please can you give me anymore help. Appealing Primary school and the smaller environment for a summer baby is one reason I've used amoungst others. If you or anyone else can help more it'd be fantastic.
The school allocated is taking 3 forms this year (90 in all)!!!! and I'm really not happy with it anyway. The one I want is brilliant, outstanding offsted and 1 form entry. Any help, appeals info really gratefully received, please.

Smurfs · 24/02/2008 18:02

Just seen this

Just dishing up roast chicken but will have a look after bath if that is ok. Let me know what areas you need help with. You could search under threads I am on and also unquietdad who was my saving grace last year when we were going through all this.

back later Smurfs

Smurfs · 24/02/2008 19:47


will try to figure out how I do a link that list all of our appeal reasons some may well be applicable. pralinegirl started the link if you are better at these things than me

mummyeme · 25/02/2008 20:11

Thanks very much smurfs that'd be great. My computers a bit of a nightmare at the moment, so sorry I didn't get back to you sooner.
Thanks very much for all your help

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