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Right Or Wrong


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#1 sham75

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 03:40 PM

If you have young children in Amersham then you will more than aware of the difficulty to get a child into the school of your choice!

A couple near to us have recently sold their house just so they can rent for one year in the catchment of one of Amersham's most sought after schools. It seems a little unfair on the people who have bought a house (usually at a premium) to be in that particular catchment and could end up loosing out on a school place to someone who is "bending the rules". I know this particular school, this year had to turn away many children and made many disapointed parents in the process and i know some children got in this year by their parents "bending the rules".

Is it right or wrong to let the local authority know about about this situation (or "grass" as it is more commonly known)?



#2 Unremarkable

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 04:21 PM

My understanding of the system is that as long as the new rented house is their normal residence then there is little the LA will be able to do about it I'm afraid. It's only when a family is not actually living at the address but using it as a 'fake' address to get access to the school that it's an issue.

It seems to be common practice in Amersham to rent within the area where you would definitely get into the school (rather than the catchment area) then move further away when your first child is securely in the school, knowing the sibling rule will mean any subsequent children will also get into that school. I know of two couples who have done this to get access to Chestnut Lane infants... which I guess is the school you're alluding to!

It's not very nice for those who have bought in the catchment area but I guess they have the option to rent nearer the school themselves. I speak as someone who is 0.5 miles from Chestnut lane with a son who is due to start in September 2012. We're hoping for a place at St. Georges but from what I've read in the forum for this year, we'll be lucky to be allocated a school place south of Manchester.

#3 cathindia

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 09:46 PM

We're hoping for a place at St. Georges but from what I've read in the forum for this year, we'll be lucky to be allocated a school place south of Manchester.



My youngest started in St George's this year (one of the "extras" who was originally allocated Holmer Green). It is a lovely school. As I understand it, the school will continue to take 2 reception classes next year (ie 60 children instead of the previous 45) so, hopefully, you will get a place. They did take all catchment applications this year and then a large number of others like my son (who lives nearly 2 miles from the school). All hope is not lost!

#4 Fran

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 12:10 PM

It's very tricky, and the "should I report them?" is hardest of all. If I found out after the child in question had started school I would be inclined not to (punishing the child with upheaval, because of the parents' deceit), but earlier on, it's harder because there are grey areas.

It is about seven years since I was investigating the rules, and that was for secondary transfer. Even then, it was clear that Bucks was aware of the issues and made some attempts to minimise such problems, but there is a limit to what they can and should prohibit. For example, would many people think it right to withdraw the place of a current pupil if their parents move further away a year or two later (and there could be all sorts of reasons for doing so, not all of them premeditated)?

There are plenty of valid reasons for moving into a rented house, as we did, but we had to prove that we had lived there for several months, were actually living there, and had a tenancy of at least a year. I think we also had to declare that we did not still own another property near by (we didn't), but I'm not sure. One could genuinely and permanently be moving to a new area but be unable to find a buyer.

The fundamental problem is that if you have something very desirable where demand far exceeds supply, some people will do anything they can to get it. I'm not sure what specific additional measure BCC could take, other than asking people to report fraudulent applicants.

(Lest anyone assume I made a dodgy application, or even approve of them, I will say that we sold our house in Herts, moved to a rented house in Bucks with the intention of buying as soon as things were certain. We then bought one that is in fact closer to the school our son attends than the one we applied from. We are still there, six years later.)

#5 Jeannie686

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 12:37 PM

Just to add another spin to this discussion.... we moved to Chesham (renting) 2-3 years ago, and are now married and expecting our first child. We live on the Waterside end of Chesham, and about 9 months ago we were thinking of buying a house in a different part of Chesham because we couldn't afford to buy on this side. Just as we put an offer in we found out we were pregnant and had to pull out as we couldn't afford a mortgage on just one wage and SMP, and so we have stayed renting where we are. We do want to move eventually but cannot afford to at the moment, but we actually think now that we are lucky we stayed where we are as the Schools here are better, so we will probably stay renting for the considerable future in the Waterside area until we can afford to buy, so our child/children will be able to go to the schools in this catchment area.


Because of the circumstances that befell us, we don't see it as a wrong thing to do to stay renting in this area of Chesham for as long as possible before we buy here, just for the Schools, but then we do have definite plans to buy on this side of Chesham anyway. I can see why people would be upset if others sold their houses and rented for a short while deliberately to get their children into Schools, and then suddenly moved elsewhere. That doesn't seem fair to me.

#6 Rob75

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 01:02 PM

If they were doing something against the rules, i would certainly tell the lea. Even if if didn't affect your child, it would still mean someone was losing their rightful space.

However, i don't think they are doing anything against the rules. If they kept their house and rented another it may be different, but if they are simply moving that's no problem. After all, who is to say that they won't be renting that house for years.

I think there are rules such as they need to have a rental agreement extending to something like 9 months of the first school year, but may be misremembering. If they are smart they will know the rules - not doing so would be pretty stupid, frankly, given the potential consequences of not following them.

#7 ThreeDaysGrace

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 01:04 PM

This is of interest to me, as I believe the people in the privately rented flat below me are renting purely to "use" the address to get their daughter into Challenors. They very rarely stay there. Maybe one night a week in term time. It's very tempting to tip off the school or County, but I'm not sure if that's the done thing :huh:

#8 Unremarkable

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 01:22 PM

This is what Bucks CC has to say about it all...

"Definition of normal home address

This is the child’s home address. This must be where the parent or legal carer of the child live together unless it is proved that the child is resident elsewhere with someone who has legal care and control of the child. The address should be a residential property that is owned, leased or rented by the child’s parent(s) or person with legal care and control of the child.

To avoid doubt where a child lives with parents with shared responsibility, each for part of a week or month, the address where the child lives will be determined having regard to a joint declaration from the parents stating the exact pattern of residence.

If the residence is not split equally, then the relevant address used will be the address at which we are satisfied that the child spends the majority of the school week. Where there is an equal split or there is any doubt about residence, we will make the judgment about which address to use for the purposes of allocation. In making this judgment we will take into account the following:

• any legal documentation confirming residence

• the pattern of the residence

• the period of time over which the current arrangement has been in place

• confirmation from the previous school of the contact details and home address provided to them by the parents

• which parent is in receipt of child benefit

• where the child is registered with their GP

• any other evidence the parents may supply to verify the position "



#9 Rob75

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 08:20 PM

This is what Bucks CC has to say about it all


An interesting quirk of primary admissions is that, yes you have to prove you are living somewhere in any case, but if you are moving the process is different.

If you want to use an address you are moving to, you have to show that you are living there by the closing application date, but also, for example, a rental agreement showing you'll be there 6 months into the next school year, and evidence that you have got rid of your old house.

The possible quirk is that I dont think you have to tell them you are moving. And in any case you have to be in the house on the closing application date, so i don't know how they can tell whether you have moved or not, or whether they can actually discriminate in practice.

But as i say, i would speak to the lea in any case to check it out. I believe they are thinking of putting in a proper process for whistleblowing.

#10 DonDon

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:50 PM

Do the Bucks rules apply to both primary and secondary education?

#11 Fran

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 09:05 PM

Do the Bucks rules apply to both primary and secondary education?

Yes, Bucks makes and enforces rules for its schools at both levels. However, those rules may not be the same for primary and secondary, plus there are often variations for church schools and for academies.

If you need to investigate, start on the Bucks CC website, in the Schools section: http://www.buckscc.g...admission.page?

#12 ThreeDaysGrace

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:43 AM

I now know for sure that the child below me got into Challenors this September. VERY unfair on someone genuine who probably missed out on a place because of this :angry: