Gransnet forums


Cheating the System

(61 Posts)
icanhandthemback Wed 25-Apr-18 13:17:15

On another forum there is a request for advice on whether to report someone who has cheated the School's Admission System by giving a Grandparent's address who lives in the right catchment area. There is outrage at this "Busybody" because it is nothing to do with her and the majority feel she should not report it. AIBU to expect more people to feel this is an injustice to the children who didn't get to go to this popular school because another cheated the system and for people not to look the other way?

Luckygirl Wed 25-Apr-18 13:33:53

It's a barmy system - I cannot blame anyone for trying to do the best for their child.

If all schools were good, then the problem would not arise.

Bridgeit Wed 25-Apr-18 13:35:23

I think it’s wrong, surely they didn’t think they could get away with it , it seems inevitable to me that with school places at a premium anyone knowingly stretching the truth is bound to found out . Not exactly setting a good example to their off spring

Bridgeit Wed 25-Apr-18 13:36:26

I agree it’s a barmy system

wildswan16 Wed 25-Apr-18 13:45:41

If I lived in the catchment area, and my child was unable to get a place because of this deception, and had to travel to a different school, then I would be very cross about it.

BlueBelle Wed 25-Apr-18 13:59:42

No I wouldn’t report them unless it was something that affected my child if theirs got in and mine didn’t maybe then I would feel like saying something but otherwise it’s between them and their conscience I think it happens all the time so we d have a lot of reporting to do
The system is riddled with inaccuracies and as said totally barmy at times

winterwhite Wed 25-Apr-18 14:22:17

Agree with all those who say that the system is unsatisfactory. The admission application forms could/should require confirmation that the child resides at the address stated. Easy to do.
In this case the deception will surely emerge unless the parents are to maintain permanently that the child lives at the grandparents’ address. The school could then refuse to take any siblings unless the circs change.
And I agree with Bridegeit that this will make the child feel v uncomfortable when it realises later.

Bridgeit Wed 25-Apr-18 14:23:20

But surely that’s the problem ,folks are happy to cheat the system for themselves & theirs
(what ever that may be) but are the first to complain if someone else does it. I really don’t understand the schooling system any more & what a shame that they are not all of a deseriable level .

Luckygirl Wed 25-Apr-18 14:37:12

The system would not be "cheatable" if there were not such a discrepancy between the quality of schools. Everyone would be happy to send their child to the local school and would not be placed in this difficult situation.

I doubt these parents will get away with their attempt, as it is the work of a moment for the council to check in the census or council tax registers to see who is registered as living at an address.

lemongrove Wed 25-Apr-18 16:02:12

It could be that the child will be going to the Grandparents house every day after school because the parents are working.While not exactly ‘legit’ this would make sense for the child, journey time etc.

janeainsworth Wed 25-Apr-18 16:09:53

I agree with lemon that the full circumstances aren’t known and to make a specific complaint about a particular parent or grandparent is not only unwise but smacks of the lynch mob mentality.
However, I do think there are grounds for complaining about the system in general and seeking clarification from the local authority that they are diligent in checking claims of residence before awarding places, perhaps through a Freedom of Information request.

Nannarose Wed 25-Apr-18 17:20:52

Of course I agree with those saying the system is barmy. Within that, yes I am angry at those who cheat the system. However, the full story can make a difference - such as how much childcare the grandparents do.
And just to make you smile:
My DGS could not get into his 'local' sought-after school because he lived too far away - 200 metres - the school claimed that the furthest away child was 190 metres. His parents decided to move out of that area anyway. However, I have been amused to read, in the local paper, about works going on at that school - not to worry - parents can still park their cars at a nearby car park by special arrangement. I charitably thought that there must be a lot of disabled parents at that school, oh and a few who have moved whilst their child was in the last year there maybe?

DGS is very happy at his'less sought-after' school in another part of town!

FarNorth Wed 25-Apr-18 17:31:58

My DGD's school required to see a council tax bill to prove residency.
Of course, if the grandparents have the same surname that would be easy to fiddle.

icanhandthemback Wed 25-Apr-18 20:06:00

I agree the system is barmy and it is why some LEA's run a lottery system - not sure that it is a better system. I don't understand why it would be considered a "Lynch mob" mentality to report. If the person who is allegedly cheating the system hasn't done anything wrong then the LEA would take no action. If they have cheated, they would lose their place unless they had another form of criteria which would allow them to carry on attending. How is that being part of a Lynch mob? Isn't what they are doing "stealing" another child's place in an oversubscribed school?
If a child is going to a Grandparent's place before and after school, you can apply under "special circumstances". Whilst I agree it might be better in journey times but what if a child in the catchment finds itself having to travel miles because of the lack of places. This happened to my GD who lives yards from her catchment school and now she is being home schooled until a place becomes available because the journey became too much.
It is easy to say you would only act if your child was affected but you might not have that information whereas another unaffected person might.

Jalima1108 Wed 25-Apr-18 20:09:57

My neighbours did this with their DGC - the reception teacher knew but said nothing but the HM found out somehow. However, the child did remain in the school.
The ridiculous thing was that the child lived near the school but his home wasn't in the catchment area and the GP lived the other side of the town - which was in the catchment area.

gillybob Thu 26-Apr-18 07:52:59

My eldest DGD’s school is very popular and we were VERY lucky to win an appeal to get her a place as even despite living almost across the road she didn’t get a place on application. The reason being the popular secondary fills up from its 4 primary “feeders” that do not take distance into consideration when offering places, so the crazy situation is that children travel for miles to get to a feeder in order to guarantee a place at the secondary . The children living on the doorstep can’t get into the secondary . It’s a completely mad system . I wouldn’t report anyone cheating the system I would just consider them very lucky to have got a place. It’s the whole system that’s wrong and you can’t blame parents from doing everything they can to get their child into a good school.

icanhandthemback Thu 26-Apr-18 08:09:17

I can't help thinking that the "Catchment System" has merit on the grounds that children attending their Catchment School are more likely to have their friends nearby and 'education' goes much further than what happens in the classroom. I know how it feels to want the best for your child as we always tried to get ours into the best schools but we did it within the rules. I think parents should put their energies into changing the system, not cheating it but hey, ho, that's just the way I'm built. I'm the sort of parent who wouldn't let my kids eat the strawberries when picking them because it was stealing or be younger to gain entry cheaper then I am surprised when my children turn out to be very black and white thinkers. grin

gillybob Thu 26-Apr-18 08:14:41

The catchment system does have merit icanhandthemback but only if it works in its own right. Children should be awarded places depending on how close they live to the school. In my DGD’s case there are children travelling from miles away who have places and children on the doorstep who haven’t just because of some mad (snobby) feeder school system where they take the children from expensive/upperclass villages first.

Luckygirl Thu 26-Apr-18 09:15:51

AS I have commented above, the catchment system would be fine if you could be sure your catchment school was good - unfortunately this is not the case.

I would not blame any parent trying to do the best for their child.

Greyduster Thu 26-Apr-18 09:35:32

I don’t fully understand the catchment system either, but I can see why people try and cheat it. The school my GS will be going to in September is arguably the most sought after in the city. It takes its pupils from three local feeder primaries and one that is five miles away. It must be galling for parents who apply who are borderline for the school’s local catchment to be told they are not eligible, when one single school five miles away is more or less guaranteed to get places for its children. But the primary school in question is in one of the city’s poorer inner city areas so presumably part of the Academy Trust’s policy of inclusion, which is to be applauded. As has been said, if all schools were good schools, there would be no problem.

gillybob Thu 26-Apr-18 11:07:39

It must be galling for parents who apply who are borderline for the school’s local catchment to be told they are not eligible, when one single school five miles away is more or less guaranteed to get places for its children

This is exactly what happens at my DGD's school Greyduster . The children on the doorstep can't get in but they bus children from a very select village feeder primary that is miles away (passing other secondaries on their way).

The system stinks !

harrigran Thu 26-Apr-18 14:05:30

I live on the doorstep of the best primary school in our town but the secondary school it feeds to is rated poor by Ofsted. A number of pupils go on to the local single sex church schools that retain their good name and some children go to independent schools or chorister school.
I don't understand their logic, there is an academy within walking distance but children from our estate have to get a bus several miles to school.

Greyduster Thu 26-Apr-18 21:54:34

School choice is extremely emotive. Last year, before my GS’s parents had even stated their choices, work began on a new Academy school only minutes down the road from where they live. It fed all sorts of fears and insecurities in the parents at GS’s school, who immediately thought that they would automatically be included in its catchment and not that of their desired school. There was a rash of applications to sit the entrance exam for nearby private schools, and several people putting their houses up for sale to move nearer the secondary school of choice (an expensive option but not as expensive as private education). The head of the existing secondary assured parents that there would be sufficient places for all pupils from its feeder schools, and so it has proved. The new school’s facilities and equipment will be enviable and absolutely state of the art; the school day will be longer than most other local authority schools, and the ethos statement, on paper at least, is praiseworthy. Reading it, who would not want to get their child in there? But the thing that worried the parents was that it would have no proven track record. It has a huge catchment area, but the initial intake will consist of 120 year 7 pupils who, it was felt, will effectively be guinea pigs. And no one seemed to be prepared to make that leap of faith.

absent Fri 27-Apr-18 07:12:55

Clearly the system is a failure. Integrity never is.

Witzend Fri 27-Apr-18 15:02:11

I'd hate to have to go through all this now. A nephew's 11 year old recently missed out on all 3 first choices of secondary school and was allocated to one a long way away, where none of her friends would be going. They were all devastated, though thank goodness their appeal was successful.
Around here, because we have some excellent primaries and two very highly rated grammars, house prices (and rents) in the catchment areas are that much higher, which is naturally going to exclude a good many.

So often IMO the desirability of the school will depend a good deal on the parents. Dd has very good reports from friends of the primary where she's hoping her two will go.

However, the only reason it just missed an 'outstanding' Ofsted report is apparently because of a very few 'problem' families whose children are so often late.
What is the school supposed to do about that?