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Secondary School places allocated today [sad]

(255 Posts)
gillybob Wed 01-Mar-17 10:42:34

My DGD has been offered a secondary school place at a school nowhere near home. There is a large school very nearby (they can see it from their window) but she could not get into one of the feeders and as the eldest child there is no sibling link, so automatically cannot get into the secondary school. The LEA (in their wisdom) have offered her a place at a school miles and miles away (at least 2 buses) and my poor DGD is so upset she didn't want to go to school today at all. I have spoken to the LEA and they have suggested going to appeal (again) and whilst I feel that the appeal process is rigged I am not sure what else we can do?

Welshwife Wed 01-Mar-17 11:07:49

That is awful for the family and stupid beyond belief that a child would be expected to do that amount of travelling! Are any of her friends going to the same school as her? You do wonder what sort of people are running the education offices or wherever they sort these things out.
I would appeal again and be a nuisance to them.

Indinana Wed 01-Mar-17 11:21:50

Oh gilly that is so awful for your GD. Didn't the same thing happen to one of your other GC and you went through the appeals process to no avail? I simply cannot understand a system which seems to have so little regard for the children it is meant to be serving.
I am dreading the time when my DD has to apply for a primary school place for her little one. There are two schools within walking distance - God help her if she doesn't get one of those as she is a single mum and doesn't drive. The next nearest school is over 2 miles away, and not on a direct bus route.

Rigby46 Wed 01-Mar-17 11:26:59

The problem is ( and I'm not defending it) is that all schools have to have published agreed criteria as to the priority in which places are allocated. I personally really don't see why feeder schools have such a high priority. Then of course there is the sibling rule - you can understand that at primary level but why at secondary. Some schools of course have some places based on church affiliation. So by the time all that's done, closeness to the school is the least important in the priority list. Several years ago my sister's dgc was allocated to a very poor secondary school as his primary was not a feeder school and he was the elder. I helped my DN appeal but the grounds for appeal are incredibly limited - in general you only win if there has been something like a factual error - they had the wrong address down or didn't know an elder sibling was already there. She needed to appeal as she wanted to feel that she'd done everything possible. In the event my sister stumped up 7 years of private school fees. However, what my DN did also do was put her younger son on all the feeder schools waiting lists and mid year a place come up, he moved and then had an automatic place at the school she wanted. Absolutely ridiculous system - any chance that's possible for number 2 gc?

POGS Wed 01-Mar-17 11:27:23


I am wary of posting the fact we are very happy today as DGD has a place at the secondary school of not only our choice but hers too.

I believe I am correct in saying your experience has not been particularly good with your DGD so far with regard to her education , forgive me if I am mistaken. I don't know if you remember my posting once or twice how unhappy we have been with our DGD education thus far. I gave up talking about it as there always seemed to be a handful of posters who challenged or were more interested in standing up for teachers than accepting we were experiencing genuine problems.

We are a tad concerned that in our opinion our DGD will be in for a a bit of a shock when she moves , for example her school has had a 'No Homework Policy' (at 10 years old?), they do very little about disruptive behaviour etc. We can only assume her level of education is at least where it should be but I am sure her new school will quickly ascertain that and inform us.

I can only imagine how totally exasperated/annoyed/tearful all of you are feeling today. If I remember correctly on another thread this was a 'dread' hanging over your heads and I send you my sympathy today Gillybob and for your little one too.

Rigby46 Wed 01-Mar-17 11:28:03

Not a feeder school to the desired school I meant

mumofmadboys Wed 01-Mar-17 11:34:41

Try appealing Gillybob. I know someone who appealed twice and got in on the second appeal. Are there any special circumstances at all such as shy, special friendship groups etc you could cite? Good luck

Rigby46 Wed 01-Mar-17 11:36:43

POGS. Why post this?

gave up talking about it as there always seemed to be a handful of posters who challenged or were more interested in standing up for teachers than accepting we were experiencing genuine problems

on a thread where we are sympathising with GB and trying to offer ideas - do you want to derail? I remember how awful it all was at the time - I had my DN and sister on the phone in tears frequently and I put hours and hours of work into the appeals ( each school had its own appeal panel). The issue with us was the poor quality of the school but am I right that with you Gb it's the travel?

It might be worth going over to MN as this will be a hot topic from today - there's a good chance there will be useful links and even legal advice from some of their many members.

Rigby46 Wed 01-Mar-17 11:43:08

gb just popped over - it's on the Secondary education board and the thread is called ( believe it or not) Appeals process - there's already some great info on there. Good luck

Ankers Wed 01-Mar-17 11:50:56

I dont know all the background to this.

My first instinct is, why has she not beeb in a feeder school, if the secondary school is very near you?

Ankers Wed 01-Mar-17 11:51:56

Is the school she has been offered, one which the school she currently goes to, feeds in to?

Anya Wed 01-Mar-17 11:56:55

We can only assume her level of education is at least where it should be

POGS as a retired teacher I only stick up for teachers and schools when there's a case to be made. I acknowledge there are some awful schools and some dreadful teachers and HTs.

Your GD's parents should have been informed at Parents' Evenings and via school reports about her progress. Things have been simplified of late into three categories which go something like ...achieving at the expected level for age, achieving beyond expected level and not achieving expected level. This should be stated for at least core subjects and divisions within those core subjects.

Anya Wed 01-Mar-17 11:59:48

GB I'm sorry your worst fears have been realised. I can only suggest you appeal again and perhaps buy in some expert help?

My GS will find out today too. We are hoping he can go to the school where both his parents teach, as this will ease transport issues for us.

joannapiano Wed 01-Mar-17 12:09:59

Our GS is waiting anxiously, today.(And us.)
We don't have feeder schools in our area, but luckily all the schools nearby are OK. Just hope he doesn't have to take two buses.

gillybob Wed 01-Mar-17 12:11:35

None of her friends will be going to the offered school at all as its miles away from both home and the existing primary. I have spoken at length to the bus company and there is no direct bus route at all welshwife.

Yes we went through a horrible appeals process for the three grandchildren last year Indiana we lost (as we expected to) as we were told that they would not get into the secondary school unless they came from a feeder or had a sibling at the school.

I am in despair as don't know what to do.

POGS Wed 01-Mar-17 12:14:26

Rugby 46

"on a thread where we are sympathising with GB and trying to offer ideas - do you want to derail? "

Nope. I totally sympathise with Gillybob and I hope she understood my post as it a subject that both of us have to deal with.

I apologize Gillybob if my post has been misconstrued.

gillybob Wed 01-Mar-17 12:22:51

How can it be right that children have been offered places that live miles away from the school and those who live on the doorstep cannot get in? the whole education system needs a kick up the pants. The people in the LEA are at best heartless and at worst thick as bricks !

Have spoke to LEA this morning. Quote:

LEA "the child has a right to refuse to go to the school offered"

ME " yes, fine but which school can she go to then?"

LEA "Hmmmmm, hmmmmmmm you could home school her"

gillybob Wed 01-Mar-17 12:27:03

No apology needed POGS I really appreciate ANY input/help/advice from anyone as we are truly desperate.

Have spoken to bus operator who tell me that the only way she could get to offered school is via 2 buses and a very long journey with her having to leave home at around 7am. He has kindly given me his name and direct number and told me that the operators themselves would not be happy knowing that a (very)small girl would be travelling unaccompanied for such a long time and involving a very long wait in an unsafe area.

Ankers Wed 01-Mar-17 12:34:32

How can it be right that children have been offered places that live miles away from the school and those who live on the doorstep cannot get in

Because they chose for the child to go to a primary school elsewhere? So the LEA think, well why not the secondary too?

Ankers Wed 01-Mar-17 12:37:21

If the system is anywhere what is was about 15 years ago, I think there may be two choices?

1. Appeal. Medical grounds, with a letter from her GP if applicable, can work if there are grounds.

2. See if there is a waiting list for the school you want. There sometimes is, though you may have to wait many months for a place to become available.

POGS Wed 01-Mar-17 12:38:33

Thank you very much Gillybob.

Rigby46 Wed 01-Mar-17 12:56:43

This looks good. Could you get the comments about the bus journey in writing from the bus company? The appeals panel will need documentary evidence

Welshwife Wed 01-Mar-17 12:59:12

GillyB have you already tried contacting the MP and also County Councillor? What you have now said about her being small - and probably looking younger than her years - makes the whole thing worse. I think the suggestion of trying the doctor could also be a good one. I think I would try someone in the Ed dept with the fact that the bus company tell you the drivers will not be happy with a young child travelling such a long time on her own and how can they guarantee her safety while waiting to change buses.
Would the chap who gave you his name and number be happy for you to quote him - give his name - or even better get him to contact the Ed office and tell them the company's concerns about her travelling now while they have chance to do something about it.
Good luck with it all and do keep us posted especially if you get anywhere with it.

gillybob Wed 01-Mar-17 13:14:32

Yes Welshwife he gave me his name and direct number and said he would be happy to be quoted. He made a very good point actually and said "a tiny little girl standing alone at the same bus stop every day for half an hour could be a paedophiles dream"

This may not go down well and I hope I do not offend anyone when I say;

My granddaughter is "normal" (whatever that means) she does not have a medical problem, she is bright. She is neither dyslexic , autistic, asthmatic etc. and doesn't suffer from ADHD or anything else. Therefore can't go down the "health" route.

Yes, she's tiny (by far the smallest in her year group) but not because of any medical reason.

Welshwife Wed 01-Mar-17 13:21:28

I would ring the highest person you can get at the Ed office and quote that about waiting at the bus stop - I have to admit when you said about the half hour wait between the buses I thought much the same myself- I would go for the jugular with what I said to them about accepting responsibility for her on the journey twice a day - 396 a school year she will be doing! Also do send and email to your MP. Many of them are so good and they do have a bit of clout.
I am worried about her now!