It was one sunny morning in the month of January – Yes, it was Sunny – the British weather! :), I was chatting to one of the School mums on our way back home while DD2 was much busier than us talking to her friend holding her hand!
In the midst of our talk, there was just one question from her that almost made me leave her alone and run as fast as I can dragging DD2 and talking to myself – “I had to get it done!, What the …..! How did I forget!? When have I turned to be such an irresponsible mother!?” The one thing I didn’t do was slapping myself, Other than that, I found every reason to blame myself throughout the day until I got it done.
Oh, yes! The question was
“Have you given the application for the Primary School?”
Luckily, that was not the last day BUT just the day before the last! I was atmost tension that, If I miss the last date, DD2 will end up on the waiting list for our first choice – obviously the one DD1 is now in and I am not ready for appeal process – neither do I have time for it. So quickly, I browsed our local council primary school application website and submitted the application.
On Monday 18th April, the hot topic at school was “Did you get the primary school place?”. While we woke up with the confidence that DD2 will surely get into our first choice considering the catchment, school extension and sibling priority, after the discussion with few other parents, I found out that it wasn’t the case with them!
It was so disappointing to know that one of DD2’s Nurserymate and best friend is not coming to this school for Reception though her elder sibling is still here. As they moved home in the middle of Nursery, they had been rejected the place pointing out the catchment rule and as of now, the kids will be going to two different schools next year!
So what do you do when you don’t get your first choice school?
There are two options to consider
- Waiting List
Though I was confident that DD2 will get into the school we wanted her to be, I quickly browsed the process of appeal just in case
While waiting list gives you a very less hope and most probably won’t give you a positive result considering the number your child is at the waiting list, Appeal usually is the first choice.
And, that’s what DD2’s friend’s parents are up for
As their first choice is the school we are in, they are appealing the decision now saying it would be difficult to do two school runs while both parents are working and the first child is used to and comfortable with their first choice school.
While often considered to be the toughest path, if you have strong supporting points to your appeal, it may be granted based on a few criteria and avoid the hassle of chasing up the waiting list.
- An unfair Decision – If you think your first choice school is close to your house than the one you are offered, you can appeal but this is often found to be unsuccessful unless you bring the point of disability and very strong judgement to prove why it is unfair. – For example, though my friend is going to appeal on this case, there is a possibility that they might move both the children to the other school which she obviously doesn’t want to happen.
- The number of places in the school – If the school hasn’t exceeded the limit and your appeal points are favourable to you, you are most likely to succeed. But, if you can, try and get in touch with the school to see if all the places have been given – most schools are found to be helpful, especially if you have older children with them already.
- An obvious mistake during the application process: Which is highly unlikely as most of the councils have made the process online and you can view your application at any time and make changes. So, they advice you to check more than once even after you submit the application to make sure you haven’t made any mistake.
Trust me, this is a long way unless your child is within the top 10 in the waiting list. If she/he is in top 3, you can forget about the “Toughest Appeal process” and be on the waiting list which will not highly likely a long wait.
But the more the children before you, the less the chance for you to get your choice. And beware, you may go down the list as the time flies as there will be other children moving closer to the school than you are.
Make sure you ring the office as much as you can and show your interest in getting your child in that school – Sometimes it used to work out as the school appreciates the interest. Keep a track on the waiting list number.
Whatever it is, you need to be prepared to accept the school you are offered as in most cases, the children are found to be settled happily in any school and they are capable of making new friends and making their surrounding happy.
Ofcourse, unless you have a situation that your children will be going to different schools and you are forced to do two school runs!
For more information about the appeal process, refer the advice from Family friendly Working
There is more information available on Simpon Millar Website
Have you been in this situation? Have you won the appeal? Do you have any tips to get your first choice if you haven’t been offered at the first time? I would love to hear, please comment.
Disclaimer: collaborative post