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What If My Child Can't Get a Place at Any School in the Area?

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 19 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
What If My Child Can't Get A Place At Any School In The Area?

Q.

We're moving from Staffordshire to Wilmslow very soon and our 12 year old daughter cannot get a place at ANY school in the area.

She has been refused due to lack of capacity and we are having to keep her at home whilst an appeal is made.

Surely the Education Authority should plan for the provision of sufficient school places relevant to the local population? How does the appeals process work? And how long might my daughter have to wait for a place? Is there anything else we can do?

(S C, 27 February 2009)

A.

Thanks for your question - I’m going to try to address all the issues about the school appeals service. Firstly, you ask how does the appeals process work?

Making Your Appeal

You should make your appeal to the Independent Appeal Panel at your local education authority. They will normally ask you to fill in an appeal form - do so as soon as possible to speed up the process. You should receive this within two weeks of your initial request, often this will be sooner though.

Each LEA will have slightly different procedures in place, so it’s a good idea to make contact with the person or team who deals with appeals at your local council, and ask him or her to talk you through the process in your area. However, in general appeals panels will look at all the details on your daughter’s requirements, such as where you live (or will be living), any personal special needs and so on. It will then decide if an appeal can go ahead - since your daughter has not received any school place, I would imagine this would go ahead.

What the Law Says

By law, your local council has to find your child a school place. The law says that all children have the right to a school education while they are between the ages of 5 to 16 years old. Also in those rights is that parents are allowed to say which school they would prefer their child to attend. It is important to note however, that your right to state a preference for a school for your daughter is not the same as a guarantee of a place at that school - it might, for example, be oversubscribed - but as written above, if your child is not offered a place at your top choice school, then you do have the right to issue an appeal to an independent panel.

Is It Common to Fail to Gain a School Place?

There have been cases when a place has not been provided for a child - occasionally these stories do crop up in the news but they are very unusual. It is far more usual to see parents upset that their children have not been offered a place at their preferred school - but the relative rareness makes it more likely that your local authority will help you out sooner rather than later.

Once your daughter goes through the appeals process and the panel discover that you have not been offered a single school, this is likely to be rectified since the council has to supply a place by law.

Is a Child's Right to Education a Human Rights Issue?

So far the Human Rights Act has had only a limited impact on the field of education - one significant case was Ali-vs- Headteacher and Governors of Lord Grey School in 2006, when a child who had been excluded argued that he had a right to an education. But generally the issue of providing a state education is left to the state’s discretion - nonetheless it remains true that by law your daughter should have a school place, so this should be rectified in the appeals process.

More About the Appeals Process

The appeal process normally involves you making a formal appeal - normally a letter - then telling your evidence (e.g. the fact that your daughter has not been successful in any of her applications) before sometimes appearing before the independent panel in person, where someone representing the local education authority will also appear to discuss why your daughter’s application(s) were made. You are required to receive at least two weeks - or 10 working days - of notice before the date of your appeal, but as you are probably feeling anxious you can ask to have an earlier date if one is available, perhaps through cancellations.

What Else to Do

You might want to ask your child’s current school for a statement about your daughter’s education thus far. This statement can either be made by you or a representative at the appeal panel.

In the unlikely circumstance that your daughter still does not have a school allocated to her, you can go through the appeal process again. Normally this is for parents who are contesting their child’s allocation to a particular school, however, so your daughter is unlikely to be affected. If necessary, you may want to consult a solicitor for legal advice.

You’ll want to supply evidence as to why your daughter needs a school in the area, for example a letter from your employer stating why you have to move, or a letter from your child’s school about specific education provision requirements.

So, to conclude, I hope this has been a helpful outline. In the first instance, you should contact the LEA immediately to ask their advice on what to do about your daughter’s lack of school allocation and explain the consequences of their actions are already in place. Start to gather evidence for potential appeals too.

Finally - good luck.

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Si - Your Question:
Hi my daughter hasn't been to school for over 5 months, she should be in year 9. Iv tried everything but to no joy. She was raped which was gang related so she can not go to any local school it has to be out the area. I'm getting no help and faceing a brick wall each turn I take. I'm at my wits end please help me. My only other choice is go to the papers. My daughter is the victim but is being treated so badly

Our Response:
I'm afraid this is beyond our remit to advise as we can only offere general non-specific guidance. Your local MP may be able to help you further.
GetTheRightSchool - 13-Oct-17 @ 10:41 AM
Hi my daughter hasn't been to school for over 5 months, she should be in year 9. Iv tried everything but to no joy. She was raped which was gang related so she can not go to any local school it has to be out the area. I'm getting no help and faceing a brick wall each turn I take. I'm at my wits end please help me. My only other choice is go to the papers. My daughter is the victim but is being treated so badly
Si - 10-Oct-17 @ 1:51 PM
Hello hi my son who’s 6 years old and will be going in to year 2 we have moved from London to Birmingham and looking for a School for him and are on a waiting list for few schools in the local area. I have moved two months ago still haven’t received School place and education authority in Birmingham say there systems not been up dated they don’t know and haven’t got any places I have called over 25 schools but no luck and I have contacted my local mp no luck there what can I do as my son is still at home no School and no idea when he will get a School. Any advice will much appreciated
Wasim - 2-Oct-17 @ 11:48 AM
@Hatters - You only have the options of the schools you are offered in your chioces. Most schools judge on the catchment area first, therefore you were taking a gamble (this would have been laid out in the choice criteria). After that your other choices will be considered and you would be given an offer. There isn't much you can do unless a place becomes available in your school of choice before the start of term or you go on a waiting list. It's the bane of so many parent's lives. I know this feeling well. Jude.
JG78 - 19-Jun-17 @ 11:25 AM
Hi, my son has been to the same primary school in Todmorden(West Yorkshire) for 9yrs since starting in their nursey at the age or 2. We live just over the border in Lancashire only 4.3 miles away BUT can't get him into Tod High because we live just outside the 'catchment' area. Tod is the only school we want our son to go to as my wife is from Tod and has always worked there so dropping our kids at school has never been an issue. We have failed on appeal to get him in.....because we want him to go to Tod High we have missed out on local decent schools in our own area - what are our options please? Regards Leigh
Hatters - 16-Jun-17 @ 2:37 PM
@Abi - speak to your local councillor/MP and the local newspapers. It's an awful country we are living in that people are made homeless and school places unobtainable!
Eggas - 1-Jun-17 @ 12:19 PM
My son is 12, we were made homeless a few months ago, and ended up in a house 40 miles away form where we are from, we have applied through the council for a school place somewhere, we have only had letters back from schools to say they are full in his year (7) we have contacted schools out of catchment area, they are all full. i have gone back to the coucil and made another application and said thi was my second attempt, but still no school place, he has been out of school for 3 months now, and i am no sure what to do, we are passed from pillar to post and we dont know what to do, its now half term again, and there is one final term before the summer holidays, its hard. hes bored and lonely :(
Abi - 31-May-17 @ 8:12 PM
Frustrated mum- Your Question:
My son, was give an EHCP in year R and excluded from school, this school refused to take him back as the said they didn't need to proved a place for him until he was 5. Whilst the EHCP was being written he was out of school and did not start school until the following September. At this point he went to special school (not the best suited place for him) due to a marriage breakdown and a new job we moved areas. When we moved to local Sen team decided that he would be more suited to a mainstream school with provisions, 11 months later still now school, at this point Iam so frustrated we moved areas. I followed all the procedures through the Sen team to be knocked be by the 5 schools I applied for saying they could not meet my sons need the needs which was stated in a report from theee years agai and nobody has bothered to up date! My son has has 7 months in school in total and is now supposed to be in year 2! His socialisation skills are practically none exist when he is around other children as he does not know how to integrate with others. I try my best to take him to groups and activities but he gets anxious and now thinks no body likes him it's heartbreaking to watch and he as lost all confidence in himself. Iam absolutely livid with how we have been treated and Iam at my wits end and I'm unsure of who to contact now.

Our Response:
In addition to the information laid out in the article, have you complained? Please see link here. You can also see more via Child Law Advice here which should help you further. As is the law, local education authorities MUST find a free school place for all children who are of compulsory school age.
GetTheRightSchool - 23-Mar-17 @ 10:04 AM
My son, was give an EHCP in year R and excluded from school, this school refused to take him back as the said they didn't need to proved a place for him until he was 5. Whilst the EHCP was being written he was out of school and did not start school until the following September. At this point he went to special school (not the best suited place for him) due to a marriage breakdown and a new job we moved areas. When we moved to local Sen team decided that he would be more suited to a mainstream school with provisions, 11 months later still now school, at this point Iam so frustrated we moved areas. I followed all the procedures through the Sen team to be knocked be by the 5 schools I applied for saying they could not meet my sons need the needs which was stated in a report from theee years agai and nobody has bothered to up date! My son has has 7 months in school in total and is now supposed to be in year 2! His socialisation skills are practically none exist when he is around other children as he does not know how to integrate with others. I try my best to take him to groups and activities but he gets anxious and now thinks no body likes him it's heartbreaking to watch and he as lost all confidence in himself. Iam absolutely livid with how we have been treated and Iam at my wits end and I'm unsure of who to contact now.
Frustrated mum - 22-Mar-17 @ 9:17 AM
I went to schools last year April at mitchells plain looking for a place for my daughter they told me that their list are already full for 2017...Now my daughter has not been allocated to any school she is looking forward to be in grade1 now she s crying because she can't go to school we be been told that the is no space they dnt even put us on a waiting list
Thash - 12-Jan-17 @ 2:54 PM
Good day My sister has relocated from Richards bay to durban I've been to the closest school and was refused space due to a waiting list she's in grade 10 it's a very important year of hers I can't not let her stay at home she also has a right to education. I need help
Sam - 9-Jan-17 @ 11:47 AM
Good day I got problem here I apply for my childin brookland primary school in mach only to find out in August that they can not accomodate my childI went to other school but been told it's full at least If I was told ealierI was gonna apply to other schools in tym but thy informed me lateplease help theres nothing that can make me happy more than seeing my child wearing uniform (Grade 1 )
Ako - 9-Jan-17 @ 7:29 AM
Moi ?? - Your Question:
We currently live overseas and our children are in an international school following the English curriculum in years 7 & 10Due to a change in circumstances we are looking t return to the uk but the school in the village where we have a house is over subscribed in both years. We cannot apply for a school place till we are back living in the uk, but I don't want to disrupt my children's school year without knowing if or where they will get a school place and feel it's too disruptive to their education to be at home for three months. I have approached independent schools in the area to see about bursarys as we cannot afford to continue with a private school, and they only appear to award them on entrance into year 7 and year 13, Do you have any advice for expats returning to the uk and getting through the uk education school entry system?

Our Response:
Over-subscription in schools is a big issue in the UK currently. Of course, some areas are more over-subcribed than others. The Advisory Centre for Education has an adviceline which offers a range of advice and information on education issues. The information is based on current education law and guidance and covers state funded education for children aged 5-16 years in England only, please see link here. Unfortunately, we can't really advise personally regarding this, as every case/area is different. Home-schooling may also be an option for you to explore in the short term, if you cannot initially secure a place.
GetTheRightSchool - 7-Dec-16 @ 2:05 PM
We currently live overseas and our children are in an international school following the English curriculum in years 7 & 10 Due to a change in circumstances we are looking t return to the uk but the school in the village where we have a house is over subscribed in both years. We cannot apply for a school place till we are back living in the uk, but I don't want to disrupt my children's school year without knowing if or where they will get a school place and feel it's too disruptive to their education to be at home for three months. I have approached independent schools in the area to see about bursarys as we cannot afford to continue with a private school, and they only appear to award them on entrance into year 7 and year 13, Do you have any advice for expats returning to the uk and getting through the uk education school entry system?
Moi ?? - 7-Dec-16 @ 7:05 AM
I applied for my daughter's school in September 2 no week and till now council never turned back with any school. Off all my trips to council no one give a proper answer. She is missing her school now for 3 months. I feel U.K. Is the worst for schooling in whole Europe. There is no escalation procedure too. I will recommend any national not to believe in the U.K. Government council ever.
Senthil - 4-Dec-16 @ 7:54 PM
My child has not got a school to go to she is in nursery and should be in reception now they are kicking her out ov nursery and they are no places in the school srouding areas she should be going in to year 1 in September and can't
Joanne - 15-Nov-16 @ 11:29 AM
we moved to Nottingham recently and I applied to the local council for school admission of my 2 kids in year 2 and 4 respectively.We were refused a place in the closest schools to my home because of capacity.Am confused because I cannot afford seeing my kids at home everyday when other kids are in school.Their names are number 6 in awaiting list.I fear they are going to be drawn back academically.What do I do
djina - 4-Nov-16 @ 1:12 PM
My daughter is in year one, we moved house and moved her school to one with places. It was totally awful and they didn't teach to her ability. I try and tried to get them to listen to me and asses my daughter again to no avail. She was there for 2 weeks. I deregistered her, will home school her until there is a place in her old school that she can go back to. She has anxiety and has seizures this school I trust know Mia and know what to do in the event of a fit.. Therefore I need her back in, I have spoken to the head there is a place available and they will happily have my daughter back however I'm stuck in the applications process, there's 4 people on the list already. I spoke to admissions and they must do it by process. My daughter is learning way faster then I can teach her, I'm struggling to keep up with her demand for work, I have a job night shift and will be starting next week I'm worrying about her education, please is there anyway, loophole, clause, anyone that I can speak to to get her back in her old school? Desperate mum.
Lyn - 15-Oct-16 @ 8:32 PM
Judyb13 - Your Question:
My daughter has not been allocated a school and has not attended school since the beginning of term she should be in year 7 I have had an appeal and lost she is now 3rd on the waiting list I have been told that there are no places for year 7 girls in any schools what else can I do thanks

Our Response:
Please see link: What Actions to Take if Your Appeal Fails, here. We hope this helps answer your question.
GetTheRightSchool - 11-Oct-16 @ 10:43 AM
My daughter has not been allocated a school and has not attended school since the beginning of term she should be in year 7 I have had an appeal and lost she is now 3rd on the waiting list I have been told that there are no places for year 7 girls in any schools what else can I do thanks
Judyb13 - 10-Oct-16 @ 9:26 AM
dylan - Your Question:
When I was in year 8 through no fault of my own I got thrown out of school. I have had no education since I was 11 years old. I am english and have always lived in england. I really want to do something about this as I was a child and I had no say in anything at the time. what can I do ? I would be hugely grateful for any help

Our Response:
You don't say how old you are and how long you have been out of school for. The local authority has to supply a school place for every child, therefore your parents should contact your LA in order to have you re-instated. However, if you are now over 18, then you would have to enter through further education. The Adult Literacy link here should help.
GetTheRightSchool - 27-Sep-16 @ 2:27 PM
When i was in year 8 through no fault of my own i got thrown out of school..... i have had no education since i was 11 years old.... i am english and have always lived in england. I really want to do something about this as i was a child and i had no say in anything at the time... what can i do ? I would be hugely grateful for any help
dylan - 27-Sep-16 @ 1:17 AM
ri - Your Question:
My child was bullied and physically attacked many times l told the schools police officers nothing was being done instead my child was excluded then was told he needs to go to a pru l refused all as my son is a set 1 student has no special needs and is a normal child never attacked anyone then the headteacher uplifted his exclusion since then he has been out of school the local authorities have not given my son a school since what do l do.

Our Response:
You don't say how long your son has been out of school as it can take weeks, even a few months to find your child a new place. As it is the start of the new school term you would need to contact your LEA to be updated on any progress. The ACE link heremay also help answer your question.
GetTheRightSchool - 6-Sep-16 @ 10:06 AM
My child was bullied and physically attacked many times l told the schools police officers nothing was being done instead my child was excluded then was told he needs to go to a pru l refused all as my son is a set 1 student has no special needs and is a normal child never attacked anyone then the headteacher uplifted his exclusion since then he has been out of school the local authorities have not given my son a school since what do l do.
ri - 5-Sep-16 @ 8:33 AM
My daughter was not admitted in a feeder high school, we just received a letter saying she was not admitted due to school capacity that they will let us know when there is a space available. I am worried now, what if there is no space at all?
Thandie - 27-Aug-16 @ 6:01 AM
I have just moved to a new house and im in the process of transfering my 5 kids from their old school to the new one but they have said that there could be some years that are full. What can i do if they dont all get in the new school as i cant drive and cant afford to take them to the old school.
sam - 23-Aug-16 @ 1:48 PM
We just moved to 29 plams CA from Upland CA we have no car I am 8 months pregnant my husband is disabled and they only have 1 school out here that offers TK and there is no openings that they can put her On waiting list but waiting list was so long that she was not going to be able to attend there school this year.. my husband demanded them to give us the package anyways....so I looked it up online and the closest school that offers TK is in Yucca Valley I don't have no way of getting her there please guide us on what we can do next....THANKS
Mrs. B - 19-Aug-16 @ 1:38 AM
my daughter and myself are really upset that her son has no reception school to go to September.we were offered none of our three choices.her son was offered a school three miles away.of which had to be turned down.we failed at the appell meeting dispute living across the road to our first choice and having lived here eighteen years.it's heartbreaking trying to explain to a four and a half year old that he can't go to nursery anymore.and had no school he was first on the list for first choice school but has now dropped to second.we arnt holding out much hope.
suzie - 5-Aug-16 @ 1:41 AM
My son will be 5. He has not been offered a Reception place at Primary school to start in September 2016. I feel suicidal as no school means I cannot work to support myself. I wish he had a school place. It is not fair.
Jam - 4-Aug-16 @ 5:22 PM
Jayne - Your Question:
My child is due to start secondary school this September 2016, he was not given a school place at any of the three chosen schools. I completed a late submission for a 4th school & he is 13th on the waiting list. The allocated school by LCC was unsafe for my child due to my profession so I appealed all 4 schools & lost. I highlighted the reasons why allocated school would impact on both my child's physical & emotional safety provided supporting information & still lost appeals. What can I do now ?

Our Response:
Once an adjudicator’s decision has been made it is final and binding on all parties and there is no appeals process. The decision can only be challenged by applying to the High Court for Judicial Review and appeals must be made within three months of the decision date. You should seek legal advice to see whether you have a case to answer, please see gov.uk link here.
GetTheRightSchool - 6-Jul-16 @ 1:56 PM
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