Thursday, 19 April 2012

London School's Waiting List Lottery

Today is truly a grey day in London, when thousands not hundreds of families woke up to the realisation that their 3-4 year old child did not get into their preferred or nearest primary school and for many, did not get offered a place in their borough or even like us at all.

I walked Erbie to the library this morning and every mother with child I passed was talking about school admissions either on their mobile, at the bus stop, to one and other , all in a state of outrage and shock.
‘What do you mean they didn’t get a place anywhere?’
‘It’s a lottery.’

I went cold when I read this email at 6pm last night:

This is an automated message from the Pan London eAdmissions System Team regarding your Online School Admissions Application.

Application reference: XXX-2012-XX-X-XXXXXX

Child Name: Erbie XXXXXXXXXXX

Child Date of Birth: XX/XX/2008

No offer possible

Unfortunately it is not possible to offer a place for your child at any of the schools you stated as a preference in your application.

Unfortunately it has not been possible to offer you a place at one of your preferred schools. You will shortly receive a letter from Admissions Service giving full details of the outcome of your application and information on what to do next. Please read this letter before doing anything further.

I watched the minutes tick by this morning from 6am until 9am when the local authority phone helplines opened. I spoke to a nice lady who assured me Erbie would automatically be put on a waiting list for our preferred school and they were trying to organise extra classes at many school to meet some of the demand and take in more children.

Statistically I found out that 500 people applied for 30 places at my first choice (30 places were already allotted to siblings). Th last child to be accepted lived 0.24 miles from the school – we live 0.25. This is academic as the school gates are chock o block with 4x4s dropping children
off in the morning. If they live less than 0.24 miles away Ill eat my admissions form. In fact I know of cases where people rented close to the school to get their oldest child in then decamp back to their large houses in another postcode and automatically get the rest of their brood in

The school literally 100m from our front door was another choice - a church school, don’t get me started on that, rumours are rife of perfectly law-abiding atheists suddenly taking up a hymn book and smiling in the face of God for the sake of Petula Pippikin’s pocket-money going
into church coffers, so we knew we more or less didn’t stand a chance there.

Our third choice had 600 applicants for 54 places. I won’t go on, I’m sure you are getting the picture dear reader.

My twitter account this morning was aflutter with tweets from London mothers who had been in similar situations themselves with the resoundingly sage advice – don’t panic and stay positive.

So, it looks like we may not be losing our little August baby to school in September after all, as legally he does not have to go until the term after he turns 5 which won’t be until 2013. He has to have been given a place by then right? Although there is no guarantee of anything anymore it seems, I may be reviewing educational toys for stay at home kids soon – eh gads.


teawithonesugarplease said...

Stay positive, I think August babies really should wait until the following year not turn 4 and then start school the next month in September. They are so much better prepared - I felt super sorry for those kids in my daughters reception class where some are so tiny in comparison to others as they were summer babies xx so think of it as being a good thing Erbie doesn't start school this year

westendmum said...

I wholeheartedly agree now I've had time to get over the feelings of rejection. He SO isn't ready for school. Will keep him until 2013. Spoke to a lady in the library the other day who regrets sending her daughter age 4 (a July baby) after fighting for a place and moving from 7 to 1 one list in the Summer of 2010.

Other nonsense

Quote of the day

‘They tuck you up your mum and dad...’
Anon - after Larkin

“Philately will get you everywhere”

“It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair. 
It’s the hope I can’t deal with”

“Each new friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

‘Come on Dover move your bloomin’ arse’.
Eliza Doolittle