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Child with "no school place for September" can you advise?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by fantastischfish, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Hi there,

    Pardon me for the slightly misleading subject line, but that is how the situation is described by a friend of mine.

    Meeting for coffee yesterday with a group of friends, I bit my tongue for 30minutes as we listened to a tale of woe about how her little boy has not received a place in their chosen school but instead has to go to a school 1.8 miles away. Her child minder (family) doesn't drive so it would mean a taxi or a bus to school each day. She doesn't feel she can "put him through that every morning". Additionally he'd have 'no friends who lived near him". I asked if she'd taken him to any transition days so he could meet his new teacher/ classmates but she said she hadn't as she can't get him to that school on foot.

    Schools have obviously now broken up and she's still attempting to fight to get him into the over-subscribed school near to their house.

    Since I don't have any children of my own, I'm obviously not entitled to give an opinion about anything to do with children, so I was wondering what others thought of the situation?

    Is 1.8 miles an unreasonable distance to travel by bus or taxi with a 5 year old each morning?

    Has she got any hope of getting him into the school near her that's "full"?

    Is this likely to happen by September?

    Is she being unrealistic and unreasonable? Or does she have a fair point?

    I'm interested in what you think because my opinion was extremely unpopular!

    Eva x
  2. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    I think she has a fair point, but the world has moved on since my two were at primary school and would walk the half mile there and back each day.

    Your friend's child-minder would face a journey of just under four times that distance, and would probably not want to face a 3.6 mile walk every morning and afternoon on foot.

    I can see her point. In an ideal world each child would live within one mile of their primary school.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Tell her the walk will do them good!
  4. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    If the childminder has to take other children to different schools it would be difficult for her if not impossible but if the class already has 30 children she will be unlikely to get in on appeal as this is the legal limit. My daughter has recently moved house and has one child starting Reception at the school in the new area and three still at the old school in September - a logistical nightmare. There is the hope that a child is leaving the Yr 2 class in the new school at the end of this term so the 6 year old might be able to change schools. She was intending to leave the two Yr 6's where they are anyway and will be depending on grandparents and the kindness of friends to help out.
  5. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Sorry, I should have been clearer that the childminder is actually the child's grandparent so they only have 1 child to take to school.
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter


    How old and/or fit is the childminder?
  7. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I imagine she's in her late 50s since my friend is the same age as me.
  8. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Not sure which county your friend is in Eva but if she is in the same as mine, which I think you are, then the county used to have an unofficial policy only know to staff, that if the child lives in the school catchment they will get in on appeal. It certainly seemed to be still the case when my niece returned from abroad 4-5 years ago to a full school. This was secondary though. Of course it will also depend if her chosen school is her official catchment school.
  9. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    They've appraled and been refused MMC xx
  10. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    We have numerous 4-5 year olds travel to school by taxi each day and for further than 1.8 miles!
  11. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    She will have to lump it then and perhaps start using childminders or before and after school clubs nearer/at the school. In our rural county there are lots of children who travel much further too.
  12. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I am well over 60 and ride a bike. Someone in their 50s should easily be able to ride a bike with a kid on it at the back.

    Mind you, 1.8 miles should only take 30/35 minutes at kiddie walking speed. It is below the statutory walking distance of 2 miles (for pupils aged 4 to 8 years old) to be eligible for school transport.
  13. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    But you've no idea of the state of health of the grandmother in question. When I was in my '30s I used to take my toddler on the back of my bike regularly. Now I'm 56, there is no way I'd be agile enough to consider that. And a five year old is probably getting to the point of being too big for a carrier on grandma's bike.

    Yes, and then the grandmother will have to walk the same distance / time back again. And repeat in the afternoon.

    I reckon you're mistaking her for supernanny.
  14. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    1.8 miles is a half hour walk. I guess that's not so good if the weather's horrid or the child's tired or under the weather.

    It would be a short bus ride - if the buses are convenient, although I guess the money would add up over time. I am surprised that it's "too far" to even take the poor child to the induction sessions. Is she setting out to lead the child to fail to settle in this school?

    She may find the next school offered is even further away.

    It's quite possible that once they get there, she may find other parents living near by. Lift shares may become possible.
  15. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    I used to transport my 3 year old to nursery every day on the back of my bike. I stopped doing it when he turned 4 - the bike just got too unwieldy as he got heavier. The journey was mainly on cycle paths away from traffic - no way would I have done it on the road. And I'm mid 50s and wouldn't be able to do it now.
  16. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Not sure why getting into a taxi for a fairly short ride would be an ordeal for the child? Of course, I assume that your friend would pay for the taxi and not expect granny to paid for it!
  17. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Gosh, haven't we got soft. Its not very far. many have no choice but to travel a lot further.
  18. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    I don't know if that is the case, but I expect we are each viewing the situation through the prism of our own experience.

    As a child in London, I and everyone else went to their nearest primary school, and it would have been unusual for anyone to drive there, largely because in the 1960s fewer women drove and had their own car - but the fact was that it was a ten minute walk at most.

    Maybe for posters growing up in rural areas it was a different kettle of fish.

    Secondary school is a different matter entirely.
  19. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    If any of the route to school has no path, she will be entitled to free transport in my rural authority.
  20. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. There's an ongoing 'discussion' via Facebook (wonderful) with various people getting all uppity because of the detrimental effect on the child's wellbeing etc etc.

    My personal feeling is that the school they've been offered has a breakfast club starting at 8am which the mum could take the little boy to on her way to work. She works in an education setting, so could collect him at least a couple of times per week without him needing to stay too long at 'tea time club', or the grandparent could collect him a few times per week to minimum taxi fares/bus journeys.

    The upshot is that they only named one school on their application, in a risk-taking attempt to get him into an out-of-catchment school; this risk failed. They failed to apply to the school within their catchment which is now full. The school they've been offered is Ofsted 'Good' with a pretty decent local reputation and in an area of similar socio-economic make up to where they currently live. They are complaining that the in-catchment school won't accept him even though they a) didn't apply and b) didn't seem to mind travelling to an out-of-catchment school for the one they named in their application.

    I understand it's an upsetting situation as parents only want what's best for their child and it's disappointing that he isn't going to be with his little friends. They are angry that their personal circumstances don't see to have been taken into account, but at the end of the day, they are a two-parent family, who both work, with an extended family who help; they have far more advantages than some other families whose needs may be prioritised.

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