Catchment question / moving from abroad

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MamaHayes
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Catchment question / moving from abroad

Postby MamaHayes » Mon May 18, 2020 11:51 pm

Trying to figure out how to word but we have an almost 2yr old and 4yr old...currently in states we pay for a 9-1 preschool until we would go to Kindergarten (5yr olds) which would be free and in your catchment it is guaranteed that you go to a certain school. No applications etc. Our daughter will be just 4 in July and ready for reception but I’m worried if we buy a place in our desired area (Clapham), we will not get into the school that is closest to us. Are we at a disadvantage since our move would be really last minute and we didn’t get to apply in autumn? Can you reapply later to get into a closer school? I just don’t want to buy a place in our desired neighbourhood and then we can’t walk to school but we pay a premium thinking we will get to do so. I’m totally rambling but how does it work if we apply for school this month to start in September? Thank you all! I’m a mess and happening v fast! PS - my husband is British but we haven’t lived there in forever so no clue how the process works. Thank you!
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schoolsearching
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Re: Catchment question / moving from abroad

Postby schoolsearching » Tue May 19, 2020 6:51 pm

I would call Wandsworth council and ask the question. My guess is that once you have secured an address you can sign your child up for school. You will be assigned initially to a school with an open place but you may also be able to put yourself down for the waitlist for oversubscribed schools that are closer to your address. The waitlist operates by distance so if your house is next to the school gates you will be number 1 on the waitlist and push everyone down a place. There is lots of waitlist movement over the summer and even the first week of term but you may ultimately need to attend a school a bit further away for the first term to a year. However, if you live between the commons Honeywell, Belleville Webbs and Meteor are all quite close to each other so the commute shouldn't be long.
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mymyherewegoagain
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Re: Catchment question / moving from abroad

Postby mymyherewegoagain » Tue May 26, 2020 8:23 am

Hello
I moved from DC to London in July last year and understand how stressed you are. I’m sorry I cannot help with the school bit as we went private (child at 1st grade level) largely because of the stress you’re now experiencing. I wonder if you would consider renting rather than buying? Just to give yourself some time. Anyway good luck with your move, all the sleepless nights and worrying will be a thing of the past before you know it.
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Greyskies
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Re: Catchment question / moving from abroad

Postby Greyskies » Tue May 26, 2020 12:27 pm

I feel for you. The London school admissions process is a nightmare when you come from abroad - particularly if, like you, you are looking for a place in a year group where all are new starters ie Reception and Y 7. It is easier if you are applying for a place in a year with less movement as more schools have vacancies then as families move away. 

You cannot usually apply for a school place unless you have an address in the borough and are living there. And you have in any case missed the closing date for this years allocations so your application will be treated as an ‘in year’ application. This means you will be allocated a place at the nearest school with a place in the relevant year group. Places can be in schools miles away and siblings will not necessarily be allocated a place in the same school which is no fun. 

However the good news is that you can put your name down on the waiting list for a place at your preferred school. Your application will then be looked at in accordance with the admissions criteria for that school - not according to the date on which you applied. So, say for example you are allocated a place at a school 5 miles away but there are four closer schools, you need to accept the place at the school offered. But the Council will also accept your waiting applications for the four closer schools. If your house is next door to one of the closer schools and the main admissions criteria is distance from the school, you will be offered the next place that comes up. Your child can then move. This is disruptive but the smaller they  are the easier it is. But do bear in mind that there is not much movement in Reception classes. 

Some schools have admissions criteria other than distance. Do you belong to a religious denomination? Was your child adopted? Does she have any special educational/ medical needs etc? Because those factors can also be taken into account.

You can also choose to send her to a private nursery for the first term and move her to a state school when you are offered a place you like. Just do not tell them that that is your plan. You will probably have to pay an additional terms fees to the private school if you remove her mid year - so watch the contract. But I suspect that post Covid there will be many empty places in private pre preps next academic year so you may be able to negotiate. 

The thing to remember is that it will all work out fine in the end! 

 
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Moonlightdawn
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Re: Catchment question / moving from abroad

Postby Moonlightdawn » Tue May 26, 2020 12:48 pm

Hi, I know someone who did this a few years ago. Moved to SW11 from NYC with young children (having never lived in London as a family).

They studied the catchment areas for Honeywell and Belleville and corresponding houses to rent nearby.

They found a house and got their kids in one of the schools above. I don’t remember the details of how they liaised with the various schools but I believe they were quite accommodating.

It’s certainly feasible.
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