friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

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anxiousannie
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friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby anxiousannie » Sun May 02, 2010 12:42 pm

We are moving abroad for six months for my husbands work.

We are lucky enough to live within the catchment area of one of the holy trinity of great local primary schools and my very good friend who lives next to an awful primary school wants to rent my house for the six months and then use it to apply to one of the great schools. She's not even planning to move in but will use it as an address to apply from, change utility bills and the like. I think this is wrong but also worry that we could get into trouble if she gets caught.

I know some of you will mention the moral side, which I know is wrong, but can I actually get into trouble?

AA
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custardy
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby custardy » Sun May 02, 2010 7:15 pm

I don't know if you could get into trouble, but your friend could. it's called fraud. From your point of view, it's an entirely unethical thing to do. but I think you know that already.
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custardy
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby custardy » Sun May 02, 2010 7:26 pm

oh and what happens if when you return and want your children to go to that school, they can't get in - because your friend's younger children will be admitted as siblings regardless of where they live and take up places for those living nearer to the school?!
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moops
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby moops » Sun May 02, 2010 7:28 pm

I agree with the above, very good point.
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MrsAmanda
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby MrsAmanda » Sun May 02, 2010 7:32 pm

If you were renting to a stranger, you'd be none the wiser as to their purpose. Whether or not they actually moved in would be down to them, as long as the rent is paid, you wouldn't know how much - if any - time was spent there.

But as it's friends, and you do know, I think you're on wobbly ground.

What happens when you get back and your friend 'moves' out of the catchment area? Will the children have to move school? Do you have children who might want to go to the same school?
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KatherineHepburn
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby KatherineHepburn » Sun May 02, 2010 8:51 pm

Whoah..that is a LOT for your friend to ask.... and really unfair on you.

The others make a fair point too. There are so many local kids who want to get into a local school. If she does live further away does she really have a right for her kids to go there?

It is soooo difficult to get places round here.
Tough decision. Don't envy you there.
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anxiousannie
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby anxiousannie » Mon May 03, 2010 4:40 pm

thanks for your answers. I am non the wiser but thank you.

I suppose on the one hand I feel that I should help, and I blame the governemnt for their not being enough places, and on the other I feel that it is not my place to pimp out my flat so my friend can do another mother out of a school place.

They are planning to have four kids so I had never thought of the sibling issue.

I will keep pondering

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Notnigella
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby Notnigella » Mon May 03, 2010 4:42 pm

I think it is absolutely morally wrong.

You're friend might as well push to the front of every queue in every shop on Northcote Road and exclaim loudly that she doesn't queue!

So so wrong.

NN
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moops
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby moops » Mon May 03, 2010 6:10 pm

Hi

Me again! I do think it is wrong but if she is prepared to rent out your flat for 6 months then this is slightly more legit then just forwarding all her mail to your address for example. I'm not sure what the requirements are ie how long you have to be living in the catchment area etc maybe you could look into this and say that it might get her into trouble later on etc.
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Devi
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby Devi » Mon May 03, 2010 10:38 pm

I think if she has her own house/flat and is using this rental only to get into the catchment area it is illegal (I am not sure which provision but I think this came up in the news recently when a council snooped on a family they suspected of doing school shopping See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/11 ... ncil_ripa/). Perhaps, if she did not have her own place and was taking your place on rent (even if only for 6 months) and clearly living there, the situation would have been different. She would have been in the clear. But given the facts, her position can be considered unlawful. If you support an unlawful activity, you could get involved in the consequences if the council investigates her. If you did not know her intentions, you would have been in the clear. But again, you do know, so it is not advisable for you to involve yourself in this deal. However, you could research the particular law and see if actually paying you rent (instead of just using your address) gives her any legal footing. Will she pay council tax for your property etc? At least in the Poole case they were verifying actual residence.
If in doubt, and wanting to opt out of this, you can show her what everyone is advising you so that she does not mind. best, d
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hazel15malwood
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby hazel15malwood » Mon May 03, 2010 11:45 pm

You may or may not have seen my other threads on not having a reception place for my daughter for September, despite living only 510 metres and 578 metres from my two local schools, but given my current situation and the stress and anxiety associated with it I feel very, very strongly that this is absolutely wrong - both morally and legally (for your friend certainly).
The good news for me and the many like me who live so close to their local schools but cannot get in (partly because of the manipulation of the admissions process), is that the council recognizes that this loophole in the admission process is currently being abused in various areas around the borough, and is looking at ways of closing the loophole - and not before time. So if you do decide to rent our your house for these purposes, be aware that there may be more checks in future and your friend may well be found out.
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MGMidget
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby MGMidget » Tue May 04, 2010 11:15 am

I would politely decline her request. She's probably desperate but then so are lots of parents who can't get a school of their choice. She needs to move house or sit it out on waiting lists. If she chooses to rent elsewhere to achieve her aim you can't do anything about it but at least you are not in the frame if she is found out. I think you could well be implicated even if you claimed you thought she was living there - especially if she is paying you a below market rent for this arrangement. Also, I'm not sure that six months is long enough - school applications are in January but the school place starts in September. I expect she needs to be at the address in January, also in March/April when offers are made and also in September. You could find yourself dragged further and further into this as she asked you for further favours, vouching for her etc. Once you have started you will find it hard to back out - just don't go there.
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Fitzov
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby Fitzov » Tue May 04, 2010 11:21 am

I'm a bit of an expert on this subject having lost out on a place in any of my preferred primary schools as a result of people doing precisely this. I guess I don't need to set out what I think about the moral position here!

However, you ask whether you can get into trouble, so here is what I know. Renting a house and using it to apply for a primary school place is perfectly legal - more's the pity. It's what many many families do in order to get into catchment zones. They simply need to be able to demonstrate that they are paying council tax and registered for utilities on the application date - I forget when this is but think it is some time in February for Wandsworth.

However, renting the house and not living there is a high risk option. Both the Council and the schools do checks to ensure that people are indeed living where they say they are. These checks can happen any time between February and start of term in September. If the Council has any reason to suspect that an address has been used to fraudulently apply for a school place, then they can prosecute your friend. If they suspect that you have aided and abetted the fraud, then you can be prosecuted too.

The best advice for your friend is to remember that places in primary schools are rarely as tight as people think. Although the initial offers are restricted to people living within a few metres of good schools, many families don't in fact take up their places, and so new places become available from about April onward. We live 500 metres from Belleville, and were in fact offered a place in late August just before the start of term. A friend of mine lives around a mile from the school and finally received a place towards the end of reception year - she put her daughter into private school in the meantime. If your friend is wealthy enough to pay rent on your house whilst staying in her own, then I doubt she will have any difficulties affording a year's fees!

I suggest your friend stays where she is, applies for all the schools she likes in her area, and then holds her nerve. At least she will be able to hold her head up high when she finally does get offered a place at a school she likes.

Fitzov
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anxiousannie
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby anxiousannie » Tue May 04, 2010 11:27 pm

Thank you so much for all of your advice. I expected a bigger telling off, thank you for being so mature about it.

I need to have a good chat to my friend, I think the legal argument is possibly a bit grey but the moral argument is pretty clear cut.

I will let you know what we do.

Thanks again

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herogirl
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Re: friend wants to use my address for primary school admission

Postby herogirl » Wed May 05, 2010 11:52 am

Would you not be guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, I think you would and I also think anyone who knows her or you would report you, and rightly so. If the council monitors this site, it might prompt them to make even further investigation into school places. And again, rightly so. I disagree with the post that says it is legal. One of the criterion is residence at an address, not a postal drop. Council tax etc is only indicative proof, not absolute and if the council finds out that they do not and never did live there, the children would have to leave the school and their friends. You might find that you are banned from applying because you colluded in her fraud. I know if I were a parent at the school and suspected a fraud, I would not hesitate to report it and I am sure others would do the same.
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