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    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 3rd Mar 18, 10:50 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    I've got another date with Ben Rooney tonight and hoping that a report from Max's form teacher will help us to demonstrate that the preferred school is the best school for Max's needs.
    Originally posted by MrsTandCo


    That's good that even though you're an in year application, distance is relevant. That may well play to your advantage.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 4th Mar 18, 12:05 AM
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    silvercar


    That's good that even though you're an in year application, distance is relevant. That may well play to your advantage.
    Originally posted by Savvy_Sue
    Both schools use the admission criteria to place pupils on the waiting list, so despite our in year application, we'll have been ranked higher than anyone living further away from us,...
    Check how the distance criteria works. Some work on crow flight distance and others measure from your front door to the school front gate along safe walking routes. You can't just throw Max over the back fence and say he is 2 feet away!
    • MrsTandCo
    • By MrsTandCo 4th Mar 18, 11:07 PM
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    MrsTandCo
    I double checked tonight silvercar, and the school admissions policy says:

    (Straight line distance from home to school will be used to prioritise applicants, using the LA mapping system.
    I can't find anything aside from a priority catchment area finder on the LA website, but I've done a straight line distance calculation via googlemaps and we're 0.098 miles away from the school. (157.7 metres away).
    Say we don't win our appeal, (it's been a while since I had to think about school admissions, so bear with me!)...
    I'll home school Max, but the plan is to keep on applying to our preferred school until he gets a place (or winds up being offered a place when he gets to the top of the waiting list and they have a space for him). At the start of his next school year in September, how does that application work, if all the children in the current year 4 group, just go up to year 5. Presumably, we'll be in the same boat in terms of there being no places?

    Read the Ben Rooney book twice now and it's been so useful, but there is so much information to put together, I am feeling a little overwhelmed to be honest and I've not gone to bed before 2am all week, which probably isn't helping!

    Also, I had another question today I hope you can help with?
    At the minute, I've had my rejection letter, but not yet lodged my appeal. I understand I've got 20 school days to do that, which runs out on 19/3/18. The rejection letter refers me back to the LA website, where there is a link to lodge the appeal online, however, in the Ben Rooney book, it says I don't need to provide the LA with the reasons for my appeal just yet, but the online form asks for submission of all my reasons in full detail. Having looked at the paper version you can submit instead, it says that any appeal lodged without this information, shan't be accepted? I'm not ready to detail my case yet, but I don't want to miss the deadline.
    As the preferred school is an Academy, can I write a letter to the school as per the letter in Ben Rooney's appendix, lodging my appeal with them directly? Will I still need to submit the online appeal form to the LA too or will doing this, bypass them?

    I've sent a massive list of questions off to the school and the Admissions team. I wish I had someone else to ask, because I can just imagine the amount of eye rolling that'll be going on when they open my email tomorrow asking them to count the number of toilets and urinals they have on site!!
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 5th Mar 18, 1:38 AM
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    Savvy_Sue
    Given the way things change, I would expect the information online to be more accurate than the book, and I'd check with the LEA and the academy whether you appeal direct or via the LEA.

    I did have another thought, two in fact, about what you've been offered. Do you / can you cycle? Can your DS cycle? Would that make the journey workable? I'm thinking that if you currently walk for 15 minutes, you could cycle quite a distance in that time.

    Also you say it's two buses to the current 'offer', but are both journeys worth doing? For example, I've just been buying train tickets for a training session I've got to do, and I've got a choice of a 20 minute walk from the central station my train goes to, or a much shorter walk if I change to a local train. If the trains don't connect well, it would be faster to walk. Same is true of my journey to work: if I look at it on a transport planner it suggests two buses, but I know that it's only worth getting one, as it's not that far to walk along the second bus route.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • MrsTandCo
    • By MrsTandCo 5th Mar 18, 2:16 AM
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    MrsTandCo
    Hi Savvy Sue,

    Thanks again for helping me come up with some solutions.
    Unfortunately, we don't cycle, and we don't own bicycles. DS has yet to learn because we've not yet lived in an area where you could go on a lot of bike rides and we don't have a big enough garden to ride a bike in. (Soon we'll be near the beach and this will all change, but not just yet).
    I know what you mean about buses and I'll check the route again tomorrow and see if that might be the case. Even so, I'd still not be happy with him going alone and the cost of the three of us going will be prohibitive. I thought tonight aswell, if he were to go on public transport alone, I'd have to buy him a mobile phone, which opens up all kinds of avenues that we'd rather not go down just yet.
    And what if the bus was cancelled or Max missed one? He's not travel savvy at all and I'd honestly fear for his safety if he had to get to that school and back on his own. He'd not even be travelling back with other local kids, as they all go to local school already.
    I know this makes it sound like he's had a very sheltered upbringing and in truth, he has in this respect. I haven't had to let him out of my sight, being a stay at home mum, so he's not learnt some of the skills that other children might have at his age. When he's unsure of what to do, his actions masquerade as over confidence, so in a new situation like travelling three miles to school, I think he might actually be a danger to himself. Especially given all the busy roads he'd have to cross at school run times.
    Hence my preference to home school over him going to his allocated school.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 5th Mar 18, 5:50 AM
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    Spendless
    Say we don't win our appeal, (it's been a while since I had to think about school admissions, so bear with me!)...
    I'll home school Max, but the plan is to keep on applying to our preferred school until he gets a place (or winds up being offered a place when he gets to the top of the waiting list and they have a space for him). At the start of his next school year in September, how does that application work, if all the children in the current year 4 group, just go up to year 5. Presumably, we'll be in the same boat in terms of there being no places?
    Originally posted by MrsTandCo
    Be aware that a waiting list can be 'fluid'. Depending on what the order of the admission criteria is, someone else could move into the area and jump ahead of you if for example they lived slightly nearer or there was a sibling already attending that school. You need to find out how the waiting list works too. If no places come up then yes you'll be in the same boat. Worst case scenario you're in this position until the end of yr6. Are you happy to home educate until this time if need be? If not, I'd take the advice already given, investigate schools that are easier to travel to.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 5th Mar 18, 5:59 AM
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    Spendless
    I know what you mean about buses and I'll check the route again tomorrow and see if that might be the case. Even so, I'd still not be happy with him going alone and the cost of the three of us going will be prohibitive.
    Originally posted by MrsTandCo
    You wouldn't have to pay for an under 5, I wouldn't think. You don't where I live. That would just mean the bus fares for yourself and Max. My area does do a child saver at 6 for the week (unlimited journeys) or 2 a day. Alternatively it's 80p a journey. For an adult a weekly saver is 15 here.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 5th Mar 18, 12:00 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    BTW, I don't think many of us would expect an 8 year old to be travel / road savvy. Mine were in year 6 before they regularly walked to and from school alone, although in a crisis I did (with my heart in my mouth) let DS2 bring DS3 home with him (so in years 6 and 4).

    I did have a very useful ROSPA leaflet about what age it was appropriate for children to do certain things, and I'm sure they weren't thought to be capable of safe road crossing alone until at least year 6. It does depend on the child, too, but the way to start is by demonstrating the safe way to cross: find a safe place (ideally a crossing if there is one), then Stop, Look, Listen etc. Then you ask your child to Stop, Look, Listen and tell you when they think it is safe to cross, and you either agree or not! This can take a looooong while. Then you walk behind them and observe while they Stop, Look, Listen and make their own decisions. You're ready to grab them if they make the wrong one ...
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • MrsTandCo
    • By MrsTandCo 5th Mar 18, 12:45 PM
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    MrsTandCo
    Be aware that a waiting list can be 'fluid'. Depending on what the order of the admission criteria is, someone else could move into the area and jump ahead of you if for example they lived slightly nearer or there was a sibling already attending that school. You need to find out how the waiting list works too. If no places come up then yes you'll be in the same boat. Worst case scenario you're in this position until the end of yr6. Are you happy to home educate until this time if need be? If not, I'd take the advice already given, investigate schools that are easier to travel to.
    Originally posted by Spendless
    Thanks Spendless and Savvy Sue

    I had read about us going up as well as down potentially. The school can't/ won't tell us where we are on the waiting list, so I'm no idea how close we are to the top. I'd like to think that there aren't too many ahead of us, as we're so late in the year. Surely most people will have given up by now and found other places for their children?
    Worst case scenario, I'm happy to home school until the end of Max's primary education, but secondary school wise, I will most likely be out of my depth then, so I'd like him back in mainstream education in year 7. (If he wants to go back that is).

    I've done a bit more research on the other local schools and really our preferred school is the only one that is a good fit for Max and works for us as a family on a long term basis.
    And I spoke to Max's headmistress today and she said that the allocated school is a feeder for the most awful secondary school, (there was an article recently where our council actually paid 6 families a grant to home educate, to save them having to send their children there). The Section 8 Ofsted report reads like every parent's worst nightmare, so not only will accepting our allocated school cause us significant hardship, but it could also negatively impact Max's education into secondary school too.

    Bus journeys don't look too bad to me, but for Max they would be a nightmare. He's not independent enough to manage the walk, bus, walk, bus, walk 40 minute journey alone. Cost wise, it'd be over a hundred pounds for a 4 week ticket for us both. And when Archer goes to nursery, we wouldn't be back in time to drop off and collect him from his nursery next to our house, (located in the preferred schools grounds!).
    Taxi firms put the cost of taxis to and from the school at around 7 each way, so that's not an option.
    I looked at walking part of the route, and it'd take about the same amount of time, but they are busy roads including an A road. Again, if we walked with him, we'd be doing 3 hours 12 minutes walking every day/ almost 10 miles walking a day, and I wouldn't be able to get Archer to and from nursery.
    The local secondary school Ofsted report notes how dangerous the local area is and states that bullying starts in the local community and carries on at the school, so can I cite that when saying why I don't want my unaccompanied 8 year old walking through those neighbourhoods?? He's only just been allowed to play on the green in front of our house without one of us with him. (We still watch out of the window).
    He's good at walking with me and we practice road safety, crossing roads etc. but he is a bit of a dreamer and if he's chatting or thinking about something else, he will just wander into the path of oncoming traffic. We walk everywhere, so he gets it drummed into him to stop and look and listen and whatnot. He's just got his head in the clouds most days of the week, (typical boy!)
    I'll have a look for that leaflet thanks Savvy Sue.

    "I did have a very useful ROSPA leaflet about what age it was appropriate for children to do certain things, and I'm sure they weren't thought to be capable of safe road crossing alone until at least year 6"

    Today I have to draught a letter to the school, saying he will be leaving at the end of term. And with no place to go on the 16th of April, I'm not sure if I should be deregistering him, so that we don't get into trouble for not sending him into school for the start of the summer term, (I guess it'll take longer than that for an appeal date to be scheduled?)

    My brain feels like it is melting and another 2am bedtime has left me feeling much in need of coffee and copious amounts of cake, so this is also not good for my waistline!

    Thanks as always, for your help so far.
    • LittleMrsThrifty
    • By LittleMrsThrifty 5th Mar 18, 12:59 PM
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    LittleMrsThrifty
    This is far from my area of expertise but I would really try to find out where you are on the waiting list* and how many places are typically allocated from it in any given year. This should give you a sense of how much churn there is and how likely it is your son will get a place. In some areas hardly any children ever leave, in others the population of local families is fairly transient.

    *I imagine that as you haven't moved yet then you are currently at the very bottom of the waiting list as you currently live a really long way from the school. You'll therefore need to ask where you would be on the wait list once you've moved - they might not be able to tell you this yet as it is hypothetical.
    MSE aim: more thanks than posts
    • MrsTandCo
    • By MrsTandCo 5th Mar 18, 1:07 PM
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    MrsTandCo
    This is far from my area of expertise but I would really try to find out where you are on the waiting list* and how many places are typically allocated from it in any given year. This should give you a sense of how much churn there is and how likely it is your son will get a place. In some areas hardly any children ever leave, in others the population of local families is fairly transient.

    *I imagine that as you haven't moved yet then you are currently at the very bottom of the waiting list as you currently live a really long way from the school. You'll therefore need to ask where you would be on the wait list once you've moved - they might not be able to tell you this yet as it is hypothetical.
    Originally posted by LittleMrsThrifty
    Thanks Little Miss Thrifty,

    I've emailed the school again to ask where we are in the list, to see if they'll email me the information as they wouldn't tell me on the phone.
    For all intents and purposes, we have moved, so the school will have put us on the waiting list based on our new address. We've owned it since October, but we've been renovating it and living in our rental house until the tenancy runs out this month.
    • LIllylid
    • By LIllylid 5th Mar 18, 2:35 PM
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    LIllylid
    Help - school appeal.
    Hi,
    My Son has not been offered the school of his choice and instead offered a school (which stupidly I put as last choice) as didn't think he would get it as other closer schools were awful. I'm appealing but it's a hugley over subscribed school do not sure what chance I have. Do you have any tips. My son will have to get a bus to his offered school but is terrified and anxious at the thought of this as we had an incident on a bus before christmas where a huge fight broke out and there were grown men fighting ... he's terrified and losing sleep already over going to this offered school. I'm beside myself.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 5th Mar 18, 6:36 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    Hi,
    My Son has not been offered the school of his choice and instead offered a school (which stupidly I put as last choice) as didn't think he would get it as other closer schools were awful. I'm appealing but it's a hugley over subscribed school do not sure what chance I have. Do you have any tips. My son will have to get a bus to his offered school but is terrified and anxious at the thought of this as we had an incident on a bus before christmas where a huge fight broke out and there were grown men fighting ... he's terrified and losing sleep already over going to this offered school. I'm beside myself.
    Originally posted by LIllylid
    Secondary?

    First, try to not to communicate your anxiety to your son as it won't help.

    Second, get Ben Rooney's book (few posts up) and see if you have any grounds for appeal.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 5th Mar 18, 8:07 PM
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    Spendless
    And I spoke to Max's headmistress today and she said that the allocated school is a feeder for the most awful secondary school, (there was an article recently where our council actually paid 6 families a grant to home educate, to save them having to send their children there). The Section 8 Ofsted report reads like every parent's worst nightmare, so not only will accepting our allocated school cause us significant hardship, but it could also negatively impact Max's education into secondary school too.
    Originally posted by MrsTandCo
    Well not necessarily. Again you need to know how Secondary school places are allocated in the area you're moving to. You may well find that catchment trumps feeder school and that you're in the catchment of the Secondary you''d like. I also wouldn't get too hung up on what you're reading about schools as things can change. Once you actually live there, make appointments and go and look round the schools. My youngest attends an Outstanding Secondary school, sounds fantastic doesn't it? If she wasn't already in yr10, I'd be thinking about pulling her out (long story, which I won't go into here)
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 5th Mar 18, 9:54 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    I also wouldn't get too hung up on what you're reading about schools as things can change. Once you actually live there, make appointments and go and look round the schools. My youngest attends an Outstanding Secondary school, sounds fantastic doesn't it? If she wasn't already in yr10, I'd be thinking about pulling her out (long story, which I won't go into here)
    Originally posted by Spendless
    That's so true about the change, isn't it? At the primary stage, mine were all at schools which people were quite shocked I'd chosen, because of past reputation, but they were excellent for my three. And the schools people expected me to send them to were, as far as I could see, trading on past reputation too.

    But I was glad we moved across the country when we did, because a new head was appointed just after we'd left. Let's just say children were moved elsewhere in droves, and from talking to friends who were still there I think mine would have been too.

    Where we moved TO had a long-standing shortage of secondary school places: so many parents had historically chosen to go private or send their children out of area, and the secondary nearest to us was very much messed about and failing. It's now very popular, and doing very well, but it took a number of local parents committing to it plus a lot of new staff to make anything of it.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 5th Mar 18, 11:53 PM
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    • 156,891 Thanks
    silvercar
    At the start of his next school year in September, how does that application work, if all the children in the current year 4 group, just go up to year 5. Presumably, we'll be in the same boat in terms of there being no places?
    by MrsTandCo
    Theoretically in the same boat. In practice a lot of people higher up the list would have sorted out places elsewhere or already been offered places at your favoured school.

    By the time you get to year 5, there will be people who have remained on the list but if actually offered a place would decide it's too difficult/ unsettling to move schools for 2 years and will turn the place down. You will also get people like yourself who have moved into the area joining the list.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 5th Mar 18, 11:54 PM
    • 37,240 Posts
    • 156,891 Thanks
    silvercar
    Hi,
    My Son has not been offered the school of his choice and instead offered a school (which stupidly I put as last choice) as didn't think he would get it as other closer schools were awful. I'm appealing but it's a hugley over subscribed school do not sure what chance I have. Do you have any tips. My son will have to get a bus to his offered school but is terrified and anxious at the thought of this as we had an incident on a bus before christmas where a huge fight broke out and there were grown men fighting ... he's terrified and losing sleep already over going to this offered school. I'm beside myself.
    Originally posted by LIllylid
    Assume this is secondary if you are considering your son getting a bus. Remember this is the first round of places being offered. There will be some movement in lists over the coming weeks.
    • LIllylid
    • By LIllylid 6th Mar 18, 1:24 PM
    • 6 Posts
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    LIllylid
    Savvysue
    Thanks for this ... I definitely have not passed on my anxiety to my son ... I was very aware of that. I have ordered the book .. thank you so much :-)
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 6th Mar 18, 10:02 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    MrsT (and others for whom this might be relevant): if the school / LEA won't tell you where you are on the waiting list, a better question might be "if no-one was added to the list with a higher priority than us, is it likely or unlikely that a place would become available?"

    As already said, the list is fluid rather than set in stone. The question I've suggested might give you an idea of whether you've got a chance, or no chance via the waiting list. The school will know what their historical movement is each year, and whether they have a stable or unstable population.

    I found this when asking about secondary schools years ago: the school wouldn't say I had no hope of getting my child in, and it was at a time when catchment areas weren't fixed, but the secretary did say "historically children who live north of this road and west of that road are unlikely to be admitted."
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself ...
    Current projects: Poppies, mohair cardigan pattern arrived and going strong!
    • MrsTandCo
    • By MrsTandCo 6th Mar 18, 11:07 PM
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    MrsTandCo
    Thanks for that savvy sue,

    Sorry, I'm on my phone and can't quote easily.
    Yes, that definitely might be a better question. I'm still waiting to hear back from the school with my long list of answers to space, the meaning of life and everything.
    They have been quite helpful so far though, so I'm sure I shall find out at some point where we find ourselves.
    I have found out some quite useful snippets doing my detective work this week.

    1. The Academy Trust have published their 2017 accounts and Funding Agreement, so I have learnt that the Academy has a Reserves Policy, whereby they will hold revenue funds back in reserve for any unforeseen eventualities like pupil number fluctuation, in order to protect the aim of the Trust to continue to provide for existing pupils. I thought this would help in case they claim they can't afford Max's place, because he's come in part way through the year after places have already been funded. The Funding Agreement also says when deciding the level of reserve funds held back, they've considered 'potential reduction in income due to fluctuation and variation of pupil numbers in the locality'. I could go on... there's so much info to take into account...

    2. Also, the General Annual Grant, which is the Academy's main income, can be used to support additional school places and can be rolled over and amalgamated between academies if part of a multi academy trust. Our preferred school is run by a trust that runs two local schools and I can see from their accounts that this GAG balance is pretty healthy and more than cover the cost of educating my DS. They can't have spent it all, as it's paid once a month, in twelve equal installments. Also, there's an adjustment called PNA (Pupil Number Adjustment), that will pay an additional amount of grant money to cover an increase in pupil numbers that could not be taken into account with the previous year's census. Hoozah!

    3. I've also found a LA document relating to maladministration in appeals cases and the number of complaints made in 2014, so I know historically what areas the LA have ballsed up on previously and can keep an eye out for any errors made with when dealing with our case.

    4. The preferred school have twice been denied planning permission to add additional parking spaces to the school and as such, parking locally is an issue at school times. I've run through past correspondence and found a letter from the Head that states his disappointment that the general local perception is that there are a lot of cars due to a lot of pupils coming from out of catchment area. The letter says he's proud to take 100% of pupils naming them 1st preference that live within catchment and although he can't predict newcomers to the area, he'd always do what he can to maintain this position. So, that's promising too.

    Tonight, I 'trapped' Max in the bath and asked him questions about what he likes/ dislikes at school, how he would feel about going to our allocated school, the facilities they and our preferred school have. Think I have a couple of nice quotes that convey who he is and how our preferred school would best fit him.

    Did anyone visit their preferred and allocated school with their DC to see what each could offer? Can this be arranged during term time so that the child can have a look too, as Max is struggling to form an opinion on where he wants to go, having never set foot in either school. Fair enough.

    Thanks if you read all that. Believe it or not, that's the shortened version!
    Kelly

    Currently at the mercy of the School Appeals system!
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