Local Talk

Cheating in schools admissions

(12 Posts)
mommyisbest Thu 31-May-12 10:34:45

Hi all
I am in the midst of trying to get a primary school place for my son for September. In the process I have come across numerous examples of parents cheating for places at oversubscribed primary schools. The most common forms seem to be using fake addresses, renting short term let's whilst owning homes elsewhere, swapping homes with friends etc. My theory is that as schools in Hackney have improved rapidly these tactics are becoming more common. Do you know of any Hackney schools which might be affected by these issues? Do you know people who have done this? Do you know flats that are recycled year in year out to secure a school place? I'm trying to gather information on a no names basis to feedback to the Learning Trust so that they are better equipped to deal with this. Thank you!

tethersend Thu 31-May-12 10:39:25

You need to contact MNHQ and the Learning Trust may need to pay to use MN to collect data.

mommyisbest Thu 31-May-12 10:58:10

Thanks tethersend. I'm actually collecting anecdotal information so that I can apply pressure on them to do something about this as a concerned parent. They do not recognise the size of the problem and whilst they have some checks in place in my experience these are not sufficient to tackle this. So I'm hoping I can use mums net in this capacity.

tethersend Thu 31-May-12 11:03:08

I know, the situation in Hackney is awful- I live in Tower Hamlets on the border of Hackney, and was relieved to be on the TH side. Until TH brought in catchment areas, which have drastically reduced the schools we have a chance of getting in to to one, and it's dire. I would be very vigilant that Hackney don't adopt a similar policy as a response to the shortage of places.

mommyisbest Thu 31-May-12 11:18:19

That's really interesting as some of us parents had considered the new TH system would reduce cheating particularly because if you move out of the designated catchment area after securing a place for your eldest child you do not get sibling priority for any younger siblings. At least that's my understanding. But if as you say it has the effect of reducing choice, that's not so good either.

tethersend Thu 31-May-12 22:54:17

You are correct in your understanding- one sibling will be able to use the rule if the older sibling was admitted prior to catchment system, but no subsequent siblings.

I was a big supporter of the catchment system when it was being proposed; however, two things have changed my mind. One is being on the border of two catchment areas (meaning my nearest school is now out of catchment)- but that's just bad luck. The other is the tiebreaker they have chosen to use, which defeats the whole point of the system, IMO: instead of the proposed random allocation/electronic ballot, they have decided to use nearest school. This means that in the event of oversubscription, they will allocate places to those with no other school nearer. In other words, back to distance allocation. But with more restrictions.

abrimfullofkasha Sat 13-Oct-12 15:36:39

Lauriston school in Hackney is a very popular choice in the Victoria Park area. There is a couple of converted schools, now flats, adjacent to to the school that has a curious speight of "to let" signs every year after primary admissions. There is definitely a percentage of people who do what you have said - I have read somewhere that the school now investigate addressees and they have to have been resident for a minimum period - this is only a recent thing though, so a lot of residents have been affected in previous years. There are a local proprietors in the area too that try using their (or relative's in one case) business postcodes and not their home residence to get a place. This school (and other similarly oversubscribed schools no doubt) attracts reasonably affluent people who can afford a second property to rent or buy next door to the school. They either can't get into the private school in the area or see this as neat way of buying getting the 'best' for their offspring. Unfortunately it means that the diversity the area is known for is drowned out by a sea of Boden clones, followed by an unnecessary flood of vehicles as their main address is most probably not within walking distance. Ultimately it makes the area cliquey and pushes the longterm locals (who are entitled to a place), way down the pecking order.

Ursulka Wed 17-Oct-12 11:24:14

abrimfullofkasha, I know one of the buildings you are curious about very well and have messaged you. Only about 4 flats in the building are available for rent (as opposed to owned) and they have had long term renters half of whom do not have children. I have not seen any school tourism in the building, some of the parents even prefer Gatehouse.

SeriousCat Thu 18-Oct-12 21:52:48

Well, I know there's a flat by Currell's that is rented to get a place at Lauriston. Or at least I know that a family rented it to get a reception place this year and another family rented it to get a place last year. I'd expect another family is moving in/has moved in to get a place next year too. The Learning Trust makes noise about stopping this, but I'll be very surprised if they'd ever dare actually do anything about it. Meanwhile long-term local families are being shafted for school places in the local area. The whole system is a bit of a shambles!

CZLYZ Mon 22-Oct-12 21:53:07

This renting locally to get a school place has been going on for years, money talks! It's great for local residents as it pushes up property prices and rental incomes, but makes school admissions locally a major talking point constantly. The smug parents with their eldest child in the school had better watch out if they have subsequently moved further away as it appears to be getting more difficult to get siblings in with geography playing a part in the admissions going forward.

terriblemonty Mon 29-Oct-12 11:33:26

mommyisbest I have a dossier of information on this subject of Laur. School. It has been compiled over last three years of witnessed accounts of suspected or evidenced cheats with the intention of starting a petition, going to the national press, and garnering a group of parents (who have been 'shafted' as a result) to fund an investigative lawyer. If you would like further info please pm me - regards The Learning no Trust good luck there as you may fall on deaf ears, they have been informed of what goes on but evidently turn a blind eye. ursulka there is more than one building close by.

The purpose of our group is to raise more awareness of the admissions process which fails many parents.

GatehousePupil Mon 07-Oct-13 08:18:40

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