Local Talk

Waiting List Success? Richmond Schools & The Vineyard School

(27 Posts)
Moleskine Wed 28-May-14 16:48:16

Hello all,

We applied late for a Reception place due to moving house, and are now waiting to be offered a school place for Reception this September.

As it stands we have no school place at all. We just have to hope that something comes up, but the deadline for accepting/declining a place was May 2nd and so far there have been no places declined.

Has anyone else been in this position previously and did you get a place at your preferred school over the Summer?

I don't know whether to try to get a private school place at this point - we are probably too late for that too though.

Please come and talk to me and calm me down ... We have a baby due in September and I am stressing about a long school journey if we don't get place at a nearby school.

Moleskine Wed 28-May-14 18:30:52

Bump ...

school04 Thu 05-Jun-14 20:31:28

I'm in the same position as you I'm afraid. No school place in Twickenham. We were also late in applying. I'm just waiting to see if they put on anymore bulge classes. Have you heard of any more going ahead? Have you had any luck with the wait lists yet? I know we will get a school eventually - I just don't know if it will be the one we want!

LProsser Thu 05-Jun-14 21:53:11

I hope you both get some news soon. Can anyone reading this remember from previous years at what point LB Richmond started announcing bulge classes? I seem to remember that there were quite a lot of children who applied at the normal time that weren't offered a place this year either but there has been less publicity than last year for some reason. A letter to the local paper (Richmond and Twickenham Times) highlighting your problem usually produces some more information!

muminlondon2 Fri 06-Jun-14 12:25:59

I'm afraid they may now just be waiting for people to reject offers and for waiting lists to move so it is difficult to predict. Now the Vineyard has expanded to 90 pupils there may be more of a chance of someone dropping out and a place coming up, but it does depend on where you live. If someone moves into the area today and lives closer to the school than you do, they will have priority, or if they can get a Y2-Y6 place first, they will have sibling priority for reception shortly after that.

The positive thing if you are very close is that places can come up at the last minute, and continue to come up during term time. Keep ringing the Admissions office to find out about your position on the list. And try the private schools anyway because other people in your position may have just given up a place as a Vineyard or Marshgate one comes up. No harm done in taking a place for a year then switching schools for Y1.

There is a council meeting set up for 7 July for the Admissions Forum and the next Education Committee meeting is provisionally 9 July. So there may be some general news and statistics published then, but I'd say it is too late for schools to accommodate bulge classes as they need a term's notice to recruit teachers.

school04 Fri 06-Jun-14 14:23:52

Yes I thought it may be too late for more bulge classes. I know they have put one on at St Mary's in Twickenham and Sheen Mount already. I'm hoping we may get a place at St Mary's now that they have taken 120 children. I must say there has been hardly any news on how many children in the borough are still waiting for places....I definitely think a phone call to the local paper might be required!

muminlondon2 Fri 06-Jun-14 16:35:43

You could try St Stephen's too - while not undersubscribed, it was previously a junior school rather than an all-through primary so many parents continue to put Orleans (previously infants) or St Mary's as a higher preference. As I said, you can always switch after a year, although by then many parents have settled in and realise that all Richmond schools share good practice.

Sheen Mount is permanently 90 pupils per year. They had already expanded most of the way, taking bulge classes every other year. Its much better for schools to have a consistent number every year, although they do cope admirably with whatever demands are throw at them. Good luck, a place will come up somewhere.

JonquilleTW Fri 06-Jun-14 17:52:45

We have applied for Reception class last year and got it. Friends who applied and didn't get any place got it in September. I know this is a long wait. But looks like all the parents who applied for private schools and state schools decide later in the stage to give up the state one if they got the private one they wanted. That happened to 3 families (we know of in LBRUT) last year and they all got places in Vineyard afterwards (they live in a walking distance from it). Keep calling the admissions office and the school offices. This will hopefully help moving things and emails tend to get lost.
I have also tweeted about this, so hopefully more people would come to help.
Good luck!

school04 Fri 06-Jun-14 21:31:33

Thank you. I do have St Stephen's and Orleans on our list.

Personally I think it is disgraceful the way the council rely on people going private to ease the wait lists. We are all paying council tax to fund our local schools so the council should give our children a place at a local school. They have our money....they should provide a place. I wonder how many reception children are currently waiting for a place? I know I am a late applicant so I understand why I don't have one but what about all the on-time applicants?

muminlondon2 Fri 06-Jun-14 21:45:13

The money doesn't just come from council tax - to expand schools they rely on the government's targeted basic need funding which covers capital costs. This is no longer stretching far enough to cover all the expenses needed to build and resource classrooms and last year the council got no extra money at all. So PTAs are stepping in too, and in some ways current parents are contributing for future parents, and putting up with the inconvenience of all these expansions.

school04 Fri 06-Jun-14 21:49:47

Fair enough but I'm sure a lot of people in Richmond wouldn't mind paying higher council taxes if it meant their child could get a place at a local school. All that money going to the private schools because people can't get the state school place they want? I understand some people will always choose private over state but I'm sure a lot make that decision because the state option is so badly executed.

AbsintheAndChips Fri 06-Jun-14 22:19:23

How will higher council tax create more space in schools? They are all already at bursting point. We need to have more of them but, oh, we can't unless someone wants to open a free school. Our school is expanding but quite honestly, it's going to be bloody awful. The site is very small and all those extra children will be very hard to fit in. We are already very very crowded.

school04 Fri 06-Jun-14 22:55:32

I meant that higher taxes could mean the council would have more money to build new schools. I'm sure they wouldn't bother though and use the money for something else instead! Why do the new schools have to be free schools? I don't understand why the council can't build new schools as well.

muminlondon2 Sat 07-Jun-14 00:06:43

The law (Academies Act 2010) doesn't allow the LA to set up and run its own schools any more - the 'presumption' is for all new schools to be academies and the process/funding is for that to be through the free schools programme. The LA has to rely on free school groups and/or partners to propose bids. Currently the main contenders are a global profit-making private school operator (GEMS) which has recently sold half of its loss-making UK prep schools; a for-profit international schools group (Kings) aiming to set up a bilingual school which operates one boarding school in this country for Spanish speaking children; and a for-profit private schools group (Bellevue) whose Islington project is controversial for some. None of them have been approved yet and none have a site.

Secondary is more promising with more parental support for the Turing House proposal backed by a small academy chain (still without a site) and the REEC proposal.

LProsser Sat 07-Jun-14 11:55:57

School04 I agree with you that it's a very bad situation. The Council is not completely responsible but has not prioritised finding sites to expand existing schools or allow free schools to be set up. More and more housing is being built without new school places and other infrastructure. There is very little publicity about lack of school places as it only affects a limited number of people each year and they don't make a public fuss or sustain a campaign once their personal issue has been solved.

AbsintheAndChips Sat 07-Jun-14 21:09:34

I totally agree that more schools would be an excellent idea, but as others have said the council can no longer decide to open them. I think our local area is going to get worse and worse - there's a huge block of flats being built at the moment and I have no idea where they think they are going to put all those children.

clemmy77 Mon 09-Jun-14 22:07:15

Bump. I am in the same position as you Moleskine but have not even moved to Richmond yet. We have just offered on a place near The Vineyard. My dd is due to start in Reception in Sept and we have no school place! Also expecting a baby in Sept like yousmile Please let me know how you get on. I don't expect that to get offered a place for several months , if at all, but you never know how the year will pan out. Fingers crossed!

Heathclif Tue 10-Jun-14 10:30:08

The Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign publishes information on primary and secondary school place planning, the committee members are all very familiar with the issues. www.richmondinclusiveschools.org.uk/local-issues/

This has been going on for decades and the Council whether consciously (it was certainly being minuted in the 90s that they could rely for planning purposes on a proportion of parents without places to be deterred into other options) or unconsciously has had an education strategy that deterred parents into moving or going private. If you live here when you first have children you soon learn from the rest of the community, in anti natal groups and from then on, what your chances are of a place in a local school and then plan for other options accordingly. We did both, went private when we didn't get a place for our first child and then moved to get a place for the second, that was 17 years ago. We did though get offered a place at East Sheen Primary 3weeks into the first term so places do come up.

Moleskine Thu 12-Jun-14 20:43:23

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't checked back for a while.

We have now been offered a place at another school close by (20-30 min walk). While we're happy to have been offered a place we are remaining on the wait list for Vineyard.

I expect there will be lots of change come September but I am not relishing the thought of a mad dash to buy school uniform and telling my child they are now going to a different school!

Richmond have added bulge classes at the following schools this year: -
Collis, East Sheen, Nelson, Sheen Mount, Russell, Vineyard (perm. expansion), St Mary Magdalen, St Mary's CofE.

When I spoke to the Admissions team a couple of weeks ago there were 70 children unplaced, though I don't know how much that list has moved since then.

I also started a thread on the main MN site (I don't know how to link but you could search the school names). There were some more knowledgeable posters that came forward with useful information. It's also been suggested that there may be more bulge classes added but it will be quite a last minute thing ...

Good luck to those that still don't have a place and please keep updating.

LProsser Fri 13-Jun-14 09:19:20

Hi, glad you have been offered a place now. I had a quick look at the other thread and see you were actually without a place for your Year 1 child aswell so I hope you manage to get them both into the same school before your baby is born or your school run will obviously be somewhat complicated!

I do think Richmond needs a good shake up. I don't think it's acceptable to leave children with no place at all right up until September, especially those who will be nearly 5 in September as opposed to only just 4.

school04 Fri 13-Jun-14 18:08:47

Great I'm glad you were offered a school Moleskine but was it one that you had a preference for? We are still waiting but interesting to hear about the bulge classes. I wonder if the 70 unplaced were before or after the bulge's. Are you in a bulge class? Have you got a place for your year 1 child yet!?! Fingers crossed for the wait lists. I definitely think Richmond need to be held to account over their handling of the school situation. Relying on free schools to open is not a good strategy! I'm sure someone more informed could tell us exactly how many have opened in so many years...not many I think!

Moleskine Fri 13-Jun-14 21:27:08

It wasn't one of our preferences, but having looked into the school I perhaps would have out it down had I known of it. The 70 are after the bulge classes and yes we are in a bulge class. As yet no Year 1 place though.

In our old borough siblings would get priority once a reception offer was accepted. In Richmond siblings don't get priority until the reception child has actually begun attending school - this seems ridiculous as it means lots of families will be split as a result and it could be easily avoided.

muminlondon2 Fri 13-Jun-14 23:17:31

Relying on free schools is indeed a rubbish strategy but LBRuT can't open its own schools. It's opened about 25 new reception classes since 2000 (the 21 in that list, plus Nelson, St RR primary, half each at Darell and Sheen Mount and one at Vineyard). But I'm not sure whether the 'shared form of entry' between Marshgate/Sheen Mount/Vineyard applies now so it could be 24. On top of that, the two free schools opened 2013 have created just under three forms.

It's hard to believe that schools like Barnes, Lowther and St Mary's used to be one form entry (1FE). At least St Mary's has a relatively large number of open places. Whether church schools should expand or not is a thorny issue - I completely agree with RISC's position that they should only be given the funding if they open their places to the community. But I think they have to pay VAT on building costs and VA schools have to find up to 10% of the capital cost from church contributions, and they can decide their own admissions policies, so they don't have much incentive to expand unless the council subsidises them.

BayJay2 Sat 14-Jun-14 08:30:22

"VA schools have to find up to 10% of the capital cost from church contributions, and they can decide their own admissions policies, so they don't have much incentive to expand unless the council subsidises them."

Subsidies are possible. The SRR primary was fully funded by the council on the grounds that there was a Basic Need for primary places in that area (which is why it's the only RC VA school in the country afaik that has community places - albeit only 10 out of 30).

muminlondon2 Sat 14-Jun-14 12:54:16

Do you know how far the council subsidised Holy Trinity and St Mary's and St Peter's rebuilding and expansions? Holy Trinity changed its admissions to include 50% community places - SMSP didn't. As a council tax payer I would resent the SMSP subsidy (if it got one) especially as very prominent councillors were both governors and cabinet decision-makers for that expansion.

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