I couldn't find an awful lot of info on what to do if you will be moving before September when your first born is due to start school so I did the sensible thing and contacted both authorities for where we are now and where we will be.
Both gave pretty much the same advice, keep them updated on your situation and make it clear in the additional details boxes for the schools you are applying to.
Both me and hubby have spoken to them on the phone and emailed and I wrote lots of details for each school - I gave it lots of care and thought and used my old pr and marketing skills and love of writing to make sure each school got a well executed and tailored paragraph explaining our situation, that we are moving and that I don't drive and Blake has a younger sibling.
There was one school in particular who I put a little more into because it had a lot of history and value to our family as it was a school that Blake's father and other family members had attended and that his grandmother had taught there and the church it's attached to is our family church where we were married and both Blake and his sister christened.
We did everything asked by both authorities and applied before the deadline to 6 Bromley schools all in walking distance of our future area - we currently live in Bromley BR1 but one of the few bromley roads who are unfortunately on the border with lewisham.
Blake has been rejected from all 6 schools we applied to but I just feel really angry that everything I'd given and done wasn't even taken into consideration and that not even another school close to our choices wasn't offered. Every single one of my Bromley friends that I've spoken to since yesterday's announcements have either got 1st or 2nd choice.
I spoke to a Lady at lewisham who just confirmed that everything I'd provided wasn't considered - she actually elaborated and said that it never would have been, the only thing they consider is current address - she repeated this a few times that they ONLY consider address at time of application deadline and any other circumstances are not even remotely considered, it doesn't actually matter where you are when school starts in September.
When I asked what the point was of keeping both departments updated as requested, supplying all the extra info and filling in the additional circumstances boxes was - she wasn't really sure. I also commented that I hope by offering Blake this place, that another parent wasn't refused their first choice as a result - she commented that the school was not yet fully subscribed (I take that to mean its not popular, considering one of the Bromley schools I looked at had over 400 applications for just 60 places and most Bromley schools seem to get more applicants than places - probably because each child can have 6 choices)
Blake has been offered a place at a lewisham school - it's one I've passed - it doesn't really matter what the school itself is like, It's the parents and area that put me off! Smoking, swearing and arguments at the school gate are rife! This school will also be about an hour or more walk to reach from the area we are moving to - probably longer given Blake is still only 3 and his sister is 1 - it's also in the complete opposite direction to where Meg will be going to preschool.
Even though we live in Bromley now, will be living in a different area of Bromley before September and applied to 6 Bromley schools - it was a lewisham school we were offered.
Absolutely baffling, unfair and distressing current system.
I'd rather have not been offered anything than given such a poorly considered and unsuitable place - at no point at all was any thought given to our requirements and so called choices.
The letter and system refers to choice a lot but what it comes down to is one choice:
To accept the place at a school that you didn't even list as one of your six "choices" and is in an inaccessible area to where you will be in September or not accept the place at that school. None of our choices as parents actually matter and the advice given was pointless- we'd have been better off renting somewhere near our school choices for the duration of the application process rather than listening and following the advice given to us.
Emma in Bromley xx