With 5 children, I've had serious fun and games with their education.
We lived in a rural village when the children were at primary school and to be honest, unless every house hold had more than 10 kids, there were never any situation that they wouldn't get a place at the village school.
Secondary school was a different issue and as the time drew nearer we decided we'd be moving. Not to be in the catchment area for the best school, but to take our children out of the country side to a town, near a city, similar to how both me and my husband grew up in the north, him in Manchester and me in York.
We had two in primary, one in secondary, one under 2 and the eldest was in a residential school in Bristol, due to her complex disabilities.
Factors included for moving were, distance to daughter and hubbies mother, both in same area, my parents in south wales and the childrens 'other' parents in the Forest of Dean.
We settled on Malvern, a house next door to a primary school, half a milder from the secondary school. In fact there were two secondary schools in the catchment area and give primaries within a 10 min walk.
We opted to use the two nearest schools, to cut down on our travel as parents and so the kids would have friends near by.
The primary school next door said they were full and that was that, we needed year 4 & 6. oh we have a place for year 4, but not 6. We explained how the older child was being moved at a crucial time in his schooling and that to have him at a different school from his peers, would mean he'd have to make a whole different set of friends after two terms when he moved onto secondary. I asked for the contact details for the board of goveners and without passing them on, the head suddenly found space.
The youngest child also started at the same primary, but it became evident very quickly this school with 450 pupils was too big and his needs weren't being met. Without any hesitation we transfered him 12yo private school in year 2, where he stayed till secondary age.
We realised our first choice of secondary school for the two older boys hadn't been the right choice, the next child went to the other secondary school as did most of his peers and we had no problems at all with the process.
When the youngest reached grade 6, we had the option of him remaining at private school till grade 8, then transferring him to either Malvern college our back into the state system. It became obvious that he want going to get a bursary and the fees would double out of our reach, so we made an application for a small secondary school outside our catchment area. We applied late, we accompanied our application with a letter from the current school, out lining his difficulties and our reason for his attendance at the school. We were rejected. We had not been happy with the other two secondary schools our other children had attended in regards to additional needs and pastrol care.
Our rejection letter came with details of how to appeal. I called, spoke to a lovely woman, explained the situation, completed the form with a letter from the doctor, the psychiatrist and educational psychologist and the dietician all in support of out application and a place at our chosen school was awarded.
He started there on September 3rd 2010. Five days later hubby received a phone call to ask if we would move to South Africa in January 2011 and so the whole process to find another school for the last two children at home started all over again.
I thought I had blogged about this at the time, but discover I hadn't, I worked in the educational system and knew how to make an appeal, I was fortunate to have access to others that could help me through the process.
After reading all the disappointed tweets this morning and last night, I stumbled across this web sure which gives the same level of information and support I received so I thought I would share it with you.