I am aware of several families who have not got any of their 6 primary school preferences but instead have been offered an unpopular school 3 miles away which requires either two bus rides or a 30 minute drive in rush hour traffic however there is no parking near the school to speak of so they would have to park in a local supermarket car park and walk for another 10 minutes at least. Their 6 preferred schools in all cases were their nearest schools calculated as the crow flies. It seems to be unprecedented in this area especially in a borough which claims to have catered adequately for demand through the creation of bulge classes and permanent expansion. Its the journey and the fact that its difficult to manage with their commute and other childcare that they are concerned about rather than the school itself which is being stated as improving, also the fact that their childs friends would not be particularly local. It seems that the schools own catchment area is extremely wide so realistically other children could live 4 miles away from them. They feel that this will from the outset remove them from the immediate school community and result in their isolation.
In addition to placing their childs name on various waiting lists for their preferred schools ( is there a limit or can they put their names down for all of these?) what action can they take and who should they approach? It does seem to be policy to put unplaced children in this school- is it done deliberately to provide a greater social mix or simply because there is space? Either way it throws up some odd geographical placement decisions.
Any advice would be appreciated. Generally families in this area dont have a lot of spare cash for cabs or time to take kids on long journeys to school, or the cash or inclination to place their child with before and after school childminders as the only way to getting the arrangement to work. I know some who are preparing themselves for a January start or indeed delaying entry for a year and keeping the child in nursery. Either way it is a situation that is making some very distraught. It does seem inexplicable in the circumstances.