It shouldn’t be hard to get your children into the school round the corner.
In Sussex, the county council have an admissions office. Parents apply once, and are allocated a school, whether it’s their first, second or third choice. There’s a process that puts the child at the centre.
In Kent, we have found since moving to Margate, they do things differently. You have to apply to each individual school directly. You can’t apply in August (a popular time for families to move) because the schools are closed. So at the start of September, already busy school offices are made busier by a queue of parents making applications. Every parent, applying to every possible school.
So of course, every school office is dealing with applications that will never be taken up, because another school, a preferred choice, is saying yes. Schools are dealing with incomplete data – they don’t know who’s staying on their roll, who’s moved away, and who’s being added.
Meanwhile, children (quite possibly, new to an area) have to live with uncertainty, and will miss the first two weeks of term. That’s how long it will take schools to establish who is on their roll, and who has moved, and who will take up their offered places. The two weeks when friendships, are made and routines are learnt, are lost.
It would hardly be possible to create a more inefficient, wasteful system. Or one which cared less about the children it’s supposed to be for.
There’s a fine of up to £120 if a parent fails to ensure their child attends school. There’s no penalty for schools that can’t accept children that live in the next street.
We’re home educating, because we don’t want our children – enthusiastic learners – to miss out. Without a school, what else can we do?