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Move-In Move-Out families and school catchment


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#1 MrsMuzz82

Posted 16 December 2019 - 07:55 PM

So this is part vent, part what do you think.

I'll try not to write a novel, but basically over the past year or so, I have found out about several families doing a dodgy to get their child into their preferred school (our local school). It all started about 18 months ago when DH and I rented a unit in the neighborhood while we renovated our house. We ended up finding a sublet which suited us perfectly because we really didn't want to have to sign up to a 12 month lease. This would have been mid 2018 I believe. Anyway, the family subletting to us had a lot of questions about how old our child was and whether he was going to be going to the local school. Anyway, in a nutshell, they didn't want another family enrolling at the school using this address because it might "raise questions". Right... It wasn't an issue for us as our son was not school-aged at the time. Fast forward to around this time last year, the lease was up and we were not interested in renewing so the place went back on the market. The agent said they had a lot of interest from families because of the school and the place was rented to a family with school aged children pretty quickly. Great, totally understand wanting to live in a good school zone. It's why we bought our place. Recently, a friend of mine was looking at moving to the neighbourhood (again because of the school) and sent me a link to a unit like what do you think. Well, would you believe it's the SAME unit we had rented that had just been rented out a year ago! Clearly, the family who rented it, like the one before, stayed long enough to get their kids into the school and then moved. And, to be honest, my friend was talking about doing the exact same thing...

I also have met a bunch of families through our local FB group (which includes a couple of surrounding suburbs) and the daycare. A few of them have children at the school but don't live in the zone. The children are young, like PP or year 1 aged and I know for a fact that the school is local intake only and they will not even look at your application if you don't live in the zone. It does raise the question of how did they get their children into the school...

Now our son is starting school and it's just been bothering me that people do this because it puts pressure on our school having to accommodate these extra families who stay for a few months and then leave, but their children stay at the school. Personally, I would like to see this loophole shut down. Although I realise this is technically allowed, I do think it is being taken advantage of and I don't think it's right.

So my question is do you think that families who move out of the area should be required to move their children from the following school year?

I personally would like to see this happen, especially at oversubscribed schools. The only reason people do this move in / move out business is because they know that once their child is in the school, they're in and they can then move wherever they want. They wouldn't do it if they knew their child wouldn't be allowed to continue at the school. It also encourages this school-shopping where families who have the means will chose the school in their surrounding area that they perceive to be "the best" even when their local school is actually not a bad school.

Obviously, there are circumstances where a family who has been in the area for a long time might have to move for a variety of reasons and, in those cases, there should be some allowance made for children to remain at the school (especially if they are in the more senior year like 5/6 or 11/12). However, at the end of the day, kids change schools all the time and it's not the end of the world. Our son has been going to a different school this year for kindy because they had a special early intervention program for ASD children and he'll now be going to our local school from 2020. I work in family law so a lot of my clients have to move and sometimes they chose to move their children schools for practical reasons. I have friends who have pulled their children out of private schools and put them in the local school. People move interstate and overseas all the time. Basically, I don't subscribe to the notion that changing schools is always a hardship to child.

I know I must sound very 'stay on your side of the park' but I just don't understand how this behaviour is allowed to continue with impunity. It just seems so wrong to me...

(Flame away!)

#2 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 16 December 2019 - 07:58 PM

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If all schools were equal people wouldn’t need to resort to such measures but as they aren’t - parents do what they need to get the best for their child....

#3 Mmmcheese

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:01 PM

Schooling in this country is very inequitable. That's the real wrong here.

#4 Ellie bean

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:11 PM

All schools should be good. It sucks that wealthier people have more options. I don’t blame those parents.

#5 TinMan

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:14 PM

View PostMrsMuzz82, on 16 December 2019 - 07:55 PM, said:


Great, totally understand wanting to live in a good school zone. It's why we bought our place.  


What a privileged position to be in to firstly buy a house, but to choose to buy in a suburb with an awesome school.

Very few parents aren't trying to do the best they can for their children...if only all schools were just as awesome as yours.

#6 Grrrumbles

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:15 PM

I live equidistant between 2 primary schools but in zone for one (can see edge of zone from front garden). We applied and were knocked back but when we are heading to our school we see more children from further away than we are heading in the other direction to the other school.

In some cases that we know of, they lived (rented) in the zone during the enrolment period but had already moved by the time the school year started. Other cases the oldest child went there and siblings many years younger go there now. They also bend the rules for academics at the nearby university as the love the prestige of having so many parents in the school community.
It sucks for us as the school has much better outside school and holiday care options as well as more cocurricular activities than our school has.

#7 afterlaughter

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:16 PM

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Why should families who are genuine renters and cannot afford to own their home have to have their children move schools multiple times throughout their schooling. How stressful would it be to be told your lease is up and you have to move and your anxious child will have to change schools because there are no rentals available in that catchment the month you have to move. You cannot remove the loop hole without putting extreme stress on everyday families who are forced to rent and move each time a owner decides to sell of up the rent beyond the families means.
Ps I own my home and my child will be attending my local school. But I know this causes a close friend of mine who cannot afford to own a lot of stress.

#8 Freddie'sMum

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:18 PM

I do know that the schools are checking on people's addresses / information that families are using to get their kids into popular schools.

And the schools do find people who lie.  And the kids are removed from the schools.

#9 *Spikey*

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:19 PM

https://www.canberra...re-than-others/

Read this, then you will understand. Until we desegregate and remove private schools, that is the way the system works.

#10 IamtheMumma

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:19 PM

And maybe the family who rent it moved into their own home in that catchment. Perhaps one of the parents lost their job and they can't afford the rent anymore, so had to move. Perhaps the RE hiked the rent up because it is a popular area and it was too much for them. Perhaps the neighbours were feral and they moved away. There's a lot of speculation going on.

But yes, it does happen. I agree with previous posters that the education system is what is wrong. I don't blame a parent for doing what is best for their child.

#11 JBH

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:20 PM

I know there are some people who do the wrong thing, and it’s frustrating. However, my fear with your proposal is that it ends up entrenching privilege even further. I know that the people intentionally renting a “good address” are generally not those at a genuine disadvantage, but once you introduce a “move house, move school” model, more vulnerable people renting in less secure situations are more likely to need to move their children more often.

Of course, more consistent school quality would be the best solution.

#12 ipsee

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:22 PM

It is hard to crack down on this without removing kids whose parents did have to move. This is unfair on kids who lose their friends and stability. This would especially impact on lower income renters, so it is very tough to deal with.

#13 seayork2002

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:23 PM

View PostFreddie, on 16 December 2019 - 08:18 PM, said:

I do know that the schools are checking on people's addresses / information that families are using to get their kids into popular schools.

And the schools do find people who lie.  And the kids are removed from the schools.

This is stating a fact not a complaint! But it was easier for me to become a permanent resident of another country than get my son into his high school for next year, again I am not complaining just agreeing with you

#14 Jersey Caramel

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:23 PM

It's really up to the individual schools to decide how heavily to police it.  I know many schools do not give automatic entry to younger siblings to discourage people from getting the first child in and then moving away.

On the one hand,  I think why should renters be disadvantaged compared to people who can afford to purchase a suolitable house in-zone? Most renters are only on 6 or 12 month leases, and so it may not even be their choice to move. If your lease is not renewed, you really have to just take what is available within your budget,  which may not include any in-zone properties.

But then you hear stories of people renting a property in catchment and not even living in it,  so they're not exactly financially disadvantaged families if they're able to afford to maintain two houses. Others use the address of friends or relatives to get in.  So I don't think there is any easy solution.

#15 Bereckii

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:24 PM

I get your frustration.

But when we were served a 60 Day Notice To Vacate letter (the landlord wanted to move back into their property), it was a relief to know that - even if we could not find a new rental "in zone" - our children would not be forced to change schools too.

In the end we were very lucky, we did find a suitable property in zone (despite the time constraints) But it was touch and go.

Having to move so suddenly is disruptive. It would be more unsettling if children also had to move schools a number of times due to a precarious rental situation.

#16 Ozquoll

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:25 PM

View Postafterlaughter, on 16 December 2019 - 08:16 PM, said:

Why should families who are genuine renters and cannot afford to own their home have to have their children move schools multiple times throughout their schooling. How stressful would it be to be told your lease is up and you have to move and your anxious child will have to change schools because there are no rentals available in that catchment the month you have to move. You cannot remove the loop hole without putting extreme stress on everyday families who are forced to rent and move each time a owner decides to sell of up the rent beyond the families means.
Ps I own my home and my child will be attending my local school. But I know this causes a close friend of mine who cannot afford to own a lot of stress.
I actually get where the OP is coming from, but as a renter this post resonates with me. We're treated like second-class citizens already - I'd be furious if my landlady ended our tenancy AND I had to move my DS to a new school just because we moved zones. I don't see a workable way to stop the people who are taking the p*ss without also hurting people who are forced by circumstances out of their control to move to a rental in a different school zone.

#17 IamtheMumma

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:36 PM

Renting is already an unstable form of housing for a lot of people, but especially those at the lower income end of it. Making a child move schools after the loss of their home, well that is just going in for another kick.

#18 JBH

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:36 PM

I posted upthread, but OP my children are at a sought after school and we are required to prove address at the beginning of kindergarten and again at the beginning of year one, to try to prevent this. I have a feeling they would be lenient if someone was able to show they were genuinely unable to stay in a rental property.

#19 gracie1978

Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:39 PM

We will be one of these families.

If we don't get in, we will move.  However what our house will rent for and what we will have to pay in rent will put financial pressure on us.  So we could probably only afford it for a year.

I'll do the very best I can for my child.

#20 blimkybill

Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:17 PM

I have seen this behaviour happen, and yes I find it annoying. Particularly as when i have seen it, it has not been done to escape some actually terrible local school. It's just done as a way of getting higher up the competitive ladder, like cheap private school, by getting into a school which has a top reputation and which does very well in Naplan. Yes the people I saw do it didn't even live in the house they rented. They just rented a house in catchment for 6 months and lived in their own home. Cheaper than private school fees.
(It irritates me no end when people go out of their way to choose a high Naplan school as if that will raise their own child's ability... but that;s another story)

But I would never extend that to asking people to change schools when they moved. Too many ordinary people who moved for other reasons would be unnecessarily disrupted, and its not good for kids to move schools too much. If the practise is to be stopped I think it needs to be picked up before the child starts school.

But I don't even think having all good quality schools would fix it. The most highly sought after primary school in Canberra is surrounded by many other high quality public primary schools. People are so competitive about schooling. A certain proportion will always want what they consider "the best".

#21 Prancer is coming

Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:21 PM

I have an issue with people using deception to get into the school they want.  I am not sure if you are taking about that issue here though?  If someone has rented a house just to take proof of address into the school, but don’t actually live there, I am not ok with that.

i am a big believer in the public system and that involves sending kids to their local, not shopping around and travelling to a different school.  I would think if I did not want to go to my local, I would need to consider private options.  My kids go to their local, and it certainly has the reputation of being the worst public school in our area.  I do think gossip blows things out of proportion, and you don’t rely on word of mouth, especially those with no first hand experience, in making your own mind up.

View Postgracie1978, on 16 December 2019 - 08:39 PM, said:

.

I'll do the very best I can for my child.

i will do the very best for my child too. I don’t think sending them to their local school is a terrible thing, despite what others might think.  I do think the emphasis on needing a perfect school gets blown out of proportion and causes a lot of stress.   I think things would need to be pretty terrible before I would outright lie to the school bout where I was living, or rent a place just for the sake of enrolling in a certain school.

#22 KittyTsui

Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:28 PM

I don't blame parents with the means for doing this. They want what is best for their kids, like all good parents.

Problem is, for every family of means doing this, there are dozens of others who are not doing for any reason other than they are genuine renters and all the insecurity and crap that comes with that.

So for me personally, whilst I am thankful I don't rent, I think kicking out kids from a school because their parents are forced to move is not the answer. That simply punishing disadvantage and punishing families with insecure housing.

Kids don't need to be ripped away from friends and support networks because their parents have to move.

I can't see how you could create a fair system to deal with people of means  doing the 'dodge', without lots of by-catch of less fortunate families.

#23 2bundles

Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:35 PM

DS started school in Vancouver. They have the rule that if you move out of catchment you move schools. Literally we know a family that moved 200m and had to move their kids!

It’s tough but people just accept it.

Vancouver does have private schools too, so I’m not sure that is relevant. With or without private, schools are going to be affected by the socioeconomic of their catchment.

#24 blimkybill

Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:35 PM

View Postgracie1978, on 16 December 2019 - 08:39 PM, said:

We will be one of these families.

If we don't get in, we will move.  However what our house will rent for and what we will have to pay in rent will put financial pressure on us.  So we could probably only afford it for a year.

I'll do the very best I can for my child.
I am interested in why you feel the need to do this.
Is your local school genuinely bad in some way? do you know for sure or is it just gossip and the need people have to compare and compete about everything?
Or are you just moving somewhere which is higher SES or has a better reputation?
Are you going to a next door suburb or a fair distance away?

#25 seayork2002

Posted 16 December 2019 - 09:36 PM

View PostPrancer is coming, on 16 December 2019 - 09:21 PM, said:

I have an issue with people using deception to get into the school they want.  I am not sure if you are taking about that issue here though?  If someone has rented a house just to take proof of address into the school, but don’t actually live there, I am not ok with that.

i am a big believer in the public system and that involves sending kids to their local, not shopping around and travelling to a different school.  I would think if I did not want to go to my local, I would need to consider private options.  My kids go to their local, and it certainly has the reputation of being the worst public school in our area.  I do think gossip blows things out of proportion, and you don’t rely on word of mouth, especially those with no first hand experience, in making your own mind up.



i will do the very best for my child too. I don’t think sending them to their local school is a terrible thing, despite what others might think.  I do think the emphasis on needing a perfect school gets blown out of proportion and causes a lot of stress.   I think things would need to be pretty terrible before I would outright lie to the school bout where I was living, or rent a place just for the sake of enrolling in a certain school.

To me it is not much different to helping a child cheat on an exam. There is a line I will not cross in doing the best for my son, lying to get into a school is a line I will not cross. (I am speaking for myself only)




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