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Sunday, 24 October 2021 17:36

Use of Fraudulent Addresses on School Admission Applications

Six years ago, Kent County Council tightened up its regulations (page 16) on home addresses declared on primary school admission applications following my lobbying about the issue over previous years. However, whilst the rules for county-maintained secondary schools may be similar, the explanation (page 11) of how they operate appears to have been designed primarily so as not to offend anyone. In the same vein, many academies treat this issue as one of minimal importance and, for example, the Eleven Plus website regularly contains discussion of short term temporary addresses to secure places, for example posted two days ago: ‘I live in London and the cut-off date for CAF is 31st of October….If I can get a rental agreement in place before 1st of Nov I can apply to Kent directly’.  I have written two previous articles on this issue here and here, having lobbied for several years previously without effect. One problem is that KCC delegates responsibility for investigating and establishing such fraudulent applications even for its own schools, including small primaries.

A few Kent schools treat this issue with the seriousness it observes, notably Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar which sets out its rules and the consequences of breaking them very clearly, see below.

I appreciate that some of those parents who use devices to secure places at the schools that break the rules don't see themselves as committing fraud and don't think about the children deprived of places by their actions. A previous Schools Adjudicator, previously a Deputy Director of Education for Kent,  came up with ten  'popular' means of outwitting the system. However, I have no intention of reproducing these and, because few are picked up, there is no way of estimating the scale of the problem.   

I appreciate this is not the best year for schools to commit additional resources to identify such cases, but it would send out a powerful message if more schools would investigate possibilities One simple device for secondary schools is to look at the current primary school of the child and if it is out of area to investigate further! 

To be fair, KCC’s rules do spell out that a pupil’s home address ‘will be either:  owned by the child’s parent, parents or guardian; or leased to or rented by the child’s parent, parents or guardian under a lease or written rental agreement of not less than 12 months’ duration’, but it is only the primary regulations that go on to ‘KCC does not provide a timescale by which these investigations will be completed and school places can be withdrawn as late as the end of the first term, even if the child has already started school. Parents will be responsible for finding another school place in the event that their school offer is withdrawn’, an important sanction. However, here are plenty of stronger examples around and I did pass on a suggestion to KCC some years ago, as used in the Berkshire grammars (page six), very similar to that of TWGGS, below, but without effect.

I still hear stories of out of county parents using temporary addresses to secure places especially at oversubscribed grammar schools in West and North West Kent.

Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School

Admission of Pupils to the School Year 7 Admissions: September 2022 (Page eight).

We will accept as a pupil’s address the residential property that is the child’s only or main residence, not an address at which your child may sometimes stay or sleep due to your own domestic arrangements. It will be either:
· owned by the child’s parent, parents or guardian; or
· leased to or rented by the child’s parent, parents or guardian under a lease or written rental/tenancy agreement (minimum 12 months tenancy agreement in the case of rented accommodation/social housing).

If the main address has changed temporarily, for example where a family is renting a property on a Short Term Tenancy Agreement (less than 12 months), then the parental address remains that at which the parent was resident before the period of temporary residence began unless it can be shown that all ties to the previous address have been relinquished, or that the move is not easily reversible. The Governors may refuse to base an allocation on an address which might be considered only a temporary address.

If a family still owns a property which has been the main family home, a property closer to the school will not be accepted as the basis for a legitimate residence qualification even if the former property is leased to a third party, unless it can be shown that all ties to the previous address have been relinquished, or that the move is not easily reversible.

The Governing Body reserves the right to check information given on the application form. Evidence of ownership or rental agreement may be required, plus proof of the child’s permanent residency at the property concerned. If there are reasons for casting doubt on the honesty of an application, the school may require a higher standard of evidence for “residence qualification‟ than that outlined in the KCC booklet ‘Admission to Secondary School in Kent 2021’. If any information given on the form is found to be incorrect, or if you fail to notify us of important changes in the information, the offer of a school place can be withdrawn.



Last modified on Monday, 25 October 2021 23:11

1 comment

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 26 October 2021 09:39 posted by Janet Downs

    A word of warning for parents who use these dishonest tactics. They are sending a message to their children that dishonesty and lying are acceptable to get what you want. This may backfire when the children use similar means.

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