To be really confused by the English schooling system (getting into a school an hour away; appealing places etc) and ask for someone to explain it to me?

(50 Posts)
MumfordandDaughter Wed 17-Apr-13 14:18:04

I'm from Scotland and have only just realised how different school applications are here compared to England.

(Not sure how it works in NI or Wales).

Here, you just apply to your local school approx five months before the August they're due to start and you're pretty much guaranteed a place. If there's a lot of pupils, then a new class is formed/new teacher hired. I think there were three primary one classes at my dd's schoola few years ago because of the huge number of new starts.

However, i've noticed that around this time of year, parenting forums and chat shows (Wright stuff etc) is always full of discussions about school admissions and appeals.

I've read somewhere that one mother has just found out her son hasn't gotten into the same school as her daughter. So she has to drop off her children at two different schools each day. How is this allowed?

I've heard another parent say their child has been given a place at a school which is the tenth furthest primary school from them and will take fifty minutes to travel there each day. No school transport is offered. Again, how is this allowed? How is someone supposed to afford that bus fare each day?

Also, is reception just the same as the Scottish primary one? Or is it the same as nursery?

Here, you get into nursery at 3 then start full time school (primary one)the August after your fourth brithday (if you're 4 before Feb of that year).

So where would reception fit in?

Sorry for all the questions! Just something i've always been curious about so thought i'd ask.

TheRealFellatio Wed 17-Apr-13 14:23:58

But if it's your local school (ie. you are in catchment) then you are pretty likely to get a place anyway - aren't you? Unless it's so overscrubscibed with in catchment children that they have to operate a 'who is 10 feet closer to the gate than other people' policy.

What about people in Scotland who don't want their nearest school? What do they do?

I am a bit dubious about the situation of only being offered a school 50
minutes away with no transport provided. Unless it is 50 minutes' walk. I think there is more to that than she is letting on.

MrsBungle Wed 17-Apr-13 14:31:15

I'm Scottish and went to school in Scotland but I live in England and have just been advised as to which school my DD got into to start in Sept.

Reception and Primary One are the same thing.

I don't really know loads about the differences but here you get a choice of where you go (ha, well, on paper you do!) whereas in Scotland you just seem to go to the local school. Scotland is just set up differently. There are far less big cities up there (where I expect the problem of getting into the school you want is more pronounced).

MrsBungle Wed 17-Apr-13 14:32:53

Also in England it is not March-February for intake - it's September to August.

I much prefer the Scottish way in that aspect as it means the kids are at least 4.5 before they go to school rather than maybe just turning 4 the day before.

soundevenfruity Wed 17-Apr-13 14:34:04

So are all schools in Scotland equally good? Do house prices vary depending in which catchment area your house is in? I don't see anything wrong with wanting the best education for your child and will be prepared to take DC to school on a bus if it means a better school. The closest school to us is rubbish and not only because of rubbish results but from conversations with the head teacher etc it is clear they are actually quite happy with the way they teach and general school environment. Obviously they are great, they just got substandard kids.

Loa Wed 17-Apr-13 14:35:26

Reception is the first school year.

Here , England, the DC all start in Sep - at 4 - though by law they don't have to attend till term after firth birthday so other places have staggered starts some not starting till after Christmas.

Getting a place at the school Nursery does not mean the DC will get a place at the school - many parents used different childcare till school age.

Some area have a huge shortage of school places but it's uneven other places parents try and avoid some schools they are in the catchment for as they aren't very good schools.

There is also poor planning - here huge housing estate are built with no new schools and in some cases being in no schools catchment area.

Plus there has been a baby boom in last five years so more DC chasing same number of places.

We may end up having to move into an area with a shortage of school places so could well be offered 3 different schools - school where places exist that the legal minimum that they offer a place somewhere but I think in practice they try and help. You can go on the waiting lists and eventually get them into the same school. I think it considered your problem how you manage that situation.

I think the hours transport is considered the max reasonable distance - only person I knew who had that was because the very low on admission criteria for only school, which had 120 application for 60 places, they put down and refused the place offered at nearer school as the considered it very bad school.

MorrisZapp Wed 17-Apr-13 14:37:35

I'm Scottish too and find the English system baffling. I live in a city and everybody goes to their local primary school, which then feeds into the secondary.

I don't get what year 10 etc mean either. I'm sure I could work it out but up here we have P1, P2 etc then at secondary we have S1, S2 etc.

BreconBeBuggered Wed 17-Apr-13 14:40:26

DS1 went to a Scottish primary, and there was no problem with not sending him to the catchment school. People did think I was a bit odd, though.

KansasCityOctopus Wed 17-Apr-13 14:43:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tabulahrasa Wed 17-Apr-13 14:44:39

'What about people in Scotland who don't want their nearest school? What do they do?'

They apply to a different one and wait to see if there is space or not after the catchment area children's places are allocated.

'So are all schools in Scotland equally good?'
Unless you live in a tiny pocket of wealth or deprivation - then yes schools in an area do tend to be pretty equal.

'Do house prices vary depending in which catchment area your house is in?' Only in a couple of places in cities.

Edinburgh and Glasgow have more out of catchment placing requests and schools that are deemed to be better and worse - outside of that most people do send their children to their local school.

Loa Wed 17-Apr-13 14:45:16

Reception, Yr 1-6 Primary, Year 7-Yr 10 Secondary then Yr 11-12 A levels.

Sometimes due to where catchment boundaries fall - nearest schools is not the one you are in the catchment ie preferred area of.

However for low low birthrate years you could get your older DC in then the birth rate in the catchment rises and it depends on the admissions criteria if you then get subsequent DC in.

Here siblings outside catchment are lower than first born in catchment so a lot of parents get upset when they move out of catchment, for better Secondary, or have always been just outside but get eldest DC in but fail to get younger ones in.

If all the Primary schools were good - would really be less of an issue where we are.

KansasCityOctopus Wed 17-Apr-13 14:46:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Loa Wed 17-Apr-13 14:48:03

Admissions process begins in October 2012 ours began in August 2012 and first set of places just handed out. Appeals will be ongoing for a while.

It's one of the issues - different areas in England have different dates and some still have staggered starts.

diddl Wed 17-Apr-13 14:50:24

Is siblings not going to the same school really such a big deal?

I suppose if you drive them there & that is the only option it might be, but other than that...

TeenAndTween Wed 17-Apr-13 14:52:42

The problem in England seems to be that in some areas (especially some areas of London) some of the schools are very poor, which of course means no one wants them. Plus in some areas there is a shortage of provision.

Additionally, some people foolishly only put highly popular schools on their list, with no sensible local fall-back option, and then get surprised/huffy when allocated a school miles away.

Furthermore some MC Mums seem to think their child is 'too good' for the local school (children from rough areas don't you know) so get huffy when allocated.

Throw into the mix the grammer school areas where people look at results from the non-grammer schools and say they're terrible when in fact they reflect their slightly average lower ability but the good ones still do well.

You therefore get a lot of fuss, some of which is reasonable but alot is unreasonable (in my opinion, leafy area, only comps, no absolute sink schools).

Loa Wed 17-Apr-13 15:02:02

I suppose if you drive them there & that is the only option it might be, but other than that...

Depends on ages, school distances - wouldn't be happy with very young DC, less than 7 years old which would be two of mine currently, having to get about by themselves and DC can be very close to together in age.

If the schools start at same time can mean paying for childcare till you can get to there or trying to be in two places at once.

Do know two sets of twins initially given different schools - by time term came they had places at preferred school.

NynaevesSister Wed 17-Apr-13 15:25:12

People make the mistake of thinking that you get a 'choice' in choosing school. What you actually get is to state your preference for which schools you'd like, in the order you prefer. The council takes that into consideration when allocating places. The school may have a slightly different admission criteria but generally speaking places are offered at primary school on the following basis:

1. SEN, cared for children (ie foster care)
2. Siblings of pupils who will be at the school when the child starts
3. proximity to the school

If it is a faith school then there may be extra criteria in there such as baptised or christened, regular church attendance. Some really over subscribed schools may also specify a parish and/or the date on the baptism certificate (so a child baptised at age 3 months would get a place ahead of a child baptised at age 1 year).

If you state no preference then the council will allocate all those with preferences first, and then start giving out school places to the unallocated children.

If you state preferences but still don't get in then you get allocated (in theory) the nearest empty school place. This will inevitably be at a school no-one wants to go to, so didn't apply for it.

NynaevesSister Wed 17-Apr-13 15:25:57

If anyone wants more information about applying for primary school in England, or about appeals, waiting lists, etc then come over the Education, Primary Education forum.

tiggytape Thu 18-Apr-13 09:05:28

There are parts of England where there are physically fewer school places than there are children.
By 2015 there will be 250,000 too few primary places in England as a whole.

This is due to: higher birth rate, fewer people going private since the recession, families not moving out of London flats since the recession, new housing being built or existing housing being converted to flats creating a very dense population in some areas (13000 per square km in London as opposed to 68 per square km averaged in Scotland).

It isn't people being fussy
It isn't even people avoiding bad schools
It is perfectly possible to live in a road in London that does not qualify you for a single school. You can apply to your closest 6 schools regardless of Ofsted score and not get a place at any because 45 out of 90 places go to siblings and the other 45 places go to people who love 300m or less from each school.

Tee2072 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:12:42

NI is very different. Most importantly? We have no catchments.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 18-Apr-13 09:13:12

Catchment areas ie set physical boundaries are pretty rare. The criteria is generally distance from the school (after SEN, siblings etc). It doesn't matter what the absolute distance is, if more children live closer than you do than there are places, you won't get in, even if your neighbour's child got in the year before.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 18-Apr-13 09:15:04

Mumford, how is the physical space found for the extra primary one class?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 18-Apr-13 09:18:41

Diddl, whether you drive, walk or fly your infant school aged children to school, you can't see an issue with having to get two children to two different schools at the same time?

I understand and sympathise with arguments re sibling outweighing distance but to state that there's no problem unless you drive is something I don't understand,

DadOnIce Thu 18-Apr-13 09:19:02

Doesn't Scotland have any issues over intake/ catchment at all? Not even in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where there will surely be a real difference between the "nayce" and the "not so nayce" areas? Is there not the same unseemly squabbling over a limited number of places, or are the schools in the "bad" areas just not perceived as being "bad" in the same way?

In the English city where I live, there are enough places for all the kids and more. It's just that so many of them are in schools where, as someone says above, middle-class parents don't want to send their children in case they catch the common.

diddl Thu 18-Apr-13 09:25:46

Well obviously it still depends on distance-but less of a problem driving than walking, for example is what I was thinking iyswim.

Admittedly I do only live in a small town (not in UK) & there is no choice of school-you register & are told.

There is an area which one year doesn't always go to the same school & it often means that siblings are split.

But here kids start school at age six & often walk/bike with parents, so it's not really a problem.

I think in UK it's a problem due to stating school so young & not able to get themselves to school.

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