Admissions application advice needed

(13 Posts)
tethersend Mon 03-Dec-12 13:41:27

I am in the process of applying for a Sept 2013 reception place for DD, and have a couple of queries if anyone knows the answers?

This year, the borough has introduced catchment areas, using 'nearest alternative school' as the tie-break criteria. This means (as I understand it; happy to be corrected) that in the (likely) event of there being more applicants than places, places are allocated to those for whom there is no nearer alternative school.

Leaving aside the fact that I am now out of catchment for my nearest schools hmm, we don't fancy our nearest in-catchment school much.

My question is this: do I need to put the nearest in-catchment school down as a preference on the application form? Under the old system (no catchments areas, distance a a tie-break criteria) I would have done this in order to ensure that, were our first preferences unable to offer DD a place, she would not be placed at a school miles away. However, under this new 'nearest alternative school' tie-break criteria, is it safe to assume that if none of our preferred schools are able to offer her a place, the borough will place her at our nearest in-catchment school?

We can name six schools, so don't want to put our nearest in catchment school unless we have to, as this would use up a preference IYSWIM.

Hope that makes sense... any experience of this system?

prh47bridge Mon 03-Dec-12 13:56:02

Without knowing which borough is concerned and looking in detail at their admission criteria it is impossible to say exactly how it works. However, I can say with certainty that it is definitely not safe to assume that the borough will place your daughter at your nearest in-catchment school if none of your preferred schools has a place. If you don't get a place at one of your preferred schools you will be offered a place at the nearest school with places available. If all your in-catchment schools are oversubscribed that could still be miles away.

If you would like to name the borough concerned I will explain how it is going to work. Feel free to PM me if you don't want to post it publicly.

tethersend Mon 03-Dec-12 14:14:10

Hello prh smile

It's good old Tower Hamlets.

titchy Mon 03-Dec-12 15:58:12

Doesn't nearest alternative just mean that if child a's nearest alternative is 10 miles away and child b's is 3 miles away child a gets the place.

prh47bridge Mon 03-Dec-12 16:29:26

Hi! I hadn't looked at the username so hadn't realised it was you!

In Tower Hamlets case they have divided the borough into a number of catchment zones, each containing several schools. Their tie-breaker could be clearer. I think they are saying that children within the same catchment zone as the school are separated using the distance to the nearest alternative school in the same catchment zone. The child living furthest from the alternative school gets the place. However, if both children are from outside the school's catchment zone the child closest to the school gets the place.

I suspect they haven't thought this through properly. In some circumstances this means the child living furthest from the preferred school will get the place.

tethersend Mon 03-Dec-12 23:46:10

Thanks for replies.

I think I have a handle on how the nearest alternative school tie breaker works, but I can't work out how this affects our school choices if we want to make sure our DD is not placed in a school we hate on the other side of the catchment. Does that make sense?

I don't want to waste a choice on the nearest in-catchment school, but I will put it down if it ensures that the above scenario doesn't happen.

I just wonder if, in the event of her not getting a place at any of our six preferences the LEA would place her at her nearest school due to the tie-break criteria? Or would it not apply as a tie break criteria at all as we have not listed the school as a preference?

I think I need a lie down.

prh47bridge Tue 04-Dec-12 10:59:47

The tie breaker has no bearing on what school will be allocated if you don't get one of your preferences. That will always be the nearest school with places available.

If you do not name your nearest school everyone who names it as one of their preferences has priority over you. The tie break criteria do not, under any circumstances, give someone who hasn't named a school as one of their preferences priority over someone who has. If you don't get one of your preferences the only way you will get into your local school is if they still have places left after dealing with those who named it as a preference.

If you do not list your nearest in-catchment school it is possible you could end up with a place in a school you hate on the other side of catchment or even in a different catchment zone.

PickledGerkin Tue 04-Dec-12 15:43:30

prh can I ask a similar question please? We come under Leeds Education, we have moved house within the last few years, my son and his best mate (I'll call him Fred) attend the same Primary school which is outstanding. They have been best mates since reception.

Due to the move my son's closest Secondary school is now A and Fred's nearest Secondary school is B. We don't have "catchments" per se.

Fred has suffered from bullying on and off since reception and is now in year 5. His Mum has mentioned him attending a different school than his peers purely to give him a fresh start.

Our first choice will therefore be school A, which is our closest and outstanding, and she wants to put school A also.

She fears that if she puts her nearest school as her second choice and it becomes over-subscribed with people putting it as their first choice she will lose out on him attending his nearest school. Meaning her son will end up with his 3rd choice. Is this correct?

Thanks.

titchy Tue 04-Dec-12 17:19:15

No. Where you put th

titchy Tue 04-Dec-12 17:21:31

Oops! Each school is given equal preference irrespective of which order it appears on your form. You are assessed for each school you apply for, and only if able to be offered more than one does your preference come into play and you are then offered your highest preference out of the ones that can offer you a place.

PickledGerkin Tue 04-Dec-12 18:12:19

Thanks for that, Leeds website link doesn't work which is the reason I am asking here.

Sometimes both schools A and B are over-subscribed due to their locations. She is worried that her son will end up miles away and on his own.

So is it worth her taking the chance of applying to school A?

If she put school B as her 1st choice she knows she will definitely get him in, but she wants school A as it has a very involved head teacher. He has a no nonsense bullying policy and discipline is much more strict.

mummytime Wed 05-Dec-12 09:48:29

Equal preference is the system for all of the UK.

So if she puts A down she has a chance of getting A, and how much depends on the criteria used. If she then puts B down, she will be allocated/not allocated a place, purely on the admissions criteria. If she qualifies for both A and B, she will be offered A, and the B place will "go back into the system and be offered to the next person to qualify" etc.
If she doesn't qualify for A and she does for B she will get offered B.

The change to equal preference was to stop schools being able to differentiate by their placing on the list; and it enables everyone to put down the schools they want in the right order, rather than trying to double guess the system. Well except when you cometo last choice, which often is the least worse choice eg. in my case a school I don't want rather than the school 2 towns away that I don't want.

brendanmcs Thu 13-Jun-13 11:52:04

Nearest alternative school can be defined in multiple ways - most commonly it is the nearest alternative school with places available but in Tower Hamlets this has been defined in practice as the nearest geographical school regardless whether there are places available or not. In effect often not a real alternative. The policy for 2014/15 has been changed.

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