Any tips on what to write on school application form that might help swing it?

(15 Posts)
OnEdge Wed 03-Nov-10 23:45:00

I am just about to apply for our DD to attend a Primary school. It is very popular, and not our nearest. She has attended their pre school since she was 2, other than that, I don't know what might help.

Any suggestions?

Concordia Wed 03-Nov-10 23:47:16

read the admissions policy and look at the criteria. that's all they will go on. it's probably distance, your nearest school or some combination of and siblings. if she has any special needds that would be best met at that school you should get a letter from a doctor or whatever. is it a church school?

Concordia Wed 03-Nov-10 23:47:55

unfortunately the pre-school thing doesn't seem to be in the criteria around here.

UnquietDad Wed 03-Nov-10 23:50:39

Opinions vary as to whether, for state primary applications, they actually read the accompanying statements.

There is a prevailing view that Local Authorities don't have time to do this, that they go entirely on the hierarchy of criteria (in our LA this goes Special Needs, Catchment, Distance), and that the provision for a written personal statement is just to make the parents feel better.

OnEdge Wed 03-Nov-10 23:52:38

I see. hmmm just have to cross fingers then. Good plan to read the admissions policy.

prh47bridge Thu 04-Nov-10 00:17:43

Admissions are decided entirely by the admission criteria for the school. Most have a category for special medical and social needs. If you have evidence that would put your daughter in that category you should certainly put that down and provide any supporting letters you can, e.g. from your doctor.

If you don't have anything to put your daughter into a higher admissions category it really doesn't matter what (if anything) you put on the form. Even if the LA reads it they aren't allowed to take it into account as part of the admissions process.

we cited childcare as a main reason for our choice of school wink
on the advice of an 'insider' in the desired school...

pinkjello Thu 04-Nov-10 00:31:02

Unless you outline anything in your statement which is covered by the admission criteia, then it will be discounted. It will go something like;

-SEN/looked after children
-Catchment
-Siblings

Sometimes siblings come before catchment.

The pre-school thing is irrelevant, as is your feel for the school, your DD's friendship groups. None of that will be taken into account.

tabouleh Thu 04-Nov-10 00:42:37

MrsShrek - can you elaborate further - what year was this.

Childcare reasons are not part of admissions criteria.

cory Thu 04-Nov-10 07:46:11

If it is a state school, then I would disregard the advice of any "insider" in the school: they don't actully get to deal with admissions at all, the LEA does that.

shongololo Thu 04-Nov-10 07:53:04

Is the school a church school....if so are they a voluntary aided or a voluntary controlled school.....the former make up their own admissions criteria and are more likely to be swayed by other criteria than a VC school, where the admissions are handled by the LEA.

The only useful bit of a personal statement is when you go to appeal. That is when it may be read. I too doubt that the LEA will take anything about childcare/friends etc into account.

mummytime Thu 04-Nov-10 07:57:19

Church schools have to apply the admission criteria (and its usually done via the LEA). However they might be more flexible when it comes to appeal, as long as it isn't Infant Class size.

prh47bridge Thu 04-Nov-10 09:49:06

Church schools may have their own admission criteria which include things like church attendance. However, they are bound by the Admissions Code just as much as the LA schools, so they are not allowed to take into account anything other than the factors mentioned in their admission criteria. They are also required to set criteria that are clear and objective.

Many church schools use appeal panels supplied by the LA so they are generally no more flexible on appeals than LA schools. Some (usually the ones that supply their own appeal panels) are distinctly less flexible at appeals! I don't know if there are any figures but overall I would doubt that there are any significant differences between church schools and other schools in terms of appeal outcomes. Of course, most primary schools now have their admission number set so that any appeal will be Infant Class Size, which means most appeals will fail.

I agree with Cory that advice from "insiders" should be disregarded. Even head teachers are guilty of giving bad advice on admissions. No-one at an LA school has any involvement with the admissions process at all and my own experience suggests that most teachers and admin staff at schools do not understand how admissions work. Schools that are their own admission authority (most church schools, foundation schools, academies, etc.) have some involvement in that they are required to place the applicants in order according to their admission criteria, but the bulk of the work is still carried out by the LA.

I would be amazed if MrsShrek got any priority by stating childcare as the reason for her choice of school, assuming it happened in the last few years. If she did I would encourage other parents applying for that school to appeal! As Cory says, childcare is not part of any admissions criteria. Childcare doesn't even make a good argument for appeal. The same is true of friends, transport difficulties, etc.

The Admissions Code is clear that admission criteria must be clear and objective. There is no room in the admissions process for subjective judgements as to who is more deserving based on the reasons given by parents.

If you look at the information provided by your LA, you will find the admission criteria laid out clearly. They will be entirely objective based on things like looked after children, special medical or social needs, siblings and distance. That is what is used to determine who gets admitted to each school. The only subjective judgement that has to be made is when parents argue special medical or social needs, in which case the authority must decide if the argument is justified.

So, as someone who, for my sins, knows a lot about school admissions, I stand by my original advice that unless you are giving evidence that would put your child into a higher admission category you might as well leave the reasons blank. It makes absolutely no difference to your child's chances of getting admitted.

prh47bridge Thu 04-Nov-10 09:50:18

Sorry - credited the comment that childcare is not part of any admissions criteria to Cory. That should, of course, have been Tabouleh. My apologies to both.

admission Thu 04-Nov-10 10:01:24

As a chair of school admission appeal panels I would just agree with PRH. In certain very limited circumstances, like a medical condition, giving more information may well be an advantage in your application, outside of that it is down to the admission criteria being used.

It would be wrong to assume that some schools have not in the past bent the system but this is now very rare. So whilst stories will always be told about how and why pupils were admitted they should be disregarded by parents as you cannot rely on them for admission to a school.

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