Which school to put first?

(18 Posts)
birdofthenorth Thu 25-Apr-13 14:14:20

Need to apply for DD's primary school place in the next academic year and could use some advice on the likely impact of the order in which we place our preferences.

The schools we are considering are:

1) Our nearest school -seems ok educationally but is on an extremely busy road in a dilapidated building

2) A good school just over a mile away which several of DD's little friends are likely to attend

3) An ok but rapidly improving and very "nice" school 4 miles away which we would be pretty much guaranteed to get into under faith criteria as regular churchgoers -but I would rather not do 16 miles a day in the car unnecessarily, especially as my part-time job and DS's nursery are in the other direction

So...

Should we put School 2, which we are least likely to get into, as our first preference, in the knowledge we are likely to get into school 1 on proximity grounds and school 3 on faith grounds, or would that mean we could miss out on all three of our preferences if we don't get into school 1 and the other two fill up on first preference allocations?

I should mention there are schools in between school 1 and school 2 that I would prefer not to apply to (one has no after school club and one has had several concerning Ofsteds in a row).

Any advice on which schools to put first? Thank you!

Consils Thu 25-Apr-13 14:16:50

My only experience of this is to only put one schoool. We only found this out after getting into a shit secondary.

Suzieismyname Thu 25-Apr-13 14:20:11

Visit the schools to help decide which one you would prefer her to go to.

Unless the buildings are really bad I woukd go for the nearest one, based on the information you've given.

Suzieismyname Thu 25-Apr-13 14:23:16

What is the point in putting one school? If you don't get into that one then you'll be bottom of the list...

janeyjampot Thu 25-Apr-13 14:26:03

Schools don't know where you put them on your list of preferences. If you put a school second, people who put the same school first but don't meet the admission criteria as well as you do will not get a place over your DC if you don't get your first choice.

janeyjampot Thu 25-Apr-13 14:27:14

Definitely don't just put one school - all that means is that you're not given a place there your application will be put to the side and you'll get a place at a school that has places after all the preferences have been allocated.

Suzieismyname Thu 25-Apr-13 14:30:10

Is that how it works,*janey*?
I thought they allocated to all 1st choices before looking at 2nd choices?

birdofthenorth Thu 25-Apr-13 14:30:21

Janey does that therefore mean putting a school she 's less likely to get into first would have no negative impact on the likelihood of getting into our second (or third) choice?

MirandaWest Thu 25-Apr-13 14:30:32

Put the school you want your DD to go to 1st (and one there is a reasonable chance of her getting into if that is possible). If you put one she won't get into first, and lots of other people put one you would have got into first then they may get the place at that school and your DD may end up at a different school (ie one of the ones you don't want).

Putting one school down is a very risky strategy as if you don't get a place there you could be given a place anywhere else which may not be one you'd like

Visit all the schools as well to see what they are actually like.

AuntieStella Thu 25-Apr-13 14:31:26

Don't put only one school!

If you do nt qualify for it, then you will be allocated a place at the nearest undersubscribed school, which you might not like and which could be a very awkward journey.

All LEAS must operate an equal preference system. It doesn't matter what else you have on your form and in which order, and schools are not told about your per preferce or where on the form you are. For each school a list is compiled ranking all applicants according to how well they fit the criteria. The LEA then compares this to your preferences, and allocates you the school for which you qualify and which is highest up your preference list.

So if you really want school 2, put it first. Just make sure you have at least one school you're pretty sure of getting a place at somewhere on the form.

MirandaWest Thu 25-Apr-13 14:32:11

There wouldn't necessarily be a negative impact but if 30 other people put a school as their first choice and get a place, it wouldn't matter that you would have got a place if you put it first. You need to put the one you like best first smile

janeyjampot Thu 25-Apr-13 14:33:40

bird I think that is correct. You should always have one school on your list at which your DC is likely to get a place so that you don't miss out on a convenient place, but otherwise you should put the schools in the order in which you like them. If PAN for your first preference is reached with people who meet the admission criteria more closely than you they will look at your second preference and so on.

Am hoping an expert will be along shortly to offer you concrete advice though smile

tiggytape Thu 25-Apr-13 14:33:43

I thought they allocated to all 1st choices before looking at 2nd choices?

No this is not allowed. By law all LAs have to use equal preference.
There is no way around it - They have no way to choose pupils who put them first.

The school do not even know where you have placed them. They get a list from the council simply telling them the name of every child who has applied. The only details they get are only ones that relate to admission criteria eg:

- 'Child A wants to come and has a sibling so place him in your top priority group'
- 'Child B wants to come and lives nextdoor so place him in your 2nd priority group'
- 'Child C wants to come and lives 8 miles away so stick him in the bottom priority group'

If there was only 1 place left, the school would have to give it to Child A even if (unknown to them) Child A put them as 6th choice and Child B and C put them as first choice and were absolutely desperate to get a place there.

redskyatnight Thu 25-Apr-13 14:36:11

1.Visit the schools and make a more informed decision.
2.Put the schools on your form in the order you would like your DC to go to them

When allocating places, the admissions system does not consider places. So if someone puts a school as first choice, and you put the same school as third choice, your preference number is immaterial – you will be compared using the admissions criteria (which usually consider things like distance and siblings). So if you are closer and both children have no siblings or other preferential factors, you will get in.

tiggytape Thu 25-Apr-13 14:37:36

In your case OP put school number 2 first.

* Each school will know you have applied (but not if they are your first choice or not)

* They look at the criteria for each school (distance, siblings etc) and see which of the schools you've listed you qualify for.

* If you only qualify for 1 school you get allocated it regardless of whether it was your first or last choice

* If you qualify for 2 or more schools, you get allocated the one you said you liked the best (i.e. the highest ranked one on your form) This is because no child is allowed to receive two or more offers.

* If you qualify for none of the ones you list, the council allocates you any school that has a vacancy.

Suzieismyname Thu 25-Apr-13 16:21:06

I don't understand how they can work out if your child 'qualifies' for a place then?

Meglet Thu 25-Apr-13 16:32:37

Putting one school is the very worst thing you can do.

tiggytape Thu 25-Apr-13 16:45:56

Suzie - The council has the name of every person who applied for every school and these names are put on a list for each school.
The people at the top of the list are those that best meet the admission criteria (eg have a sibling).
The people at the bottom of the list are those who meet the criteria less than everyone else (eg live 8 miles away)
The position of a child on these school lists is not affected by whether the parents like the school a lot. Only admission creiteria affects position on the list. As an example:

100 children apply to school A. School A has 30 places.
The 30 children who have a sibling at school A and then those who live closest 'qualify' and are the top 30 on that school's list

100 children apply to school B. School B has 90 places.
The 90 children who have a sibling at school B and then those who live closest 'qualify' and are the top 90 people on that school's list

Some of the children in the "top 30" list for school A will also be on the "top 90" list for school B so they 'qualify' for both.
However they cannot be allowed to get 2 offers.
So the council looks at their form. Did they put school A or school B as the higher choice? If they put school B higher, they get offered school B and their name gets crossed off School A's list so now the child at number 31 on school A's list can be offered a place

And so it goes on over and over again until every child has just 1 offer.

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