Primary school waiting lists. Please could someone help me understand..

(23 Posts)
PatButchersEarring Wed 08-May-13 18:55:49

..so, we got our third 'choice' of school. We have been told that we are number 3 on the waiting list for preference number 1, and have been advised to accept the 3rd offered as back up just in case- which I have done but my daughter will only attend that school when Hell freezes over

We are also preparing to go to appeal for preference number 1. However we were hopeful that as we are high on the waiting list, it may not get to that stage.

But..then I got round to thinking..surely if everyone has been advised to accept the place they were offered, assuming that this school is everyone's first choice that gained a place (which I suspect that it is), surely that waiting list is unlikely to change in our favour?

I am aware of a few people within catchment for the school who will most probably be going private or moving before September, but surely if the stock advice is to accept the place offered, this won't become apparent for quite some time? - therefore, we will still end up at appeal anyway, despite the fact that we probably/possibly would have been offered a place eventually anyway?

Could anyone explain to me how, if everyone is following the advice given of 'accept the place offered' the waiting lists move?..or have I misunderstood how it works? (or worse, misunderstood the advice of accepting the place offered?!)

TIA

PiHigh Wed 08-May-13 19:08:21

People moving out of the area, people going private. Other lists moving so someone who had put that school as their 3rd choice gets into their second choice of school.

PiHigh Wed 08-May-13 19:10:18

Just to clarify, I think maybe your assumption that the school is everyone's first choice (obviously you're more likely to know if everyone in the area would put it as first choice but it's possible that that isn't the case)

PiHigh Wed 08-May-13 19:10:36

is wrong (whoops forgot to finish)

If you accept no place, you might end up with no place in September.

I know children who accepted a place they didn't want, and even started there, then got to the top of the waiting list a fortnight into September and moved to the preferred school.

The waiting list lasts a long time, and people do move house. People might be doing their sums, working out if they can afford private after all. Some private schools' offers only come out after the acceptance/appeal deadlines for state schools, so those parents accept a state place just in case, and give it up later on.

What grounds are your appeal? You're aware that only very few grounds are accepted (and "school we were offered is shit" doesn't count) and that nearly all appeals fail?

LIZS Wed 08-May-13 19:13:13

Also there is a risk that your dd may move down the list such as if an older sibling is admitted for a child moving into the area or living nearer the school.

Dollylucy Wed 08-May-13 19:28:18

It only takes 2 people on your waiting list to move and you're there. They usually get shuffled round a lot
You can't say for certain that it would be everyones 1st choice can you? And some might be going to private school as you say
I'd prepare for the appeal

PatButchersEarring Wed 08-May-13 19:28:47

Horry numerous grounds for appeal- including medical/social reasons (documented and with a Dr's letter etc), plus it will be a PAN appeal as oppose to ICS, so we are quietly confident- but it's another hassle that we could well do without.

DD's 4th birthday isn't until June, so if push came to shove, we could keep her at home for a while.

Pi the LA have told me that it was first choice for 38 applicants, 2nd for 22 and 3rd for 8. That said, I do take your point that (I'm guessing) it is possible that in the waiting list, those 2 people ahead of us may not have chosen the school as 1st choice.

Faxthatpam Wed 08-May-13 19:28:55

You may well not get offered a place til September. IME people hang on to places until the last minute, so some don't come up until the start of term, when people don't show up. It's just the way it works but can mean a horribly long and stressful summer for some!

PatButchersEarring Wed 08-May-13 19:31:41

Thanks Fax , that's kind of what I was meaning.

Whereas I was hoping that a place would become available before we got to the appeal stage, in reality, if everyone's going to be holding on to those places, I guess I need to prepare myself for battle regardless!

Faxthatpam Wed 08-May-13 19:39:39

V true about going down as well as up a list. My DS4 started 2nd choice school in Sept 2012. He was 4th then 6th on list. After Xmas had to apply for an in year transfer to stay on list and he went down to 8th! He's now 3rd so who knows if/when he'll get in? On the upside he is loving his school and no longer wants to move and I have been really pleasantly surprised by it. If he did get a place I would now be in two minds about moving him. Your grounds for appeal sound good so hang on in there. smile

dixiechick1975 Wed 08-May-13 20:19:00

Tell preschool what is happening - you don't want to lose her place if you would prefer to send her there (your dd still qualifies for the 15 hours funding until July 2014) until a place comes free.

PatButchersEarring Wed 08-May-13 21:13:50

Thanks everyone. Good idea dixie, hadn't considered that.

prh47bridge Wed 08-May-13 22:15:54

Even though it was first choice for 38 applicants that doesn't mean all the ones who got in named it as their first choice. You don't get any priority for naming a school as first choice so it is quite possible that some of those with places had it as their second or third choices.

tiggytape Thu 09-May-13 08:53:45

As prh says - the children with offers at the school you want won't necessarily be children who listed that school first. There are 38 who listed it first (including you) but some of those will live slightly too far away to qualify whereas some of the people who listed it 2nd and 3rd will live closer so have qualified for a place even though they'd prefer a different school (which they didn’t qualify for).

The idea is everyone accepts their offer until / unless their circumstances change or they get a better offer. Nobody guarantees this will be a quick process though so you may well get to appeal before that happens.

The upside to the ‘everybody accepts what they’re offered’ advice is that, once one person declines a place a whole cascade of offers is triggered.
Potentially dozens of people get a new offer just from one person moving out of area eg:
A family moving to Australia have accepted their school place 'just in case' the move falls through but the move goes ahead in June so they decline. This creates a vacancy.
Somebody at your first choice school is waiting for this school to have a space, gets offered it and immediately creates a vacancy at your first choice.
This new vacancy at your first choice school goes to the first person on the waiting list who then relinquishes the place at another school they've accepted previously which is then offered to a person who is waiting for it...... and so on.

You only need this to happen 2 or 3 times for huge movement on the lists to occur but it does all take a while to trickle down.

redskyatnight Thu 09-May-13 09:06:03

We have ended up with situations locally where children have places at school A but want school B, and other children have places at school B but want school A. Their parents joke in the playground that they should just swap! But in reality none of them want to give up places as they then have to take their chances with the waiting list - you do think that some internal analysis might free up more places, but of course would be very complicated to work out, so I can see why no one attempts it!

jellysmum77 Thu 09-May-13 11:17:29

Obviously it varies but when roughly can you expect waiting list offers to start happening. I know it will depend on offers being turned down etc but in people's experience how soon would this usually begin?

tiggytape Thu 09-May-13 11:35:24

The first waiting list offers should come very soon as the deadline for people to accept / reject their place has just passed.
A few people are always late replying but generally, the council will soon know if anyone has turned down their offer altogether (eg if they are going private) and start re-offering those spaces.

Then there may be more of a trickle of re-offers over the Summer and beyond as people moving out of the area relinquish their places creating vacancies and a cascade of new offers. As people get a 'better' offer and give up their old one that too creates vacancies and so it goes on.

Obviously with some schools no such movement happens and at others the process is quite lengthy and goes on for many months.

jellysmum77 Thu 09-May-13 11:37:28

Thankyou Tiggy.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Thu 09-May-13 11:48:36

My DD1 was number 7 on the waiting list for a reception place at our first choice school in the first round and got a place in early June. I also know people who got places at massively oversubscribed, supposedly impossible-to-get-into schools (London!) just before term started - there is A LOT of movement, so I would say you are in a good position.

newmummy16 Fri 24-May-13 08:28:26

Sorry if you reading this again but I posted previously on an old thread!

Just found out on continuing interest list I am no.6 for my first choice school and no.7 for my second choice school for reception in September both schools have a 3-form entry 90 pupils in West Watford.
I didn't get any of my 4 choices selected from my 'nearest' schools but I have been allocated a notoriously bad school that has a new 'inspirational' head. I have accepted this place 'just in case'.
Just wondered what my chances were of getting in for September or beyond as both of my choice schools run an after school clubs but the school I've been allocated doesn't allow them to go to the after school club until 5 yrs and I need to go back to work as I'm on my own with no nearby support network. Quite scared actually.
Thanks for your previous reply tiggytape.

newmummy16 Sat 03-Aug-13 10:47:19

It is now August and I'm no.1,no.2,no.6 and no.2 on my lists and just praying for the phone to ring as I didn't get any of my choices on allocation day "sigh" it's been a long fraught journey for me and I'm tired of it all now.

RiversideMum Sat 03-Aug-13 11:39:26

This year just gone, I had a child allocated a place in my reception class who moved during the summer. Nobody let us know, the child just didn't turn up on the first day. Stuff like this does happen. I've had 3 places come up in my class this past year due to house moves. Some years there are no moves. You need to decide if (having started a school, if that's what you end up doing) you will move your child if a place comes up. People tend not to remove themselves from waiting lists, but often they will say no to a move if they think their child is settled. Obviously the further the year goes on, the less likely people are to move their child.

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