Another question about primary school preferences and catchment

(14 Posts)
ellequick Wed 16-Nov-16 14:54:04

I wonder if anyone could help clarify something for me around primary school preferences? There is a great school quite close to us, for which we are (usually) in the catchment area for. We were going to list this as our #1 choice for our son starting school next year, however, I have now seen another school which I prefer. It has a tiny intake and we are almost certainly out of the catchment area, but I'm very tempted to put it as #1 on the off chance that we get in anyway.

HOWEVER, my husband is dead against the idea because he thinks that putting the good school near us as #2 will lessen our chances of getting into it. I don't think it works that way- but can anyone confirm or deny this for sure? I don't want to put the Dream School as #1 (with very little chance of actually getting in) and then not be offered the Still Really Great school because it wasn't top of our preference list.

NoSuchThingAsThePerfectParent Wed 16-Nov-16 14:55:37

Usually most councils have an advisory office you can discuss this with. I wouldn't like to say how it works in one county, because it could be completely different in another.

Caroian Wed 16-Nov-16 14:58:01

Put the schools in your genuine order of preference. It will not affect your chances at all.

what actually happens is that the schools get the details of everyone who has listed that school as a preference - but not whether it was first, second or third. The school's admission's criteria are then applied to those applicants. If your child meets the criteria for more than one school, you will be offered the one which is highest up your list of preferences. You need to put your favourite school at the top.

Janek Wed 16-Nov-16 14:58:10

Ime each school that you meet the criteria for technically offers you a place, this info goes back to the lea who then offer you a place at the one you out highest, that you got a pkace at. Iyswim. So the school know you applied, but not that they were your second choice.

golfbuggy Wed 16-Nov-16 14:59:11

The order you put it in makes no difference to your chances of getting into a school.
So put the school you like first and catchment school second.

ellequick Wed 16-Nov-16 15:27:02

Thanks very much all, I shall direct my husband to this thread smile

Tomorrowillbeachicken Wed 16-Nov-16 16:07:31

The schools don't see what preference they are. You may be allocated all of your choices but will get the one highest up your preferences as an offer

meditrina Wed 16-Nov-16 16:16:49

"Usually most councils have an advisory office you can discuss this with. I wouldn't like to say how it works in one county, because it could be completely different in another."

No, it can't be different as (in England) councils have to use an 'equal preference' system and it would be a breach of the Admissions Code (which has force of law) to do otherwise.

You need to list your schools in your genuine order of preference.

The admissions authority for the school (could be the school itself if VA or academy, or the LEA for community schools) will rant all applicants according to how well they fit the entrance criteria, and will not be told which slot on the form. The LEA then does something a bit like a giant game of candy crush to turn the lists into a single offer per candidate.

Always include on your form at least one school that as near-as-dammit you can be confident of qualifying for as a (probably final choice) 'banker', on the general grounds that it's better to get a school you're a bit iffy about but at least works logistically rather than not qualifying for any of your preferences and being given the nearest school with a vacancy that is just as iffy and 30 mins in the wrong direction.

Lndnmummy Wed 16-Nov-16 19:31:33

We did this last year and put our out of reach dream school as first choice- and got in!

Blu Wed 16-Nov-16 20:05:00

OP, Meditrina is right. The 'Equal Preference' system is law across all English LAs

As she says, the schools rank all applicants, whether they listed the school last or first, according to how they meet the published admissions criteria. They then tell the LA who they can offer places to.

This is the point at which your order becomes important. Just suppose your local excellent school AND your dream 'long shot' school can both offer you a place. The LA would only make you ONE offer, and it would be the school that was highest up your list.

So if you put Dream School in second place, and if your local school offers you a place, they would give you local school, and you would never even know Dream School could have had a place for you.

If Dream School can't make you an offer, but local school can, you will get local school.

This is why you must list them in the order you genuinely prefer them.

And include at least one school you are sure you will get a place in. Because if you list all 'long shots' and none can make you an offer you will get whatever place is left, anywhere in the LA, once everyone else's allocations have been made.

Blu Wed 16-Nov-16 20:08:21

And do not listen to Heads and teachers who tell you 'you must put us first to get a place'. They are giving misinformation, and this is very common.

ellequick Thu 17-Nov-16 08:44:48

Thanks so much for all the info here, really helpful. My kind is made up! smile

ellequick Thu 17-Nov-16 08:45:29

Hmm, should have previewed that first.

tiggytape Thu 17-Nov-16 10:54:28

HOWEVER, my husband is dead against the idea because he thinks that putting the good school near us as #2 will lessen our chances of getting into it.
Your husband is definitely wrong (well several decades out of date really - in some areas a generation ago, putting a school second was a risk but that's not the case anymore).

Schools don't know where you placed them
The council treats every school you list as equal
The only reason they ask for a list is in case every school you name is able to offer you a place
Each child can only be made one offer (you don't get multiple offers to mull over as also used to happen in some areas long ago)
You get offered the school you said you liked best out of all the ones you meet the criteria for.

If you list dream school 1st and local school 2nd (and if you meet the distance criteria for local school as expected) then you will be offered the local school in the event that you fail to qualify for dream school.

Some people think this sounds wrong. After all it means, you would be offered the local school having listed it 2nd and other people, who listed it 1st, would be rejected. But that is definitely how it works because the system goes by who qualifies most not who likes a school most. The position you list the school is just an admin thing in the event of you qualifying for more than one.

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