Primary school application angst - support thread?(127 Posts)
So I'm lying here attempting to have an early night as can hardly sleep for worrying about our primary school application for DS1. But of course I can't sleep. Again
We live in a borough of south London where small children seem to outnumber adults about 20 to 1. Found out last year that we might no longer live close enough to our closest primary school - a 3 form entry approx 580 metres away. All other schools are a drive away. It's going on our list as number 1 but looking unlikely.
DH is one of those lucky people who can tell himself "you have no control over this, worrying won't achieve anything, so don't worry and see what happens". I am not one of those people; am self-confessed control freak and struggling with the basic concept of my PFB starting school in Sept at all, let alone which school it might be!
April seems a long way away, especially if I don't sleep between now and then, and so I wondered if there are any other insomniac mums out there with kids (supposedly) starting primary in Sept 2013 who might like to join me in a virtual or ??? DH is sick of my constant anxiety!!!
Checking in. I wonder if I am in the same Borough as you Loazario, it sounds rather similar numbers wise.
I've just done my final submission this afternoon. This is for my youngest DD, but I have had three DC go through primary in this borough, although the set up was rather less stressful then (they are now 19, 18 and 16).
I've bitten the bullet and put a new free school as my first option, and another one as my fourth. As I no longer live on the chimney stack of what is probably the hardest school to get into around here, I suspect I will hear the snorts of derision when they read my application at the Council offices
Sorry, Lozario; Just seen I spelled your name wrong.
I'm in the same position and very stressed about it
Checking in, although I'm a bit of a fraud. Have applied to our nearest school which is always undersubscribed so am pretty much guaranteed a place there. Still feeling anxious that I've made the wrong choice and should have put our second closest (ofsted outstanding) as 1st choice instead. It's so hard to know what is the best thing to do although I know I'm lucky to actually have the choice.
It's awful isn't it and the catchment areas keep shrinking - am trying to tell myself they have to stop shrinking at some stage, otherwise 90 kids would live next door to the school!? I actually don't know if we're in with a chance for any on our list.
Let me top you all up
I have my choices in an order, but tbh I would not be disappointed with any of them. I am very lucky that my 6 nearest schools are good (2) or outstanding (2), with the remaining two being new schools. One of the new ones is attached to a very (the only very IMO) good secondary.
greensnail it's not just about catchment woes so don't feel a fraud! The choice order is hard, I know people who are basically tossing a coin between 1 and 2 as they can't decide. All we want really was a reasonable school within walking distance. Sounds easy doesn't it...
frank we are definitely in same borough I think - that new all-through school is on our list too! Nothing to judge it on obv but imagine not having to go through all this again when the DC are 11?!
When my older three went to their primary school (think Northcote area), the catchment was about 800m. I'm pretty sure it's now down to about 200 at a push. The benefit of the school being so popular in the late nineties is that the one a few blocks down then shot up in results etc and, I think, now outperforms the other. I may be wrong there, but it's bloody close.
Ha! I knew we were. I've also put her down for the new one just round the corner from Argos/Tesco petrol station. It's got the go ahead and will be in the old youth court.
When we went on open days, people who lived MILES away came to check out the popular schools. People asked the Head where the catchment line was measured from; he said a tree in the playground. One woman asked WHICH TREE. I think everyone then went home and on to google maps and got depressed.
Sounds hideous, it's terrible that people aren't able to get their children into a decent local school.
Am really lucky with ours, just need to remind myself to ignore the bad reputation based on what the school was like 10 years ago and remember all the reasons we chose it over the naice school down the hill.
Oh my goodness that is bloody ridiculous.
I'm stressing too. Can I join?
I put our application in about 10 days ago and did not put catchment school in top 4. This is the biggest decision I am making so far regarding ds's future but i still dont kbow what is the right decision. I can't believe I have to wait until April. I'm going to be a nervous wreck too. PFB as you can probably tell
I've filled in the form, but am looking round another school next week so will press the button once I've seen it.
Our nearest school is a CofE and we don't have a hope as we're atheists, next nearest is my second choice and I'm hoping we are close enough (just inside furthest distance last year) as it's my non-dead cert 'dead-cert'. It's got an Outstanding OFSTED and I've heard lots of good things, but have been to look round twice and wasn't that keen (no idea why, just a general meh).
My first choice, we are not within the furthest distance by quite a stretch, but they do have high mobility plus I hear they are taking a bulge reception class this year, so I'm hoping to get a waiting list place - although will likely be after term starts in September.
My anxiety will be waiting for that - and hoping a place comes up early on so she's not swapping schools mid-way through the year.
Pyrrah I expect we'll go on the waiting list too for number 1 choice. The thought of the worry going on for most of 2013 is a worry in itself isn't it.
A tree in the playground!
I would be very surprised if any catchment or distance was measured from a tree but then again, admission appeals continue to amaze me with new quirks that come out every year in admission criteria or reasons for needing a specific school from parents.
<Settles down for an early >
Checking in - we submitted ours at 8pm on NYE after a fraught few weeks. We are in the process of moving house and have just completed in time.
We have taken the risk of going for the slightly out of catchment as choice 1 and catchment as choice 2. (Although choice 1 is actually nearer to our house than the catchment school )
We then put down our old catchment which we know really well as choice 3 with two other randoms as choices 4 and 5. We wanted to make sure we had a decent school by putting all five choices down.
I think we prob wont get choice 1 but both felt that we had to do it as we would have always thought 'what if'. We really want choices 1 or 2 but would be happy with choices 3-5
We live in a really good schools borough of the NW so are in the fortunate position of being spoilt for choice.
I still wont sleep until April though
That is 'the' North West of the country - and not NW London! <wishes we were that rich!>
oooh me! me! I can't stop thinking about it even though I did the application in November. I've put 4 schools down and keep thinking I should put a fifth but there isn't a fifth that I like or is close enough
I am in Greater Manchester by the way
Can I join you?!?!
I'm so nervous!
Local catchment school is having to up it's intake to 60 to try and accomodate all the kiddies! Fingers crossed for my DD - I really want our local school!
Fairydust that is my area too, our council is the same name as the famous football ground so if that is your vicinity you should be fine as all the schools in that area are fab.
oo that is good news (hopefully) twinkle FX
Martha, no, other side in Saddleworth
Is anyone thinking of any alternatives just in case? Home schooling/ private? We're considering both if we don't get any schools on our list, although we'd struggle to afford private and it would definitely call time on our potential plan to have a third baby. So I should probably stop watching One Born Every Minute.
Ridiculous question, but do preferences even count? We're in north london and preference is the fifth criteria, with distance the fourth. So, if I put down the really popular school, which we absolutely won't get into, what would happen with the school at the end of the road that we should get into based on distance? Presumably, they allocate on distance first, then preference, so it makes no odds which you put first?
Genuine question, I genuinely don't understand!
They take the preference into account if you are able to be allocated more than one place based on the other criteria. So if you are eligible for a place at both your first and second choice schools then they'll offer you a place at your first preference school.
Can I join?
I live in Tower Hamlets which has just introduced catchment areas, putting me out of catchment for my two nearest schools. Have put down the in catchment school which DD currently attends (nursery) but have no way of knowing if we'll get a place as the tie-breaker is now 'nearest alternative school'
Can someone in London tell me about the online application? I have filled it all in and done everything, but is there a 'submit' option, or does it just process the information you have entered without you having to finalise it?
Schools are not told where they rank in your choices- they allocate places according to the admissions criteria (usually SEN/Looked After Children/Siblings/Distance), and they alter accordingly when the LEA sorts the places in preference order IYSWIM.
This is to prevent them from allocating places to those who have put the school as a first preference.
My oldest child is in Y4 at a great school but we live in a very fertile south London borough and, when it came to getting a school place in reception, we didn't get a single offer (despite living about 500m away from the nearest primary). The reason I am telling you this is not to scare you all but to say that things do work out.
We had a very stressful couple of months trying to find her a school within the borough (with very little support from the LA) and, shortly before the reception year started, she was offered a place at the nearest (not very good) school that we had put on the application form. The upshot was that we were very unhappy with the quality of teaching there and the general set up but, after a couple of years, a place came up at the brilliant school she now attends and which she is very, very happy at. The school is extremely over-subscribed but not only were we offered a place there but also at a neighbouring equally popular school a couple of days later. We live about 1000-1200m from both so miles away in terms of their reception intake.
I'm not saying that those first two years weren't difficult but, especially in London at multiple-form entry schools, places do come up, it is worth just taking some deep breaths and the long view. I will never forget the misery of receiving the LA email saying that she hadn't got into any school - not helped by the fact I was 8.5 months pregnant - but we managed to get her in somewhere and going there (a) has not adversely effected her at all (b) has made me think very carefully about what to look for in secondary schools/spot things that I feel aren't up to scratch in other schools.
So please don't lose sleep about these things. Even if you don't get the school of your choice, things can work out long term and, as the OP's husband pointed out, there's not a lot you can do in the meantime. Good luck with your applications.
fufulina - Preference is not an admission criteria. There are no circumstances in which you get priority for a school because you named it as a higher preference than someone else.
As greensnail says, preferences come into play if your child gets a place at more than one of your preferred schools. If that happens you will be offered the highest preference with a place available.
Thanks for the replies. So why would people apply to heavily oversubscribed schools when they know they're not in cathchment? And if, for instance, I put down my third nearest school, which is very popular, would it affect my chances of getting a place at the nearest school?
We have just changed ours, decided to go for the safe bet catchment as choice 1. It is a really good school
and-i would like some sleep over the next three months!
It has a 90 intake. I think i would prefer him to be in a bigger school so he can make more friends. I also heard from two people this morning that the school we were going to go for as choice 1 has an excellent G&T record but they are a bit meh about anyone falling outside of G&T. Also our 'new' choice 1 have adopted some farm animals and visit our local allotment! All of this is sooo up DS's street
There i feel all relaxed now - although i still may go for an early
lalalonglegs that is a really interesting story, so glad it all worked out for you. i had concerns if we had to move DS school but DH said he did it and it was fine, and it has worked to your benefit too
lozario we could probably afford the local independent school if DS doesnt get into any of the five schools. We may consider it if he doesnt get into choices 1 or 2 although like you that would shelve our plans for potential DC2 (which hasnt happened over the last two years anyway!)
oo fairydust i dont know that area too well, but my colleague is a born and bred Saddleworth gal and is one of the loveliest most intelligent peeps i know so she must have done well wherever she went!!
fufulina - People apply to such schools because it is their ideal school. They may strike it lucky and get a place. Their list of preferences should, however, include at least one school where they have a good chance of getting a place.
Putting other schools ahead of your local school on your list of preferences will not damage your chances of getting a place there, although you will only be offered that place if none of your higher preferences come up. However, if you don't name your local school at all you are taking a risk as anyone who has named the school as a preference will be ahead of you in the queue.
You should use all your preferences, name schools in your genuine order of preference and include at least one school where you are almost certain to get a place.
Thank you prh47 that is very helpful!
Lala, I seriously think you're in the same borough as me and suspect I know which school you're talking about too. If so, my three (now late teens) big ones went there, DD2 starting mid way through Easter term and other two following in the September.
I've got both those schools down for DD3 at 2nd and 3rd choices, though tbh like you say, I'm not that fussed about skipping to a new school mid term if a place comes up.
Tethers, on our online forms there's a submit button at the end of the completed form. Also we can change options as many times as wanted before the deadline.
OP - yes I've got her on waiting lists for BH (Garrard's) and Thomas's as well. Also on the waiting waiting list for Hornsby. But I would be staggered if I don't get one of my 6 choices, and will be happy with any really.
Frank - I've just re-read your post. Yep, same schools - although the catchment area is greater than 200m, I think it is about 400m at the one my children attend (B). I got nobbled into showing parents around for the open days this year and felt a total fraud as I took them into the IT suite, art room, blethered on about the marvellous PE teaching and wonderful range of after-school clubs which will never be available to the vast majority of their children (at least not for a couple of years if they are prepared to wait it out.
Lala - I thought so! I was stabbing in the dark somewhat with my 200m, though I knew it had shrunk considerably since my three were at H. B is my second choice actually, I know a fair few people there and I prefer that they wear uniform too.
I've not been to any open days as I know the schools well and enough to know they haven't actually changed all that dramatically since mine were at primary in the late 90s/early 00s. I'd be interested to know, if you're happy to say, which school your DD was at first. Just seen she's Year 4 now, so pretty sure you'll know chums of mine! Small old world.
Frank Actually I think we're in adjacent boroughs - both must have new all-through schools. We are east of you
Lala I love your name - it's what we call DD!! (Not her actual name, just similar!) Good to hear your story too. I know DH is right in that we can't achieve anything by panicking at this point but I do feel he hasn't got a handle on the reality of the situation - we seriously might not get anywhere in April (or at least nowhere we'd be happy with) and I don't want him to be in a state of shock! It's worth reminding myself though that kids are adaptable aren't they, if he changes schools in the first year it wouldn't potentially be a disaster.
My OH was chatting to our doctor who said he'd heard from another parent advice from a teacher at the really over-subscribed school near us: "Rent a house nearer to the school". A TEACHER said that??!! I'm sure it happens too, we've heard anecdotes of families renting for a year and then moving back to the family home once they have a place where they want.
OH yes and DH says we should give up the booze for January!!! How will I cope with the school stress?! I think I'll have to have a secret guzzle whilst the kids eat tea before he gets home!!
Lozario I am fairly sure that wouldn't entirely work - or wouldn't be legal. You could lose your place. Maybe it varies from LA to LA, but I did think it was across England that you have to apply to the school from the postcode of the property you own if it is considered a main residence. So if the property you own is the same size or of similar proportions or bigger to the one you rent, they will consider the property you own as your main residence.
Admissions or PH47bridge can better clarify on that. I don't think it is as easy to 'rent' in the area as people seem to think.
Probably the worse people to get advice from on admissions are the school staff and the head teacher. They seem to work on the basis of their best guess rather than working from facts.
Giving that kind of advice can have serious consequences because of various bits in the admission code (plus a good few legal cases) which can give rise to unintended consequences. So if an individual member of staff effectively says to a parent they will be offered a place at the school then at appeal and assuming that the parent can prove it was said (get it in writing!) then the likelyhood is that they will get a place on appeal. This is definitely a problem with both head teachers and with people in the school office.
The other thing they should not be doing is offering advice or support to individual parents as this would be construed as being seen to favour that family over other families. So letters written by head teachers in support of a pupil are definitely frowned upon. You can imagine how popular the head teacher is within the Local Authority when the Local Authority come to appeal to say that the school is full and cannot possibly take any more pupils because ....... and then find out the parent has a letter from the head teacher saying they support their appeal for a place!
There are quite a few strings of messages about renting for the sole purpose of getting a school place. The best advice is do not do it because LAs are now very wise to people doing this and most of the time they will be found out and lose the school place. And this can happen after the pupil has started at the school. That is not to say that anybody who is genuinely renting accommodation as their primary residence should have anything to fear, it is those who have a primary residence and are renting to gain an advantage who will sufer the consequences of the deception.
I'm another stressed-out mum applying in a North London borough. Many of the schools near us are very poor, so the better ones are oversubscribed.
I think I understand the application process, but would be grateful if anyone could confirm its as I think (as DH disagreed with me). We have 3 schools to apply to:
A - fab but we're unlikely to get in,
B - less good than A or C but is a primary - we're unlikely to get in but we're closer than we are to A, so are more likely to get in on a waiting list,
C - fab, possibly better than A, and we'll probably (hopefully and crossing fingers etc) get in, but its only an infants and there's no attached juniors, so we'd have to go through this again in 3 years...
I want to apply:
but... are we less likely to get C than if we'd put it as our 1st preference school?
(I think it doesn't make a difference, DH thinks we're less likely to get C than if we put it as 1st choice.)
If it makes any difference, A and C are in the adjacent borough and B is in our home borough.
I should have said - the reason for putting A and B higher than C is so that we'd stay on their waiting lists, so if a place came up before Y2 we could move...
... although I am worried about the long term traumatising effects of moving DC mid-year.
My understanding is that you would only NOT get into C if there were spaces available at A or B. If there aren't but there is a place for your child at C using the school's usual admissions criteria, you will be offered a place there. If you are offered a place at any of the schools, you can go on the waiting list for others regardless of whether you applied for the.In the first place. So if you get into C but stay on waiting list for A, B and D, E, F... you may have a place sorted out before junior school starts.
leeloo1 - Putting C as your third preference does not damage your chances of getting into that school. It simply means that if there is a place for your child at, say, A and C you will be offered the place at A. If you put C as your first choice you will only be offered a place at A or B if there are is no place available for your child at C.
Another stressed one here too!
prh47 - hello! I remember you from similar threads last year. Thank you so much for coming on to explain this stuff to us newbies.
Right, my questions:
1. We have lots of CofE church schools near us and have applied to some on the back of attending another not-CofE church. Those schools have their admissions criteria and you have to fill in separate additional forms. How do those schools select who they take? Do they provide a list of those children who have filled in those forms, and where they fall in the admissions criteria? Or does the borough give the school a list of names which the school then cross-checks who they want to accept?
2. We have an option to explain why we've chosen each of the schools on our form. Who reads that? The admissions staff? The school?
3. Finally, will the admissions staff be based in the borough or do some boroughs outsource this work?
[feels a bit like being on a web chat!]
Ah perfect, thank goodness for that. Thanks so much for your help lala and prh47.
1. Assuming these are VA schools, the LA (borough council) sends a list of applicants to the school along with any information from the common application form (CAF) the school needs. There is some information on the CAF they are not allowed to share with the school, e.g. what other preferences have been named, where the school is on the list of preferences. The school then checks it has supplementary forms for all applicants then puts them into order according to their admission criteria. They send this ordered list back to the LA who determine who will be offered places. Those at the top of the list will be offered places unless they also qualify for a place at one of their higher preferences.
2. The CAF has to allow you to explain why you've chosen the schools but it is of no value. The admission team should check anything you write to see if it gives evidence that moves you into a higher admission category but there is probably somewhere else on the form for that anyway. You might as well leave it blank.
3. I believe most LAs do the work themselves but there may be some that outsource. It shouldn't affect the outcome.
prh47 many thanks for that. The VA school set up sounds sensible.
DH figured that we had nothing to lose, so wrote a bit of an essay on the schools. Someone should have a giggle over it!
The outsourcing question is more because we are in London where it is usually easier to go north-south than east-west, so a school could be easier to get to even though it is further away. But offers we given on distance only - although I understand why.
Can I join the stressing/trauma/sleepless nights / over reliance on alcohol please?!?
We are in a very odd situation (which will no doubt out me). Our two local catchment schools are oversubscribed and we are very unlikely to get into either. A local outstanding secondary academy has agreed with the LA to run a new primary literally on our doorstep, to supposedly open for the 2013 intake. However it still needs planning permissions, secretary of state approval etc etc and we cannot choose it as an option in our admission forms. We are therefore left with the two catchment schools, let's call them A which we definately will not get into, B which we have a slim chance of getting into but very slim as large intake of siblings due and then well, nothing, as all our other local good schools are all oversubscribed too. Past years have seen children in the village diverted to poorer schools 5m+ away.
LA is hoping that there will be a secondary admissions process later in the year for parents wanted to choose the new primary as and when it is secure enough to offer places for the 2013 intake. Sounds like an admin nightmare to me!
And notwithstanding all of this we still have to submit forms and "choose" (in the loosest sense of the word) schools
I get that horrible sick feeling in my tummy just thinking about it
Good luck to everyone, it's a horrible process for so many.
itspardon what a nightmare! So when are they doing the second application process? Sounds like the new school, if it gets the go ahead, would sweep up the people who don't get into A or B? What would your first choice be if the new primary was included in the initial decision?
DH and I have had a bottle of wine. He was easily persuaded!!!
Yep, I've had wine, and am polishing off the left over Christmas cheese and crackers!
They haven't said for sure when the secondary application process will be. They are hoping that it will run before the decisions are made and sent out in April and that they can somehow combine the two. But they are now sure of this and have said that we may end up going through two application processes and having (potentially) an offer from both which we will then have to choose from.
Yes I definately think that the new school will be a mop up for those who don't get into a and b and because our village is equidistance from the two it should, in practice, mean that it is a local school with local children. However there are a number of local parents who will not consider it all as they don't want their children to be 'guinea pigs'. I was unsure about it but am more confident now the provider has been chosen as the local academy school as they have an excellent reputation (albeit no primary experience). So the short answer to your question (!) is that yes, if it was an option, I would choose the new school (and then spend months worrying about that decision!)
My DH is very much like yours and of the "why worry you cant do much about it" school of thought. I am however a control freak and hate this
That is pretty much why I started this thread - compared to DH I felt like I was actually going mad. Now I am starting to feel a little more assured that I won't be sectioned any time soon!
although DH might book me in for rehab
I'm sure new primaries starting in the vicinity of good established primaries can only have things to prove, especially as those starting them have good reputations to protect. They'll throw everything at it.
By "things to prove" I mean I think they'll work really hard to be a viable alternative to strong neighbouring schools, just wanted to clarify!
Itspardonnotwhat, it is actually a nightmare all round, the situation that you have. Apart from the parents concerns, there is the concern that a late decision to get this new school up and running will actually cause major turbulence in other schools in terms of low admission numbers, after they have organised staffing levels for September. Based on a similar situation locally a couple of years ago, the chances are that the new school will be massively over subscribed and be a source of problems for a considerable time.
There is also the concern by the secondary school that this could be delayed and fall flat on its face for 2013, causing embarrassment and damage to the secondary school and cause a major headache for the LA around finding places for all the applications. I would be really concerned if there are still short of planning permission, presumably for work on buildings to make it fit for primary school kids. If that is not available now, will they realistically have them in place for September?
Well I spent yesterday afternoon stressing so last night I researched every single localish school and added two more. So I have put six now, just need to visit the last two next week and finalise the order of the last three
fairydust is it easy to amend once you've submitted the form? I might have to add a docs note for DS's wheezing but the doctor still hasn't done it and I'm stressing about getting the form in, so might do form this weekend and then add GP letter if and when we get it.
Lozario - I agree, I think that they will very much want this to work and be as strong, if not stronger, than the other local primaries. And a healthy element of competition is never a bad thing! Re your forms I think they re pretty easy to amend online before the deadline but not sure about once paper copies have been submitted. I can't see why if the additional info was provided in time it should be a problem but my concern would be ensuring that it was all matched up on receipt.....
Admission - interesting points, thank you. From the number crunching I have seen I don't think low admission numbers will be a problem for the other local schools at least initially as we are around 30 places short in the area anyway so the school should, theoretically, house those children. The existing primaries don't have space to expand so no chance of bulge classes and the associated additional resources. The planning permission is a huge stumbling block in my opinion. However the site has been identified, it is LA land so no issues around purchase etc, and building designs have been shared. It's a kind of flat pack ikea jobby but looks surprisingly good. The application was supposed to have been submitted by the end of the year with building work starting in March. The other major permission to be granted is secretary of state approval to vary the academy's current status but I'm assuming as academies are "fashionable", for want of a better word, then this won't be an issue. Only slightly unusual thing about it is that the primary is on a different site to the secondary and a good couple of miles apart.
Does anyone know if there is a way of calculating the distance from the school to your address in the same way the LA do, ie. in a straight line? On Google maps it does it via the road.
Google Maps will do it for you. Click on the Map Labs link near the bottom of the page and enable the distance measurement tool. A ruler icon will appear near the bottom left hand corner of the map. Click on this and then click on the two points you want to measure and it will tell you the straight line distance. Note, however, that it will not be as accurate as your LA's measurement.
I have seen some innovative "classrooms" go up in a matter of days, so maybe it is possible but I would have some concerns on the other bits like a hall, a kitchen and office accommodation being as easy to put up.
I would agree that getting permission from Mr Gove is going to be the least of the school's worries. I am sure with the magic word academy attached to it, there will be no problem about it being signed. The problem when my school went academy was not Mr Gove signing it, it was the slowness of the Department officials in getting things organised that was the holdup. As Mr Gove is quite happy to allow grammar schools to expand in different towns from where the original school is, I can't see a couple of miles being a problem.
As for the planning permission from the LA, not wanting to be political but that is going to depend rather a lot on whether the Council want this new school to happen. If they do then I am sure that it will. However there will be a minor issue to negotiate over the land. As an academy the LA will need to lease the land to the academy on a very long lease, which again has not been a problem, providing there is a willingness for things to happen. In many instances this has happened after the academy has been agreed.
I'm trying not to be stressed here - was bad enough with dn applying in SE London last year but he's managed to be one of 4 non-siblings in his year of 60, squeaking in at 120 metres away.
At least in my area the two nearest schools are both expanding, one permanently and one for another bulge class and 99% probably permanently, for the 2013 year. Looked at those two and decided I preferred the closest one, so have put the nearest 6 down in order. Thankfully I applied online a while ago as I hadn't realised that for one school, which allocates 50% of places to Christians and the rest to anyone, you have to fill in a supplementary form even if applying only for a non-Christian place, but the website alerted me when I submitted it. And the form has to be in earlier than the main app deadline. So I gave it to the school office before Christmas.
My borough was over 500 places short last year despite opening 4 new schools, so I find myself twitching every time I see small children moving in between me and the nearest school! And being relieved when local families turn out to be Catholic!
I've just submitted an updated application adding our catchment lower school (three-tier system) as 2nd preference because of advice I've seen on here that it is always in your interests to list it.
Our first choice for DS is in a different LEA, the school is usually undersubscribed and his year at the pre-school on the same site is very thin on the ground, but obviously DS will be last in if there are places available, and there might be a load of twins and triplets applying or something.
DH and I both work in towns the other side of our preferred school. We plan for me to change my part time hours to allow me to drop DS off and collect him. If I have to drop DS at the catchment school I will have to cut my hours more at work. It will cost us a lot of money.
And even more importantly to me, DS goes to the pre-school on the same site as our preferred school, he went to toddler group with most of the class, his childminder's children who are like older brothers to him go to the school. He would have no friends at our catchment school so it would be a really hard transition for him.
I know he would probably cope but I don't want him to. He'll only be almost 4.3yo when he starts, it's going to be a big change for him, I don't want it to be harder than it has to be.
Also, the current catchment middle school is closing next year and the proposed new one has been shelved. Next year's intake will have to go to a middle school miles away in the other direction.
If we could move house and solve this problem we would. Sadly that's not looking possible for a while.
quinelle mine will be just under 4.3 when he starts too; it's so tiny!
Submitted the form today. Felt quite unceremonious in the end but I guess that's because our "preference list" will have little bearing on the eventual outcome!
Thinking of changing our order now. 1 and 2 are definite in order but 3 is a larger primary school with an impressive head and great outdoor space, but we were concerned that its size would be intimidating (it kind of felt like a secondary school) and the academic standard for the high achievers wasn't great (not saying DS is going to be a high achiever but you never know!). Number 4 is the new school I mentioned up-thread; it's attached to a local very good secondary and so he'd be guaranteed entry to secondary. DS would be in the first year of entry so the numbers would be tiny for the first few years! Additional upside is that we'd potentially avoid this stress in 7 years again (assuming secondary doesn't go downhill), but downside is there is nothing to see or judge as the primary currently doesn't exist!
So what do you think - I'm tempted to swap 3 and 4 around?
(should add that 4 is a bit further away than 3 but both are a car journey anyway do doesn't make a massive difference)
I think I'd be tempted to swap them Lozario as I don't like the idea of really big primaries so that would put me off 3. But that's just a personal thing. What is your gut feeling?
I'm worrying that I should add some more choices to mine. I've only put 2 choices down. 1 is local catchment school, undersubscribed, more or less a dead cert that we'll get in. 2 is second closest school, is oversubscribed but we have a reasonably good chance of a place if for some reason we didn't get in to 1.
So I was thinking we were sorted, as we have a dead cert and a back up. But what if school 1 suddenly becomes oversubscribed and we don't get into either, I'd feel really daft for not having used up all my choices probably. What do you think, should I choose another or stop overthinking it!
In terms of putting down more than two choices greensnail my understanding is that you are better to use all your options as then you have at Keats some control over the choice if you don't get into one of your two highest ranked preferred schools. The risk of all them is that if you don't get either of your first two you'll be diverted to the nearest local school with places, which may not in fact be very good or very near. Better to try and have some influence over it I think?
I submitted our form last night - for what it's worth! And there's a meeting later this week at the secondary academy who propose to run the new primar so hopefully we shall know more than. Still feel sick
and it's not just because I just finished off a selection box
Question for prh47 and admission - are schools which require a Supplementary Info Form allowed to have earlier deadlines for them than the LA does for the Common App Form, and is there any guidance about how these are publicised?
I filled in the CAF online in mid-December, which was lucky as I hadn't realised I needed to fill in a SIF for a non-church place at my chosen school, and the link to download one didn't work. Thankfully had the one given at open day so handed it in before end of term - but the deadline on the form is 10 January, not the 15th like the CAF.
I also wanted to put a 4th, 5th and 6th choice for completeness, so went back to my CAF online, followed the links to the SIFs for choices 4 and 6 so I could post them this week to arrive by the 15th, only to find that not only are the links broken (one leads to the secondary version, the other is totally broken), but when some googling led me to the correct forms, the deadline was 7 Jan, publicised nowhere except on the forms themselves! Given many people will have been away for Christmas until schools started on the 7th, this has excluded people who thought they would apply as soon as term started.
I'm planning to send the forms anyway and there's over 99% probability I'll get one of my first 3 choices, but is this allowed?
There is nothing specific in the Admissions Code or the relevant legislation but in my view it is poor practise. I suspect the LGO would be unhappy if someone lost out through not submitting the supplementary form in time. The fact they have not publicised the deadline for the supplementary form just makes it worse. If I were you I would be tempted to lodge an objection with the Schools Adjudicator to see if they will stop them from doing this in future.
greensnail I agree with itspardon, you might as well add more schools but only if you feel like they are ok - the Head at one school we saw said done put down any that you wouldn't be happy with, there's no point. I know what you mean about the uncertainty - the catchment areas could go up or down I guess! So stressful!
notcitrus we have had a similar experience with the SIF for one of our schools - the deadline for it on the school website said 7th Jan but on the LEA application site it says 15th, like the general deadline. We got it in
on for the 7th but I am sure they can't reject any that come between 7-15 Jan what with the contrasting information!
Still can't decide order of 3 and 4 though. Keep thinking the new school (currently 4) could be amazing and I'd kick myself for not putting it higher, but then again it could be total cack! Arghhh my head is hurting
Lozario - I'm in a bit of central SE London that is indie-free, so if DD doesn't get a place at my 1st choice (and I will sit on that waiting list till she does!) then she will need to sit the 7+. If she gets into 1st choice then she will do 11+ anyway, but the others it will be weighing up whether to go for 7+ or stick with them and spend a fortune on tutor for 11+.
I'm seeing round my first choice tomorrow and then sending the form in. In a way, knowing that I won't get a place without a waiting-list wait makes April more of a case of 'thank goodness we got somewhere' rather than a celebration.
Considering the dire secondaries in the area I am resigned to angst over education for the next 14+ years whether it's getting them in, exams or whatever...
Can I join you stressed out lot too?
also have a question. I am on border of two boroughs and considering listing a couple of schools next door. BUT I know both boroughs are generally oversubscribed. Would they therefore favour residents of their own boroughs as they are the only ones they have an obligation to educate?
Also struggling on order between primary where dd goes to nursery and has good/outstanding early years but has just been put in special measures and got new head re not pushing kids and neighbouring school which has good ofsted from 2010 but where I missed tour and they haven't returned my calls. Anyone have ideas ony dilemma? Really don't want to put down a school I haven't visited but everyone I speak to is scaring me re the special measures one and how bad it is.
Have done all the SIFs, but I have no idea what the point is - they aren't church schools so no questions about religion, just name, address, dob of child etc, just like the CAF. The only difference is they ask to see your council tax bill instead of just the number off it, and one wants the child's butt certificate. No additional 'information' for the school at all!
Can only assume they are hoping disorganized types of family don't get round applying.
Birth certificate! Damn autocorrect!
drivingmisspotty - An LA is not allowed to give priority to its own residents. If a school has a formal catchment area and gives priority to children living within that area it is permissible for the catchment area to lie entirely within the LA. However, most schools do not have a formal catchment area. They use distance as a tie breaker. In that case whether or not you live in the same LA as the school is irrelevant. All that matters is how far you live from the school.
Thanks prh that makes my ordering easier.
Arriving a bit late to the thread, but can I just say I am so relieved to see I am not the only
idiot person agonising and procrastinating before putting in our application! Have been undecided between two schools since October! Now it boils down to availability of wrap-around childcare for each school.
My DH almost made be believe we are the only parents in the country who haven't got round to it yet! We are cutting it fine to be fair .
Just marking place to read this later; (also arriving late along with sticky !)
We've submitted but I'm still umming and ahhing
noticed this is about to drop off front page and thought I would share with you all that I am just about to put together an excel spreadsheet of catchment areas just in case I've missed anything. oh yeah!
I'm in the ridiculous situation that my nearest (ignoring the massively over-subscribed Catholic school that we have no hope of getting in to unless I'm adopted by the Pope before September) school is the biggest primary school in Europe, I believe, with a six class intake and we still might not get in.
Last year was touch and go but I'm told was a big birth year and the catchment was the smallest it's ever been so I'm trying to convince myself that it couldn't happen two years in a row but I'm still panicking. It is the only school I want DD to go to .
<sigh> My angst is totally different to the rest of the thread. School choice was easy - village school, half a mile away, sibling already there. I only put down 1 choice.
But I don't want him to goooooooo I want to keep him with meeeeeee
I miss them so much!
Hapless that's what I'm trying to tell myself too but part of me wants to expect the worst so I can be prepared!! 6 form entry that's huge!!
pink I do know what you mean. Even if we get our first choice (unlikely) there will still be a big part of me that doesn't want him to go. He's so tiny. Other grown ups won't understand him like I do
Loving the spreadsheet action!!
I've had too many today. Won't sleep tonight. Maybe this snow that's
supposedly coming tomorrow will take our minds off it all for 24 hours!!
Another one late to arrive, have had a niggling feeling I needed to do something...yep, apply for a school place for ds have applied, dd1 and dd2 go to the school down the road so shouldnt have a problem getting him in, but he has only just started nursery full time, he wont be leaving in july, I will defer him till april 2014, seems so early to be applying!
Submitted my application online last night. I can list up to 6 schools which was a bit of a struggle to find.
My first two are Catholic schools, one of which we are in the catchment for and in the parish. No idea what are chances are as they only take 30 per year plus it has just been inspected at beginning of year and has jumped from satisfactory to outstanding so will probably make it a popular choice.
Our nearest school, whilst rated "good" has dismal SAT results (lower than LEA and national averages) whilst our two first preferences are top in the area. I also have only visited 4/6 schools so fingers crossed.
I keep thinking I have forgotten to do something........
I'm ringing the admissions people today to put my mind at rest that I haven't done something wrong attaching the documents to my application and I'm trying to decide whether to ask if they know if it's going to be a high intake this year.
They probably don't know, or even if they do, I suspect they wouldn't want to tell me but I feel I need to ask!
I'm going to have to forget about it after the deadline tomorrow otherwise I'll never survive the next three months.
Im after a bit of advice if anyone knows or can point me to the right website as I cant find anything on my council or the schools admissions sites relating to my query.
I thought I was well ahead of the game by getting the application submitted on the 1st Jan but I realised that where I live they want a recent copy of your child benefit letter as well as the birth certificate and council tax bill. I could only find a CB letter from 2009 when my DS was born so on the 2nd Jan I requested a recent letter from HMRC only to find out it takes 2 weeks to send through (edd 16th Jan!!!). I'm still waiting for this so my question is As I have submitted my application and attached relevant docs (apart from the CB letter), will it be classed as a late application if I don't get the CB letter attached until Wed?
Ive tried the admissions people but they are not open Mondays, Ill call tomorrow but Im sure a million others will be trying to get through too. Aaahhh!
When I rang for my Child Benefit letter, I rang on the Monday and it arrived on Saturday so it may come tomorrow.
I don't know where you are but in my London borough we have until the beginning of February to supply the supporting documents for it to still be classed as an on-time application as long as the form is in on time. There's a box in our Starting School Booklet with all the relevant dates in which you can also find online.
Although, a friend in a different borough hadn't done the Child Benefit letter and was told it didn't have to be from within the last year so I'd ring them tomorrow and check.
I just called HMRC and they're sending me another letter which again could take up to 2 weeks! I've not seen anything in the booklet I have or the website but maybe I'm looking and not seeing!
Hi ostrich. I submitted mine this morning and it gave the deadline for supporting documents (end jan for us) both on website and in confirmation email they sent. Have you looked there? We're on something called eadmissions.
I just checked my email and it says "For your online appilcation to be considered as on-time you must have completed and submitted your final version by 11:59pm on the 15th January 2013. Wherever possible attaching the required documentation."
I'll check with the LA tomorrow, if I can get through, to confirm if I can attach anything after this time, I'll update if anyone else is interested...
I rang my admissions people today on hold for about 15 mins so not too horrendous, I was just pleased I got through at all!
Whenever I've rung they've answered my
many neurotic questions and been very helpful. I keep getting in a flap but they always seem quite relaxed about it so fingers crossed you'll get a bit of leeway.
On the downside I did ask about the number of applications and they said it did look like it was going to be another big year so it looks like I've got three months of nail biting .
I'm in London also and I have scanned in medical card as proof of child's address as my child benefit letter didn't have my DC's name on it so didn't think I could use it as proof of address.
Iggity check the back of the letter, mine just had my children's name on the other side.
I may be wrong but someone told me the Child Benefit letter is to prove you have parental responsibility for your child, not to prove their address I await being corrected by someone who knows more than me!
Just spoke to the admissions office (Waltham Forest - London) and they advised me to send the child benefit letter in the post when I get it and it wouldn't be a problem. She advised that I wouldn't be able to attach anything to the submission after today - I assumed I could do this.
My original CB letter (2009) has my DS first name only on the second page of the letter.
Just checking back to see if I was the only one to have submitted the application extremely late last night! I see I am not - that makes me feel so much better .
I hope all of you waiting for letters/looking for documents are on time to avoid being considered as late applicants - after all the stress!
That's it, the next 3 months will be a walk in the park compared to the last 3 weeks, as far as I am concerned .
HELP! I am quite concerned - I had a simple 'clickity-click' on the online forms, filled in details... no request for evidence of anything, submitted.... that's it.
should it be more complicated?
What am I missing?!
Pickled, I think it must be different for each LEA. I didn't need any forms but I had to type in our council tax reference as part of the online application.
No back up forms here either, just online form or paper application if preferred.
Hi everyone. Another one with a DD starting school in September
Just thought I'd hop on and say re supporting docs, for those of you waiting to get a copy of your CB letter, that our LA also accepts birth certificate as proof of parental responsibility. No idea why it doesn't say so on the admissions site/form, but there you go. Hope that helps those of you who are nervous about letter arriving in time. And good luck, everyone.
Ooo that's reassuring - thank you! Will try and double check it all later - I am hoping it would have been obvious if I had missed something important...
We have to provide a birth certificate, recent council tax bill and a recent CB letter.
I could only add documents only after I submitted the spplication but I guess it must be different in all boroughs.
We have to provide Birth Certificate (full version), this year's Council Tax Bill, Utility Bill (last six months) and the Child Benefit letter (dated within a year) .
For us there was a link to Attach Documents but it didn't jump out at you.
Are those of you that don't have to provide all of these things out of London?
I'm in London and on eAdmissions only had to provide council tax number, and no way to upload any docs. It was only the Academy schools that wanted Supplementary Info Forms where one wanted birth cert and council tax bill, and the other a 'council tax bill less than 6 months old', which is a laugh seeing as the bills are sent out in April... The other SIF I did didn't need any extra proof, just asked if I was applying for a church or non-church place (proof of churchgoing needed for church places).
Obviously all boroughs just do things differently then. I was wondering if it was different in London because so many schools are massively oversubscribed they have to triple check those that are eligible.
Maybe we're just a dishonest bunch in our borough
Am panicked now....did anyone have to submit Birth cert, council tax bill, utility bill, child benefit letter for Surrey?
I hope all the London boroughs are different! I thought however that we were using the same system. I provided council tax ref and was then panicking when I couldn't see anywhere to attach documents but it then came up after I had submitted the application. I received two confirmatory emails...one for the application and then another for the attached document.
For my two faith schools, I had to provide council tax bill. Recent utility, birth cert, baptismal cert, reference from Priest and supplementary form! I am wondering if I should just attach a photo of my DC being born as proof of residence
notcitrus we're in London too (Lambeth) and didn't have to upload anything either, just had to put in council tax number. I was panicked too when I read all the things others had to do! We did have to supply some extra docs for some of the Supplementary Info Forms for the individual schools who required it though.
I'm no paranoid that I've forgotten to do something and also about our order. I didn't change it in the end. We're so far from all but one of our schools that it's in the hands of the gods whatever we do!
WHY DOES IT TAKE THEM UNTIL APRIL???!!! How are we going to get through these months.... I need to get into some box sets to distract me - just finished Killing 2, next up, Breaking Bad series 3...
iggity yes I thought all the London ones were the same too, that iadmissions thing or whatever it's called. I'm slightly panicked... Going to text my NCT bunch now to see if they did the same as me!
approx hi, this stressed me out too. I am in Kingston. We had to do 2 proofs of ID but I couldn't see anything else asked for on the admissions booklet.
Hi all- I just found this thread as no one else I know is having a panic like I am. Glad not to be the only one for whom it is not unthinkable that dcs will attend state school.
literary, whereabouts online did it ask you for the ID?
Approximately I just had a quick look at the Surrey booklet and it just says you give your council tax reference or if you haven't got one, utility bill as proof of address so don't panic!
Also saw that you can only list three schools we can put down six (mind you there's only three that I have a chance of getting into that we would consider, the others that we would get into are ones that all applicants are offered as no one really wants to go there)
No council tax number or anything here.
Did have to do birth certificate and proof of address for nursery though.
Seems bit slack here for Reception...unless I have messed up.
Don't think so though....
Lozario, I think the schools have to make the decison by sometime in Feb as that is the latest you can submit a change of address if you move plus our Priest said that he goes into the schools to review the forms again to ensure that people just weren't attending mass to get the reference and then disappear once the application is submitted. Given that it's all computerised, I have wondered why it takes from Feb to April to let us know.
Please don't stress about the additional information Londoners. I live on the boarder of two boroughs, so half of DDs friends apply through one, half through the other. Both boroughs access the on line forming the same way, but each required different info'. Our Borough wanted the child's medical certificate, but was very clear they could check everything else out via their own records; they will ask for more info later if things don't tally.
Very interested to hear about the Tower Hamlet mner. We moved from TH a couple of years ago but the flat we were in has since had about 500 flats built around it! No new schools ( or gps) obviously ;). I did wonder how children in our block would fair, but it seems TH is aware of the problems the new builds could cause and have taken action. Not like the TH I remember at all.
Just checking back in. I went to a meeting last week run by the academy who plan to run the new primary near me. I know it was a sales pitch, but it worked! I was very impressed. Very ambitious yet likeable headaches. Great plans. Open to ideas. I'm hopeful it will come off in time for September. Fingers crossed!
I hope everyone feels a bit better now that applications are submitted. I keep on checking the confirmation email I received just to be sure that I did actually press submit!
Thanks Hapless, I just double checked too and for me it is just a council tax number. Phew!
Just reread my post. Headaches should be head teacher. (Though both may be interchangeable I suppose!)
DD2's application was submitted a couple of weeks ago but the SIF for our 2nd preference wasn't signed until yesterday evening. I've attached it to the eadmissions application (along with the birth certificate and council tax bill for this year), e-mailed it to the school 'just in case' (and was delighted to receive a reply from the bursar confirming that the SIF had arrived) and handed in the hard copy.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll get into the same school as DD1, not because that was the school we actually prefer but because
1. Lewisham is short of Reception places and it seems silly not to take advantage of the sibling priority and
2. DD1's Reception place saga was an awful experience
thanks to fraudulent reception applications locally, and not something I want to go through again.
We've put the primary school opposite the secondary where DH teaches as the 6th choice... this time 4 years ago it was the only school DD1 got into in spite of it being approx. 5 miles from us (as opposed to the 800m of the school where she was at nursery/was our first choice). DD1 didn't end up going there but having a back-up saved what little sanity I had left at the time.
itspardon I did laugh at headaches - how true!
Hello all. Nearly a month since we put our applications in - anyone getting any sleep?!
We got offered a place for the private school we had an assessment at but we said no. They only gave us 5 days to think about it, but we can't really afford it and didn't have a great time at the assessment day so I know it's the right decision, but it's painful saying no to a place all the same!
On the plus side, I have heard from 2 sources now that our first choice school might be having another bulge year; if it's true we might get in! But we did ask them when we went for the open day and they said no, so I think it's hearsay sadly.
Hope everyone else is ok
We have had a rejection from the one private school we applied to. Have been put on the waiting list but not too bothered....just more bothered about the actual rejection.
Well our number one choice school was in the local paper this week after they got an outstanding ofsted report. We just have to wait and hope that we get it as the private school was going to be our fallback. Not sure how much the fee deposit was going to be but given they have already had 50 quid from us, was not keen on giving them anymore! We are trying to plan a holiday and need to go before the results come out and before the school Easter hols! Last chance to get away before the school hols start impacting!
That's a shame Iggity but the deposit probs would have been non-refundable and massive - ours would have been £1000! We just can't throw that kind of money away. In a way the waiting list is better if it gives you until beyond the primary school results day rather than having to make a decision now so it might all work in your favour; the "rejection" is horrible though and based on what - they're 3/4 years old!! Poor little mites!
We're staying on the list for reconsideration at 7+ admission though - figured if it goes tits up then surely the first couple of years doesn't really matter anyway!
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