waiting lists grammar schools

(44 Posts)
whathappened Tue 05-Apr-11 13:48:52

Hi, My dd is quite high on waiting list for our local grammar school.First dd to go through this so i am a bit unsure of how this all works.school told me some people sit on their places until the last moment,why do people do this?I know people are entitled to do this but just curious why.also how long would you wait on a waiting list before giving up? We have a good comprehensive as back up but want my daughter to start getting excited about the school she is going to be attending.many thanks

sue52 Tue 05-Apr-11 14:23:56

What area do you live in? Some people sit on offers while they wait on private school places or appeals for more local grammar schools. It happens all the time in my area (west kent).

whathappened Tue 05-Apr-11 14:47:41

Hi sue52 We are on waiting list for wallington girls.thanks

ce09ssa Mon 29-Apr-13 18:36:26

Hi Whathappened,

I am in the similar situation like you. My dd is also quite high on the waiting list. My dd also passed a very good private school with 50% scholarship but dd wants to go to Wallington grammar.

I would like to know, if somebody from their experience could tell me that when the waiting list start moving. The first waiting list has been put up since 17th of April and it didn't move at all (that's what school told us).

tiggytape Tue 30-Apr-13 07:33:06

It isn't necessarily people sitting on a place.
If someone expects to move this summer for example, they will still accept their school place (just in case the house move or job move doesn't happen) but may decline it when / if they go out of area in the Summer

Some people have a decision to make about private school versus grammar school too especially if they have bursaries and finances to consider. Hopefully they would decide fairly soon.

Just one person declining a place at another grammar can have a knock on effect - some children who've accepted a place at Wallington will actually be on the waiting lists for other grammars nearer their home or that they prefer so a decline at one of those grammars causes a cascade effect and movement with people turning down Wallington

Beyond that, it is hard to guess. On previous years, the London area grammars tend to move only by only a few points from the original allocation mark but it depends how many people on the list share the same mark. They also tend to move slowly and steadily with a few places offered out each month even over the Summer. You can stay on waiting lists until at least Christmas and often beyond if you wish to.

gazzalw Tue 30-Apr-13 10:18:47

DS, last year, got offered his not-preferred choice grammar school but was told almost on Offers Day that he was 9th on the list for his preferred one. He was offered the desired place before March was out. I know that the grammar school concerned worded the letter very positively so we virtually knew that he would be offered a place shortly (which was indeed the case!).

Has the correspondence from the grammar school indicated the likelihood of offers being given shortly?

I think you can, under the Freedom of Information Act, ask the school for the precedent with offers from waiting lists over the past five years or so. That will give you some idea of patterns of offers, will it not? And how likely it is that your DDs will get their much desired places?

Good luck - not at all an easy time sad.

Suffolkgirl1 Tue 30-Apr-13 20:57:35

Unfortunately it is not uncommon for people to not inform schools at all that they are not taking up the place. DS's grammar had a pupil just not turn up on the first day last year. It is rude and inconsiderate to others but it happens. Sometimes pupils drop out in the first term as well if the travelling is found to be too difficult.
The LEA / school has to maintain a waiting list until the end of the autumn term. I know of pupils who have started at one school and changed to their first choice after a few days. Don't give up yet!

gazzalw Wed 01-May-13 07:42:05

Whathappened - is she high on the waiting list for a catchment place or the places given purely on coming in the top 80 or 100? You might find that historically there's more movement on one than the other?

I think you are right Suffolkgirl1 although I don't think that happened at DS's super-selective last year. It might be that with the economic downturn of the past few years, that trend is on the wane?

I do think that finding out what's happened with the waiting list in previous years is helpful if only to allay your fears. I can think of nothing worse than to be dangling for months on end.

The important thing is that you and your DD focus on the school she currently has a place at rather than a "what if" scenario that might (hopefully!) or might not come to pass. Already some of the secondary schools are arranging open days/exams/parents' evenings for next year's Year 7s so you need to ensure that you are engaged with this process and enter into the spirit of it all rather than hankering.

Good luck!

beafrog Wed 01-May-13 18:07:54

I think it's common for schools to have places suddenly at the start of term from people not turning up. We got offered one on first day of term, and there were a couple of other places at that point too. Apparently one family had emigrated and hadn't bothered to let school know, and two others had just not turned up...

auntevil Wed 01-May-13 18:28:05

whathappened - you have a good comprehensive as a back up (overton/greenshaw?) - I know parents that are on waiting lists for these schools too. 'Tis the way of the world this waiting malarkey, but until there is some movement higher up the chain, you will have to be as patient as the parents waiting for the good comprehensive place that your DD may not need.

breward Thu 02-May-13 20:05:12

My DS is 4th on the waiting list for a GS in Essex. The waiting list has not moved one single place since 1st March. The girls equivalent GS has moved 9 places, other Grammar Schools in the area over 30 places! Usually the waiting list for our preferred GS moves by 15-20 places so we thought we would have an offer within days of 1st March... how wrong we were!

Why would people hold open two places? Would you not have had to pay a sizable deposit or the first term's fees by now? I'm a bit in the dark about how people hold multiple places.

piggywigwig Thu 02-May-13 22:04:24

gazzalw
"I do think that finding out what's happened with the waiting list in previous years is helpful if only to allay your fears. I can think of nothing worse than to be dangling for months on end."

Unfortunately, with the changes that came about last year, ie for the first time ever, you knew your DC's 11+ score before filling your CAF form, knowing how waiting lists have performed in the past, may not be the relevant or useful.
Take Essex, for example, where not only have we had the scores given out but we also had some schools imposing a new catchment area policy. This has had an effect on waiting list movement, as Breward has said. We're not unique in Essex. Basically, knowing your score before the CAF deadline, means that in some cases, you pretty much know which school to apply to - so less people are gambling on a place before March 1st.

gazzalw Thu 02-May-13 22:40:45

I get you point Piggywigwig, although I don't think that applies to Wallington High...(relatively local).

piggywigwig Fri 03-May-13 06:56:16

gazzalw
"I get you point Piggywigwig, although I don't think that applies to Wallington High...(relatively local)."
Why do you feel that the CAF changes haven't effected Wallington? gazzalw? I have to say that the regional boards on 11+ Exam site shows that the lack of movement on this year on waiting lists isn't only happening in Essex.

piggywigwig Fri 03-May-13 07:11:20

Shall I write that again lol?

gazzalw
"I get you point Piggywigwig, although I don't think that applies to Wallington High...(relatively local)."

Why do you feel that the CAF changes haven't effected Wallington gazzalw?
I have to say that the regional boards on 11+ Exam site show that the lack of movement this year on waiting lists, isn't only happening in Essex.

tiggytape Fri 03-May-13 07:29:23

piggy - some London school have given out the results of the 11+ tests in advance of the October 31st deadline for a few years now so last year's change made no odds.

Also Wallington has 600+ people passing the test but less than 200 places so when the school tells parents the result is a pass, it means only a 33% chance of a place. It is not a definite answer at all.
Parents don't know how much their daughter has passed by and if she is in the top few hundred or bottom few hundred so it is still a gamble in a way.
The results are more helpful to the 800+ people who just get told they've failed the test. They at least know it is not really worth listing the school.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 03-May-13 07:58:19

DS1 is on the waiting list for CRGS. Haven't called for a few weeks, but am going to call today to see where he is now - he was 18th back in March, so will see later and pop back.

gazzalw Fri 03-May-13 08:07:29

Yes, I understand what you're staying Piggywigwig, but I am not aware (and believe me last year we studied all the 'bumpf' on boys and girls grammars alike) that there have been main changes afoot at Wallington High School.

I have no doubt though that significant changes overall to the admissions system have probably tightened things up so you don't get the 'maybes' sitting on places for months on end.

Also think that people are being a lot more cautious and maybe appreciative of what grammar school education can give their DCs whilst saving them significant chunks of money (by going privately).

I think overall grammar school places are becoming more and more sought after...

breward Fri 03-May-13 20:18:32

Any news couthy?

piggywigwig Fri 03-May-13 21:30:47

gazzalw
"I have no doubt though that significant changes overall to the admissions system have probably tightened things up so you don't get the 'maybes' sitting on places for months on end."

I'm not being rude but I genuinely don't understand how the changes last year have made a difference to people sitting on places?

gazzalw Sat 04-May-13 09:41:51

Ignore me - not sure that last comment of mine makes sense blush...

At the end of the day "quite high" on a waiting list could to my mind mean anywhere twixt 1st and probably about 25th.

All I know is that by this time last year we had known for six weeks that DS had got his desired school place, from being 9th of the waiting list. From what I can glean on here and the 11+Forum, this year, as you have rightly said Piggywigwig, things seem to be moving very much slower.....

That is of no help to parents and DCs desperate for news...who may be sitting on waiting lists for months sad

tiggytape Sat 04-May-13 10:40:31

gazza - I think your list moved much quicker than most last year.
I remember (but I may be wrong) that one of the reasons for this was that your school was 'naughty' and sent out fresh offers from the list direct instead of going through the official process of informing the council and then waiting for them to issue new offers letters (which they did very slowly for other schools - weeks passing between notification and a letter going out).

It does seem that some schools this year have virtually zero movment though so you could well be right about the pattern overall.

Vishyrich Sun 05-May-13 01:22:13

I think you should really be looking at the child's welfare, joining a school late is never nice, and although it is understandable you want your child to have a good start, often excelling in a normal school is better than barely scraping past in a grammar, I should know since I attend one, to be honest you need hard graft either way

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 12:58:45

gazzalw
"Ignore me - not sure that last comment of mine makes sense blush...

At the end of the day "quite high" on a waiting list could to my mind mean anywhere twixt 1st and probably about 25th.

All I know is that by this time last year we had known for six weeks that DS had got his desired school place, from being 9th of the waiting list. From what I can glean on here and the 11+Forum, this year, as you have rightly said Piggywigwig, things seem to be moving very much slower.....

That is of no help to parents and DCs desperate for news...who may be sitting on waiting lists for months sad"

I wouldn't ignore you smile

I sadly think that what's happening this year with waiting lists, is going to set the trend for a good few years to come and the golden years of lists moving, and a real glimmer of hope, are gone. I truly feel for parents who are waiting on lists and for appeals.

Vishyrich
" often excelling in a normal school is better than barely scraping past in a grammar, I should know since I attend one, to be honest you need hard graft either way"

Whilst I know where you're coming from, the reality for let's say, the 5 children who get through on a waiting list for superselectives like Colchester County High for Girls or Colchester Royal Grammar for Boys, is that they're not going to struggle because what separated them from the children who got in to the school on National Offer's Day, is probably the difference between 0.001 of a mark. That's how tough it is and how close the marks are. Let's give a better example, let's say the 98th (ie last) boy got in on 339.345 - the 5th on the waiting list may have scored 339.401. The margins are quite simply that small. He's not likely to struggle and may in fact do better than a boy who scored 350 on the day.

piggywigwig Sun 05-May-13 12:59:42

..btw I know my example doesn't reflect 0.001 lol!

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