Should I put as first choice a school my son has no chance of getting into?

(72 Posts)
GreenVelvet Thu 24-Oct-13 20:05:26

Because he is well out of the catchment area and it is a very, very oversubscribed school?

I know it sounds a daft dilemma. But my son told me today his friends in our small neighbourhood were applying there which made no sense to me hmm. But I suppose they have nothing to lose if they put it on their list. If they put it as a first choice and the answer is no, they can still go straight to their second, third choices etc assuming they get a "yes" there?

But something about putting a school as first choice you have almost zero chance of getting into feels weird to me confused.

admission Thu 24-Oct-13 20:52:52

I would say if you know there is no chance of getting in, then you are wasting a preference. However parents do have a nasty habit of adopting rose tinted spectacles when it comes to why their child will somehow get into a school, when logic says they have no chance of getting in.
I suppose it depends on how secure parents feel about getting a place at their second or third preference schools. If they feel very secure (and there is no such thing as a guarantee) then they have tried their best to get into the "go-to" school if they put that as first priority.
But I agree with you it is a bit weird or maybe we just too logical

hettienne Thu 24-Oct-13 20:57:46

Catchment areas change year on year, so you never know - you might get lucky. So long as you have a safe choice to put down then no harm.

noblegiraffe Thu 24-Oct-13 21:00:41

My outstanding school ended up undersubscribed one year because parents weren't bothering to apply as they thought they had no chance. If you also put a couple of safe bets down after, then why not?

ChippyMinton Thu 24-Oct-13 21:02:03

It's counter-intuitive, I agree. But with the equal preference system it should not affect his chance of getting the 'safe' choice, should it?

tiggytape Thu 24-Oct-13 22:10:47

As long as it doesn't mess up your chance to list another school that you also like (and that you stand more hope of getting into) then why not?

Of course you shouldn't list all longshots on your form else you'll end up potentially with a council allocated place you've never even heard of miles from home. You have to list at least one school that is as much of a dead cert as possible.

But Equal Preference means you can "waste" 1 or 2 choices on schools you'd love in an ideal world without risking places at the more realistic schools you've placed further down your list.

Blu Fri 25-Oct-13 00:15:33

And you will automatically go on the waiting list for any schools higher up your list that you don't get on the first offer.

GreenVelvet Fri 25-Oct-13 10:13:32

I see! Thanks for all your responses.

misdee Fri 25-Oct-13 10:26:59

I have put done two schools for dd2 that are outside chances. But I also have 2 other schools down that I would be happy with her going to. I figure its worth a shot to put down the outsiders first.

Theas18 Fri 25-Oct-13 10:29:44

Depending on numbers of choices you loose nothing by putting " dream school" first as long as lower down you then put both an " ok I'd be happy with this one and we are likely to get in" and at the bottom "don't like it much but it's nearest and we'd be certain of a place".

Always put the last choice as the school you are absolutely sure you'll get into even if you don't rate it. Otherwise you'll get allocated a school that is likely to be worse and will certainly not have the benefit of being near by.

mummy2zni Fri 25-Oct-13 22:02:27

Sorry to hijack your thread but am Aussie immigrant struggling a bit with all this! We are in Milton Keynes and have 3 preferences to enter on our application. Having gone through all the local schools over-subscription criteria it appears DS has no "dead cert" choice - a weird combination of where we live and the primary he ended up at when we moved here a year ago. My question - what happens if we put down the 3 closest schools (which also happen to be the ones we want) but he gets into none of them? Thanks and sorry again for hijacking wink

RandomMess Fri 25-Oct-13 22:04:41

Then the LEA will allocate you the nearest school that does have spaces. You then apply (somehow) to go on the waiting list for your 3 preferred schools and IME keep in touch with the schools to see how you are doing on the waiting lists.

mummy2zni Fri 25-Oct-13 22:13:43

Thanks RandomMess...

So we could end up at a less desirable school across the other side of MK due to there being a lack of schools in our area? All the schools near us are over-subscribed! Maybe we should have moved rather than sign new rental agreement last month!

DS has just got his result from 11 plus sad - must have been a lot of smart cookies sitting it as he did pretty darn well but obviously not well enough!

How does level 6 impact on any of this or does that just make his primary look good?

hottiebottie Fri 25-Oct-13 22:21:16

I assume your DS took the Bucks 11+? It was a new test this year and pretty damn difficult! Unfortunately the deadline for requesting a review was today, but you might be able to request an appeal especially if he's level 6 material. The Aylesbury grammars sometimes have spaces left (particularly the mixed school) if you're prepared to travel that far, though I think there are buses from MK.

RandomMess Fri 25-Oct-13 22:24:40

If there is an overall shortage of places then they may put in a bulge class at one of the schools. How many local dc do not attend local schools??? Them all being over subscribed doesn't mean you won't get a place at any of them - after all each child will have applied to all 3 schools but only needs 1 place IYSWIM?

hottiebottie Fri 25-Oct-13 22:24:57

To OP - as long of one of your other choices is reasonably likely and you're happy with it, then why not? Numbers applying vary year on year, and you might strike lucky. You certainly won't get allocated a place at the dream school if you don't put it on the list. Be in it to win it!

mummy2zni Fri 25-Oct-13 22:30:42

No, hottiebottie, this was for denbigh school - they keep 20 places for out-of-zone (my word not theirs) for kids with aptitude who they feel shouldn't miss out just because they live further away. The idea of trying to manage travel to for eg Aylesbury when I already have such a big commute myself just fills me with dread!

mummy2zni Fri 25-Oct-13 22:34:31

Good point RandomMess! [Smile] It can be so easy to get yourself feeling despondent about these things - especially when u don't fully understand the ststem! DS attitude is "wherever I end up going, I'll just do my best" - clever little man! grin

LittleSiouxieSue Fri 25-Oct-13 23:24:30

The grammar schools in Aylesbury and Buckingham have plenty of MK children in them. See if there is transport if you have appealed.

OP. Some schools fill up on first preferences and do not look further down the list. This could jeopardise your place at a local school. It is always best to put the school you actually want, and are likely to get into, first or you can end up with nothing .

hottiebottie Fri 25-Oct-13 23:27:32

Sorry mummy2zni - I didn't realize that Denbigh held an 11+-style aptitude test for out-of-catchment candidates! I assumed you were talking about the Bucks grammars as they are popular with MK families. I know of one girl who applied to Denbigh, don't know whether she passed the test but will probably go to school in Aylesbury as she has a brother already there and has qualified. I understand your dilemma, though, and do hope you get one of your choices on 3 March. If you don't, remember that you have a statutory right of appeal.

hottiebottie Fri 25-Oct-13 23:43:40

LSS - just to add that there are buses from MK to both Buckingham and Aylesbury, but Aylesbury schools are less likely to be oversubscribed (especially Sir Henry Floyd) as distance tends to rule out Royal Latin for MK people these days.

mummy2zni Fri 25-Oct-13 23:44:39

Thanks hottiebottie!

ClayDavis Sat 26-Oct-13 00:34:59

LittleSiouxieSue, that's not right. The OP won't jeopardise her place at another school by putting it further down the list. Schools do not look at first preferences, then second preferences etc. so they can't fill up on first preferences.

They look at all the children who've applied for that school equally regardless of whether they've put it 1st or 6th. The preference system only comes into play when a child meets the criteria for more than one school, then they are offered the highest preference school and the application to the other is disregarded. It's perfectly possible to get a place at your 6th choice school while plenty of others who put it 1st do not get a place. So you should put them in order of actual preference not in the order you think you will get into them.

Any school not following this procedure is effectively breaking the law.

Mattissy Sat 26-Oct-13 01:21:44

Put down schools in the order of preference regardless of any other factor. They will then look at your application for each school individually and will give a yes or no answer, they then look at your list and offer you the highest with a yes. After that they see which schools have places available and start the process again with everyone who didn't get their first choice and on and on etc! That's why it takes so long to sort out. You won't lose a place at a school closer even if you put it down as third choice if you fulfil criteria better than someone who put it as first. Meaning you have absolutely nothing to lose.

Look at your local authority's rules as you don't always go onto the waiting list unless you specify separately.

I went through all of this earlier this year when my ds got third choice, but I kept plugging away at everything I could possibly do and he eventually got our first choice even though it's not the closest. That said it's still only 1.5 miles away so not a hike, although if I ask ds to walk you'd think I'd asked him to walk to the moon! Lol

Mattissy Sat 26-Oct-13 01:25:06

Just read Clay's post, she put it more eloquently than me. I should've just said "uh huh, yes, what she said"

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