Any information on Bluecoat (Liverpool)?

(12 Posts)
WhySoSecretive Wed 03-Sep-14 15:19:52

Posting here on the off chance anyone has insider knowledge as I've hunted but the information I'm after seems to be guarded like an official state secret.

The admissions advice says:
- if the test places your child in group A put the school as your first choice
- If the test places your child in group B consider putting the school as your first choice
- If the test places your child in group C then consider putting the school as one of your choices.
At the open night we were told not to bother if in group D onwards.

Given that we only get 3 choices, I'd like some stats to see whether it is worth "gambling" one of our choices on a group B or group C placing.

Does anyone know the percentage and/or numbers of children allocated to groups B & C and how many of those then get a place at the school?

I'm imagining the margins will be fine as this is not A GS area so the school has many applicants, presumably of a similar standard or else it'd be a waste of the child's time sitting the exam. Is that assumption correct?

Thank you in advance for any information.

admission Wed 03-Sep-14 22:47:12

The school is a selective grammar school and the admission criteria is that the top 120 pupils on the aggregate score of the three tests are given the places, assuming they all put down Blue Coat as their first preference.

I do not know for sure how this works in practice but it stands to reason that if you get a Group A mark then you must be one of the top scorers and their comment to definitely put you as first choice is a good hint that you will in all probability get a place if you put it down as first preference

If one wanted to be completely cynical then you would say that Group A is the top 120 pupils (or maybe a few more than this) and these are the ones that they want to put down the school as first preference so that they get a place. What the actual number is in the group is anybodies guess. Group B it says "consider" putting down as first choice - I suspect that means you did quite well but are not in the top echelon and therefore there is a good chance that you will not get the offer of a place, whether you put it down as first, second or third preference unless pupils who got a higher score do not want places at the school. I think you can work out that Group C and below are not likely to get a place unless something fairly cataclysmic happens about pupils deciding they want to go to another school

The school of course will not define what Groups A, B and C are because they do not want to stop pupils applying. Some data from last year is available on the Liverpool Council site and what this shows is that of the 120 places offered, 118 put it down as first preference and 2 as second preference. The numbers who applied for a place was surprisingly small and there were 165 first preferences, 58 second preferences and 52 third preferences. Obviously parent are establishing what group they are in and then making an educated guess as to what chance they have of getting a place just as you are trying to do.

WhySoSecretive Thu 04-Sep-14 09:58:44

Thanks admission

You're right, the numbers actually applying are surprisingly low give the school's outcomes and that 800-1000 sit the entrance exam - as you say, parents are obviously making an educated guess based on which group their child is placed in. When you compare it to Liverpool College (ex private school now an academy)who use fair banding and don't give the results out you can see it is much harder to make an educated guess (something like 650/700 applications for 100 places). don't get me started on the whole lack of transparency there

I just wish I could see what the odds are for DC getting a place at Bluecoat if in group B or C rather than make a guess as I don't want to waste an option on the LEA form - it'll be much easier if DC is placed in group A or groups D onwards!

Thank you anyway - it is good to know I haven't misinterpreted the guidance.

Calderstones Thu 04-Sep-14 14:09:33

Hi, I was in your position a few years back with my daughter. The admissions procedure was more fully explained then.

From memory, the top 120 guaranteed places were group A. The next 10 were group B, the following 10 group C etc. So if you were in group B you needed 1-10 people to drop out from group A depending on your ranking within the group.

So if a child from group A does not take up a place it is given to the highest scoring child in group B.

DS started Bluecoat this year, there are children there from his tutor group who were in group B/C although they may have got in on appeal.

I think the chances of getting in from group B are high. Have you tried phoning the school and asking them what group the lowest placed admission was for this year.

WhySoSecretive Thu 04-Sep-14 14:20:53

A-ha!

That is pretty much exactly what I wanted to know - how large groups B & C were. If Group A was 150 (current intake) and group B was 50 then I'd probably write it off, but if it's around 10 it might be worth a shot.

I don't think I explained myself very well when I tried to check with the school - I think they thought I was asking whether my child would get in which obviously they couldn't answer. I did gather that it is very rare (never?) that anyone lower than group C gets in on appeal but I wanted information on the ratios of those groups.

At least their stance is clear - the top however many. Same for the religious schools with their points systems and the comps with their distance - whether I agree with them or think they are fair is irrelevant, at least they are clear. I've decided not to chance Liverpool College though as it seems a complete lottery and you have not way of assessing your chances prior to applying (husband is very cynical as to their motives for that!). Just seems a waste of an option.

Thank you again for your help.

kormasutra Sat 06-Sep-14 08:35:54

As one who has just experienced the harsh reality of a certain schools lottery process, and a subsequent failed appeal, there is absolutely no way of judging if your dc will get a place.
I believe the lottery system is corrupt. Maybe I'm being bitter?

At least with bluecoat you will be given the chance to make more of an informed decision.

Ds just started y7 in a Liverpool school, 3 of his primary classmates Sat the bluecoat exam and were placed in band b/c.
None of them got a place.
I was surprised especially that one of the 3 dc didn't get a place as she is extremely bright, level 6 sats.
I know that many are tutored but none of ds's friends were.
Good luck, it's stressful to say the least but I'm glad it's over nowsmile

WhySoSecretive Sat 06-Sep-14 09:33:26

Yes, I think both belvedere and Liverpool College are trying to maintain their private school ethos but getting it state funded.

I know Liverpool College give priority to children who are in the still fee paying junior school. Plus siblings of children who are already in the senior school - so former fee paying families.
So out of the 100 places technically available, very few of them must be awarded via the "open process" and given they don't release the test results it does seem to give them the freedom to award the places to who they want with no chance of parents making an informed judgement. I really don't buy the fair banding rationale - surely 100 random children would have an even spread of abilities? The exam/banding process and lack of transparency seems to be for ulterior motives to me.

But yes, Bluecoat's entrance criteria might be tough, but at least they are clear. No idea if DC will do well enough. Very bright, but has a significant issue which will probably impede on the test (not SEN). I know of other equally bright children who didn't get places so I'm trying to work out the best alternatives for DC's personality type.

Thanks korma

kormasutra Sat 06-Sep-14 09:55:14

Our appeal school wears a purple blazer;)
Ds really wanted to go there but it wasn't meant to be.
Find it hard to comprehend that the places are allocated randomly but there is no proof at all that it's done fairly.

The appeal process was a shambles and it transpired after an investigation that the panel acted unlawfully in certain aspects but not enough to change the outcome! I've had to let it go.

Ds will do well at his new school and I've got to focus on that now.

Use your 3 choices wisely, I only used 2 and if I could turn the clock back I probably would have done things differently.

I'm a great believer in things being meant for you or not.

I've got to do it again soon with dd primary application!

WhySoSecretive Sat 06-Sep-14 10:05:22

Ah, got you!

Yes, have learned from others who didn't use all 3. In an ideal world Dc would go to the school a 5 minute walk away but we're the wrong faith - will never understand how faith is a reason to exclude in this country. That's a whole other thread though!

kormasutra Sat 06-Sep-14 10:12:54

I know! When looking at schools you sort of have to discount certain ones based on faith, crazy!
My sil has attended church every Sunday for the past 8 years to get her dc in a certain secondary, she's applying now for next year, there is still no guarantee that her daughter will get a place, sil is convinced she will.

What made our decision day even harder was that it was my son's 11th birthday and I had to tell him we didn't get "that school" he was so upset.

Turns out we had a massive increase in births for 2014 entry, a lot of "world cup babies" from 2002!

I really hope it works out well for you and dc, I underestimated the stress of it all but came out the other side--just about-- smile

Trliv Wed 04-Feb-15 17:36:27

Can someone inbox me numbers for tutors that have been successful helping their pupils get into blue coat.
Thankyou x

Darlingmom Fri 03-Jul-15 17:03:06

Hello Liverpool mums,
Could anyone kindly recommend an excellent tutor for my 9 year old daughter who is keen to get into bluecoats . Any advice is much appreciated.Thanks

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