So....straw poll. How many of you didn't get ANY of your secondary school places?

(9 Posts)
BadZelda Thu 10-Mar-16 16:14:50

We are in South London...so always knew it would be a possibility, but very very stressful of course. Doesn't seem much we can do for now except hold tight, but it's causing a lot of sleepless nights. Anyone else in the same boat? What are you doing about it?

tiggytape Thu 10-Mar-16 16:29:23

The lists will move a lot in the next few weeks but I know it is tough to keep having to wait and wait (the wait from October to March is long enough!)

The disadvantage of London is that it is densely populated and short on school places in many areas so this happens to a lot of people but the advantage of being in London is that lots of people move out of area or go private so places do come up on the lists. The waiting lists will still be moving in September and beyond so you may eventually end up with an offer from more than one of the schools you have missed out on.

Did you use all 6 options on your form?
Did you list a local school that you felt certain of getting into based on last year's distances?
Do you have any sibling or faith links that you think they might have overlooked?

Assuming yours fairly certain of no error, get in touch with the council (or school if any are academies) and make sure you are on the waiting list for all 6 schools. You can also ask to be added to lists of schools you did not originally apply for.

BadZelda Thu 10-Mar-16 17:26:54

We listed schools that we thought she would have a chance of getting into, and still might, depending on waiting lists I suppose...it seems very arbitrary! We've since asked to be added to the waiting list of a couple of extra schools. Other local children have been assigned places with very similar lists...so it's a mystery to me.

tdm1 Thu 10-Mar-16 17:40:33

At least 5 in my child's north London class didn't get any of their 6 places and were allocated to other schools.

Ladymuck Thu 10-Mar-16 18:32:21

There will be a lot of movement as the 1 March allocation usually mean that children who will move into independent schools also get a state place allocated. So for my borough we estimate that we have around 4-500 year 6s who will reject their state secondary place and not take up a different state place. It is frustrating for the 10% or so who didn't get one of their 6 options on 1st March, but it is unfortunately still the best system that we have.

tiggytape Thu 10-Mar-16 19:08:24

It shouldn't be arbitrary or a mystery. If other children got placed at a school you listed it must be because they live slightly closer than you or have a sibling there already or meet the faith criteria (or whatever else the school lists as one of its admissions criteria). There's no mystery to it - places are allocated using the published admissions criteria for each school until all the places are gone.

If you genuinely don't understand how some people got in but you didn't, check for an error.
Ask each school "Which category was my child placed in?" (eg the category for those with no siblings who just rely on distance to the school) and then ask "What was the last distance offered to a child in that category?"

If you find out people further away in the same category (so no obvious priority) have been offered places, query this and check the ouncil have the correct address recorded for you etc. Mistakes are rare but they do happen.

Assuming no error is found and the other local children just lived fractionally closer so got offers that you didn't get, that bodes well for the waiting lists because it means you didn't miss out by much and should be near the top.

Ladymuck Thu 10-Mar-16 20:13:35

Well in South London it is arbitrary as some large schools use lotteries by bands. So whilst it may be correct and can be explained, it doesn't necessarily help when you're the person who didn't "win".

PettsWoodParadise Thu 10-Mar-16 22:45:35

I know a number who got their sixth place. Most of these it was a surprise. In our area of SE London the demographic is changing. People who bought their houses new in the 30s and 40s are shuffling off (sorry - a bit indelicate) this mortal coil and the homes have become ones for young families. Our amazing primary has gone from a 2.5 mile radius only five years ago to 1 mile. This is for a six form intake primary. The sibling rule really does affect this as child 1 gets in and the family move to location b while children 2 & 3 attend the primary and they bank a place ready for secondary by having moved. My next door neighbour's daughter goes to a sought after all girls state comp. At the time my neighbour applied their DD got in comfortably. However the year after another neighbour got in on wait list. After that - no one in our street or nearby.

When someone recently criticised me for putting DD through the 11+ for entry to our closest geographic secondary school I asked them how they ended up at their excellent state school and they explained their father didn't want them to sit tests so they moved close to an 'ordinary' school'. Hmmmm. The system isn't perfect. It still is open to more opportunities to those with money or belief in education who can research all the likely outcomes and try and plan for various outcomes.

I know of one family who moved after grammar results day. It was before last notification of address day so they would be in-county for the grammar so score only needed to be a pass rather than a high out of county score their DD didn't have.

Others I know are realising they might have critical mass of engaged parents at a previously undesirable school and now banded together in the hope it will make a difference.

tiggytape Thu 10-Mar-16 23:33:10

Yes that is true Ladymuck although OP indicates she listed several schools and the fair banding policy is still relatively uncommon even in London. Hopefully most of the ones listed will be more conventional distance / sibling style admission arrangements (or OP will get lucky with any lottery ones she had listed).

If there is some discrepancy between other very local children securing places and OP's own child being turned down, though it is always worth checking for any errors. Of course, for the lottery-style schools, it won't be a discrepancy at all - it is just luck of the draw. For other schools however, being turned down where other local children got in may indicate a problem with the way the application was processed. A few cases do come to light every year where an address is entered incorrectly or a child placed in the wrong category so there's no harm in checking.

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