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If SIL doesn't put down the local school, she won't get it?

(84 Posts)
spongeypants Wed 16-Jan-13 23:25:01

SIL does not like any of the local schools and they would like to move to the neighbouring suburb anyway. They have put down 6 schools, 2 in the suburb they would like to move to and the other four all over subscribed, where you have to be living practically in the playground to get a place. From speaking to other mums, no chance of getting in. They have not put down the local school. She reasons that the council make the decisions and that DD may just be given the local school regardless but wanted to try and get in the others. I have tried to explain to her that it doesn't work like that and if she didn't put it down, she won't get it as plenty of other families do want it!

Its more likely that as she won't be successful with any of her choices, she they will get the failing school with the signs in the corridors asking parents to refrain from smoking.

How does it work, do councils allocate kids to the local school regardless sof choice, like she says?

I'm in England - our primary applications definitely say 'IF YOU WANT TO BE CONSIDERED FOR YOUR CATCHMENT SCHOOL YOU MUST PUT IT ON THE LIST'.

In capitals.

Because apparently a lot of people think the same as your sister.

wheredidiputit Thu 17-Jan-13 09:42:06

It would also depend on the birth rate in the area she lives in.

I know as parent governor in my children primary school this year there have only just enough school places for the children starting school. But that has meant children are traveling across the town for school. And this year coming it is looking like the council are going to have to put in bulge classes to cater for the places needed.

So if she doesn't get a place in any of her chosen school she may find she place at a school miles away. As they will just be given a place in the school that has a place free.

How they allocate places:

1) Make a big list of everyone who has applied to each school.

2) School applies entrance criteria and selects the 30 (say) who will be offered places.

3) If you have been offered more than one place, council looks back at application form, sees which one was your highest preference and gives you that one.

4) This means a few places are freed up, so we go back to step 2), and the school selects the next nearest people to fill those places.

Your sister is not going to go on the list in step 1), so won't be offered a place at the school.
Disclaimer: Unless your borough has some really weird application system.

tiggytape Thu 17-Jan-13 09:52:00

How does it work, do councils allocate kids to the local school regardless sof choice, like she says?

1. It works by you listing your choices and the council having a look to see if you meet the criteria for any of them (i.e. do you live close enough)

2. If by some miracle you meet the criteria for 2 or 3, they allocate you the one that you put nearest the top of your list.

3. If you meet the criteria for only 1 that you listed, you get allocated that one regardless of whether it was your 1st, 2nd or last choice

4. If you meet the criteria for none that you've listed the council waits. It deals with everyone else's application. Then it looks again at yours, looks at where there are any spare school places left and gives you one of the leftover places as close to home as possible (which could be miles away and is probably going to be a poor school if it has spare places)

If the school your sister wishes to avoid is near her house and unpopular then it is highly likely this is the one she will be sent to. It doesn't matter that she didn't list it. If she qualifies for none of the ones she listed, the council's job is to find her the nearest school to her home with a spare space in April i.e. an unpopular school nobody else listed. This is why it is so important to put a realistic choice on the form.

If she had listed a school on her form that she qualified for but also listed the school she hates right at the bottom, the council would not send her to the rubbish school just to make up numbers. They always allocate the highest school that you qualify for regardless of whether you've named a crap school as a back-up or not.

tiggytape Thu 17-Jan-13 09:53:35

...also the admission procedure is now national. In England, all areas have to do it by the book and follow the same rules (eg equal preference system, set offers day, rules on waiting lists etc)
There are nolonger any local differences that enable you to get to certain schools like there used to be.

tiggytape Thu 17-Jan-13 09:55:36

...and if you don't list it, you won't get it!
Not unless it is so awful that nobody else lists it and it is one of the school with leftover places that mops up the people who didn't qualify for any of their choices.

ResolutelyCheeky Thu 17-Jan-13 09:56:34

To be fair to your SIL I did this and we got the school in the area that we eventually moved to which was supposed to be the hardest school to get in to. I hand wrote my application with a letter attached giving the reasons for my choice. I know of a few others that did this same thing and we all got in.
The reason was all of our children had been at nursery together in this village although we all lived outside the area we all had intentions of moving in.
We were lucky. Maybe it was a low birth year? We were telling the truth on our application (some have rented just to get an address) and took the time to hand write an application. I don't know if that helped.

spongeypants Thu 17-Jan-13 09:59:12

Not London,large town in midlands. Criteria is six places, in order of preference. If you got offered all of your choices, then the one you actually get is your top preference. But you have to be realistic it says and look at where places have been offered in the past. The school bases its offers on basis of looked after children, siblings and distance in that order. So after the first two, it is about distance, but only if you have actually put it on the list!
No idea about faith schools or what happens with them but she is not religious so not an issue
Yes Blu, that is the issue. She hasn't put it but expects to get it.
And Celine, what the do you about the relationship?? Its not so cut and dried. Some men don't get that involved, he works away a lot. I'm just a bit frustrated as he says she knows what she is doing and that its all OK and no, she doesn't seem to get it at all.

jeee Thu 17-Jan-13 10:01:10

As the deadline has passed, I wouldn't even waste my time worrying about your SIL's decisions. I know it's your niece or nephew's education here, but your SIL will find out soon enough whether her child is going to (a) a school she put on the list, (b) the local school, or (c) a sink school 12 miles away.

And if your niece/nephew gets option (c), please don't say, or even obviously think, 'I told you so'. That won't help family relationships.

tiggytape Thu 17-Jan-13 10:01:21

Resolutely - you were lucky.
I assure you 100% that the letter you wrote had no influence on you getting a place. None at all.

Admissions are goverened by law. There is no nice lady at the council handing out places to people who beg or write good reasons or take the trouble to explain their choices. They only give out places in strict accordance with the admission criteria.
So if you live miles away and it is a low birth rate year, you can get a place. But if it is a popular school miles away with 100 applicants who qualify more than you do, no amount of letter writing will ever get you in.

Years ago, things were a bit more fluid and varied by area. Now it is all very strictly regulated, schools and councils have zero discretion over admissions. All that matters is how well you meet the criteria for the schools you've listed.

RubyGates Thu 17-Jan-13 10:01:54

I've done pretty much what SIL has done, but only because the local schools are actually "plan d"

Plan a) will have moved to far-away town before school year starts.
b) Homeschool
c) local Christian Academy with fees of £250 a month in interim.

Without safety-net your SIL is nuts.

Astley Thu 17-Jan-13 10:07:49

Heheh I did just have a little chortle at the idea that if you write a nice letter, maybe even with a fountain pen, those nice people at the allocation office will give you a place grin

ResolutelyCheeky Thu 17-Jan-13 10:07:52

I think you are probably right tiggy, fortunately we had back-up plans though as our local schools would have not been suitable for a number of reasons.
Trying to get a place at our chosen school is really hard and we feel really lucky.

meditrina Thu 17-Jan-13 10:08:25

The letter will definitely not/not have made a difference. If a place is offered other than in accordance with published criteria, then the family of the child/ren who should have been offered a place had the published criteria been properly applied will win an appeal (even under ICS) and the school will have to admit, and after the first excepted year, will have to employ an additional teacher. Neither school nor LEA can afford to break the law on this.

tiggytape Thu 17-Jan-13 10:24:46

meditrina is right. The pressure on school places is huge. No council will break the rules to admit a child because it would open the flood gate at appeals (which even under ICS rules would be won if the council had cheated another child out of their place). However the rule on employing an extra teacher is now gone. They now just have to cope with classes that are too large until a child leaves who they then woudn't replace.

Resolutely - I am glad you got your place though. It is a huge stress for a lot of parents.

BillyBollyBrandy Thu 17-Jan-13 10:31:09

The only way your DSIL will get a place at the local school is if it is undersubscribed and her closest.

ResolutelyCheeky Thu 17-Jan-13 10:37:58

Thank you tiggy so are we.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 17-Jan-13 10:42:39

A few people have mentioned the deadline has passed but I imagine the LEA might allow her to change the last choice today as it's so close to the deadline and there is some latitude for applications up to the end of the month. I'd have another chat with her and tell her what everyone on this thread is saying.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Thu 17-Jan-13 10:47:35

When i was picking schools, i got 3 choices, I wanted DD to go to the school in the next village, then i put the closest school to us, then the school, in another village, I picked 3 schools i knew she had a shot at getting in.

With only 2 she had a chance her getting her DC into, SIL is setting herself and DC up for a fall.

Blu Thu 17-Jan-13 11:39:46

there is some latitude for applications up to the end of the month.

is there? Do you know that for definite?

spongeypants Thu 17-Jan-13 11:48:36

There are no schools she has a chance of getting into, that is the point! Two are too far away, the other four they are either outside the catchment, which shrinks year by year. There is no real local school on the list, but three she could have listed. All schools here are over subscribed and there is real danger of getting nothing.
I have done my bit, I have spoken to her and BIL and explain it but to no avail. It might all work out?
I certainly won't say a thing come April.
Thanks everybody, really thought I'd misinterpreted the guidance. Don't feel any better for it, just more worried on their behalf now.

SmethwickBelle Thu 17-Jan-13 11:54:49

It's certainly risky but I can think of one person who did similar and after one term with child placed at a dodgy school a LONG way away that wasn't on her list got her first choice which was the lovely lovely school that wasn't the nearest and had a tiny intake.

You need balls of steel to play those games. I felt like applauding her when she got the place she wanted.

Hope your sister in law is lucky.

JenaiMorris Thu 17-Jan-13 11:54:59

It amazes me that people think this strategy will work. The guidance is very, very clear (or at least it is where I live).

Even so every year a bunch of parents and 4yos with sad faces appear in the local paper because they've been allocated the nearest school with places - which happens to be 8 miles away and involves a trip accross a very congested city centre. If they'd applied to their actual nearest school they would have been fine.

What makes it even more dumb is that none of the schools are bad - they're all fine.

Dozy arses.

JenaiMorris Thu 17-Jan-13 11:57:32

Would your friend have received priority on the waiting list for Lovely School because she'd applied for it in the first round?

I don't think she would have done - or should have tbh.

Which isn't to say that she was wrong to put her child on the waiting list of the school she preferred btw.

jojane Thu 17-Jan-13 12:12:59

The way it was explained to me here in Wales was they look at everyone's first choice of school and allocate places based on the criteria, such as siblings and distance etc, they then look at the second choices of people who didn't get a first choice place and allocate according to criteria and then again for the third choice. People jo didn't get any of third choices are then allocated there nearest school with places which is basically the school no one else wants. My friend put down the best scho in our area and no other choices not even her catchment school (which is also very good) as her son has special physical needs and it was implied she would defenately get her first choice, unfortunately a report got lost and she got given a place at the worst school, not her catchment school. Luckily someone didn't take a place and she managed on appeal to get in to first choice school.

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