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Waiting List Question

(23 Posts)
Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 08:14:09

We got 3rd choice for our DD on 3rd March. We were 5th on the waiting list then for our 1st choice. Our LEA is now reallocating places this week and we have now gone down to 10th on the list. Shouldn't the LEA have allocated the places as they were declined and not left it over four weeks. People who did not put it first time now have and have now jumped ahead of us.

I was quite hopeful being 5th but have now lost all hope going down to 10th.

tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 08:50:17

You are right
The place should be offered to the person who was top of the list when a place was declined.
The council are allowed to send letters in batches but the actual waiting list must be kept in sync with the rejections that come in.

The Admission Code says that offers must be made from the waiting list as soon as vacancies arise. This is to stop schools waiting for appeals to be heard before they offer and left over places. It also however affects cases like yours where people are added to the list before any offers are made at all.

Now it may be that on March 3rd, nobody had rejected their place and didn't reject them until quite recently and, long before that 5 new people were added to the list. In that case the list has been managed correctly. But if they got rejections, delayed reoffering them and in the meantime added people above you, this is wrong.

All you can do is ask for a log from the council to assure you that the date of rejection and date of people being added to the list doesn't mean you've been wrongfully denied a place. If they won't reassure you on this point then you can go to appeal and raise this at stage 1 as an admissions failing that potentially cost you a place.

tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 08:52:23

that shoud read that the rejections may have happened long after the additional 5 people were added to the list in which case the allocations are fair.

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 09:56:42

Thanks Tiggytape. The school is a C of E academy and do their own admissions but the LEA offer the places. Would I be best speaking to the LEA or the school do you think?


tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 10:19:04

An academy administers its own waiting list. They simply pass the names on to the council to send the offer letters to so it is the school you would need to speak to.

mummytime Tue 01-Apr-14 10:22:53

The thing is those 5 could all be late applicants, people who have moved into the area?

titchy Tue 01-Apr-14 10:23:29

Isn't it more likely that on 3 March no-one rejected their offer of that school, but lots of parents were disappointed with the school they were allocated so put in a quick application to your 1st choice school which moved you down the list?

tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 10:38:42

It is fine for those 5 people to be added to the list as newcomers to an area or people who've changed their mind.... but the timing must be 100% accurate when it comes to handing out places from that list.

Any new vacancy has to be matched up to whoever was at the top of the list on the day the vacancy came in NOT who is at the top of the list when the council finally get around to reoffering spaces.

For example: a family reject their offer of a place at this school on March 5th (they're going private and don't want it).
Whoever was number 1 on the waiting list on March 5th should get that place.
It would not be acceptable to wait until April to reallocate that place because by then lots of new people will have been added to the list and the person who was number 1 on March 5th may now be number 6 so wouldn't get the offer that was rightfully theirs.

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 11:18:59

Tiggytape I have looked at the code and all I can see is that the list must be reranked everytime someone is added. I can't see anything about offering places as soon as they become available.


tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 11:35:29

The 2010 Code included the line "As soon as school places become vacant, they must be filled from the waiting list"

This was because some schools might delay offers to see how many appeals were won in a bid not to go over numbers.

The new Code in 2012 changes the phrasing and refers to keeping a clear, fair and objective list
So the new offers don't have to go out within days of rejection (as used to be the case) they can now be sent out later and in batches BUT they still have to be correctly allocated and fair i.e. matched up with who was number 1 on the list at the time each vacancy arose.

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 11:49:49

Great thanks

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 12:00:07

Sorry another question. This school scores children by religion and church attendance. The governors rank the waiting list. Would the date they received the application count or when the governors ranked the waiting list.


tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 12:05:13

The position a child is placed on the list is totally determined by how well they meet the admission criteria - not at all by the date they join the list.

A family calling the school and asking to be added to the list on March 6th whose child meets the admission criteria better than anyone else currently on the list would be placed at position 1 on the list - effective March 6th 2014.

So if a place had become available on March 4th 2014 it wouldn't be their place, it would belong to the person who was number 1 on the 4th but became number 2 on the 6th. If however a place becomes available on March 15th, it belongs to the child newly added to the list.

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 12:09:03

So just by asking to go on the list is the effective date and not when supplementary forms are received or when the request is passed from the LEA to the school.


tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 12:16:40

In many areas people are added to the list of any higher ranked school they didn't get offered automatically so for them no request is needed at all and they are on the list from the very start.

For newcomers to an area, they have to comply with certain criteria before they can apply for schools and subsequently be added to lists for example they might have to prove they have exchanged on their house.

I presume the school has a form detailing church attendance etc? To be added to the waiting list in general this form isn't needed but the applicant would be added low down the list as someone who meets the criteria less well than many others. To be added to the top of the waiting list (assuming the applicant meets the faith criteria very well) then the form would need to be handed in. Many people do a lot of this in person eg take the form to the school and ask to go on the list so that they can be added as quickly as possible. It doesn't need to go via the LA

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 12:19:20

Yes there is a form for church attendance they take so many church places and so many of no faith.

tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 12:22:25

There may be two lists in that case - one for faith applicants and one for community places. It depends how the criteria is worded whether it is 2 separate groups with fixed numbers of each.

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 16:54:34

Heard back from my LEA they are saying this only applies to in year admissions. Anyone can join a waiting list and receive a place in the second round. No places were given out from 3rd March until 31st March when the second allocations were done. All the people ahead of us applied late or changed their preferences. 8 of these now have a place as of yesterday.

tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 17:01:16

It doesn't matter so much when people were added to the list or even when the 8 new offers were posted out.
What matters is the date they received each of the 8 rejections and who was top of the list on those days.

If you suspect the school has just abandoned the list for the whole of March, allowing people to join it but not offering from it until April then this is a problem if they didn't allocate the places in line with the waiting list as it existed on the day the places became available. If they kept a careful record and chose to send all 8 letters out in one go, that is fine but they shouldn't receive rejections in early March and reallocate them a month later using the list as it stands in April when even more people have been added.

Your position on the list must still be quite high so you have a chance of a place anyway. I would question the school more about when the rejections came in and how they ensured they tallied them to the correct person each time from the list. If you are not satisfied, you can complain that you have been wrongly denied a place but if they disagree you'd have to appeal.

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 17:06:08

Thanks. I will contact the school tomorrow. LEA saying period from 3rd March to 17th March cooling off period for people to decide. It does say on website second round will be early April.

tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 17:14:19

It isn't really a cooling off period - that's not the idea at all so very odd that the LA describe it as such. It is just a deadline given for replies to be sent in (although, in reality, it is not an enforceable deadline and many parents will reject offers long after this date especially where they are holding a private school offer and make a late decision).

There will be a few rejections fed through quite early - long before March 17th. A fair % of the final total wil be received by March 17th and then sometimes they'll be a trickle of fresh rejections through April and the summer as people get offers from waiting lists elsewhere or move house or go private.

It is fine for them to wait until April to send out new offers all in one batch. It is not fine however to add people to the list all through March but not keep note of rejections received in March to determine who was at the top of the list when each vacancy became known. The council appear to be acting as if March 17th or March 31st result in some sort of static situation which they can then deal with when this isn't the case at all. Some rejections will already be in with more to come. People will have been added to the list with yet more to come. They need to keep both things in sync. They can't have a stop/start system and only set dates to look at the list.

Zingy123 Tue 01-Apr-14 18:45:30

*This is my reply to asking how the places are allocated:

The way that the system works is that from the allocation date at the start of March, there is a 2 week “cooling period” where parents come back with any changes they have made to their original preferences. At this point, there is also consideration to anyone who missed the original deadline to be considered for places.

So once all these changes are put into the system, they run the criteria again to fill any available places.

Whilst you would’ve been 5th on the waiting list at the time of the original allocation, late applicants may have met the criteria better than yourself, and therefore, would move ahead of you on the waiting list. This may seem disappointing that late applicants are now considered ahead of your application, but similarly it may be on-time applications, who have moved house in the interim, and therefore meet the criteria better now than yourselves.

Paragraph 2.14 of the admissions code sets this out:

Waiting lists Each admissions authority must maintain a clear, fair and objective waiting list for at least the first term of the academic year of admission, stating in their arrangements that each added child will require the list to be ranked again in line with the published oversubscription criteria. Priority must not be given to children based on the date their application was received or their name was added to the list.

Therefore when a child is added to the system (i.e. anyone who is a late applicant, in this instance) the waiting list will be re-ranked. In effect, any “new” applicants were being considered from 3rd March.

Hope this explains it – are you going to go through the appeal process?

*I then said I didn't think it should work like that and received a further reply.

As I said, the problem is that the date in which the place became available in this scenario would’ve been at a point where all late applicants were also considered. It is simply that no further offers are made until the 2nd allocation is done.

In the event of a place becoming available mid-year, then yes, a place would be offered to the person on top of the waiting list at the time the place became available. This process starts after the second allocation, so any subsequent changes that take place will work on that basis.

This is part of the admission process outlined in the schedule that was determined in April 2013.

*Any advice appreciated.

tiggytape Tue 01-Apr-14 23:06:41

It is true that late applicants are dealt with after everyone else but not usually after March 3rd. A person who applies a month or two after the October 31st deadline doesn't usually get their choice of school and will get a place at whichever school is left over after the ontime people have been processed. They go to the bottom of the pile to be processed by still get a school allocation in March (probably an unpopular one).
For a person to be so late that they physically get dealt with after March 3rd implies they were very late to apply indeed and you don't normally get loads and loads of those.

I think they are basically saying that on March 3rd you were 5th on the list and then (from somewhere - very, very late applicants and new people to the area) they had a great influx of extra applications and a number of those people beat you on admissions criteria? So even before rejections could be submitted, all of these extra people were in the system, processed, allocated schools and assigned to waiting lists. If that is the case you have been very unlucky indeed (but still high enough up the list to be hopeful)

Normally though, a council isn't swamped with last minute people that apply from February onwards or appear right at the start of March to be immediately processed. Normally, the new additions to a list come from those phoning after March 3rd asking to go on the list or those phoning in June when they've just moved into the area. These get added to the list on that date in the correct position in terms of meeting the admissions criteria and they possibly displace someone else who has been waiting much longer.

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