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Do you have any state schools that allocate places by lottery in your area?

(24 Posts)
Mintyy Sun 18-Jan-15 18:07:58

And if so, how do you feel about that?

Does the system work for you?

Do all the local schools nearby operate a lottery, or just the odd one?

All replies/information gratefully received.


morethanpotatoprints Sun 18-Jan-15 22:56:52

bumping as an interesting post.

Sometimes I think it can be like a lottery round here, but its not officially managed that way, so probably not what you are looking for.
Its very unfair though and not many people really get their first choice and have to have the school they don't want.

angelcake20 Sun 18-Jan-15 23:06:59

The single sex comprehensives in our county allocate places by a lottery of those within a catchment (and then those outside, though there are rarely spaces). There are usually some who are disappointed but it largely works well, even though all the other comps are largely distance based. I would prefer a complete lottery, or a larger catchment, as for one gender we are not in catchment for any of them.

citymum3 Mon 19-Jan-15 10:55:54

One does. From what I can gather it was a school with a bad rep, surrounded by wealthy homes where the kids all went private but close to an estate and do had become the estate school. (Nb am paraphrasing and reporting what happened pre my time not seeking g to upset anyone with the terminology). The lottery was put in to get more of a mix, and coupled with improved results it has become popular, but probably still not with the children in immediate vicinity who still go private. But the lottery does create uncertainty, and allows the scho to make boasts about popularity that in my view don't stand up to scrutiny. Yes it us popular because anyone can apply and there is nothing to lose by sticking it on a form. But stating it is most popular scho in country is slightly over stating it. Another Academy is consulting on changing to lottery, not sure why as not wildly over subscribed. I think a lottery fine if all the schools in the area do it but this situation (London) is just an extra layer of uncertainty we could do without. Every school in borough has own admissions policy, no 'ordinary' council run schools at all.

Pico2 Mon 19-Jan-15 10:59:06

What would they do with siblings?

iseenodust Mon 19-Jan-15 12:59:56

No. It's all on catchment area round here. Some DC get into first choice none catchment schools.

EdithWeston Mon 19-Jan-15 13:09:24

There's one near where we used to live.

And I think it's an utterly shit system. All it seems to do is add traffic congestion for no apparent benefit.

If all schools were like that, how on earth would anyone be sure they could get any school place anywhere?

All it does is add extra uncertainty.

If 'they' want to alter school demographics by removing proximity from admissions, I think it would be considering straighter to do so by abolishing parental choice and assigning schools.

Better than telling a child that their whole future is luck of the draw. Literally.

harryhausen Mon 19-Jan-15 13:09:58

I'm in an area with no state grammar schools.

We have two former private schools here who have become state academies and allocate places by lottery after an entrance exam. They select randomly from each academic 'band'.

A huge amount of parents apply and the academic results are consistently high.

The rest are all strictly by catchment. Demand for places is high in any of the good schools.

I think it works ok. I know more and more MC parents who are opting for their local comp even though the current results aren't the best. I think this will prove to be great in the long run.

smee Mon 19-Jan-15 13:50:56

Two near us do; largely because people were moving into the area to get their kids in. The lottery's stopped that, so I'd say it's fairer.

bigTillyMint Mon 19-Jan-15 13:54:39

Yes, and you know it too Mintyywink

I guess it is fair in principle. There is certainly a very wide mix of pupils there, IME. But it is a complicated issue when the other local mixed comp selects on proximity.

Are you asking because of what's being said about a local girls state secondary going lottery?

Mintyy Mon 19-Jan-15 14:01:36

I am in the same area as you.

In part I asked the question because I was surprised to read about the single sex Academy are consulting (not very efficiently, it would seem) on changing to a lottery system.

I am very much NOT in favour of allocating places by lottery unless all schools within an area do.

Being the odd one serves no justifiable purpose that I can see, whatsoever.

To the poster who asked "what about siblings?" the school in question where citymum and I live gives an automatic place to siblings. Which is preposterous! (I am not in favour of sibling places at secondary school anyway, but this really gives me the rage).

And this is what happens when the overall responsibility for education in a borough is taken away from the Local Authority. All the schools have different entrance criteria and it is time-consuming and stressful (and absolutely NOT about increasing choice) for the parents and children who have to go through it.

catslife Mon 19-Jan-15 14:12:52

We live close enough to 3 secondary schools with this system to qualify for a place. 2 schools are in our LEA (one co-ed and one all girls) and 1 in a neighbouring LEA. No other schools in our area (our LEA has approx 20 schools) use this system and they are the most oversubscribed schools in the area. One school has 10 applicants for every place.
The schools use a banded system where pupils take a test, are placed into ability bands and then a percentage of pupils are selected from each band. These schools state that this ensures a fully comprehensive ability range and that pupils living across different postcodes have an equal chance of obtaining places. I have reservations about whether this is actually the case. If all pupils have an equal chance how come there are so few pupils from my postcode with places? The schools have sibling priority which reduces the number of places available for first born children. These schools also seem to have fewer pupils with Special Needs and on free school meals compared to primary schools located close by, so perhaps they are not particularly socially diverse.
We decided not to apply for any of these schools as the probability of obtaining a place was very low and we know so few people who have successfully been offered places from our area.

TalkinPeace Mon 19-Jan-15 14:42:23

all catchments here

citymum3 Mon 19-Jan-15 15:06:52

Mintyy- ah. Good sleuthing. I have sent off my views to the girls school. It was not easy, although I am not great with technology so maybe it's me. I hate that they seemingly can do what they like. If all schools were a lottery it would be better. But having had to commute to school, albeit not in London, I do believe that proximity and community are important and the lottery will ruin that.

Mintyy Mon 19-Jan-15 15:20:52

I'm going to send off my views too, even though I won't be affected by any change as last child to go to secondary is a ds.

Btw, I haven't been sleuthing ... it just became obvious you were talking about the same two schools I know! grin.

I think the consultation has been pretty woeful, as I only heard about it on the EDF! And I live pretty nearby and have a primary aged child.

But I wanted to see if there really were sometimes any good arguments for lotteries, which is why I asked on here, and I'm still interested if anyone else wants to share ...

bigTillyMint Mon 19-Jan-15 15:24:48

I agree Mintyy. I think it is bizarre actually that they want to go to lottery, given the catchment they have. And I only heard about it on the EDF too.

Mintyy Mon 19-Jan-15 15:27:32

Hiya Btm smile fancy seeing you here!

Are your two coming up for 6th Form soon - and do we <wibbles> have to go through all this again for a third time? shock.

lalalonglegs Mon 19-Jan-15 16:12:39

We have applied for a school that is lottery admissions for my daughter this year - I have to say, I found it quite liberating knowing that we had as much chance as anyone else, that i hadn't found myself living 100m outside the normal catchment, that we didn't need to have a particular faith to qualify etc. We also have the fall-back of a very good local school that my daughter will get into if she doesn't get a place through the lottery - I don't know how it would work if all schools had lotteries: would there be a guarantee that you would have to be offered a place at one of the choices on your list?

I do feel a bit sorry for the local people who would like their children to attend this school and have no more chance than people living several miles away..

bigTillyMint Mon 19-Jan-15 16:18:08

DD is.

It's worse - each sixth form has to be applied for individually. But if they just want to stay put, I think that's easier.

Mintyy Mon 19-Jan-15 16:28:01

Lala, can I ask if you don't mind ... why didn't you opt for the very good local school as your first choice anyway?

Is this other school so good that you feel the advantages of her being there outweigh the advantages of her being in a local school and having the opportunity to make local friends?

Mintyy Mon 19-Jan-15 16:29:03

Lots seem to want a change at sixth form though, don't they? Oh eeek at the thought at yet another round of applications!

lalalonglegs Mon 19-Jan-15 17:07:29

Mintyy - I just really loved the lottery school, I admired its ethos and the atmosphere which is why we put it first. The very good school is great but its single sex, I'd prefer mixed, and I had one or two (very slight) misgivings about it compared with the lottery school. The catchment area for the very good local school is quite large but tends to take pupils from the opposite side of the school to us; as the lottery school isn't that far away and has significant numbers coming from our direction, I'm not sure that she would be especially disadvantaged in terms of friendship. Knowing my daughter though, she will immediately gravitate towards the people who live somewhere unreachable - thank God she'll get a free Oyster card come September.

Blimey, I didn't know that we had to go through this all over again come sixth form sad.

RiverTam Mon 19-Jan-15 17:13:17

I read about this too on the EDF (I don't know why, Mintyy, but I always thought you were E17 way, no idea why!). I think lotteries can't work unless all the schools in the borough use it, and in London it would have to be all boroughs as so many parents will have local schools in more than one borough.

We will probably want to send DD to a girls' school so if we stay where we are (SE15/SE5 borders) this would be the only contender. I can't decide whether a lottery would make it more likely that DD would get in or not, don't know their furthest distance. But in an area where places are desperately needed I don't think it's a good idea.

bigTillyMint Mon 19-Jan-15 17:25:39

Mintyy, well there certainly seem to be a lot applying for each school. Don't know how easy it actually is to change school as some of them are so heavily over-subscribed.

RiverTam, what about the all girls SSASO at the Elephant?

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