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Applying for a state primary place -is there a trick to the form?!

(13 Posts)
madgirl Thu 13-May-04 11:42:56

Hi all, I am just filling in the forms for application to Primary Reception next year, we applying to around 5 and then crossing our fingers that he gets in at the nicest. On all of the forms (which are standard- wandsworth borough) there is a box saying "if you wish to give reasons for your application, please use the space below." do you reckon i should say sth here to improve our chances and if so what?! i can't think of much original to say except that i have had reports that the school provides a sound all round education and it is near to our house? any thoughts or suggestions?

Crunchie Thu 13-May-04 11:58:49

No idea really, but I would use the space to 'sell' myself rather than say how good the school is. For example - we live closest to this school, friends are also applying, nursery is a feeder to this school etc. Child is so brilliant at XYZ that it would be a credit to the school

I am sure others would be better to advise, we didn't have to do this as our school is in our village and we live approx 200 yrd away

madgirl Thu 13-May-04 12:05:07

thanks crunchie. cor blimey feels a bit weird to start selling oneself at 3.5 years of age!! what about saying that ds is very social child and already loves " reading" etc so I feel him and school would be comlementary or sth like that? sounds a bit ott, but then praps i am just naive?

frogs Thu 13-May-04 12:12:13

I did the opposite to Crunchie, wrote a smarmy piece about the great reputation of the school, trying to make myself sound reasonably educated and caring in the process.

But unless it's a religious or VA school it won't make a big difference anyway, as they will have fixed admissions criteria set by the LEA, which they just work through. These will usually go something like:
1. Special medical or social need;
2. Brother or sister in the school;
3. Distance of the child's home from the school.

It might be worth phoning the school or the LEA to find out where, in practice, the catchment area for each school finished last year, to work out whether you have a chance. The catchment areas change each year according to the number of applicants and no. of siblings, but it should give you an idea of whether you're in with a chance.


madgirl Thu 13-May-04 12:20:02

thank you frogs for this. i must admit, i think that the schools round here do have to go by these selction critera first and foremost, i guess i was thinking that if they have say 40% of their space dedicated to those that don't belong to any of the criteria, would those few sentences make a big difference. v diff to know also if they are looking for a certain kind of family....

Jaybee Thu 13-May-04 12:25:08

Be honest - why are you choosing this school? Put those reasons.
I would be tempted to say that the school comes highly recommended by friends, that you think it would be the best suited for your child because of the school's high achievement in (whatever the school excels at art, music etc.)
I put something like, 'I would like my son to attend this school as it has an excellent reputation and the location of the school would enable him to walk to school, eventually unaccompanied, which would increase his independence'.

Sparks Thu 13-May-04 12:26:06

I understood that space was to say something about the child's special needs. If your ds doesn't have special needs or siblings at the school there is not much point writing anything. The stated criteria apply to 100% of the children - everyone lives some distance from the school IYSWIM.

madgirl Thu 13-May-04 14:20:05

sparks, there is another box on the form for special needs. yes i see what you mean, tho i don't see what harm it can do emphasising you are particularly keen on one school (?)

soyabean Thu 13-May-04 14:31:48

Madgirl I think you should phone the LEA to check, but i would think that the admission criteria woulds be as Frogs said, unless they are church schools. Other London boroughs I know only consider siblings, SEN and distance and I dont *think* Wandsworth is different.

madgirl Thu 13-May-04 14:39:10

right you are, think i will just say i am keen for ds to go to x school because i have have friends with kids there and they have highly recommended it, i will also say i am keen for us to be able to walk to school. thanks all.

twogorgeousboys Thu 13-May-04 15:08:08

In my London Borough the criteria is exactly as frogs says and its very strict. I cant find the guidance booklet at the moment, but I'm fairly sure it said something along the lines of don't bother trying to tell us how wonderful your child is etc etc - the criteria is the criteria and thats it.

Do as others suggest and contact the LEA. Ours uses a specific mapping system which can be checked out on the internet so you can see where you are in relation to the catchment areas.

If you do want to add something to the form, focus on the criteria, so if where you want to go is the closest and you are in its catchment area, then say so.

We are very close to the "top" primary school in our borough - next door is in its catchment area, but we are not. The pressure for places is enormous and we were really panicking when we realised we had no chance of getting our two in.

However, a much closer school which at first I thought was a real "second best" is I think, just as good. I did my homework and found out that since its last OFSTED report in 2000 (which wasnt bad, but nothing like the "supa dupa" school) it has dramatically improved, has a new Head and the SAME KS2 SAT results as supa dupa school last year. Its also an all round warmer, friendlier, more culturally diverse place than the one we were originally desperate to get into.

Found out today that ds1 has been offered a nursery place there for Sept and I am thrilled to bits and his chances of getting a reception place are miles better.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that all is not as it seems when looking at potential schools.

madgirl Thu 13-May-04 19:56:11

Thanks for that twogorgeousboys. I've checked the catchment areas- there are 3 schools which look really quite good; the first we are in the catchment area for, so will emphasize this on the form, the second we are close to but not in the catchment area for, so i shall emphasise proximity and what great reports i have had of it, the third has now catchment area so will just chance our luck.

Sparks Fri 14-May-04 10:04:45

Sounds like your form isn't quite the same as the one I filled in. I didn't mean there was any harm in writing something in that space, just that it wouldn't make any difference.

I have a friend who is a teacher and she says for her school in another London borough they literally sit down with a map, measure how far the kids live from the school and rank them closest to furthest.

I agree with twogorgeousboys that all is not what it seems. Do go and visit the schools, if you can, before making a final decision. What I like most about my dd's school (she's in reception now) is the friendly and respectful atmosphere.

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