Am I doing this right? (choosing secondary schools)(7 Posts)
DS1 is in year 5 at primary. We have 2 local secondary schools that we could get him to. School 1 is just over 2 miles away (1 mile from current primary where his 3 younger brothers will be), is our catchment school and seems to be the school that most if not all the children from the primary go to. He's familiar with the school as they often go there for sports festivals etc with all the other local primary schools. School 2 is 5 or 6 miles away (7 or 8 miles from current primary). Don't know much about that school except they wear green blazers and I see the pupils in Tesco at lunchtime. Both schools are ex secondary moderns, now comps.
DS1 wants to go to school 1. School 1 seems like the obvious choice. I'm thinking we should have a look at school 1 at their next open evening and if it seems terrible, go and look at school 2. But friends in other areas with dc the same age as DS1 seem to be taking it much more seriously than us, looking at multiple schools and trying to decide on a shortlist of 3 to put down. There are other schools local(ish) to us but they are all 7+ miles away which I think is to far. Unless school 1 is terrible when we look I was planning on putting school 1 as first choice and school 2 as 2nd choice. I know I should put down a 3rd just in case but I can't think of any other schools we could get him to.
I'd go & see school 2 as well perhaps. Just in case that one is terrible & you need a school 3 to out as second choice just in case.
Have you checked the oversubscription criteria for these schools in their admissions info? Catchments can change each year depending on all sorts of things like change in popularity of school, a lot of new housing nearby, higher birthrate, extra classes (bulge) at a particular school. As you are referring to secondary moderns does that mean you are in a grammar area? That may be why other parents are looking at a variety of schools depending on whether their DC passes the test or not.
Go and see all schools that could possibly be an option. Comparison and contrast with other schools helps shed light on what you are seeing.
And then put them all on the list in the order that you genuinely prefer them.
No disadvantage in filling every space on your list, and it gives greater protection against being allocated an undersubscribed school on the opposite side of the county.
It is a good idea to not only visit school 1 and 2 but to double check how they select students if they get more applicants than places.
It is easy to assume that because every one you know has got in, it is almost automatic but you may find that the distance is a factor and, if you are borderline, that's when a 3rd option becomes much more important.
Although there isn't a 3rd option that you think is ideal, the best bet is to choose the least worst one and name it. It doesn't in any way reduce your chances of getting school 1 or 2 but, if for some reason school 1 or 2 cannot take you (birthrate boom that year, dozens of siblings apply or whatever), you will still need a school even if its only while you wait it out on waiting lists.
It is much better to get the least worst school allocated as 3rd choice than one that is not only 7+ miles away but also the worst one in the area (which is the risk if that's all that's left).
Check the over subscription requirements for all "possible" schools. Visit each.
Try to fill all the places on that application form.
Just in case the pressure of the SE hits your area. In which case you could fail to get the "obvious" school, and also fail to get any other school you might even consider because they weren't on your form. And get maybe a dreadful school that you didn't even know existed.
And you might learn a few things, and spot ideas that you can suggest the school he does go to tries: different sports, or clubs or...
My DCs school offered a Mandarin class (after school) after parents requested it.
Check admission criteria. Is School 1 a shoe in (barring bizarre circumstances)? If so, you are in the same position we were in. We went to see"Schooll2" just on the basis of it giving us something to compare.
as it happened we all liked School 1 best, and as it turned out, wouldn't have got into School2 anyway (and had no 3rd school that made any sense at all to put down) but it's good we are not wondering about the "what ifs"
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