Secondary School admissions form - does it matter which order you place schools?

(23 Posts)
13lucky Fri 29-Apr-16 21:44:40

Hi there, we live in an area with Grammar Schools. My dd is going to take the 11+ and we'll then make a decision on schools. However, the one Grammar School that we were hoping for if she passes has just changed their admission policy for 2017 so geographically it looks like we might not get in there. So my question is this: if she passes and we gamble for the Grammar School and then put our next favourite school (non Grammar) second....if she doesn't get in to the first choice school, will this scupper our chances of getting our second choice because we didn't put this as our first choice? (I'm thinking if there's little chance of her getting the first choice Grammar School because we're 'out of catchment', should we just put the second choice non-Grammar first, so at least she gets one of our first two choices? Sorry for the ramble. Many thanks

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 29-Apr-16 21:46:34

Shouldn't matter. Doesn't in our area, the schools don't know the order.

We had the same issue and put the grammar down first, didn't get in due to distance and got second choice.

MrsKCastle Fri 29-Apr-16 21:49:04

No, it doesn't matter which order you put them in. You should put the grammar 1st and if you don't get it, your chance at getting the other school is not affected.

PMmeHun Fri 29-Apr-16 21:49:50

Do you not get 11+ results before you need to submit the admissions form? I ask as we are also in grammar school area and results come out about 2 weeks before the form goes in.

13lucky Fri 29-Apr-16 21:51:53

Hi PMmeHun, yes we do get results before we need to submit, but that doesn't help because the reason that she might not get in to the grammar isn't to do with pass/fail/score in the test, it's to do with catchment area.

meditrina Fri 29-Apr-16 22:10:40

It matters enormously, but not in the way you seem to be suggesting.

The list of preferences is simply so that, if your DD qualifies for an offer from more than one school, they know which to give her.

So if you really want risky choice, then put it in first place. Because if you put 'safe bet' school above it and as expected qualify for safe bet school, you will not be offered 'risky choice' even if you had qualified for it. You will only get one offer, and your preference list is how you state which one you want if you get more than one.

The preference list does not make the slightest difference to whether you qualify for an offer in the first place. That is wholly about how well you fit the criteria

steppemum Sat 30-Apr-16 08:00:15

the form works like this

put the school you want the most in first place. If you qualify you get it.
If you don't qualify, then the school you put in second place becomes your new 'first choice.

The second place school doesn't discriminate against you for putting them second. They get your application at the same time as all the people who put them first, and you get considered alongside everyone else. (it is hard to explain, but it really does work like this)

So, if you prefer the grammar, put it first, then put the non grammar. It won't effect your application to the non grammar at all.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 30-Apr-16 08:09:59

You might also want to appeal for the Grammar place. The appeal panel might ask which order you placed them. You need to give your true preference.

prh47bridge Sat 30-Apr-16 09:17:06

The appeal panel might ask which order you placed them

They shouldn't. It isn't relevant. If the panel asks this and the appeal fails it is potential grounds for a fresh hearing.

13lucky - The school will only be told that you have applied. They won't be told whether they were your first preference or your last. They are not allowed to give priority to people naming the school as first preference. Your application will be looked at independently for each school to determine whether or not your daughter will be offered a place. If, at the end of this process, the LA finds that your daughter has qualified for a place at more than one school they will offer you the place from the highest preference. So if she qualifies for offers from your first and second preferences you will be offered your first preference and the place at the second preference will be offered to the next person on the list.

As others have said, you should put the schools in your genuine order of preference.

13lucky Sat 30-Apr-16 10:48:32

Thank you all very much. I feel much happier now. Our first choice preference looks risky but we will still put it first if she passes now that I know she won't be penalised for putting the second school second. Many thanks

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 30-Apr-16 14:37:27

That's interestingprh47 , on 11plus forums people have been asked (for grammar appeals), I guess panels are not all created equal!

13lucky if she misses by a small margin and you are fairly confident that you will get an offer from one of your other three (or however many) choices it might still be worth putting it down and appealing using evidence from the school of her abilities.

SaturdaySurprise Sat 30-Apr-16 15:31:05

If you're talking about a school like Tiffin Girls, you might want to find out how many out of catchment girls got in this year. I suspect it will be none and it might be a waste of time doing the test at all.

As everyone else said you need to put the schools in your true order of preference.

prh47bridge Sat 30-Apr-16 17:40:47

I guess panels are not all created equal!

Some panels do a better job than others. Some panels go completely off the rails and bring the whole system into disrepute.

An appeal panel should consider whether the admission arrangements comply with the Admissions Code and have been administered correctly, and whether the prejudice to the child from not being admitted outweighs the prejudice to the school from having an additional pupil. Whether the school was first or last preference doesn't enter into any of those questions.

SweetieBumMum Sat 30-Apr-16 20:00:46

Just a thought, if you were applying to a grammar and wanted to appeal if you didn't get in, I think it must be on your common application form even if you don't qualify.

I also understand that the local authority simply move down the list and treat every option as if it was your first so if you don't get your first choice, your second choice is treated as your first.

13lucky Sat 30-Apr-16 20:09:54

Thanks all. My real question was that because I'm not sure we'll get our first choice because we may live too far away, I wanted to make sure that other people who had put the school that is our second choice as their first choice wouldn't get the place over us (if we are higher up the criteria than them on our second choice school). I'm sorry - I'm not explaining myself that clearly! I totally understand the need to put the schools in our order of preference...that wasn't really my question. I think I am clearer though now, thank you.

mummytime Mon 02-May-16 06:50:12

Since the "equal preference" system came in, it has always been that schools do not know your preference order, and you are "just as likely" to get in to school P if you put it first, second or sixth.
Which is why you should always strongly consider putting your local dead cert there, just in case.

HPFA Mon 02-May-16 07:08:34

I really wish there could be a campaign about this! I have spent so much time trying to persuade people that they will not be disadvantaged by putting a school second if they don't get in their first choice. Admittedly its difficult when you have a headteacher telling parents at an open day that they must put that school first to have a chance of getting in (it had the opposite effect on me to the intended -I really didn't like the idea of a school led by a liar)One parent I know moved her child in the first term to DD's school. Turned out she'd wanted that school in the first place but had been scared she'd be rejected by other schools if her DD hadn't got in!
I honestly believe a lot of people have not put down their real preferences on the form because of this belief. I really wish that that this myth could disappear

Blu Mon 02-May-16 07:12:11

13Lucky: no, the people who put your second choice school at the top of their list have no priority over you just because they listed it first. ONLY the order in which you're the the admissions criteria counts..

Makes it so much easier: no gambling or second guessing required.

13lucky Mon 02-May-16 20:47:26

Thank you all

Badbadbunny Tue 03-May-16 09:02:01

Also take advice from the GS. We went through the same thought process before we went to the GS open days etc and were worried about it. But in our case (others schools may well be different), it was made clear in the Head's presentation that most parents will know if their child has been allocated a place by means of the 11+ results letter. If allocated, then the ONLY way to secure the place was to put the GS down as first choice. He said there would be a small number of pupils who were effectively no the reserve list who'd only get a place if others above them didn't accept, (i.e. moved away, changed their mind or beggared up the application form) and they too had to put the GS as the first choice. So, for most, they knew with certainty, they'd get a place at the GS and a few were uncertain. But, the main thing was to put it down as first choice. He also said that anyone who'd not been given either straight acceptance or a reserve list place wouldn't get into the GS at all regardless of whether all places above had been taken or not. He basically said they give a list to the local EA, ranked in accordance with whether they were secured a place or on the reserve list, and that the top 140 people of that list who put down the GS as first choice would get the 140 places.

prh47bridge Tue 03-May-16 09:31:27

the ONLY way to secure the place was to put the GS down as first choice

An example of why you should be very careful about advice from the school. If you really wanted the GS you should put it down as first choice. But the implication that you wouldn't get a place if you put it as second choice is wrong. If you didn't get a place at your first choice you would still get your place at the GS.

Far too many heads either don't understand how admissions work or deliberately give false advice so that they get as many people as possible naming the school as first choice. Ignore any head who says you must put their school as first choice or you won't get a place.

Blu Tue 03-May-16 17:27:09

BaadBadBunny Unless you attended that open day before the equal Preference System was introduced, the Head was not presenting the picture accurately. It isn't a matter of 'some schools might do it differently' - the schools admissions code, including the 'equal preference system' is LAW.

Yes, the school will tell the LA who they can offer a place to, and who has passed at a high enough level to be in the reserve list. That is what happens: the school tells the LA who can be admitted under their published admissions criteria.

The LA looks at all the offers of this kind that a child has, and offers the school highest up the list. It would be perfectly possible for someone who had taken the exam for his GS, passed with top marks, to have, nevertheless put another school first. Say the other school was miles away, with a distance criteria, or had an even higher superselective pass mark, and the child was NOT offered a place at that school. The LA would then look at the next place on the list of preferences that was offering a place - 'your' GS. And so they would be admitted, having placed it second.

The way someone could mess up would be to put a non-GS which was on the doorstep first in the list - and then however high on the GS admissions list they were, they would not be offered the GS because they were offered a place at the school they put first.

So: a mistaken interpretation by that GS Head.

It helps spread myths, YEARS after the equal preference system was introduced.

Blu Tue 03-May-16 17:31:10

It seems the Equal Preference System was brought in in 2004, first implemented in 2005.

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