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Grammar school admissions - timeline?

(12 Posts)
angeldiver Mon 29-Aug-16 10:31:49

A few assumptions here wink.

Child has sat 11+ and passed for the out of catchment grammar school.

Does that mean a place at the grammar is guaranteed, or do we still have to wait until March 1st for definite offer?

The schools local to me are dire, whichever way I look at them, I can only find 1 that I would send dc to.
My other dc goes to a school 35miles away as we moved last academic year. She will stay there for GCSE's now.
Ideally younger dc would also have gone there but I've been told there is absolutely no chance.
The other alternative is to try and get her into school near where I work (again 30+ miles away) but again I see that as a risky strategy.

I am tying myself in knots heree in what to put down as my choices. Close to home or close to work. As it is, if dc gets in a school close to home I will be changing jobs anyway, if close to work, I would carry on there.
Our previous location had brilliant schools, whichever one dc got into would have been as good as the other.
Where we live now is the other end of the spectrum and with Oct 31st looming ever closer, I am having sleepless nights.

I think I need to speak to the LA but I'm not sure I am explaining myself properly confused.

I have gone round in circles since we moved here and still am no wiser on what to do sad

tiggytape Mon 29-Aug-16 15:53:04

Does that mean a place at the grammar is guaranteed, or do we still have to wait until March 1st for definite offer?
Nobody is ever absolutely guaranteed a place but there are some grammar schools where you pretty much know you'll get a place long before March. These are the schools that have a marking system (and in your case either no catchment area or a catchment area that counts for less than a very high score).

That's a long winded way of saying read the admissions criteria and (if they do scoring systems) read what the lowest score for out-of-area children has been in past years and how many of them get in.

If the top 80 scores regardless of distance get offered a place for example, and the top score possible is 280. And if your child has scored 280 and in previous years the top 80 places includes scores right down to 267, you can probably bank on a place.

However if you don't know any scores in advance, and if catchment area is important in getting offered a place (at some schools it is, at some schools it isn't), you will have to wait until March to find out if there are p
spaces left over for out-of-area children after all of the in-catchment children who passed have been given their place.

Ideally younger dc would also have gone there but I've been told there is absolutely no chance.
If they have a sibling policy, and if your older child will still be there when the younger one starts, then there's every chance your younger one will get a place there. Again, read the admissions policy for the school to find out.

If the worst comes to the worst and both grammar and school 35 miles away are ruled out, then you will need to decide which schools nearer to home to list and in which order. Put the ones you like best first. There is no penalty for this. If you cannot have our 1st choice, your next choice is given as much weight as if you'd put it first. Do however make sure you include one acceptable school you're sure you qualify for (eg live close enough to). The only thing worse than a rubbish school 2 minutes away is an equally rubbish one 7 miles away on an awkward bus journey. Look at the council's website or booklet for details on which schools you would have been close enough for a place last year as a rough guide.

PettsWoodParadise Tue 30-Aug-16 08:04:28

As tiggy says it depends on admissions criteria. DD's grammar has a defined catchment of 9 miles. The boys equivalent is all over the country but they don't release rankings so you haven't a clue if you are likely to get a place. Then a nearby borough has just a pass requirement but places then go on distance which changes each year. We knew DD had a place at the superselective based on her score and scores for the past five years which were fairly consistent but we couldn't rely on that until we saw it on 1st March. Whatever you do don't talk down your catchment school to your DC and get caught on the grammar or bust conversations as if they don't qualify either by not passing or by other admissons criteria it can make it very difficult.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 30-Aug-16 08:18:31

It is best to look at the eleveplus forum, all grammars are different and so it is impossible to give general advice. You may find out what you need to know through browsing or you can post a question.

angeldiver Tue 30-Aug-16 08:25:23

Thank you both.

Admission of 120, 90 in catchment, 30 out of catchment, based on results. We are just under 10 miles out of catchment. In has been inferred that high(er) marks are required out of catchment. Historically, there have been a number of children each year who attend from our town.

We are taking a cool approach. At the moment dc would rather not attend the grammar and go to the local comp. And no, I haven't run the local comp down at all.
We moved from an area where the 3 closest schools were between 80-87% for GCSE passes, the local comp is 54%. So although it is dire compared to previous local schools it isn't too dire nationally.

I think I need to stop doing comparisons and make the best of what we have got.
I took dc to a tutor at the start of the summer holidays for an assessment. He didn't think they'd have any problem getting in, especially if we did a bit of test familiarisation first.

Dc is cool as a cucumber about it all, it's me who's looking at other school choices who is getting more and more concerned about.

It looks like March 1st will be the day I find out, so more research of local schools is now necessary sad

namechangedtoday15 Tue 30-Aug-16 10:58:01

As others have said, no-one can tell you. I think (here at least) the out of catchment score varies year on year. Just depends whether 30 other children out of catchment got a better score than she did. Doesn't really matter whether historically other children got in - they might have got very high end scores.

In relation to your other options - if you're applying for schools that are out of catchment (old location, or near work), I think those are risky strategies. I would include all of the schools you want - grammar, old location, local comp, near work.

LIZS Tue 30-Aug-16 14:50:48

Didn't think this year's 11+ exams had taken place yet. But no place will be allocated until March 1st whether your dc has passed or not.

angeldiver Tue 30-Aug-16 16:36:37

No, they haven't lizs, that is why I said an assumption was being made, prior to me rambling wink.

namechange when I said historically that children from my town have attended, I meant that we weren't so far out that we'd be setting a precedent if a good pass is gained.

I will definitely be speaking to the LA prior to filling my form in and what will be will be. I can't change anything, so will make the best of whatever the outcome.

tiggytape Wed 31-Aug-16 12:22:39

namechange when I said historically that children from my town have attended, I meant that we weren't so far out that we'd be setting a precedent if a good pass is gained.

You have to be careful in assuming anything about past precedents and again you need to check the admissions criteria for the school.

Children from your town will get places for one of several possible reasons and it may or may not be that this offers hope that your own child could also get a place eg:

- The children who get into grammar school from your town are the ones who have got astonishingly high marks in their 11+ exam (there may be dozens of others in your town who passed the 11+ with lower marks but who didn't get a place)

- The children who get into grammar school from your town do so because the distance criteria or catchment area boundaries in some way favour them (perhaps you aren't too far out from catchment so are next in line for places after catchment children or perhaps there is an inner and outer catchment area and you are in the outer area with high priority than others further away)

- If it is very historical (going back many years) it may simply be that the school didn't always fill it's catchment places so there were plenty left over for non catchment children who applied

tiggytape Wed 31-Aug-16 12:48:39

Sorry I should have said I am not trying to be negative just trying to stress the importance of familiarising yourself with how every local school admits their intake i.e. what tie-breakers they use.

Schools can and do change their admissions criteria between year groups so don't automatically assume that you cannot get a place at your other child's school - there may be a criteria that means you can. But equally don't assume that just because people from your area have always got places at the grammar school that this means nothing has changed or that everyone who passes get a place - have a look at the council's website, the school's websites (and the 11+ forum for grammar schools) to get a sense of your individual chances of being offered a place at each school you are considering.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 31-Aug-16 13:54:05

Also there is sometimes a sibling priority which goes out further than the catchment for that year. For example dd has a place at a school with historically small catchment (around 2 miles) however sibling priority extends to about 20 miles. If we moved then not only would dd1 still be at that school but dd2 would also get priority over someone living next door. Also bear in mind that some dc have been tutored for much of junior school so might score more highly.

You say your dd isn't too keen, someone we know refused to do any prep and on the day didn't fill in the exam. I'm not saying your dd would sabotage it as much but if she needs a high mark she will need to get behind the plan to an extent.

Chewbecca Sat 03-Sep-16 13:55:18

The elevenplusexams forum is really good for this sort of info. It varies so much from area to area.

In my area (CSSE), you get the results 3 weeks after sitting the exam (17 Sep this year). From your result, depending whether you are in/out catchment (and if it is boy or girl) you know pretty much if the score is very likely to gain a place, borderline or unlikely (even if they've passed).

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