School admission policy(31 Posts)
Hello, does anyone know if it makes a difference what order you put your school choices down as? We basically want to go to a nearby school but it's oversubscribed and we're just outside the official catchment area (gutted). There's another school we wouldn't mind which is slightly further away. I really wouldn't want her to go to the school we're in the catchment for very valid reasons. Does anyone know if there's such a thing as a wasted vote? Am I less likely to get into the second choice school purely because I've put it down as second rather than first? Thanks
Where we are the order matters for primary but not secondary (where you put six choices)
You need to check with your local authority where we are the order makes no difference. The school does not see which order you put them in. They just say yes or no, if you get more than one yes then the school higher up your list is where you are allocated.
No the order never makes a difference.
Schools will lie and say it does but it really doesn't.
Assuming you're in England the order makes no difference. All counties and primary or secondary are the same.
I work in an English primary. No, you are not less likely to get a place because you put it second (if you don't get first choice). First choices don't get a place before you either, they go by admission rules.
Great, thanks, that's really helpful. So does the school have a say then? I heard it was the council that allocate places and the school has no involvement? Do you know how the process works?
It depends on the school as some do their own admissions , prioritising based upon how those applications the LA collate match the criteria. There is no discretion. The list is ordered by each school then the LA looks at whether the school you named first has placed your dc within the places available.
The order matters in that you should put them in the true order you want them. Schools don't know which order you've put, you won't be disadvantaged by upsetting them in any way
The way it works is (roughly) that for each school a list is made of everyone who's put it as a choice. Then that list is put into order according to the school's admission criteria. Then for each pupil they look at their first choice to see if they've got a place there, then at the second choice, etc. I assume there are lots of rounds and repetitions of this as of course every time someone gets a place they should be crossed off all the other lists. But that's basically it.
Can the headteacher not make a difference at all? If you get along with them and can explain your reasoning and ties to the school and area etc? I'm not saying she would in this case, I just wondered if it's worth having a really honest discussion.
Won't make any difference whatsoever - if it did the school is acting illegally.
No the headteacher can not make a difference. You apply for a school place and the local authority has a procedure to follow. Legally it is bound by the admissions code to follow it's own rules.
As other posters have said the school has no say in which children are allocated places.
No, there are clear admission criteria and you need to see where you fall in relation to those. HT won't be able to change your admission rank. You should also put catchment last even though you don't want it unless you have good back up plan - private or home education for a long as it takes. If you don't and your choices are full and so is the catchment school you might be sent to a worse school far away. Better a poor school on your doorstep than a worse school 5 miles away.
Schools don't know the order they just get a list of names and addresses and say yes or no.
Council look at the places your child has been accepted and then give you the one highest on the list.
Any places that are rejected are usually reallocated to appeals as far as I'm aware.
Heads don't have visibility even of applications. They have no power in this.
Thanks for all of your advice, it's really useful to know. The difficulty I have with the school we're technically in the catchment for isn't just the usual reasons. It has an electricity pylon by the playground, literally right next to it. I know it sounds a bit loony but it really affects me (yes I'm massively paranoid). Would that help with my appeal process at all - the health aspect? What sort of things affect the appeal process?
A parent not wanting their child to go to school next to a pylon would not be grounds for appeal.
Have you read the admission criteria for the school?
In a word. No. You can only appeal successfully for an oversubscribed infant school on the basis of being denied a place if the priority criteria are not fairly applied. Your issues are not likely to get your dc into a higher priority category ahead of catchment. Even if they were you'd need documentary evidence of a health or social need, for your child. You can join waiting lists of those you prefer after the initial allocations.
I doubt the proximity of a pylon would have any sway in a school appeal tbh. If you appeal against the school offered to you then you need to make a case to be admitted to your preferred school. This isn't done by listing the negatives of your allocated place but by listing positives of your preferred choice.
I am not clear what age your children are but if we are talking about KS1 then appeals are difficult to win unless the authority has made an error in their admissions round meaning you missed out on a place which you should have been given.
Have you read the admissions criteria for each school you are considering?
Of course not! Everyone would be able to appeal on those grounds...
If there was any actual danger they wouldn't be given planning permission for the pylon.
I think you would be better getting professional help for your anxiety. You will not win an appeal.
I think that the problem with that argument is that if you asked virtually every parent whether they would choose school A with a pylon next to it or school B which is identical but without a pylon then they would choose school B everytime, even without different reputations. They will also argue that it is your dc attending not you. This is in a world where single parents in wheelchairs are assigned schools two bus rides away and told that they need to get their child to school on time regardless. Unfortunately it won't hold any sway at all.
Have you looked at further away schools? Village schools can be undersubscribed, might be worth looking for one and putting it as third option ahead of the catchment school. See if you can find the PAN and previous admissions, it changes year on year but might give you an indication. If you are near a county boundary then look across the border too for undersubscribed schools which you like. I realise this isn't possible if you are in an inner city but around here people do drive out to village schools.
Sorry what does PAN stand for? And how do I find out about previous admissions?
By law all admissions authorities have to operate under equal preference rules.
This means that they cannot give top priority to those who name a school first (as used to happen many years ago).
You list your schools in order of preference
The council checks all those you meet the criteria for (by living close enough, having a sibling, going to church - whatever the criteria for each school is).
You get the school that you said you liked best out of all those you meet the criteria for.
So if you meet the criteria for number 2 and number 4 on your list you get number 2
If you missed out on number 1 because 60 siblings took all the places, the fact you placed it at number 1 offers you no special priority. You don't meet the criteria so you don't get a place even though you said you liked it the most.
There is literally no human element to this at at all. It is all done in strict accordance with the published admissions criteria for each school (usually a variation on sibling priority and some form of distance priority). The Head cannot get a place for a child genius or a family friend for example. The Head has no say.
Concern about a pylon is not going to win an appeal. If oyu are concerned though, your best bet is to research other schools you would definitely get offered a place at (perhaps a bit further away and under subscribed) and apply to one of those on your form above the school with the pylon. That way, when you qualify for both schools, you'll get the one you said you liked best (the one without the pylon). If you really want to avoid that school, your best bet is to identify another one that you're likely to get into. Appeals are hard to win at the best of times and certainly not to be relied on for things like this.
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