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Anyone else applying for primary schools in Brighton?

(28 Posts)
furrycat Mon 26-Jan-09 09:07:41

We are hoping to get in to Balfour or Downs (our two nearest schools) but we are not counting any chickens.

We don't know what to put down as our third choice. We wanted to put down Stanford, but we're quite a way away and probably won't get in.

If you don't get any of your three choices you can get sent anywhere which in reality means somewhere no-one else wants to go to

Should we put as third choice somewhere we don't want to go but which woud be better than that option. But if we put a relatively unpolular school as third choice would we get sent there so the council can say we got one of our choices?

GreenEggsAndSpam Mon 26-Jan-09 10:18:27

I do recommend you speak to the council just to get them to explain their criteria as it has changed in the last two years. I have found their education people to be quite helpful.

My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that B&H will look at your choices in order, so you would only get your 3rd choice if you didn't qualify (ie were too far away from) choices 1 and 2.

However, once Looked After Children/SEN and sibling places have been allocated, the criteria is just on distance, so everyone who has put say Balfour down as either 1, 2 or 3, will be put into the pot, and places allocated on the basis of distance. Thus someone who had put Balfour 3rd might get it above someone who had put it 1st, if the person who put it 3rd didn't get their 1st two choices of school, and lived closer to Balfour than the person who put Balfour first but lived further away.

Does that make sense!

On that basis you would be advised to put down a school you DO like as your 3rd choice, assuming it is not too far away, or as you say, you could be allocated anything...

Roughly wheerabouts are you?

Another way to look at it is - say you put Balfour
in that order, the council would try to allocate you Balfour first. If you lived further away than others who wanted it, then they would put you in the pot for Downs and then see how far away you are compared with other applicants etc.

Right, I am going to shut up now, as I fear I am not helping lol!

Let us know what the council say, won't you?

Spidermama Mon 26-Jan-09 10:21:34

There's no way you'd get Stanford if you put it as a third choice. Even people living a Seven Dials who put it as first choice last year didn't get a place.

I don't know where you live but I think you should be OK with Balfour. Unless I'm out of date, I thought they always had a handful of extra places.

mankymummy Mon 26-Jan-09 10:35:07

I've just applied for schools for DS.

I spoke to the education placements people and it all seems so confusing.

I came away really worried that DS wont get into either my first or second choices.

Does anyone know how many children are turned down from their first choice usually?

GreenEggsAndSpam Mon 26-Jan-09 10:38:45

I agree with Spidermama about Stanford - you do have to be living on top of it to get in tbh - have a look at the admissions booklet as it does have the furtest distances places were allocated to last year.

As for Balfour - it is very popular. I recall they recently got agreement for the Jnrs to be a four form entry like the Infants, in which case their popularity might go up, as one of the few things against Balfour was that parents living further away were aware their child might not get a place at the Jnrs despite being at the Infants for three years.

It is a tricky decision, and a tactical one I'm afraid, which is why what you should do depends on where you live hmm

Best of luck!

mankymummy Mon 26-Jan-09 10:43:15

This might help... shows how allocations were made last year.

Although I've no idea what priority 1, 2, 3 etc. means... any ideas?

furrycat Mon 26-Jan-09 10:49:58

Thanks all - we live in Havelock Road, Fiveways, 730m from Balfour. We should get in on basis of past admissions, but I am freaking a bit as I have noticed a glut of rented houses in the area recently. I've heard of a couple of people renting in the area for a few months to get a place, esp those who don't want to pay for private schools during the credit crunch.

If we don't put Stanford we'll put Hertford - we've missed the open day now, does anyone know anything about it?

furrycat Mon 26-Jan-09 10:52:03

MankyMummy, which schools did you go for? Why are you worried you won;t get in?

mankymummy Mon 26-Jan-09 11:04:44

Elm Grove first, then St Lukes.

I'm worried because it appears from the B&H schools site that St lukes had 116 first choice applicants for 85 places and Elm Grove and 85 first choice applicants for 60 places last year.

DS doesnt have any siblings at either school.

Does anyone know what does the priority system mean?

furrycat Mon 26-Jan-09 11:15:15

It means priority is given to kids with special needs, kids in care and then with siblings at the school. Everyone else is priority 4 and those places are allocated on the basis of distance to school.

furrycat Mon 26-Jan-09 11:17:02

Greeneggs, the Balfour junior expansion is still in discussion and won't be decided until after the infant school deadline.

mankymummy Mon 26-Jan-09 11:24:21

ah right, thanks furrycat.

GreenEggsAndSpam Mon 26-Jan-09 11:29:02

Hi Furrycat - I know Havelock Rd has been close enough for both Balfour and Downs, but not necessarily every year. I know the year before last people living in Chester Terrace didn't get Downs. I would feel fairly safe about getting Balfour if it were me tbh, but it does depend year on year. Can B&H tell you if it is a high year for admissions? They should know as they send out the admissions booklets...

As for Hertford, I know a few people who didn't get Balfour or Downs the year before last (when the previous admission scheme was in operation and distances to schools were under 1000 metres), who were allocated to Hertford. It has a more 'mixed' intake than the other two, but has been really well managed by an excellent head (who is leaving this year). Hertford has a more middle class intake than ever before, but it's results may not reflect that yet. It is a smaller school, good at nurturing and good with treating children as individuals, which imo Balfour and Downs are less good at.

Even if you have missed the official open day, phone up and I am sure they would be happy to show you around. I reckon you'll be ok with Balfour, but you might feel better if you have a look at Hertford and put it as your 3rd choice.

furrycat Mon 26-Jan-09 12:01:12

Thanks for that info GreenEggsAndSpam, I think we will put Hertford 3rd as I really want a school within walking distance. I've looked at the website and OFSTED and it looks fine. Fingers crossed for Balfour and Downs though....

rootaloot Mon 26-Jan-09 20:26:22

Hiya, can I just throw in that as someone who has been in education for over 10 years I really recommend visiting a variety of schools and going on your gut instinct of how they feel. Balfour and Downs and various other schools in brighton are indeed very good, and have justifiably high demand. However, a lot of the parents have very high expectations at these schools and therefore the schools work very hard to meet these. Other schools, who by results may look a poor choice, work equally hard and sometimes they provide a very nurturing and holisitc environment. If a school has a more mixed intake it has to work far harder to achieve higher results. It also really does depend on the nature of your child, some children will thrive wherever they are, some will suffer if the pace and expectations are too high for them just as some will get bored if it is not high enough. It's a little like buying a house - it might look great on paper but not have the right feel when you walk in, and one might not look so good on paper but you'll know its right as soon as you walk through the door.
Hope that helps!!

Mammina Sun 01-Mar-09 14:36:00

Can anyone tell me how they calculate the distance from your house to the school - is it by road or as the crow flies?

furrycat Sun 01-Mar-09 21:57:35

shortest walking distance AFAIK

Pollyanna Sun 01-Mar-09 22:00:40

migola did you cat me about living in Brighton recently? I have changed email account and lost all emails and can't remember whether it was you?

Mammina Sun 01-Mar-09 22:07:59

ok thanks furrycat
no pollyanna, wasn't me..
it's such a nightmare this schooling business, DD is only 2 but I'm already stressing about it! If it's true that sometimes the catchment areas are 300m from the school then we haven't got a hope in hell. There's a massive house for sale on harrington villas which is quite close but it's about £300k over budget!

Pollyanna Sun 01-Mar-09 22:12:02

oh, no problem (I wonder who did?...)

Mammina Sun 01-Mar-09 22:21:01

maybe they'll try again if they don't get a reply..

Dubh Wed 04-Mar-09 12:13:22

migola - it's walking distance, as calculated by the schools admissions people. you can call the schools admission office and give them a postcode. they'll tell you what the distance is.

noddyholder Wed 04-Mar-09 12:19:47

Gosh I remember all this in B&H I lived in roundhill area and my ds went to downs Fantastic school.We eventually had to buy at preston pk/fiveways though to get him into a decent high school.We bought a house we really couldn't afford which seems ridiculous now but we were desperate!I think furrycat should be fine in Havelock x

Mammina Wed 04-Mar-09 13:47:10

dh saw a nice house on waldegrave the other day (fairly near the bottom) - i think it would be fine for Downs but I worked out it's 1 mile (or even 1.1mile) from dorothy stringer. DD is only two now but I really don't want to have to move again if I can help it. What do you think? I think it's a bit risky chancing it but then again who knows what the situation will be in 8 years time..

noddyholder Wed 04-Mar-09 14:05:38

Not sure although there is talk now of them scrapping the lottery system?????All the people I know who live in that area have gone to Dons/balfour and then Stringer/varndean.It is such a worry though.

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