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Please explain this to me-complete novice!!

(36 Posts)
SeaShellsFiringUpTheQuattro Wed 05-Jan-11 11:23:11

My Ds is 2.3yo, we are renting in a good school catchment area, but he goes to a nursery and eventually preschool at Dh's place of work, out if catchment (we moved into area a year ago)

I am completely new to this lark!

Do preschools determine place allocation or is that a myth?

What happens if the school whose catchment we are in is c of e and we are not?

Should I have been playing the system since he was born and how do I catch up?!!

If we buy out of the area once he is at school, where would his little sister go and would he have to move schools?

When do we start the enrollment process for primary school?

I'm in the most competitive part of Poole if anyone knows the area.

Many thanks in advance...I appreciate it's lots of questions!!

craftynclothy Wed 05-Jan-11 11:35:10

Can't help with your area but here pre-school has no factor in getting a school place. It was made v v clear when applying for pre-school places.

To enrol for an actual school place, here you get sent a form when in November I think it was of the year before they're due to start. I think they get your address from the HV records but all the info is online if you've moved since they were born. Our applications are online too.

Sorry don't know about the other bits.

BertieBottlesOfMulledWine Wed 05-Jan-11 11:36:02

Whether the preschools feed into the primary schools or not will be dependent on area and LEA policy, I think - this is what I was told (I also have a DS 2.3!)

I have been advised to ring around all the schools which are local and arrange to go in. You don't need to start looking at primary schools until a year before they start (so September 2012 for us) but although there isn't a feeder system in my area, I would like DS ideally to go to the preschool of the school he is likely to move up to, so that the building is familiar and he is in the (mostly) same group of children as he moves up. So because he will be starting preschool in one year I'm going to start looking at primary schools now. But if you want to keep him where he is (and there isn't a feeder system in your area) you probably have about 18-20 months yet before you need to worry. AFAIK state schools are not allowed to have waiting lists so places are allocated based on distance, whether there is a sibling at the school, etc.

Look at practical things first like distance, routes, ofsted reports, any necessary special needs provision, then ask local parents, and when you go in take your child with you and see if the teachers take an interest in him and whether you like the feel of the school generally.

Places allocation usually goes like this (That is a Scottish council but it's usually very similar)

HTH I'm finding it all a bit confusing too but this is what I have worked out so far.

SeaShellsFiringUpTheQuattro Wed 05-Jan-11 11:38:37

Thank you for replying

They go to school the autumn they turn 5, yes?

DreamTeamGirl Wed 05-Jan-11 11:40:09

You need to check your local county council website.
In Hampshire you apply between Sep -Nov and get offered a place in January, but 2 miles away in Surrey you apply Oct-Jan and get offered in March, so its all different.

As crafty says, pre-school makes no difference at all, and you cant be on waiting lists for state schools.

If it is important to you that both DD and DS attend same school you will need to see what their entrance criteria is and whether siblings or in catchment have higher priority.

CofE schools AFAIK dont always specify that you have to attend church, but again double check their website, as if it is a church maintained school then they can specify that.

Hassled Wed 05-Jan-11 11:41:16

Preschools do not normally determine allocation - that's down to catchment. But be aware that catchments change according to demand - if the school has an intake of say 60 a year, and there are 65 children in the catchment who apply, the LA will effectively make the catchment smaller.

Google your Local Authority+childrens services+admissions, and they'll tell you what to do - normally you're sent a form and asked for preferences.

Re moving house - the sibling rule should apply (most schools' admission policies are Statemented children first, then Looked After Children - in care - then siblings, then catchment). Sometimes catchment and siblings are switched priority, but the school's website should have the policy up somewhere so you can check.

montysorry Wed 05-Jan-11 11:41:55

I don't know of any LEA in the country where the preschool place affects the reception place. There would be an uproar from working parents who use daycare if this was the case.

Every house in the UK has one catchment school but you do not need to apply for that nor are you guaranteed a place there.

DreamTeamGirl Wed 05-Jan-11 11:41:57

Oh and we didn't get sent any forms, we had to remember to log on and apply

He will start reception the September after he turns 4

Hassled Wed 05-Jan-11 11:47:09

They start Reception the September after they turn 4. So some will only just be 4, some will have been 4 for 11-12 months.

BertieBottlesOfMulledWine Wed 05-Jan-11 11:49:47

He'll start in September 2013 if he was born after 1 September 2008. But the preschool place is from the term after their 3rd birthday, so will be January 2012.

stealthsquiggle Wed 05-Jan-11 11:56:28

Don't assume you will get a form - we didn't, for either DC (we didn't apply, because they have ended up at independent school, but it did occur to me the other day that had I wanted a place for DD I would have missed the boat (or be about to miss it - deadline is next week, I think, for September 2011 admission) and no-one has contacted me). Evidently our LEA relies on you to take the initiative - although I have seen notices on school/village notice boards about applying.

montysorry Wed 05-Jan-11 12:12:41

Yes, lots of LEAs won't bother to send you anything and it's up to you to sort it out. At the risk of being flamed, this is usually LEAs in more affluent areas as they assume that the people living there will be aware and sort it out. Of course, that's a ridiculous assumption (MC parents of PFBs are usually just as clueless) but it happens.

If the nursery/preschool your child attends is in a state setting, you should be able to pick up an application at their office. Local libraries often stock them too.

As for the sibling rule; this will vary from LEA to LEA. In some, siblings take priority over catchment and in others catchment takes priority over siblings. Your LEA website should clearly define its own admission criteria.

As for CofE schools, it will depend on the school. A standard CofE school will be treated like any other for the purpose of catchment and will follow the LEA's admission code. If it's VA then they are allowed to apply parts of the admission criteria themselves such as church attendance or being baptised. Though this can only apply to 90% of their admissions.

As for starting (assuming sept entry only) those children who started Sept 2010 will have turned 5 between Sept 2010-Aug 2011.

Hope this helps a little. smile

prh47bridge Wed 05-Jan-11 13:38:26

Pre-schools and nurseries generally don't give any priority for admissions to a particular school in Poole. That is a myth.

What happens if you are in the catchment area of a CofE school but don't attend a CofE church depends on the school's admission criteria. You will find these in the primary admissions booklet on your council's website. They vary hugely.

No, you shouldn't have been playing the system since your son was born so there is no catching up to do. The only thing you can do to increase your chances of getting into a particular school is to move closer to it (and, if it is a CofE school, start attending the appropriate church).

If you move away once your son is at school, whether your daughter would get into the same school depends on whether the school gives priority to out of catchment siblings. Check the school's admission criteria. For community schools in Poole she would be treated as an out of catchment sibling, so would be behind all the in catchment children.

Your child will start primary school in the September following his 4th birthday. You will have to apply for a place in early January of that year (unless, of course, the schedule changes between now and then - keep an eye on the admissions section of Poole's website).

Finally, I have to disagree with Montysorry about faith schools. A VA school can determine its own admission criteria which may give priority to children who attend a particular church and/or are baptised. These apply to 100% of their admissions. It is true that some faith schools hold back some places for non-faith children but there is no requirement for them to do so.

SeaShellsFiringUpTheQuattro Wed 05-Jan-11 14:01:00

Thank you everyone! Schools seem the main topic of conversation at toddler groups here, and it seems like a big game to everyone- one of the schools and lea in question were in the press for monitoring parents trying to fiddle the system, everyone seems obsessed by it so I hoped you would give me measured advice

Can anyone explain the difference between grammer and independent schools?

Thank you so much!!

stealthsquiggle Wed 05-Jan-11 14:07:33

independent = fee-paying

grammar = well, it depends. In some areas of the country there are still academically selective state secondary schools (aka grammar schools). In other (most) parts there are schools called "xxxxx Grammar School" which are in fact independent (i.e. fee paying) schools.

montysorry Wed 05-Jan-11 14:19:28

prh47bridge, I have taught in many RC VA schools in various authorites and it was always clear that out of 30 places, 3 (so 10%)must be given according to the LEA admission criteria. There was always Catholic children who lost out because we had to take non-Catholic children who lived closer.

montysorry Wed 05-Jan-11 14:24:17

I have to add that such rules often infuriated the parish priest who was/is more often than not, on the BofG. I'm quite sure they would have stopped it if it was possible.

I no longer teach in a Catholic school environment so perhaps it has changed. But it always caused tears and tantrums every year.

prh47bridge Wed 05-Jan-11 15:58:41

montysorry - My knowledge of admissions only goes back to the introduction of the Admissions Code a few years ago. I don't know what happened before then.

Under the Admissions Code (which includes details of all relevant legislation) faith schools may reserve a proportion of their places for children of other or no faith but they are not required to do so.

Indeed, new faith schools have to get the consent of the appropriate diocesan authority if they want to reserve a proportion of places for children who are not of the faith. The Schools Adjudicator is specifically prohibited from forcing new faith schools to admit non-faith children unless the diocesan authority agrees.

DilysPrice Wed 05-Jan-11 16:05:45

Do go to your local authority website - it should contain all the up to fare info. Ours also produces a lovely booklet each year (avaiable fromlibraries) summarising all the school options and admission codes.
That should be your first port of call, along with the OFSTED page which will list all schools in order of distance from your home postcode.

SeaShellsFiringUpTheQuattro Wed 05-Jan-11 16:16:05

I've been on the LA website today, and it seems pretty good, although you need a definate postcode to check catchment, so we can't easily browse areas when house hunting. There seems to be schools with outstanding reports next to one that was in special measures, which could explain people's concern.

Dc's don't stand a chance gettung into the c of e school if it's anything else than catchment...

Talkinpeace Wed 05-Jan-11 16:38:36

Poole is unusual in that the schools to the south of the harbour are VERY different than those to the north.
Also Bournemouth and Poole still operate the Middle School system.

DH has been to some "challenging" schools there and some excellent ones.
Sadly 'parental choice' has resulted in severe polarisation.
You'll need to visit the schools TBH.

SeaShellsFiringUpTheQuattro Wed 05-Jan-11 18:48:31

In what why are they different? Good vs bad? I think we are badenpowell catchment

Talkinpeace Wed 05-Jan-11 19:08:01

I've not been to them, DH has.
Your best bet is to start reading here... /primary/10/html/cva_836.stm?compare=
I've sorted by CVA as it is the best measure I know of.
And then here gin=f&No=8363211&Num=836
a quick skim says to me smile

Simbacatlives Wed 05-Jan-11 19:13:47

Why is cva the best measure?

Cva is easily manipulated by schools.

bitsyandbetty Wed 05-Jan-11 19:19:49

Nursery and pre-school have no influence here either although I have had of some areas where nursery gives and advantage but many do not offer wrap around so discriminates against working parents. Normally most schools just go on siblings and then closest to the school.

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