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Would you apply to a school where you had slim chance of getting a place? Where would it fall in your list of prefernces?

(16 Posts)
bytheMoonlight Sun 09-Oct-11 18:08:56

There is only one local school which I would consider sending dd1 to (she currently attends the nursery but its a catholic school so even getting in is iffy)

We are out of catchment for the other four schools I would consider.

Would you visit them?
Would you put them on your list? If so above or below the local school?

In terms of getting in, my first choice let in 28 out of the 51 children that applied last year in the category dd1 fell into.

Dozer Sun 09-Oct-11 18:16:34

How many choices do you get?

Not losing anything to go and visit all of the schools.

The problem with not putting any "realistic" choices down is that you may get none of your choices, but instead a school you find even less desirable than those you didn't put on the list but might've been given had you done so. This happens quite a lot in places like London.

In the category you mention, was it distance-based? Were you within the distance of the furthest place offered in that category last year?

bytheMoonlight Sun 09-Oct-11 18:25:33

There are six choices I think.

It was distance based. How would I know how far the furthest place was?

sunnyday123 Sun 09-Oct-11 19:46:46

contact your LEA for details of where the categories were split and if it got to distance, how far the last place went. I would use all your choices - be very foolish not to as all considered equally. You put them in preference order so try for the ones you really want but lower down have at least one that you are sure you are sure to get into - its better to have a rubbish school nearby than a rubbish one 3 miles away!

If its catholic and you are not, check what priority they give to siblings - if you are non catholic you may get dd1 in but will struggle if you have any other kids in busy years - most prioritise ALL catholic applicants (even those without siblings and out of parish) above non catholic siblings. This is important as popularity can change greatly between years.

2cats2many Sun 09-Oct-11 20:08:07

Put it as your first choice. If you put it further down you won't get it, even if they have a space.

Just make sure that you put a school that you do have a chance of getting into as one of your preferences or you might with none of your preferences offering you a place and ending up with the LEA choosing for you.

ladybirdpoppy Sun 09-Oct-11 21:32:40

My first choice was the school literally round the corner from my house .... it is a faith school and is oversubscribed, a 136 children applied for September 11 intake for 60 places. My DS was on the 2nd to last category on the oversubscription criteria as he is not baptised that faith but we was in the catchment area. I had his name down at the school from around age 2 and was honest with the school about his faith. I did list 4 other schools on the application all out of our catchment area however to my amazement we got a place at our first choice school ..... when I submitted my application the LEA did email me and ask why I did not apply for other schools in my catchment area ... basically the only other school was awful and that did I understand the admissions policies. You may think that I took a gamble .... to be honest I did have a place reserved at a private school as a back up ....... I would put you put it down as you never know what can happen .......

sunnyday123 Sun 09-Oct-11 22:47:20

i think that its great you got in ladybirdpoppy but it is important you and the OP consider future kids. My dd is Rc and in her RC school no catholic siblings out of parish got in this year - never mind the non catholic ones! Catholic siblings in my school who are out of area are category 3 whereas non catholic siblings (even in area) are category 6. Last year everyone who applied got in whereas this year it filled on category 2 out of 9!!

Having your childs name down makes no difference to getting place - all schools admit on their criteria.

If you were second to last on the criteria all that means the everyone in the categories above (i.e all faith got in). All catholic schools i know take catholics from out of the area before non catholics in the area.

My dd school have admitted that from now on its unlikely any non catholic will get in to the school - including all the non catholic siblings applying from now on as the school has become so popular! Its so important to realise this if sending kids to faith schools - they dont usually operate like community LEA controlled schools and everyone who appealed for their siblings place this year lost.

ladybirdpoppy Mon 10-Oct-11 07:45:38

Also his school does take catholics from any other parish in the area before admitting non catholics but i am not having another more DS .....

barnowl Mon 10-Oct-11 14:35:05

It is also important to be aware that if you put a school other than your catchment school as your first choice and you do not get a place you may also find that your catchment school is full so you need to make sure that you balance your preference for a particular school against the possibility of ending up with a school you really don't want. If the odds are stacked against you for your first choice you may be better off applying for your second preference school as your first choice rather than risk ending up with a school you really dislike. Its worth visiting the schools and seeking advise from the heads and looking at birth rates for your childs intake year, I did that when I was first looking at schools and in the end didn't apply for the school I would really have liked as the odds were against us getting in and I'm glad I didn't because we did get into our second preference school which we wouldn't have done if we hadn't put it as first choice as it filled on first choice applicants. Hope that makes sense smile

bytheMoonlight Mon 10-Oct-11 14:37:08

I don't think it works like that barnowl. As far as I know it doesn't matter where you place the school in the list.

sunnyday123 Mon 10-Oct-11 17:06:48

thats right bythemoonlight - all your school choices receive your application form and dont know the order you put them in! The offers are sent to the LEA by each school (so you could get 3 offers sent to LEA) but the LEA will give you the highest ranking off of your choices. therefore you can safely put your 'wish list' schools are the top as long as you have realistic choices further down. If you list safe choice first, even if your preferred school offers you a place, the LEA will give you your highest offer.

sunnyday123 Mon 10-Oct-11 17:08:18

Therefore someoone who lists a school as 3rd choice can get in over someone who lists it as first choice as they met the admissions criteria better.

barnowl Fri 14-Oct-11 20:24:51

Just come back to this thread, I guess LEA's must make up their own rules because in my LEA they do fill places by rank so that someone outside catchment who put a school as first choice will get a place over someone in catchment who put the school as 2nd or 3rd choice the schools don't deal with applications at all now its all online and the LEA allocates all the places and once the applications period is over the school gets given a list of those who didn't get in who want to be kept on the waiting list.

roadkillbunny Fri 14-Oct-11 21:05:03

Then your LEA is breaking the admissions code Barnowl and need to be reported to the schools ombudsman

prh47bridge Sat 15-Oct-11 09:14:30

barnowl - As Roadkillbunny says if your LA is doing that they are in breach of the Admissions Code and need to be reported (although the report needs to go to the Schools Adjudicator). However, I think it is highly unlikely they are doing so. I've looked at the admission arrangements for most LAs and haven't come across any that are in breach of the legal requirement to operate "equal preference".

Under the equal preference system it makes absolutely no difference to your chances of getting in to a school whether you make it your first choice or your last choice. All children applying for a school are considered equally and ranked according to the admission criteria. The ranking of your preferences only comes into play if you get places at more than one of your choices. You will only be offered the place at the highest preference available.

So to answer the original question, there is absolutely no harm in putting one of a long shot in as one of your preferences. You will not damage your chances of getting a place at your local school. But you must put at least one school where you have a good chance of getting in otherwise you may end up with an unpopular school miles from home.

AnnaB89 Tue 18-Oct-11 11:32:47

Message deleted

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