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Reception Admissions Advice Please!

(15 Posts)
RECENTLYFOUNDOUT Tue 18-Oct-11 19:25:06

Sorry, another admissions question here!

We are doing our application, and we are not going to put our catchment school first - it is a community school.

We live quite rural, the other nearest schools to us are all C of E schools. We attend church regularly so are going to attempt to apply and we shouldn't have any problem with a supporting reference.

The closest church school is 2.4 miles away. We intend to put this as our first choice. Last year this school also had places available to out of catchment on distance, and the furthest place offered was 2.8 miles.

The next closest church school is 3.5 miles away and we will put this as our 2nd choice (we go to the church right by this school and DS currently goes to the preschool here). This school also offered on distance - I think some of them on appeals but unsure of distance - probably about 3 miles (I know some of the people who got in on this criteria).

We will put our local community school as our third and final choice.

Anyway it looks as though this year both will have more applications so we are not assuming that we will get either, even though in theory our application is higher priority than a distance according to their admissions criteria.

So our query is this:

If there are places available at the church schools as they make their own decisions on the applications do they have to offer to church applications above those applying on distance or can they choose a distance applicant if they prefer?

Also, as our catchment school is our third choice will we automatically get this or will we be offered one of our first two choices if we meet their criteria and there were places available to church applicants out of catchment?

Many thanks if you have read this and even more thanks if you can answer as well smile

mummytime Tue 18-Oct-11 20:05:37

Have you got the admissions criteria for these schools????? There is usually a booklet produced by the LA, and the prospectus etc. produced by the schools themselves should give you this information. It all depends on the school and also whether they are Voluntary aided or Voluntary controlled.

Fortunately you have a while until you need to apply.

sunnyday123 Tue 18-Oct-11 20:10:52

HIya i also applied out of catchment for DD reception place 2 years ago. The thing to remember is all 3 school choices are considered equally. All 3 will receive your application and wont know what order you placed them in. They will then rank and determine who they can offer places too according to their admissions criteria. The LEA will then 'gather' your offers and give you the offer which you placed higher. For example if your first choice can't offer you a place but your second and third can, then they will offer you your second choice.

You wont automatically get your local school. I had this with DD as my local RC primary school is next door but 1! It only gets 7 applicants for 25 places yet i applied out of catchment to an oversubscribed school and got in. They can't give you your local school if your higher preference has places.

Places are allocated according to published admissions criteria so see individual schools or your LEA. Schools have to allocate according to the order of criteria and cant pick and choose. Each applicant under each criteria has to be admitted before they can go onto the next criteria. For example in DD RC school the criteria is as follows:

1-RC in care
2-RC in parish
3-RC siblings not in parish
4-RC not in parish
5-Non RC (but member of a church) in care
6-Non RC (but member of a church) sibling
7-Non RC (but member of a church)
8-No religion (distance)

When DD applied in 2010 everyone got a place. However DD2 is due to start 2012 and is unlikely to get in as last year the school filled on criteria 2 and we are criteria 3. Please check the admissions criteria as you are applying out of catchment. We did check but as siblings had always got in presumed we'd be okay but the schools have to follow the criteria and last year 7 siblings didnt get in! Bear in mind things can change very quickly smile

RECENTLYFOUNDOUT Tue 18-Oct-11 20:16:21

Thanks for your quick response.

The church schools are both voluntary aided.

Both of them, according to their admissions policy state that faith places come before out of catchment. But as they effectively offer their own places we were wondering if they have to stick to this or if they could offer to people out of catchment above the faith places? The reason that we ask is that when we visited one of the schools a couple of weeks ago the parent governors were there and appeared quite hostile, not very keen to make conversation. The teachers however were really lovely and we wondered if it was a case of 'our face not fitting' and if so would they be able to refuse our application even if it meets their criteria and take others who are in effect lower priority iyswim?

sunnyday123 Tue 18-Oct-11 20:22:43

Are you out of catchment then? They have to take according to the admissions criteria - DD school is also voluntary aided but they still have to follow the rules! Most (like mine above) will offer faith places only to those in the parish first? Then our of catchment they usually go for faith siblings etc?

RECENTLYFOUNDOUT Tue 18-Oct-11 20:22:54

Thanks sunny, sorry to hear that DD2 is unlikely to get in - have you any thoughts on what you will do for her?

We fill criteria 6 out of 7 for a faith place. In previous years both of the C of E schools have taken people in on category 7 as well - and the school said that everyone who applied on this category got in.

I see what you are saying about things changing quickly though and that is why we are not assuming (just hoping) that we will get one of the faith schools.

If we are fortunate enough to get DS into one of the faith schools DD will then be category 3.

RECENTLYFOUNDOUT Tue 18-Oct-11 20:24:34

Sorry x posted, yes we are out of catchment for the faith schools.

sunnyday123 Tue 18-Oct-11 20:26:04

the criteria is definitely legal and you could appeal if you lost out and someone lower in criteria got in. I'm currently on the lookout for people applying to my school who are lower criteria than me - ready to plan my attack if they get in before me!

teacherwith2kids Tue 18-Oct-11 20:30:25


No state schools, as I understand it 'effectively offer their own places'.

They have to abide by the admissions code, follow their printed oversubsciption criteria to the letter, and co-ordinate their admissions with other schools. You can't be refused a place 'because your face doesn't fit' if according to the admissions criteria you are high up enough amongst the categories to be offered a place.

Hoping that one of the real admissions experts will come along to help you, but my understanding is that if you meet the admissions criteria better than another child, you will get the place and if you don't you will get a place on appeal because the school would be breaking the law.

sunnyday123 Tue 18-Oct-11 20:33:57

i expect that we will start DD2 at her allocated school and wait for a place to come up, either through the waiting list or on appeal at Y3 when they can go over the 30/class rule. It will be tough as DD1 is in Year 1 and so unfair to move her, having made lovely friends. DD2 is in the preschool and loves it so will be upsetting for all of us. I just keep saying things like "well, you may go to this school or the blue school up the road!" - blue being the uniform colour! It will also cost us £250/month in wrap around acre which we currently dont need.

DD's school had never been in this situation before and even when i applied for dd1 the head told me not to worry about dd2 as "siblings always get in"!! Unfortunately you cant predict intake and if the school gets more applicants above you (i.e. criteria 2) then your DD wont get in - although i expect not all schools witness such an increase in numbers like mine did this year smile I'm not trying to be negative - Im only saying it so you bear it in mind because noone ever pointed it out to me and i would never have risked it had i known - despite loving the school sad

The past 6 months (and the next 6) have been the most worrying time of my life! Its the first thing i think about everyday and wouldnt wish it on anyone!

RECENTLYFOUNDOUT Tue 18-Oct-11 21:34:46

teacher - thanks your info/advice really helps too!

sunny really feel for you all. I must admit I had thought about the fact that if we only just scrape in with DS it could mean that DD won't get in which tbh is one of the reasons we are putting the closer C of E school 1st, even though DS currently attends preschool at C of E school further away, because I think that with a couple of small housing developments having been built in the catchment area of 2nd C of E school (where DS attends preschool) there is likely to be an increase in children who would obviously get priority. I realise this could happen with the other C of E school too - it's all such a nightmare isn't it?

Do you know if they are likely to fill on criteria 2 again this year? Really hope they don't and DD2 gets a place smile

prh47bridge Tue 18-Oct-11 21:58:54

VA schools are their own admission authority but they must still abide by the admissions code. They absolutely must abide by their published admission criteria. They cannot make it up as they go along. If child A is higher in the admission criteria than child B then child A must be admitted. There is no choice.

Some VA schools do make a mess of this and regularly lose appeals as a result but the vast majority get it right.

sunnyday123 Tue 18-Oct-11 22:38:27

it looks likely as pre school numbers high and interest high generally sad - theres also talk of people using fraudulent addresses to add to the stress- dont mind if she misses out as long as the process is fair. Just keeping and ear out for playground gossip - but a horrible situation knowing its so out of our control. Luckily DD2 is confident and seems not bothered either way! - not telling school that though!

sunnyday123 Tue 18-Oct-11 22:44:42

i think putting your local school 1st is a good idea if you are happy with it generally - i only chose out of catchment as my local one had such a bad reputation via parents and current staff! i have to admit the 3 miles each way never bothered me in principal but it ALWAYS rains heavily the minute the school run starts which makes me wish i'd put a local school! Good luck!

RECENTLYFOUNDOUT Wed 19-Oct-11 06:53:12

Yeah I know what you mean about you don't mind as long as it's fair - last year I heard of someone who lived next door to a vicar getting a church reference to get into the school attached to where my DS goes to preschool - not only for herself but also her 2 friends! The person who told me is the mothers cousin and works with me and I don't think they realised what they were saying!

Not happy with local school at all really- tbh my eldest son went there for a while and we had a terrible experience with it and ended up moving him to another C of E school (which has since been closed due to low numbers). This was 15 years ago, but I know a lot of parents still talk very badly of it, in particular the head who current parents say looks down on all the parents - doesn't seem a very good attitude!

Good luck, keep in touch!

prh47bridge - thanks for advice, will keep close tabs on what is going on!

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