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Primary application - distance issue

(10 Posts)
poppytin Mon 19-Nov-12 15:58:00

DS1 is starting Reception in Sep 2013 and we are making our applications so would appreciate your advice. First preference is hugely oversubscribed school A which is closest to home in terms of walking distance ie about 350m however the main building of the school is about 150m behind the entrance gate for drop-off and pick-up hence distance wise we are 502m from this school. There is only one class for reception entry and the number is strictly 30. Last year there was 10 siblings and the cut-off distance was 514m. This year we've been told that there are 15 siblings. We really want to get into this school as it's closest to home and the journey is without crossing any street.

Second school is 492m away from home and the journey involves crossing a major A road with traffic lights. There have been fatal accidents involving children crossing the road.

Other schools are even further away and all involve crossing this major road.

Can I use the journey details as reason for emphasizing first preference for school A?

Many thanks xx

SoupDragon Mon 19-Nov-12 16:00:34

Are you sure distance is not measured from the main gate?

HoratiaWinwood Mon 19-Nov-12 16:06:34

Check with council. Some (stupidly IMHO) measure distance as the crow flies door to door. Others are any part of school to any part of house, as the crow flies. Yet others are "shortest walking distance" (NB not "safest" or "quickest").

"It is a minute closer and the A road is busy" would not be considered compelling reasons, BTW.

Good luck with your application.

Pooka Mon 19-Nov-12 16:06:55

Distance is measured from centre point of school buildings in our borough too. Three gates on three side of the site, so fairer really to do it this way (though not in our case because we missed out on our first choice school being 340m from the school building but nearer 270 from the nearest gate. Cut off was 320m (the actual school building set to one side of a large site).

Ended up ok for us - got third choice and dcs have generally been very happy and in many ways the school they got is better (though less 'posh' - for want of a better word) than first choice.

HoratiaWinwood Mon 19-Nov-12 16:07:45

Also, what are you in catchment for? It is possible to be in catchment for one's second-nearest instead of actual nearest. Our school catchment area is a very odd shape.

poppytin Mon 19-Nov-12 16:15:09

No real catchment, only cut-off distance which varies year to year. 2010 cut off was 490m although I don't know how many siblings. So it's really nerve racking. School 2 results are ok, and we are well within its cut-off distance so we'll be putting it as second preference. However just wonder how they would treat second preferences? Would they consider all first preferences first then allocate the remaining places to second preferences?

poppytin Mon 19-Nov-12 16:17:38

@ SoupDragon: distance is measured from the centre point of the main buildings, as horatia said, which in this case makes it really unfair because there is only one entrance (close to my home). Many families who live on the other side of the school (closer to the back of the building) have to drive their kids to school, a journey of about 2 miles because there is no straight road. From my home to the school it's only 3 minutes straight walk.

HoratiaWinwood Mon 19-Nov-12 17:03:05

You really need to look at your council's criteria.

Here, they take all the applications for a school, regardless of choice, then rank the children according to their criteria (eg cared-for, then catchment siblings, then other siblings, then catchment, then out of catchment, ranked within each band by distance) and make a cut-off by numbers - so 30 for a single-form entry. Preference only comes into it if you make the cut for multiple schools,at which point your lower-preference places are released to those lower down those schools' lists.

Putting one school first doesn't make any difference to how high up their list you are, rather vice versa.

I have not explained this well.

prh47bridge Mon 19-Nov-12 18:17:06

The short answer to your question in your OP is no. The journey details will have no effect whatsoever on your chances of getting a place at school A.

HoratiaWinwood describes the equal preference system in her last post. That system is compulsory - all LAs in England are required to use it. They are not allowed to use "first preference first".

admission Mon 19-Nov-12 19:40:35

From the way they are describing the measuring to the centre point of the school, I suspect that the distances are being measured as straight line distances from home to school.
You need to check this as it obviously makes a major difference to the possibility of getting into the school. If you are unsure then PM me with the school name and LA and I will check for you.
Whilst any increase in siblings could be detrimental to your application, if they live all over the place, it could also be positive. If the school has been oversubscribed for a good few years then the siblings are likely to be from houses near to the school, not at distances greater than yours. As such the siblings may be taking some more places than last year but they could be the only pupils that are living within the 500m distance to your home. It is really difficult to be sure what will happen from one year to the next.

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