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Just confirming I am safe just putting down one school on admission form.

(51 Posts)
Claifairy Tue 04-Dec-12 13:11:52

LO is recently adopted and therefore number one on our chosen schools admission guidelines. We live opposite the school so I can't see there being any problems but just thought I would ask the experts for confirmation that I am doing the right thing!

tiggytape Thu 06-Dec-12 13:23:21

mummytime - that is also often the case. In fact nobody really lives close enough to 6 schools to get a chance at a place at all of them. Lots of people in Surrey live on the borders with the London boroughs so some may be applying to Surrey schools plus Kingston or Sutton ones as well.

Some people in Surrey will be applying to the Sutton grammars (which have no catchment so they have equal chance of a place) or to faith schools outside the Surrey postcodes altogether. They use their 6 choices on schools they may qualify for by exam or by faith plus their local comps too.

Some people don't have faith or grammar schools on their list of possibles so those people tend to list the comps they love plus their local school (if that's not one they've already included) and then fill up the last choices with 'bad but not as bad as some' choices.
For example, you might list a school 3 miles away knowing it is a pig of a journey to get to because you'd prefer that one than being allocated a school in a London borough that needs 2 trains to get to.
So it is not just about listing the schools you like and can travel to easily, it is also about making sure you list viable options so that you avoid the situation of being allocated a school that you wouldn't want in a million years.

mummytime Thu 06-Dec-12 12:30:21

I just realised: next year I will have to be applying for my baby to go to secondary school (its crept up on me).

Anyhow the weird one is that I now have 6 preferences, which is very odd as I don't think any town in my LA (Surrey) has more than 5 schools.
So if I use all my choices I will be applying to schools that are not only ones I don't want, but are too far away, just to make totally sure I don't get the school "no-one wants".

Actually depending on my baby's choice, we may well be pretty much 100% for our first choice (or the town is going to need a new school) under the sibling rule.

tiggytape Thu 06-Dec-12 11:33:03

I can't believe that we are the only family in the situation where we know we really only have 1 school that our DC will actually get into

No you aren't. That is the most common scenario. Hardly anyone has lots of viable options. In our area too you're lucky if you have 2 options to choose from and many people only have 1. Each child can only get one offer so the system works by putting down the schools you really like and ensuring at least one of those listed is a viable one.
That way best case scenario = a surprise offer to a school you love that last year you'd have been too far away to get an offer at.

Worst case scenario = an offer at the school you expected to get that you may or may not like much.

Worst case scenario from listing one option only = for some reason this year it cannot offer you a place and nor can the ones you assumed you'd be randomly allocated so you end up travelling 5 miles to school everyday on buses.

If push came to shove, I actually would be quite happy for the LEA to randomly pick one of these for me

That's fine. If you genuinely have no preference at all then it is fine to leave the council to allocate you any school.
The criteria the council use is the nearest available school with a space left over after every other child has been allocated.

The only risk is that this doesn't mean you'll get a local school. Under this criteria, you can be sent miles away from home. If you genuinely have no preference - not even just listing schools in a 2 miles radius rather than a 5 mile radius say, then you can safely leave it blank. Most people however are not happy with a council allocation because, if the undersubscribed schools across town are full for the first time ever this year (which does happen - they could have a brilliant Ofsted any day!), you can end up placed miles away.

redskyatnight Thu 06-Dec-12 09:40:20

What do you do if you have no genuine alternative options? We put 1 option on DD's form because barring the falling meteorite she is bound to get a place. Our odds were even further strengthened by knowledge that the LEA's "back up plan" if short of school places generally would be to open a bulge class at the school we want to put down for her!

If we were forced to put a 2nd choice it would be very difficult. There are 10 (I just counted in my head so may have missed some) schools within 4 miles of us. These schools ALL have a history of not having enough places for children in their catchments. As an out of catchment child DD would stand no realistic chance of getting a place at any of them. Sure I could put a couple of them down as options 2 and 3, but they would be entirely wasted options.

The only schools she realistically would get into are the undersubscribed unpopular schools the other side of town - an absolute nightmare to get to.

I'm not prepared to "waste" (and it would be wasting in my opinion) lots of time driving across town to visit undersubscribed schools to see which one is mildly better than the others. If push came to shove, I actually would be quite happy for the LEA to randomly pick one of these for me (or rather DD).

When people talk about using up your choices on the admissions form, I can't believe that we are the only family in the situation where we know we really only have 1 school that our DC will actually get into.

Takver Thu 06-Dec-12 08:33:27

No, we're in Wales. We're very lucky as there are only 2 realistic options (because of distance/transport) and we can be pretty certain of getting either of them.

I really feel for people in England as even choosing between 2 in those circumstances is stressful enough (I acknowledge this isn't sensible, but its this sense of choosing your childs future)

prh47bridge Wed 05-Dec-12 23:18:28

Takver - If you are only allowed one choice I presume you are not in England?

Takver Wed 05-Dec-12 19:14:05

Its all so ridiculously stressful, isn't it. We only get to put down one choice (either catchment school or one other school). We are perfectly happy with the catchment school, it's well under capacity and it is still all a bit tense (my friend lost her dd's form and is stressed about that!)

I'm sure it wasn't like this when I was at school!!!

tiggytape Wed 05-Dec-12 12:57:20

Yes why wouldn't you take the time to fill up the other places, but on the other hand why would you?

Because the consequences for you if the school fills up and you have no others listed are potentially awful (allocated a poor school miles from home)

The consequences for the council of you filling in some probably unnecessary extra choices is 2 minutes extra time on the matching process (which they check and double check anyway) which is cancelled out by the fact that many councils try to phone parents who've filled the form in 'wrong' to make sure they know the consequences of not having a back-up listed.

It is very, very, very unlikely that you'd ever miss out living 4 houses away with siblings but you can never say 100% it wouldn't happen in certain circumstances: If it was a 1 form intake school with a fantastic reputation (the kind that's known about from well outside of the immediate area) and if it is surrounded by much less popular schools that nobody really wants, it could easily be listed by every parent within a 10 mile radius who has adopted a child. This may or may not fill up a lot of the places before siblings and distance even get a look in.
And you wouldn't know how many people in that category above you were applying until it was too late. Chances are it would be 1 or 2 at most but, for a fantastic school in an otherwise 'bad' area, it might be loads.

More likely is what happened near us one year - new flats opened near the school (not near by road but very near as the crow flies) that suddenly meant all the people who bought one would trump other parents on distance criteria so a lot of people missed out whereas for years they'd been certain of a place. This happened very close to the school application dates.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 05-Dec-12 11:52:45

I think it's the right thing to do. You're virtually certain of getting in but if the school building did burn down it's worth having the second and third choices filled in. It costs you nothing and takes no time.

Claifairy Wed 05-Dec-12 09:42:43

Lo was under SS and in foster care. I'll put down the 2 most local ones (except the faith school)to be on the safe side. I know all the children in the street and Lo is the only one starting in 2013 and it is semi's and detached houses so can't imagine a influx of new children in the road as only 1 is for sale!

Farewelltoarms Wed 05-Dec-12 09:16:37

That should read, we live four houses from the school obv...

Farewelltoarms Wed 05-Dec-12 09:15:48

I put down one choice for my last child having always filled up all three. We four houses form the school, two form entry, two siblings already there. It is not impossible, of course that, sixty siblings would suddenly find themselves living in the four houses between us and the school, but it was extremely improbable. I took the view that I was saving the council and the schools a bit of work.
Yes why wouldn't you take the time to fill up the other places, but on the other hand why would you?

tiggytape Wed 05-Dec-12 08:55:14

The type of adoptions that wouldn't be covered are ones for example where a step parent formally adopts the child of the partner they have married.

Adoptions that are covered are ones where the child was formally in the care of the local authority so in those cases fostering would count (foster carers provide the day-today care but the LA retains responsibility for the child).

There may be types of kinship (family) fostering though that don't fall into this bracket so you would need to check eg where a grandparent or relative has temporary custody of a child.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 04-Dec-12 23:21:54

Clafairy, unless she was privately fostered, then she would have been 'Looked after.' Were SS involved at all? 'Looked after' is just the new terminology for 'In Care.'

Claifairy Tue 04-Dec-12 23:15:35

Thanks everyone. I'll look at schools out of area. I really didn't want to be driving to other schools and concerned that the next closest school just isn't the right one.

Admissions - if Lo was previously fostered does that mean looked after?

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 04-Dec-12 22:47:08

My DS2 had a statement of SEN which named the school and the school had confirmed that they were able to meet his needs. In my LA he would have been given a place even if the school was full. I still dithered about just putting the one school on his form and had to ring the LA to confirm that that was OK. It was...

radicalsubstitution Tue 04-Dec-12 22:37:13

OK, I'm being a bit flippant here.

OP's DC is adopted. So, based on the new admissions code obviously applied at their local school, is being treated as a child formerly Looked After (ie priority 1 along with Looked After).

Therefore, the only way they will not get a place at the local school is if 30+ Looked After siblings or Looked After children live closer. As OP has stated they live opposite the school (and assuming it's not a 25-story tower block), this is extremely unlikely.

It is probably more likely that the first choice school will be utterly destroyed by a falling satellite or other extra-terrestrial collision than the OP not getting a place.

However, it only takes 15 seconds to write the names of other schools into the form, in which case you are not losing anything.

I still only applied to one school. It was not destroyed by a falling satellite. We were still offered a place there (which we took).

I'm off to bed...wink

admission Tue 04-Dec-12 22:31:28

The new admission code that comes into force for the September 2013 entrance does alter who has the highest priority. That is now for looked after children and previously looked after children. Previously looked after children is defined as children who were looked after but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became the subject of a residence order or special guardianship order).
I think that you just need to be careful to make sure that your child does actually fit the criteria because it is possible to be adopted but not to have been a looked after child.
I would still put down at least one other choice. What for instance would you do if the LA suddenly announced that the school of preference was closing. I think it is just safer.

tiggytape Tue 04-Dec-12 22:24:24

Nothing is ever really 100% - something truly unexpected could happen to prevent you getting a place. It could be 10 houses converting to flats right next to the school and all being sold to people with children in the same year group or this being the first year that not all siblings get a place.

Every year, there are people who fail to get their 'definite' place because no place is ever certain. Some of these people relied too much on past year's distances data but others had siblings and genuinely thought it was a done deal yet still failed to get in. If there is a bulge class (or several bulge classes) further up the school for example, the number of siblings can be huge and far exceed the number of places the school has.

That said - there are 99.999999% certainties in which case you could just list that school as your first and only choice but why would you? Why risk the 0.000001% chance (is that enough noughts?) when it costs you nothing to use up all your options?

Listing more options below your first choice doesn't make it less likely you'll get in to your first choice. With school admissions you either qualify for a school or you don't. Nobody at the council makes any judgement call about how much you want the place or if you've listed an alternative or not. Things like that just don't come into it at all.

We only put down one choice of Primary School - once DS1 was in the others were guaranteed via its sibling rule. We did the same with DS2's Seondary application. We knew he'd get a place, so didn't bother putting another choice. We were absolutely 100% sure though, if there's even the slightest chance of anything else I'd put a few other names down.

tricot39 Tue 04-Dec-12 21:39:34

a neighbour put down one choice out of a possible six last year for her son. the school was at the end of her road but applications soared and they didnt get a place. the LA choice was luckily close to them but it could have been a disaster. why take the risk? i will be filling all 6 choices even though it would be odd not to get our first choice as odd things can happen!

sparkle12mar08 Tue 04-Dec-12 21:37:21

There's no point in not using your choices, and you loose nothing in doing so. Whilst it would be unusual in the extreme to think that there would be 60 other looked after/statemented children living closer than you do, why would you not put down the other choices, other than just for the sake of it?

HoratiaLovesBabyJesus Tue 04-Dec-12 16:49:34

I am a belt/braces/string type. We filled our form with any even remotely plausible choices, in an attempt to block the schools that would have been really awkward to get to.

I can see the OP's point - the chances of there being sixty closer Cat1 children must be worse than winning the lottery twice!

crazymum53 Tue 04-Dec-12 15:33:23

The admissions experts may be along soon to clarify the new admissions code. However I have seen many mumsnet threads in past years where people have only put down one choice of school and they have been allocated somewhere else so would recommend using your other choices.

ArbitraryUsername Tue 04-Dec-12 14:58:51

Yeah. I figured I should heed the warnings everywhere on the online admissions form not to just put down one choice. I have no idea what could actually happen to prevent us from getting a place at one of the 4 schools. We live within 400m of 4 first/primary schools, and within 800m of 9! One of those 9 hasn't filled all 60 of its reception places in the last 3 years, and admitted kids from 3.5 miles away. It's my fail safe option. grin

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