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what happens to 2nd choice if you reject 1st choice school?

(75 Posts)
stickygotstuck Fri 28-Dec-12 22:59:54

Here is the deal.

Due to various issues, DH and I find ourselves still in disagreement over which of two schools should be our first chioce of primary. And it's getting urgent as application must obv be in by 15 Jan.

I need a second visit to both school but this won't be possible before the 15th.

So, we thought we could put school A as a first choice and school B as second. Then go and visit again. If come April we are given a place in school A and after new visit and further consideration we decide we prefer B, what happens if we reject school A? What chances do we have of getting school B if we reject 1st choice?

Anybody been in this position and got their 2nd choice after rejecting their 1st choice?

I should add, we plan to only put down these two schools.

exexpat Fri 28-Dec-12 23:06:12

If you reject the school you are allocated you go to the bottom of the list and have to take whatever school places are left/join the waiting lists. You certainly don't get given your second choice. It would be a seriously stupid idea to plan on doing that.

Also, it's a bad idea only to put two preferences - it doesn't increase your chances of being allocated those schools, just means that if you don't get into either of those (too far away etc) the LA will just allocate you the next closest school with places, whether it's the one that would have been your next choice or not.

learnandsay Fri 28-Dec-12 23:09:09

Can you explain the reasons for your disagreement? There is a perfectly good discussion going on in a nearby thread about couples (or ex couples) fighting about choice one and choice two. It's probably worth you reading that thread.

learnandsay Fri 28-Dec-12 23:15:51

Expat didn't explicitly say, (but did imply) that if you don't put down your local catchment area school as a place on your entry form you may be allocated a place at the nearest available school which is many miles away. (She also didn't say that if you reject your school offer you are no longer entitled to fees for transport.)

jinglebellyalltheway Fri 28-Dec-12 23:18:50

here if you reject what you are offered you have already lost your lower choices, and you go on wait lists. You might get no school place at all.

If you want to try and get into a different schools after the offers go out its recommended that you accept the offer while you go on the wait lists so that if you don't get up the wait lists you at least have something!

why on earth would you only put down 2?, even if you don't like the runners for no 3 you should at least put the best of a bad lot.. otherwise you could end up with the worst of a bad lot IYKWIM

exexpat Sat 29-Dec-12 00:03:42

So, basically I think what everyone on this thread is saying is that you and your DH need to come to an agreement before January 15th, not only on your first and second preferences, but also on whichever you think the most acceptable of the other local schools are to fill up the other gaps on your list.

I'm sorry if this sounds rude, but you do sound a little clueless about how admissions work, so can I just ask whether you have actually checked that you stand an equally realistic chance of getting into the two schools you are currently considering? Just putting a school top of your preferences doesn't give you priority for a place there if you live too far away or don't meet religious criteria etc.

You need to make sure that at least one of the preferences on your form is an 'insurance option', ie a school that you are very likely to get into, and which is at least acceptable, if not ideal. This is particularly important if there are any schools close to you that you would find completely unacceptable, though in some areas the shortage of primary places means that there is effectively no parental choice and you just get your closest school if you are lucky, and no school place or one miles away if you are unlucky.

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 00:11:46

Thanks for your replies.

learnandsay, I was just reading that thread! Reasons are mainly that we got a totally different impression of school A (and we went together to visit!). I had a long thread here a while ago about these two schools, and opinions were divided.

I wish I could say I prefer school B but I don't really. But neither am I totally convinced by school A. For DH it's school B all the way. These are the only local schools tat we have a chance of getting into.

The reason for putting only 2 was simply that we have no chance in hell of getting into any of the "local" schools as they are not local at all. In fact, I much prefer school C, but it's out of catchment and massively oversubscribed. School D and E are the only other choices, and also out of catchment. School B is just around the corner and it would be a pretty safe bet as a first choice.

I see from your reactions now that it would make sense to put down all the schools in the area, no matter how remote the chance of getting into them.

I am hacked off that I won't have a chance to visit the schools again as I haven't made up my mind yet (not for lack of trying, i might add!), and wouldn't want to regret my choice later.

admission Sat 29-Dec-12 00:13:50

If what you suggest actually happens, you would be much better advised to accept the place at school A, rather than reject it.You then have a place at a school that you are reasonably happy with.
You can then ask the LA admission office for a place at school B. If there are places available ( probably unlikely) then they will give you a place. If no place is available, then you can ask to go on the waiting list and also to appeal for a place. Obviously the chances of success at appeal will depend to a large extent on whether the school has classes of 30, which is the legal maximum number of pupils with one school teacher. If the infant class size regs are relevant the the only way that you will win an appeal is proving that the admission office made a mistake, which seems highly unlikely as they offered you the first preference.

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 00:20:04

exexpat it's not so much clueless as misinformed/misunderstood, hence asking here before it's too late.

I have found the whole application process unnecessarily complicated, misleading and confusing, not to mention stressful. I am sure I am not the only parent feeling like this.

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 00:24:31

admission that's what I suspected from my research but wasn't sure. You have confirmed it, thanks.

Sorry, I didn't explain clearly. I didn't mean reject school A outright, just wanted to know if there was a way of changing your mind at a later date. And how to go about it. Reapplying seems to be the answer then, thanks all.

Anybody had any success in a similar situation?

exexpat Sat 29-Dec-12 00:25:13

OK, it sounds like you do have a realistic idea of which schools you're likely to get, so that's good.

FWIW, I don't think there's any guarantee that another school visit would be decisive for you anyway. There is so much pressure on parents to make the 'right' choice of school, but the truth is there is no such thing as a perfect school. If you're having trouble agreeing it is probably because they are both good/acceptable schools, and whichever one you end up with, there will be things you like and things you dislike about it - and they most likely won't be the things that struck you on the school visits.

It's hard, but I think you really need just to make the decision - draw up a list of pros & cons, toss a coin, whatever - and then just tell yourself that the decision is final, so you don't go back and constantly question whether it was the right one (or at least, that's the approach I try to take with big decisions like house-purchases, schools etc).

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 00:54:32

That's exactly it, exexpat, I dont't think there is much difference between them. And yes, it is doing my head in! Seriously.

prh47bridge Sat 29-Dec-12 09:38:05

You are not allowed to change the order of your preferences after the closing date for applications unless you have a good reason such as a change of address. Even then, most LAs will only accept a change for a few weeks after the closing date. So try to make a final decision in the next couple of weeks!

If you change your mind after that you should follow Admission's advice. The one thing I would add is that your position on the waiting list for school B will be determined by their admission criteria. Therefore if you would have got a place at school B if you had named it as your first choice you will be at or near the head of the waiting list.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sat 29-Dec-12 11:51:18

Why not put school C first? it won't change your priority for A or B and you'll never know, you might be lucky

if you think you'll definitley get into B then that is what you'll be offered if you put it above A, if you put it above a, you'll have to accept then go on waiting list for A so if you want A over B, then put A above B

have you looked into things like sibling priority to help you decide? i.e. whether if you have more children they are likely to be prioritised so that you don't end up with 2 kids in 2 different schools, that can be answered with a phone call

do not listen to second hand info about your chances of getting into any of the schools, get their admission criteria online, see which one you're in, then phone up and ask which number criteria they cut off at for the last 3 years

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 12:07:02

Thanks prh47bridge and ILoveSalad, I think I will put school C as a first choice. Although it was the head who told us recently that they already have more applications they can accept, all of them from children in catchment.

We have no other children (and most likely we won't), so the sibling policy doesn't really affect us.

I think at the moment I am torn between the convenience of school B and the relative "niceness" of school A. School C is further afield and I do wonder if this would be an inconvenience too far.

I should add that my highly flexible job is on shaky grounds, so I fear I won't be able to accommodate school pickups anymore, so that's adding to the stress significantly.

'Tis hard!

Whistlingwaves Sat 29-Dec-12 12:15:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OddBoots Sat 29-Dec-12 12:23:23

Please don't get as worried about this as you sound. Of course there are schools we would love and schools we would hate but this doesn't sound like a case where one is great and the other is dire, both sound like good schools so in the end your child will probably do well in either. With schools like these problem tend to be unpredictable out of the blue things like personality clashes with either staff or pupils and these could happen at any school and you can only deal with them when they occur.

Have a think about which school would be the least stress for your family (so nearest, with breakfast/after school clubs, likely to have some of the pre-school friends going) and aim for there.

It will all work out.

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 12:31:30

Whistlingwaves, that's encouraging to hear. I'll put C down, see what happens. But then I worry about regretting it later!

OddBoots, thanks so much for that, that's very helpful thanks. I am unnaturally worried about this, I do realise that, but I can't help it. I am beginning to think there may be a touch of Aspergers going on in my head - that would explain a lot, I am totally paralised when it comes to making decisions.

I do agree with you that the main main should be to minimise stress since I doubt I could cope otherwise at the moment. No amount of time is going to make the choice clearer in my head!

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 12:32:12

*main aim (not main main!)

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sat 29-Dec-12 12:32:57

I know it sounds superficial to some, but I think the school walk route is very important, you do it for hours of your life! and the kids'll be healthier and brighter if they are walking to/from school twice a day rather than always going by car. It was a factor in the order that we put our school choices (not the only one obviously), and our first two choices are the more rural walks which IMO is better for wellbeing, health, concentration etc. Our 3rd choice is sort of doable by foot but it's through a built up area and further away so we'd probably drive more

if your job is on shakey grounds, having the option of being able to get rid of the car if you can't afford it is a very big advantage. Also if you go for more local schools its easier to build up friendships and reciprical play dates/pick ups/drop offs which would be a great help if you need to job hunt and attend interviews - its harder to build those systems if you're out of area a bit

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sat 29-Dec-12 12:35:27

oh and whoever said about breakfast/afterschool clubs, that's very important too if you may need to change shift patterns etc, and that can be answered with a phonecall, doesn't need a visit!

its not all about which is the best school educationally, I think it really matters how it fits in with your family life and makes life easier, if the very act of getting to or getting picked up from school is stressful then that can affect enjoyment of school!

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 13:12:21

Very good points, ILoveSalad, that's the main thing going for school B - it's within walking distance. It's very slightly worse academically (at least on paper) and it's not in such a nice area.

The other thing is size. B is smaller than average, whereas school A is a tiny, tiny village school. I know some people would love it but I worry about DD's social life with just 10 children per year. Even if she would much prefer that initially, I'm sure. Also, some of her nursery friends will go there. C is bang in the middle size-wise.

Unless we starve, I could not possibly get rid of the car sadly. We live in a place with totally useless public transport.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sat 29-Dec-12 13:15:57

how are you measuring it academically, if it's results are just slightly lower, but its demographic has a much higher proportion of children with difficulties, then on an individual child's level it may be academically better IYKWIM

schools that take more transient families and english as second language often score lower even though individual improvemtent, happiness and aspirations are better than schools with higher results but less challenges IYKWIM

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 13:52:28

I am just looking at the league tables, and comparing the absolute figures. Just to have an idea. My first port of call were the Ofsted reports. According to this C is better all around, whereas A and B are quite similar (B perhaps a bit better). Then I want to see them. B and C I had seen before too, when DD was tiny and we were looking at nursery provision.

I spoke (at length!) about this on a previous thread. Quite frankly, I think I am being a prisoner of snobbery. Not just mine, but mainly other peoples' - stupid as it may sound. Simply put, school B is an mixed council/private state and has a higher proportion of free school meals etc. School A is in a picture-perfect affluent village.

I have tried to talk to a few parents and those with children in school A (or currently applying for B) cannot believe their ears when I tell them that I am considering B as a first choice. Of these, I am beginning to realise, most are locals who were at primary back in the days when school B was not so good, but has improved massively in the last 10 years I have been living in the area. In fact, I pointed out to one of the parents the other day that B's Ofsted is actually better than A's and she was very very surprised at that. I do think it's a matter of prejudice. And yet, I can't get past it.

stickygotstuck Sat 29-Dec-12 13:54:23

*(or currently applying for A)

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