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What truths in these unnerving application-related comments?

(93 Posts)
EugenesAxe Wed 04-Sep-13 08:18:30

"There is no point putting it down as a second choice" (about a very oversubscribed school)

"I only put down one school as I was told if you gave other choices then they wouldn't worry so much about not allocating you your first choice if the school was oversubscribed."

The first one I was dubious about as essentially that would make a person's preference part of the selection criteria. The person implied they would rank all people that had listed this school as first preference and allocate places amongst them; as there were always loads people putting it second wouldn't get a look in. My understanding was that the council gave the school names/addresses of anyone that had put it on their form in whichever rank, then these were ranked according to the selection criteria. The council would go down the list allocating places to anyone that had listed it first preference, or who had put it lower but failed to get a place at the preferred school. A waiting list would build up for any people listing as first priority but not getting a place.

The second I just find hard to believe. The ranking isn't provided so the council has breathing space is it? I thought if you only put one down choice there's a risk of you not getting it, and being allocated a place in whichever school still has places after everything's been sorted.

I would be grateful to hear opinions!

Lancelottie Wed 04-Sep-13 08:25:31

The second one is just nuts. If you do that and don't get your first choice, you then have no say whatever over where your child will be sent. Madness.

The first one is also almost certainly bollocks, unless you are applying to a school that can set its own entry criteria -- check their website and make sure.

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 08:41:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 08:45:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuintessentialOldDear Wed 04-Sep-13 08:53:16

There is no point putting it down as a second choice" (about a very oversubscribed school)

Probably right. The school will allocate spaces according to selection criteria (whether sibling, catchment, church attendance etc), they dont know whether you have it as second or first choice. But the council does, so they will ensure that the people who has the school as First choice get spaces first. They will think the people who put it as second choice and give the First choicers space first.

I only put down one school as I was told if you gave other choices then they wouldn't worry so much about not allocating you your first choice if the school was oversubscribed.

This is utter madness. The council will not care what school they offer you, so if you dont get your first choice, they will give you any, and most likely end up with a school that nobody will have as first or second choice. You get offered the school that nobody has as preference. You are telling the council that if you dont get first choice, you dont really care what school you get.

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 09:18:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuintessentialOldDear Wed 04-Sep-13 09:23:04

Really Tiggy?

So if a school has 30 places, and 50 applicants to those places in total, will not the places be allocated first to those who have the school down as their first choice?

If not, what is the point putting the preferences down in order?

QuintessentialOldDear Wed 04-Sep-13 09:24:45

Just noticing that the topic is Primary Education.

Maybe it differs from the way it works in Secondary these days?

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 09:26:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuintessentialOldDear Wed 04-Sep-13 09:29:46

"The Local Authority will then look at the order of preferences stated by the parent on the Common Application Form. It will check to see whether any of the schools listed by the parent are able to offer a place and, if two or more schools can do so, it will offer a place at the one you have said you prefer."

Thats the bit I mean. I think.

<confused>

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 09:32:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

harryhausen Wed 04-Sep-13 09:33:31

If I'm understanding Tiggy right it's the idea of first and second choice that is confusing people. There is no real preference, only 3 listed schools. If you qualify for your first, you get it. The school has no idea of your order 'preference'. So you could get an oversubscribed school you listed as 2nd if you qualify.

Does this mean that in reality you could qualify for all 3 and get offered places at all 3 (and turn down 2 obviously)? Or do they just look at the school at the top of the list first?

harryhausen Wed 04-Sep-13 09:34:07

Sorry crossed posts. Thanks Tiggy. A mine of infogrin

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 09:36:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 09:40:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuintessentialOldDear Wed 04-Sep-13 09:40:09

"The order of the list NEVER gets you priority for a school above somebody who qualifies for it more than you do (eg by living closer). You are more likely to get offered a school by listing it second and living nextdoor than you are by listing it first and living a mile away."

That is also what I meant, the selection criteria is above order of preference. I was just expressing myself very badly!

Thankfully you cleared it up!

harryhausen Wed 04-Sep-13 09:40:54

I'm glad you've explained Tiggy. I love MN for stuff like this. I'm currently contemplating secondary school so good to know all this.

It was MN who quashed my 'knowledge' that I could apply to a different LEA as well (technically having 6 choices!). This 'absolute truth' was emparted to me by a local parentgrin

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 09:47:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

harryhausen Wed 04-Sep-13 09:50:31

Gosh, that's interesting. I can see how these myths arise. Would be lovely to mull over 3 offers.

We're in a dodgy area for good school places too. No grammar schools and I can't stretch to private. So all the info I can get helps ease my brain into itgrin

Willemdefoeismine Wed 04-Sep-13 09:55:36

I sometimes wonder whether other parents can be deliberately misleading on school application information. You would not believe the levels of subterfuge that some will go to hmm.

Good luck with applications.....I don't envy you - we'll have this to go thro' again in three years. With the babyboomers just hitting secondary school age it's going to be a total nightmare....

EugenesAxe Wed 04-Sep-13 10:25:47

Thanks very much tiggy - that's what I thought, but you start doubting yourself when it's something pretty important (well I do anyway).

To be fair I think you explained it perfectly but the council commentary was good to have too! I couldn't find it so definitively dealt with on our site but that's not to say it wasn't there...

EugenesAxe Wed 04-Sep-13 11:00:26

And thanks willemdefoe for your luck - I hope it goes well for you too!

DeWe Wed 04-Sep-13 11:48:42

In dd1's class they mostly were going for school A and B.
One person put down school A first, B second.
Second person put down B first, A second.

Both got their second choice. hmm

Willemdefoeismine Wed 04-Sep-13 11:50:05

wink EugenesAxe - it is an extraordinarily stressful time but I think once the school allocations have been done and dusted most parents and children quickly come to terms with the decisions and move forward positively.

The thing to is just to repeat the mantra "it's going to work out" every time you have a shadow of a doubt.

friday16 Wed 04-Sep-13 12:25:40

The fun starts where I live, where there are (a) massively over-subscribed popular comps to which we are close enough to be certain of a place and (b) super-selectives running through the council preference system

It is routine to hear of people who put down

1. Over-subscribed comp that they live next door to (put first because "everyone knows they only take first choices")

2. Selective school

They then pass the exam and are horrified to find they don't have a place at the selective school. And the council then plays very, very hard ball with any subsequent appeal. The parent's logic was that they wanted the comp as a fall back but had to put it first because they didn't understand equal preference.

With my first child, I explained the situation to people that appeared to misunderstand. With my second, I didn't bother, because such people usually won't be told.

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