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school choice for 2015

(19 Posts)
mumteedum Wed 16-Apr-14 20:01:10

Reading all the stress of the schools allocations & I'm just starting to look into schools for ds for next year but I don't get it really.

I know when to apply and how and that there's 3 choices. From what I can see though the admissions policy is all on catchment (unless you have other siblings. Or sen priority).

There's only 1 school classed as our 'catchment '. Upside it's on same street as our house. Downside it's crap.

Is it pointless trying elsewhere? As I say, I don't really understand.

HolidayCriminal Wed 16-Apr-14 20:05:21

What's crap about the school on your street?

mumteedum Wed 16-Apr-14 20:50:27

Virtually in special measures. V good friend is parent governer and the ht does not sound good. Heard separately of bullying not dealt with effectively. Also offstead states school not doing enough with able students.

Worst thing was instance of male teacher shouting at 8year old girl up in front of class for something turns out she didn't do and she was so scared she wet herself. Don't think ht dealt with it at all well from what parent said. My friend who is governor is looking into private school for her ds now sad

HolidayCriminal Wed 16-Apr-14 20:54:29

You will get lots of instructions about your area and how to apply for schools. Best thing is to ask around among other parents, I find.

SM could be good, then, schools in SM get a huge amount thrown at them and HT likely to be out on her ear. Go back 7-8 yrs & the report for this same school back then might read very differently. So hard to say what the school will be like over next 7-8 yrs for your child.

starlight1234 Wed 16-Apr-14 21:03:08

Lots of things to consider...My DS's school was satisfactory when I applied..I went down to school fairs and got a feel for the school...

I think some of the things you need to think about is what is your child like...My DS school is no amazing with gifted children, and despite my son been bright I don't think he is gifted ..

You will get ad hoc stories from some parents.. One of the things that attracted me to the school we picked was small class size the year before but my son's year is about 28 so not small...

find out when open days are and visit..

mumteedum Wed 16-Apr-14 21:21:35

I was actually hoping sm happens soon so there will be improvements by time ds starts but looks like much more drawn out process. I'm just confused about so called choice when effectively seems there isn't one.

mumteedum Wed 16-Apr-14 21:24:18

Will def start looking at open days star thanks.

Holiday.. Do you mean we'll automatically be sent information? Didnt find council website easy to navigate.

Spindelina Thu 17-Apr-14 09:24:12

Have a look on your council's website, and that of any neighbouring councils if you are near a border. They provide information about who got into each school (e.g., St Anywhere's school offered places to children in category 4 with a maximum distance of 1.7 miles). Work out what category you are in for each school (so child in catchment for one, child out of catchment for the others, whether or not you fulfill any religious criteria) and see if there are any schools you would have got in (or nearly got in).

It may not be easy to find at the moment, but when applications are open in the autumn it will be.

tiggytape Thu 17-Apr-14 09:33:42

Parents do not get a choice of all schools.
They can express preferences but only have real choice between the schools that they qualify for. Some people only qualify for 1 school though.
To find out if you qualify, you need to look at the admissions criteria. Usually it is all down to siblings and distance and most LAs will tell you the last distance offered to a non siblings last year to help you see if you might live near enough
Sometimes there are priority areas though and you may be inside one
Sometimes attending church gives priority for some schools

Once you have identified schools you probably qualify for, you should be sure to list at least one of them even if you don't like it much. A SM local school is better than a SM school 5 miles away. If you only list schools you do not meet the criteria for, the LA has to find you a school from the ones left over and this may not be good or local.

You can also list schools you like even though you know you don't meet the criteria or don't meet it every year. They may have less siblings in 2015. They may take a bulge class. List the schools you like in the true order of preference but make sure 1 on your list is the school you meet the distance / other criteria for to give you a safe back up.

3asAbird Thu 17-Apr-14 09:37:58

Ok as someone whos just done school applications for 2nd time I have learnt a few things

nothing is certain even If you live in flipping same street.

read admissions criteria very carefully

dont go purly on ofsted or outdated reputation and gossip.

never put down a school you not at least visited.

look at as many schools as you possibly can that think are doable.

dont rely on fact that preschools next door that means easier.

dont assume siblings get automatic right.

next year is going be higher numbers and possibly higher siblings well locally as last year locally high siblings and this year lower 2 schools years seems be common gap.

do look at sats results but they can be false if people tutor and ofsted parent veiw questionaires intresting but people only tend to fill them in if something bads happened so can mostly be negative.

you really cant do much until sept now thats when local authorities publish admissions for schools booklet listing all schools what happened last years ie how my people listed 1st, how many got in, how many appealed how many lost, how many siblings and furthest distance from school.

from that list you will get pictures whos under subscribed and whos over.

get hold of school prospectuses, look at their website talk to current parents.

my freind applying next year intends to have informal nose at summer fetes/fairs as they open general public

Always list all your option so if 3put 3 down if 6 put 6.

I did know which schols ae always under so chose not put them down on my list as thinking could be fallback choice.

I was allocated a always undersubcribed school.

I veiwed another undersubscribed school and checked yesterday still massivly under so could be fallback option if wanted it.

Look at school website-some are truly ribbish.

think about what you want?

big ? small? nice grounds? extra curricular clubs?
wrap aroud care does it offer breckfast club after school club if you work? what childminders do that school.

htm123 Thu 17-Apr-14 19:16:58

You can get one of your choice ONLY if you are lucky!
I wasn't offered ANY place 5 years ago! Weeks later allocated a place at a satisfactory school near us, which we accepted in fear of having to keep DS home. Two months later... BINGO! One lovely school place offer at our SECOND preference which is at the other end of town, but good Ofsted report! Found out later that a number of children went private so six school places were made available. Lucky us!

hotcrosshunny Thu 17-Apr-14 20:14:21

Your governor friend should be pushing for change and improvement not jumping ship!

mumteedum Thu 17-Apr-14 23:02:19

Thanks for great advice. Didn't know September is the time applications start. Thought it was anytime before January. Will reread my thread again nearer time. Sorry for all who've been through process and had tough experience. Nothing is simple these days is it? :-S (old gimmer talking)

Hotx my friend has worked v hard for school and still does but her voice is falling on deaf ears I think. I think she was full of great ideas but the chair doesn't seem to want her opinion. She's even told me that she isn't really sure she's supposed to give her opinion. We all want best for our kids & if she can give her ds a better start then I wouldn't blame her. Sadly I won't have that option for my son

SapphireMoon Fri 18-Apr-14 07:00:23

Visit school, make appointment with Head and ask questions and be very careful of gossip.
When I went to secondary rumours that all new children had their heads flushed down the toilet. Guess what? Not true!!

mumteedum Sun 23-Nov-14 11:02:35

I started this thread earlier this year and now I'm really having to apply in the next few weeks.

THings have changed in that me and my husband have split and I have ended up having to leave the marital home. The rental house is actually giving us more choice realistically though, which is possibly good.

The thing I was wondering about was a couple of pps mentioned the LA publishes info on last year's intake about who got in where and on what criteria. I can't find this anywhere for our county though.

All I can see if some very very confusing spreadsheet mentioning numbers on roll or something and lots of abbreviations. I don't think it will tell me anything like how many got in from out of catchment for example.

Any ideas? Shoudl I just ring them up and ask?


Littlefish Sun 23-Nov-14 12:25:08

The school will be able to give you information about the number of places available each year. They may also be able to tell you how many children the local authority have told them are in catchment.

Your best bet though is to speak to the admissions department at the local authority.

teacherwith2kids Sun 23-Nov-14 13:16:21


The schools admission biooklet (first one on this page: is actually reasonably useful.

If you look e.g. at p 36

Charford First School, to take an example, is a Reception to Year 4 First School - so it contains 5 year groups. Its PAN - maximum number per year group -is listed as 90. Therefore, when full, it would have 450 children (5x90). It currently has 402 children (NOR - number on roll). It is therefore likely to have places, as there are in theory 48 unfilled places in the school.

Or compare Catshill and Crown Meadow. Both have PANs of 60, in 5 year groups, so a capacity of 300. Crown Meadow has 298 pupils on roll - it is FULL, and likely to be oversubscribed, with some applicants being turned away. Catshill has 171 children on roll. Unless it has, for example, recently increased it PAN from 30 to 60, the fact that it has spaces for 300 children and only has 171 on roll would imply that it is hugely undersubscribed and anyone from anywhere will get in.

The thing with Worcestershire to beware of is that it is a mixed economy of primaries (7 year groups), first schools from Reception to Year 4 (5 year groups) and first schools from reception to year 5 (6 year groups). So just take care when multiplying the PAN by the number of year groups to get the actual capacity. The headings for each table are quite clear, so just use those to guide you.

Many areas of the county have very few over-subscribed schools, because the rural nature of many catchments mean that local schools simply serve the local area, with numbers fluctuating slightly based on birth rates in parrticular years. The urban areas are a slightly different story.

mumteedum Sun 23-Nov-14 17:40:34

That's brill. I'll have another look after your deciphering! We're urban but the school I think I'm keen on said as open day that everyone last year who put them as first choice got in. We only have 1 catchment school but this other one is still less than a mile away so must be a chance at least.

mumteedum Sun 23-Nov-14 17:49:44

Oops...didn't actually say thanks there. Meant to. Thanks smile

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