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Quick help please - primary admissions

(21 Posts)

I'm just filling in the application form online for my son's entry to reception. One of the questions is 'are you applying for social reasons?' Then there's a section to explain your social reasons. Does anyone know what this means? I mean I could write "DS's best friend is likely to be going there" or "I'm very good friends with a parent governor" but surely that doesn't make a blind bit of difference? should I just skip it?

tippytappywriter Thu 08-Jan-15 21:29:36

You're right. Skip it unless there is a specific medical type reason.

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Thu 08-Jan-15 21:31:25

I skipped it, I think it's for things regarding special education needs? I could be wrong.

Medical is a different question.

There's also a question about whether you're choosing that school as it's easier to travel to. Again, not relevant?

is it a standard application across the country?

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Thu 08-Jan-15 21:35:34

I thought it was universal but I didn't get asked the question about travel.

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Thu 08-Jan-15 21:36:05

My DD starts reception September too

It's pissing me off to be honest. Just ask me the questions that are relevant. No wonder people get so confused by the admissions system.

whyhasmyheadgonenumb Thu 08-Jan-15 21:39:54

I don't think my local authority care much, my application was very basic!!

NewToRoo Thu 08-Jan-15 21:45:37

I've seen an example previously of 'my foster child attends the school' being a social reason. As obviously you can't put a foster child down as a sibling, but it might be reasonable to put your child in the sibling category based on that explanation. So your child's ranking could be adjusted if considered sufficient reason.

I've never seen the travel one. Surely a massive proportion if people choose schools based on travel time/direction.

admission Thu 08-Jan-15 21:59:47

The whole admission system is based on the admission criteria for the school and it is that you need to look at. Most admission criteria, that are not faith based, will have looked after children as first priority, then probably siblings and then some kind of distance criteria or catchment zone.
Some admission criteria also give high priority to medical or social needs but these criteria are usually very narrowly based and have a high threshold for being allowed. So medical will need to have good evidence from a consultant and the medical reason must show why that school is necessary and not others. The social reason is where there is a specific reason why that school is necessary. A typical reason would be the child of a social worker or police where they do not want their child to go to specific school where the parent has interaction with parents of that school and so are requesting another school.
The travel question is somewhat bizarre as all admission criteria I have seen are around possibly a specific catchment zone but then distance from home to school. The ease or otherwise of the travel is not relevant and never has been.
So whilst the questions on the form are relevant for a few applicants they are not relevant for the vast majority of applicants who will be offered schools based on the admission criteria and nothing that you might write on the application form about who their friends are, why that school is better etc.

Thank you admission. That's really helpful. We are applying on basis of faith but there's confusion over that too. The admissions policy states a supplementary form is required. I called today and the receptionist said I didn't need one and just to write it in the notes section of the online form. Sound feasible? Or should I call again to double check?

You've also reminded me of something. I was a witness in an assault case. The assailant was imprisoned against the wishes of the victim (DV) on the basis of my statement. He has a long history of violent crime and we have a very unusual surname so I'd rather our sons don't end up in the same school. I suspect their child goes to either our first or second preference school. I had intended to call the head teachers to see which school he went to and then apply for the other. I realise I'm a bit late now, but does this sound feasible? Would the heads even tell me? And could I out that as a social reason for preferring one school (as opposed to another?) Thank you.

eddiemairswife Thu 08-Jan-15 22:21:46

ATruth pleasedo check. If the admissions policy states that you need a supplementary form then you must fill one in. Don't rely on the school's receptionist.

Thank you. I've just emailed them.

footallsock Thu 08-Jan-15 22:47:56

Definately get a SIF and fill it in. If the police are involved re witness intimidation you could try re avoiding person but I very much doubt they will let you now where the children are at school.

catslife Fri 09-Jan-15 09:55:01

Please get an SIF and fill it in asap. You may need to have it signed by your vicar/minister so need to organise this too.
It may be possible to download a form from the school website, otherwise I would phone the school and arrange to call in and collect a form. Some schools are not that great at replying to emails.
A friend is parent governor at a faith school. Parents who submit SIF forms late are considered after those who submit them on-time and families who don't submit forms are automatically rejected.
Some schools don't fill all their faith places and allocate some to the wider community (usually on distance from the school), but you may not be considered under the faith category if you don't send the form in on-time.

elfonshelf Fri 09-Jan-15 10:04:33

Is there a chance that data collection is being carried out with the extra questions?

My sister, who is in Devon, had a load of questions about ease of travel, social reasons etc on the online form.

Here in London there were the usual ones about medical need (stating that professional assessment would be needed) and siblings, and a 'do you want to tell us anything else' box but that was it.

Given that it's a computer programme that assesses whether a child qualifies for a particular school, I can't see who is reading that little Johnny should be at x school because his best friend is there and granny can pick him up more easily and he tends to get a lot of colds, or why it is even relevant.

My sister was very confused about whether she would be at a disadvantage by not filling these in. It was only when I looked at the paper admissions form that I realised that the questions were only on the online application form - hence why I wondered if it was a data thing (like ethnic background etc). So, I told her not to bother or worry - it was very unclear though.

Thank you all.

I now have an email from school stating SIF is not needed and to put details of our church attendance in the 'other info' box. It's cynical I know, but if we don't get a place I'm seeing grounds for appeal right there.

I'll ignore the travel /social etc sections as they're irrelevant to the admissions policy.

prh47bridge Fri 09-Jan-15 17:10:13

That would only be grounds for appeal if you could show that it has cost your child a place at this school. If everyone else gets a SIF on request and you don't get a place because you haven't completed one it is grounds for appeal. If no-one gets a SIF it isn't grounds as you haven't lost out.

admission Fri 09-Jan-15 18:03:51

I am pleased that you have an email from the school saying you do not need a SIF, make sure you keep it as you may need it in the future!

I would actually check in the LA printed or on-line documentation which will state exactly what the admission criteria is and how it will be recorded. Everything about your posts says this is a school flying by the seat of its pants and making it up as they go along. If there is a faith element to the admission criteria, then it must be measured some how and you scribbling it on the admission document is not appropriate. If there is a faith designation then it will be the school governing body who will receive information from the applicants and the GB will then have the responsibility of agreeing the admission order for all applicants. How will they do that in the faith criteria if they do not have the SIF forms as they will probably not get copies of the application form.

If you PM me the name of the school and the LA I will check what the admission criteria is actually saying should happen, so you will at least know what is supposed to happen.

Thanks again ladies. I've already saved the email safely and I'll put a note in the comments bit that I was told verbally and in writing that I didn't need to complete a SIF and that my vicar is willing to provide a reference if necessary.

I'm finding the whole thing really odd. I'm a teacher (secondary) and I actually used to work for a charity advising on admissions (years ago). I thought I understood it but I'm now seeing why people make mistakes with their applications and why they think they're making 'choices' rather than 'preferences'.

It's possible that in our area this year it really is a case of choosing. There are several undersubscribed schools locally and apparently it's a low birth rate year. Still, I expected the process to be 'tighter'.

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