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School changing admission criteria - prioritising catchment over siblings

(46 Posts)
lucysnowe Thu 11-Jun-15 09:48:11

Hi all

Just been informed by school that they are changing admission criteria from 2017. At the moment it is: siblings >catchment >out of catchment, but it will be siblings in catchment>catchment>siblings out of catchment>out of catchment. Supposedly it is to bring the school in line with county requirements (we are in Oxfordshire). It won't affect current children or their siblings. I guess I want to ask

- has anyone else in Oxfordshire had their school done this?
- any one else who have attended a school that has made these changes, how has it changed admission, the school ethos etc?

We are on a country boundary next to schools that still prioritise siblings so I am worried that no one out of catchment will consider applying to the school, so that remaining numbers will be made up of people who REALLY don't want their children will come or who immediately try to get in somewhere else. But maybe I am overreacting - would love to hear mumsnetter's thoughts smile

electionfatigue Thu 11-Jun-15 10:04:51

It's to stop people getting one child in on a short term let then moving away and getting all the other siblings in. Very sensible move - look at the thread about schools in Crouch End and people are asking Haringey to do the same! should improve community cohesion rather than lessen it.

NewTwenty Thu 11-Jun-15 10:13:34

Sorry, but I agree that it is a fair move and prevents people from moving strategically to get the first child in to the school, then moving out of catchment thereafter.

Also cuts down on school run traffic.

I think this should be adopted more widely.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 11-Jun-15 10:37:29

Presumably this is being put in place in part because the school is oversubscribed and children who live in catchment can't get a place. I don't think it's likely that it's suddenly going to become undersubscribed because they've changed the criteria in this way.

Since the only group negatively affected by this are those with children already in the school they are quite likely to continue to put the school on the form and hope they get a place. It is possible that some parents of children coming up to school age who already have a sibling in school try to move their older child into their catchment school when they realise they are going to have to get children to 2 different schools but if the school is that popular those places might get filled quite quickly anyway.

thankgoditsover Thu 11-Jun-15 10:49:21

What happens if a parent is allotted an unpopular school for which they're out of catchment for and which they might have not wanted in the first place. And then over the next few years, it gets an ofsted upgrade/new head and becomes wildly popular so that then the younger sibling doesn't get a place? Seems like they'd be punished twice.

Should there be a caveat that if you're in the same house as you were when you originally got a place then the sibling should be admitted?

lucysnowe Thu 11-Jun-15 10:53:04

Rafa, it doesn't affect children already at the school or their siblings, apparently.

Glad to hear some positive views. I appreciate than in London there are problems with parents moving out but this is a fairly rural area and I don't know if anyone's done that. I don't know the exact figures but I think most years there are a few children out of catchment which would seem to suggest that all catchment kids are getting in. My worry is that it will be blacklisted compared to other schools and there will lots of unhappy parents!

JaniceJoplin Thu 11-Jun-15 10:55:13

Our school is doing this from 2016. It Itwas to stop people gaining places then moving away to cheaper , larger houses.

There is a caveat that if you are in the same address as when the eldest child got a place that you will be treated the same as in catchment as otherwise you are being unfairly treated.

There were lots of responses to the consultation they did.

electionfatigue Thu 11-Jun-15 10:56:03

^Should there be a caveat that if you're in the same house as you were when you originally got a place then the sibling should be admitted?^#

that would be very sensible

TeenAndTween Thu 11-Jun-15 10:56:32

Those new criteria are standard for round here too. I think they are better.

tumbletumble Thu 11-Jun-15 10:56:36

Our school has always had this order

meditrina Thu 11-Jun-15 10:58:43

When there is a consultation about this sort of change, it's always worth asking about (campaigning for?):

- families with a child already in the school having a reserved right to sibling priority (so: siblings in catchment and siblings where older child in school joined before X date> catchment>other siblings>others).
- children allocated the school because none other available be treated as 'in-catchment'

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 11-Jun-15 11:03:12

Med - The OP says that the first one has already been agreed. I agree on the second.

OP - I'm not sure what you are worried about. Do you think that your school will become under subscribed?

Catchment children and their siblings wont 'be affected. Out of catchment then yes, they'll have to decide whether they love the school enough to risk younger siblings not getting in - do you think that people won't take that risk and your school will end up with places left over?

lucysnowe Thu 11-Jun-15 11:06:43

thankgod, yes, that was my thought. The only out of catchment kids will be the ones that don't want to come IFYSWIM.

AugustaGloop Thu 11-Jun-15 11:07:17

I didn't think schools had catchments? I am in London so may be different where you are. The distance cut off for the state primary we wanted (ended up in private) varied between about 0.15 miles and 0.2 miles in the few years before we applied, but as I understood it there was no catchment as such. If they said something like siblings only get priority if they live within (say) 0.5miles of the school, that would make sense (i.e. a catchment for the purpose of the sibling rule only). I think this would need to be wider that the previous years cut off as than can vary greatly depending on the number of qualifying siblings, particularly for small schools or where there has been a previous bulge class. I also think that a rule that said the sibling gets in if the first child got in on the basis of distance and the family has not moved since would be ok. They might also need to think about whether special rules are needed for siblings of children in the higher priority categories (medical needs etc)

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 11-Jun-15 11:12:14

Augusta - Some schools do have catchments of the 'blob drawn on a map' variety. Others don't. It depends on area smile

lucysnowe Thu 11-Jun-15 11:12:53

Sorry, fast thread! Yes, Penguin exactly. Personally I don't think anyone who's out of catchment will bother, as it's a very rural school with a spread out catchment and there are other, just as good, schools much nearer. It's over subscribed at the mo because it has an outstanding Ofsted and nice buildings, fields, etc, but I doubt that will be enough TBH.

meditrina Thu 11-Jun-15 11:12:57

Not all schools in England have catchment areas. There are some in London which do. And it seems that OP's does.

A formal catchment is a priority admissions area.

People sometimes say 'catchment' when they just mean the actual area in which pupils live in any particular year, and this can lead to confusion.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 11-Jun-15 11:14:11

Lucy - It also depends on your area. In some it's fairly well known that most people who apply for the school get in. So people are willing to take the risk of applying out of catchment because they aren't too stressed about the siblings.

mugglingalong Thu 11-Jun-15 11:14:59

We have a rule that a sibling only counts if they live within two miles, OR they live in the same property that they lived in when the sibling was offered a place, OR that they live closer than they lived when the sibling was offered a place (but still more than 2 miles away). This seems fair as it mitigagtes against people moving a long way from the school, but still acknowledges the situation that a child might have been allocated the school when it was less popular and their sibling shouldn't be penalised just because it is more popular now.

Hexenbiest Thu 11-Jun-15 11:17:50

Happened a few years ago here - not much fan fare about it and it did apply to DC currently in the school. Not London not Oxford.

It was just ahead of years children outside the catchment starting to not get places unless just over the border. Lots of new family sized housing been built/finished in catchment of preferred school in area combined with a increase in birth rate.

First year few people did move older DC as the younger ones didn't get places - I know because my DC was thanks to successful appeals in a class well over 30 in years wasn't supposed to be - and that went down to 30. Higher up past year 3 all the classes are above 30 so losing a few children not detrimental to school.

People outside the catchment still apply - they are less and less likely to get in. Some get older children in year 3 and then manage to get younger one in as they are top of list for outside catchment. Some get lucky with waiting lists or the numbers that year.

I'm not sure the impact on surrounding schools - not much I think - bit of movement first year - people still try and move around yr3 when class size isn't limited to 30 and like before a few get in so there is some movement then.

Hexenbiest Thu 11-Jun-15 11:24:49

A formal catchment is a priority admissions area

We still have this.

I know other areas don't - looked at moving to another part of the country at one point where it was all done on distance which were getting shorter each year. We just couldn't work if we'd get all the DC into the same school as it was distance then siblings we just couldn't work our areas we'd have to be in to get schools we'd want.

lucysnowe Thu 11-Jun-15 11:26:44

children allocated the school because none other available be treated as 'in-catchment

meditrinaI think this is a good idea and I might ask the school if they could implement it. However not sure how it would be attempted - keep it a secret (!) until a child is admitted and then say 'oh by the way since you didn't WANT to get in you get preferential treatment'. May lead to some parents not putting the school on the list and crossing fingers?? smile Anyway I am confusing myself now! Admission is all a blimming nightmare isn't it!

lucysnowe Thu 11-Jun-15 11:28:53

Hexenbiest your experience is v. useful, thankyou! Personally a bit much I think to change it to affect kids already in the school though sad

tilder Thu 11-Jun-15 11:31:43

So this won't affect current pupils or their siblings. But may affect subsequent pupils who have siblings but are out of catchment when their sibling applies.

Are you concerned that this will put off out of catchment families from applying, as they risk subsequent siblings not getting in? I can see the concern for a rural school, where out of catchment pupils can really boost the numbers.

Surely only a problem if there is a big influx of new children?

froomeonthebroom Thu 11-Jun-15 11:32:40

I was going to say a similar thing to thankgod. When DS1 started school it was a small year group and we got our first choice school; at that time we were in 'catchment'.

The rules have since changed and there is no catchment, just distance from school. There has been a large housing development close to school, and it is a high birth year. Thankfully the school prioritises siblings otherwise DS2 would never have got in.

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