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Is there any point filling in the reasons for applying section for an out of catchment school?

(16 Posts)
Cloudybutwarm Thu 17-Dec-15 15:19:59

I ask because my reason is just that I don't like our catchment school and the two that I've applied for are much nicer, lovely environments, better ofsted, just overall a better feel.

I started trying to put that in to words and then thought surely as I have no concrete reason it's a bit pointless! Writing that I would like my son to go there because I think they're better schools seems fairly irrelevant as I suspect most people think the same! Or does it look bad it to write anything?

Thank you!

Cloudybutwarm Thu 17-Dec-15 15:20:16

*not to

DesertOrDessert Thu 17-Dec-15 15:26:19

Nope, absolutely no point writing that. Box is for "My child needs the hearing loop system installed at this school, and no others in a million mile radius, please find attached psyc evaluation and proof of deafness" sort of reasons. Basically, if there is a reason you NEED that school, rather than would like that school.

We left every box blank, and got expected school (3rd choice) for DS1, and then preferred school for DS2, as we had a sibling link.

meditrina Thu 17-Dec-15 15:26:46

That box only carries weight if you are highlighting something that is relevant to which entrance category your DC is placed in. Especially if it's something that might otherwise be missed.

Such as "Although we live out of the priority admissions area, our elder child was placed at this school as it was the only one with a vacancy when we moved. Your email (date, sender reference) confirms that out younger children will be treated as in-catchment siblings for this reason"

Or "although we have no formal statement, applicant is in a wheelchair and this is the only school within an hour's travel which has wide enough doors"

Cloudybutwarm Thu 17-Dec-15 15:39:28

Yes that's what I thought - it's just some friends of mine have still filled in that section and I was starting to worry I was missing something!

Cloudybutwarm Thu 17-Dec-15 15:41:36

I haven't actually put our nearest school as a choice at all, although I shot a horrible feeling that's where he'll end up getting a place sad

Jesabel Thu 17-Dec-15 15:43:12

If you haven't put the nearest school and it is oversubscribed then he won't get a place.

meditrina Thu 17-Dec-15 15:48:42

Jesabel is right. If you do not put down at least one school where you are as sure as it is possible to be that you will qualify for a place, then you will be offered a place at the nearest school with a vacancy.

That won't be your catchment school if it is already full with children of families that applied for it. It will be the closest undersubscribed school.

futureme Thu 17-Dec-15 15:52:41

Yup - you need to put down a school that is near/hope of getting into at least as last choice otherwise they could bus you miles away to an unsubscribed school.

catslife Fri 18-Dec-15 08:35:16

You need to use all 3 preferences OP - there is no point in leaving one of them blank. It is not guaranteed that your dc will be given a place at your catchment school, if you don't list it on the form. If it is oversubscribed then you will be allocated a place at the nearest school to your house with spaces available: which could be a school much further away or that you like much less than the local one.
I would find out if you can add it to your application asap (usually applications can be amended before the deadline).

Finallyonboard Fri 18-Dec-15 08:48:58

Can I ask - is it likely that the nearest school is not allocated? I want our catchment school and I'm really worried we won't get in. In this instance I'm going to end up paying for a nearby private school which seems a shame with such a great local school.

Also, OP. The school I thought was nearest, actually wasn't when I used the local authority mapping tool. Have you checked yours?

teacherwith2kids Fri 18-Dec-15 08:53:01

Cloudy,

I would add my voice to the others. From your posts, it looks as if you have:
- Applied for 2 schools that you like, but don't think you'll get into
- Not applied for your nearest school

In the last couple of years, would someone living in your house have got into either of your two preference schools (last admitted distances are often in the application booklet / website, if not, ring the council for that information)? If so, how close was your house to the nearest admitted distance (so if last admitted distance under your criterion - out of catchment, no SEN, no sibling - was 1.42 miles and you are at 1.41, then with shrinking admission areas you are at risk)?

Have you put down any school on your form that, historically, you would have got into safely? You don't have to love this school, but you MUST have such a school on your form.

Let's play through 3 scenarios:

Scenario 1: Yo get a place in one of your two preference schools: bonus!

Scenario 2: You leave your form as you have described it. No school on your form has a place for you. Your form then effectively goes to the 'back of the queue'.

As the council works through the applications process, children who have named your catchment school on their form (even as a final backup option, even if they live MILES away out of catchment) are allocated places there as their highest option with a space for them. Once all children for whom there are places in schools named on their forms have been allocated to the highest school in their preferences, they turn back to forms like yours - where there is no space in any school named on your form. You will be given a place in the nearest school with a place for you - which can be up to an hour's travel either way. Furthermore, because you didn't apply to your closest school, your eligibility for transport to that school is compromised (had you applied to your nearest school, not got a place and then had to go to a further away school, more than 2 miles away for infants, transport would have to be provided)

Scenario 3: You place your catchment school as the last option on your form, but places in your preferred schools are not available. So you have a place in your catchment school (or, in the very worst scenario, free transport to a school further away).

You may not LOVE your catchment school, but Scenario 2 s not a good one.

teacherwith2kids Fri 18-Dec-15 08:55:48

Finally,

Historic data on last admitted distances is available. It may well be in the admissions booklet - if not, ring the council or google whatdotheyknow and the school name, as someone may well have submitted a freedom of information request on the subject.

Obviously last admitted distances do vary - there may have been a bulge class one year, an unusual number of siblings, a new block of flats or a new estate of houses - and TEND to go down rather than up, but it will give you an indication.

Cloudybutwarm Fri 18-Dec-15 12:41:09

Thank you all for your advice. I will amend the application to add our nearest school (no doubt it's the closest finally it's literally round the corner!) and keep my fingers crossed we get one of the first two.

I asked at the open days of my preferred schools about intakes from out of catchment areas and certainly for my second choice I think we have a reasonable chance of a place (please God!) we are not far out of the catchment area for my first choice but it is a very popular school, so we shall see!

Cloudybutwarm Fri 18-Dec-15 12:47:34

our closest school still has spaces this year smile confused

SweetAdeline Fri 18-Dec-15 12:48:04

Yes definitely add your local school, even if it's rubbish - "bad" school nearby beats "bad" school far away if you don't get one of your first two preferences.

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