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Wwyd, 1st preference order, admissions

(19 Posts)
Mrsmulder Thu 24-Dec-15 09:52:58

Hi, I am new to all this as my eldest is due to start reception in September 2016. I have a dilemma over which school to put first and I can't decide. We are catholic as in I was raised catholic and my children are baptised but I don't really go to church regularly, in part because I work a lot of weekends.

School 1 is 0.2 miles away, takes 30 children and is C of E, it has a strange admissions criteria based on church points, we wouldn't qualify for church points so may not get a place but we are very close and it was the nicest school I have seen, lovely feel to it and by far my favourite. The only downside is that I have another child due to start reception the following year and due to their criteria would not automatically get a place. This is literally the only thing stopping me putting this school first.

The second school is catholic and 0.5 miles away, ofsted rated outstanding and very popular, all the local mums say it's a lovely school but the downside here is that it is massive! 4 form entry, taking 120 children a year. It has a nice enough feel to it and I would be happy enough for ds to go there but I really loved the first school, I just don't know if it's worth it for the stress of potentially not getting dd in the same school the following year. So wwyd, go for the school you love and worry about the rest next year (if he gets a place of course) or go with the safe option for both children to go to the same school?

slkk Thu 24-Dec-15 09:55:20

They seem pretty close, I'd go with preferred school first and then take chances the following year! Would you get into Catholic school without priest's reference?

Mrsmulder Thu 24-Dec-15 10:05:52

Hi, yes the criteria for the catholic school is just baptised catholic. No church points etc.

HelloItsMeAgain Thu 24-Dec-15 10:21:36

What would be the next school - ie if you didn't get into school 1 or 2?

SisterViktorine Thu 24-Dec-15 10:27:55

I would put the smaller school first and hope for the best.

I used to work in a 4 form entry and IMO it is too big for a Primary school.

Mrsmulder Thu 24-Dec-15 10:30:56

3rd choice would be county primary 0.7 miles away, that is 3 form entry.

What was it that you found didn't work in a big primary sister ?

SisterViktorine Thu 24-Dec-15 10:38:01

I just didn't like the way the staff- even the Head- didn't know all of the children's names. TBH most staff didn't know the names of all the other staff!! It wasn't possible for the school to have the 'family' feel that, personally, I really like in a Primary school. The one I worked in had a very corporate feel- much like a Secondary school.

There were advantages- the school had a high income so the facilities were amazing. However, when you took into account how much time each child got with any given piece of equipment (the adventure playground, ICT suite etc) when they had to share it with 1019 other children I'm not sure it was worth it.

BondJayneBond Thu 24-Dec-15 10:39:58

Do you have any more information about the preferred, smaller school?

As in, what criteria was the last child admitted under last year? How far away from the school were they? If your older DC gets in, is there any sibling priority at all?
I'm guessing from what you've said that your younger DC would rank below all CoE children applying, but once all the children who qualify under church points are admitted, would your younger DC get sibling priority ahead of other children who also don't get church points?

Mrsmulder Thu 24-Dec-15 10:53:28

The larger catholic school is an infant school, not primary so it has 360 pupils, not sure if that would make it a bit better?

Not sure of the distance from last year and don't think it would be relevant because of the points criteria. The head said that they do have catholic children there and children of other faiths and I know that 2 children got places last year who put it as second choice so I am speculating that they didn't get in on church points as I doubt you would go to all that effort to put it as second. A sibling gets 5 points so would be behind all other c of e children but above non c of e children without a sibling. Also forgot to mention that this school is ofsted 'good' where the other 2 are outstanding so that might go in our favour

SisterViktorine Thu 24-Dec-15 11:18:34

Oh, I would say 360 children would be fine. That is probably a nice size actually!

NotCitrus Thu 24-Dec-15 11:19:52

Putting schools in a different order doesn't affect your chances of getting in! Everyone who has listed a school anywhere on their form is put in order of how they meet the qualifying criteria.

Then if you qualify for one of x places in more than one school, then and only then does your order of preference become relevant and you will get offered your higher preference. So a school may have almost all children who had it as a 2nd preference, if their parents put a school as first choice just trying their luck.

Ofsted is only really useful for the comments and suggesting where you might want to ask questions - I would ignore the ratings.

Does the CofE school favour just certain CofE families, or does any qualifying form of Christianity help?

Mrsmulder Thu 24-Dec-15 12:00:28

I know that the order of preference doesn't affect your chance of getting in but to get points at this church you need to show regular commitment to the church. It's a lot of effort to go to if you are not that bothered about the school to put it second so I was just guessing that maybe those that got in on second choice may not have had church points so that may indicate that we have a chance. It's quite a tight knit church so I think any regular worshippers would put the school first.

We would get some points for being Christian but c of e get a lot more

BondJayneBond Thu 24-Dec-15 12:37:32

It's possible that some children who had the CoE school as second choice qualified under church points but had another CoE school as first choice.

If you contact the school admissions department at your council, they should be able to tell you whether the school was oversubscribed last year; if so, what criteria the last child admitted came under (e.g. CoE child in catchment, other Christian child out of catchment etc), and what distance away the last child admitted lived. Some councils publish this information on their websites.

If you've got that information - especially if you manage to get it for the last few years - it should give you a better idea of how good your chances are.

If it's a real long shot, and most years gets filled up entirely with CoE children, then personally I'd be inclined to pick a school where I thought I'd be able to get both DC into. But if most years it's undersubscribed and has spare spaces (such as our nearest RC school, which hadn't been filled up to it's PAN for the 5 years before we did DS1's school application), then that would be an entirely different scenario.

redskybynight Thu 24-Dec-15 12:42:24

DS has much preferred a 4 form junior over a 2 form infants (where once you'd eliminated all the boys who just wanted to play football, the actual pool of potential friends was pretty small). I do think 4 form entry can work very well. And if it's just an infants that's really not too big (teachers can get to know every child personally etc)

That said on the basis that the schools are both very close, I'd put down your favourite as first choice. IF your 2nd child doesn't get in and your 1st child does, you can then have a rethink

Mrsmulder Thu 24-Dec-15 13:59:06

Thanks everyone, I suppose I do need more information, I will try ringing the school after Christmas and get a gauge on how many none c of e kids get in. I will also ask if I am likely to have problems getting dd a place. I know they can't say for definite but they might be able to let me know if it's common or not.

It's interesting that you say your dc prefers the bigger school, the bigger selection of friends does make sense.

catslife Thu 24-Dec-15 16:43:41

I would check out whether you have understood the points system correctly OP. I think that schools linked to a particular church e.g. St X school can prioritise children attending St X church but that after that attendance at all other Christian denominations whether C of E, catholic, methodist, baptist etc. must be the same otherwise the admissions policy isn't fair for Christian denominations that don't have their own schools.
Hopefully the admissions experts will post soon to confirm this, but I don't think your statement "We would get some points for being Christian but c of e get a lot more" can be completely true.
PS DH has been governor at a C of E school where all denominations with same level of attendance are treated the same regarding admissions.

admission Thu 24-Dec-15 17:50:40

I think you do need to look very carefully at the CoE school admission criteria because it sounds like it is one of those with a complicated system, that is easy to misunderstand. if you want to PM me the name of the school and LA I will look at it and see what the pitfalls are with the admission criteria and your chance of getting in.
The other question in my mind is you saying the catholic school is an infant school. That leaves you with an additional problem of where is the partner junior school? Is it in the same place or not? You will need to apply for a place at the junior school, which is just an added burden.

Mrsmulder Thu 24-Dec-15 19:07:19

The issue with c of e children getting more points lies with the regular church attendance, c of e vicars will vouch for this whereas catholic priests in my area have been told they can't, they will only provide evidence of baptism so I only get points because he is baptised rather than because he attends church if that makes sense!

Thanks admission I will pm you in a couple of days, I am sure you don't want to be looking at it tonight. The junior school is linked but on a different site, different head etc, it's pretty unheard of for an infant child to not get a place in the juniors so I am not too worried about that, I have a friend who works in the juniors

admission Thu 24-Dec-15 21:15:41

No problem, whenever suits you.

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