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"official" explanation of admissions/equal preferences system?

(6 Posts)
Micropachycephalosaurus Mon 11-Jan-16 13:49:16

A friend has been told by their nursery school teacher that if she puts a school as second choice, then all those who have it as first choice will get in ahead of her.

I told her this was wrong. She was not convinced - she has been hearing many different versions of 'how it works' and doesn't know who to believe anymore... Nursery teacher seems to be more of an authority than my humble self. So she asked if there was any official explanation where she could read it up for herself.

I've had a quick look on our LEA website but the info is super brief. Just one sentence that can easily be misunderstood. Followed by a recommendation to choose only schools you would have been admitted to last year, so as to avoid being given a different school further away. Probably correct, but still confusing.

A quick google didn't reveal to me any 'official' explanation of how it works, only forum posts and such. Can anyone point me to an official document/webpage that explains how it works?

Particularly the aspect of equal preference/ the fact that your order of preferences ONLY matters if you qualify for more than one school, and that schools do not know what preference you gave them, and that the order you put the schools down, doesn't influence your chances of getting into them.(except obviously you won't get into your second choice if you DO get into your first choice).


RueDeWakening Mon 11-Jan-16 14:03:35

This is from a random Google, and comes from Croydon Council's website:

If you listed 6 schools in preference order and preferences 3, 4, 5 and 6 are in a position to offer a place in accordance with their published admissions criteria, the system will automatically seek the highest preferences i.e. your third preference and offer your child a place at this school. Your lower preferences 4,5 and 6 are withdrawn as these are no longer required. Your child will then automatically be placed on the waiting list for your higher preferences 1 and 2, so that your child may be reconsidered for a place at either of these two schools in subsequent allocation rounds should any places become available. These offers will continue to be made in accordance with the schools’ published admissions criteria.

Does that help?

RueDeWakening Mon 11-Jan-16 14:06:55

This is from the school admissions code 2006 (I think it's been updated, but the equal preference bit hasn't changed afaik):

*Equal preference co-ordinated schemes
3.31 In an “equal preference” or “blind preference” scheme, admission authorities consider all applications against published admission criteria, but without any reference to how the school applied for has been ranked by parents. If a child can be offered a place at more than one school the local authority then refers to the parent’s original ranking, and offers a place at
the one of those available that they ranked highest.
3.32 Equal preference schemes are good practice as they usually result in more parents getting one of the schools they want. However, a school or schools within an agreed equal preference scheme must not give priority to those parents who make the school their first preference.*

admission Mon 11-Jan-16 14:25:17

It really annoys me when somebody who should be giving correct information is clearly giving misleading and misinformed information, such as this nursery teacher.

The 2006 school admission regs were very explicit about equal preference as detailed above but unfortunately the latest regs, December 2014, are not so helpful.
In the introduction point E) it says "all references are collated and parents then receive an offer from the local authority at the highest preference school at which a place may be offered. .
In 1.9 C it says admission authorities formulate their admission arrangements but they must not give extra priority to children whose parents rank preferred schools in a particular order, including "first preference first" arrangements.

I cant point at any other official explanation other than in most LA written guides it does talk about equal preference and that should definitely be taken as the "bible" for your local area. Check out what that says.

Micropachycephalosaurus Mon 11-Jan-16 14:29:13

Thanks all, that does indeed help. Will refer her to those docs/webpages!

Inkymess Mon 11-Jan-16 22:54:45

The nursery teacher is being very negligent in giving incorrect information out to parents. She is about 15 years out of date. It's very scary. You only get your 1st preference if you qualify for it. You put down 6 preferences. If you qualify for more than one, you get the one highest on your list. But only if you qualify in the first place. If the PAN for your pref 1 school is 90 and 90 other people are ahead of you in criteria you are then no1 on wait list. If school 2 has PAN of 60 and you are 65th on qualifying list, you go on wait list. If you school 3 had PAN of 30 And you are 25th on list, you would be offered that etc

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