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Putting catchment school as second choice

(26 Posts)
SleepFreeZone Wed 14-Sep-16 17:17:08

I think I will be putting an out of catchment primary for my first choice and my catchment school as second. Is this dangerous do you think?

The out of catchment school is linked to my son's preschool, is Outstanding but has places but primarily for me has smaller class sizes than my catchment school. My concern is that I might not get either and end up in a totally different school somewhere a long way away šŸ˜

FourLittleSpeckledFrogs Wed 14-Sep-16 17:31:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meditrina Wed 14-Sep-16 17:40:23

All areas have to operate an 'equal preference' system.

Schools are not told where you listed them on the form. All they get are the details which put you in the correct category and then distance to be used as tie-breaker.

List your schools in your genuine order of preference.

If you do not qualify for your catchment school, you woukdn't have qualified whether you put it first, second or last on the form. If you think there is a chance it will be filled before it has accommodated all catchment children who want it, and you are not that close, do think of further fall-back schools for the lower slots on the form.

Shurelyshomemistake Wed 14-Sep-16 17:43:54

Are you in england?

redskytonight Wed 14-Sep-16 17:59:59

Bear in mind that smaller classes = less funding

gatorgolf Wed 14-Sep-16 19:16:37

Is he your only child? If not u need to be aware that even if this ds gets into out of catchment school, this doesn't give any siblings priority above the catchment area children so you could end up siblings at different schools

Shurelyshomemistake Wed 14-Sep-16 19:59:00

Gatorgolf that may or may not be true in this case. Admissions criteria vary from school to school and local authority to local authority. Some give priority to siblings, some to siblings in catchment, etc. OP may be absolutely fine.
Presuming you're in England, then yes, definitely put down the school you prefer as your highest choice. One banker, and then use your other choice (presuming you have three) on one you'd accept but that isn't totally left-field in terms of your chances of getting in.

If the school you apply for has fewer applicants than places, and it's your first choice, then they have to give your child a place. They don't have any choice.

Misty9 Wed 14-Sep-16 20:55:28

We put our catchment school as third choice of three. Ds started there last week...

SleepFreeZone Wed 14-Sep-16 21:44:59

Brilliant thank you! Yes I'm in England. I honestly don't mind if he goes to either school so it's not a huge deal. I guess I thought the catchment school might know I put them as second choice and would prioritise those that put the school as first choice.

OutDamnedWind Wed 14-Sep-16 21:58:19

Nope, as someone explained unthread it doesn't work like that, they will have no idea, and even if they did, it's not a criteria they can use.

shitchef Thu 15-Sep-16 13:36:18

My understanding is that the school itself won't know or particularly care where you put them on the list but the local authority will try to give everyone their first choice where possible, so people who put your catchment school (no 2 on your list) as no 1 on theirs will be more likely to get a place at that school than you IYSWIM. (But maybe I've misunderstood - it's a few years since I had to do this?) I think it all depends on how oversubscribed schools are in your area. If both schools are regularly over-subscribed I'd put your catchment area school first (especially since you say you're not really fussed either way).

Round here a few years ago when the birthrate was much lower people could pretty much go to whatever school they wanted even out of county but these days so many new houses are being built that it's a far more complicated decision.

I live in a different catchment area to many of my friends so even though my dd went to preschool with their kids, she has gone to a different primary (still sees them at Brownies etc.). My thinking was that with all the new housing in the other area plus the fact that many parents move to the area to try to get them into the one selective grammar school in the town she wouldn't stand a hope in hell of getting into the secondary school. She's happy at her school and will hopefully attend the same (excellent) catchment secondary school as her friends in a couple of years - I know secondary seems a long way away but these days I think you have to take it into account!

steppemum Thu 15-Sep-16 13:46:23

no shitchef, that is wrong.

If you put it second and someone else puts it first, you both stand an equal chance of getting the school. They have to consider all applicants as if first choice.

Think of it like this. School looks at the criteria (siblings, distance etc) at then ranks all applicants according to those criteria. Doesn't matter if you put school first or fifth, you are all ranked ONLY on the criteria. You may be ranked no. 35 and the person who put them first may be ranked no. 40. (say there are 60 places)

Now, you are ranked no. 35, but at the school you put first, you are ranked no.10. So the local authority gives you your first place school, and don't need your no. 35 place. and they give the other applicant their first place school, with their rank of 40.

OR your first place school ranks you at no. 32 and there are only 30 places, so you loose out. But your second place school ranks you at 35 and there are 36 places. You get the place and the other applicant doesn't.

Or the school has 30 places and neither of you get it, and you get 3rd choice and other applicant gets second choice.

steppemum Thu 15-Sep-16 13:49:41

and by the way 'catchment areas' really don't exist much any more. Very few school prioritise places according to where you live - that is all kids living on these streets get a place. They do prioritise by siblings, looked after children, distance, etc and some people living close to the school can find themselves missing out because the reception class is full of siblings.

redskytonight Thu 15-Sep-16 14:14:04

steppemum catchment areas certainly do exist in many parts of the country!!

OP - check the admissions criteria where you live.

WhoseMonkeys Thu 15-Sep-16 14:28:01

The following criteria apply in order of importance for our LEA :

Looked after children
Children with siblings in school
Distance from school

We could list three schools in order of preference. I rang the admissions department and talked to someone about the policy as we didn't even want to put our catchment school down at all (long story).

In the end, we put it as third choice because she told me that if we didn't and then didn't get any of our choices, we could end up across the other side of the (very large) city in whichever school was undersubscribed!

We were lucky enough to get our second choice and were 11th on the waiting list for our first choice. By the time we climbed the waiting list and we were offered our first choice, it was Christmas and our daughter (and we) were happy with the place she had at the second choice school. She's still there and we're all still happy!

steppemum Thu 15-Sep-16 15:20:50

you shoudl always put down one school on the form that you will stand a good chance of getting into, eg closest school.
As Whosemonkey says, if you don't they will give you a place in the nearest school with a place, after everyone else's preferences have been taken in to account.
So if the nearest school is full, and so is the second nearest etc, you can end up with a place miles away.

But always list in order of which school you prefer, so if you don't want your nearest school, but need to list it as a safeguard, then list it last. You will be considered alongside children who list it first, but you will be given a place in the school furthest up your list which you qualify for.

Idliketobeabutterfly Thu 15-Sep-16 19:48:47

I don't see the issue. I put mine fourth after two faith schools and an out of catchment. I got my first choice and my catchment was a fall back.

prh47bridge Thu 15-Sep-16 23:24:49

catchment areas certainly do exist in many parts of the country

As someone who looks at a lot of admission criteria I would disagree. They exist in some parts of the country. In most areas that I look at there are no formal priority admissions zones. It is simply the case that those living nearest to the school will get places. People nonetheless tend to use the term "catchment" to refer to the area close to the school where people are likely to be close enough to get a place.

zad716 Fri 16-Sep-16 08:12:42

In most areas that I look at there are no formal priority admissions zones.

The county I live in and all (3) of the neighbouring counties have catchment/priority admissions areas.

I guess the part of the country I live in must be unusual. confused

Blu Fri 16-Sep-16 08:28:59

"might know I put them as second choice and would prioritise those that put the school as first choice."

No. Whatever else an individual school or LA might have as admissions criteria, BY LAW in England they are not allowed to prioritise applicants according to what order they put them on in the list.

Always put your preferences down in your genuine order of preference.

If you put your local 'fall back' school first and your longed for long shot second, if your local school can give you a place, AND your long shot also can admit, you will be offered the local school because it is higher up your preferences.

And you will not be disadvantaged by putting your local school further down. If they can offer a space based on their criteria, they will pass that offer on to your LA, who will pass it on to you unless you get an offer from higher up your list.

prh47bridge Fri 16-Sep-16 08:39:27

The county I live in and all (3) of the neighbouring counties have catchment/priority admissions areas

I'm fascinated. Assuming you are in England I have no idea where you are. I can't think of 4 adjoining counties where all or most schools have formal catchments. Would you like to give me a clue as to where you are?

Idliketobeabutterfly Fri 16-Sep-16 08:43:45

WE have formal catchments laid out in Solihull but for some school's their actual intake doesn't go far into it.

RustyBear Fri 16-Sep-16 10:01:17

If we're talking about Local Authorities rather than actual counties, all the LAs in the former county of Berkshire use catchments/designated areas for at least some primaries, usually as far as I can see, more do than don't. Oxfordshire and Hampshire also refer to catchment areas on their school admissions pages, but Surrey use distance.

TeenAndTween Fri 16-Sep-16 11:11:43

Looked After should be above Catchment. If it isn't they are breaking the admissions code (in England at least)

zad716 Sat 17-Sep-16 08:09:19

I can't think of 4 adjoining counties where all or most schools have formal catchments.

prh47 I never said all or most schools actually had formal catchments just that they existed within this part of the country.

I live in Suffolk where the majority (~80%) of primary schools do have formal catchment areas, and more secondary schools have them and not.

I know the surrounding counties have catchment areas for some schools but can't comment on actual figures (maybe most don't).

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