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Did you take younger siblings into account when applying for schools?(18 Posts)
Sorry, this is terribly early but the thought popped into my head and won't leave.
We will be applying for DC1's school place this year. We are just out of catchment for our choice A. I've looked at the figures and while it's not a banker, there's a small chance we could get a place.
However, is it worth taking that risk if we need to take it again with DC2? The admissions priorities are
LAC / exLAC
Siblings in catchment
Children in catchment
Siblings not in catchment
Children not in catchment
So even with the sibling category there is quite a risk that DC2 would not get a place.
I think it depends whether you can manage the school run or not. I had DC in different schools because that’s what suited DC. They were both great schools though. You have to juggle start and finish times and after school clubs. If you cannot manage this, is someone else going to help? If it’s a conundrum too far, the catchment school will have lots of advantages regarding time and planning your week.
Also, if DC1 is in the best school and DC2 is in a school you really don’t want, what does that say about DC2 if forced to go there? DC2 becomes a bit second class, don’t you think, when compared to the first class education you have chosen for DC1. Best to give the same opportunity to both if you can. Move to be in catchment?
Yes I did take younger sibling into account. I discounted any schools with a significant risk of dc2 not getting in under sibling criteria. In practise these were also schools which dc1 stood even less chance of getting into, but if she did by some fluke I wouldn't have wanted the possibility for them to be at different schools. In the end we put our catchment school first preference and that is where dc1 will start in September.
I absolutely wouldn't want to risk being out in a situation on where dc2 couldn't follow dc1 into a school. There is no way I could have managed the logistics plus the obvious issues over uniform and different inset days etc. I also feel strongly that shared experiences help siblings to bond and mine love being able to talk about the same teachers/friends/events/speakers.
That said, mine are v close in age and I may have had a different view point with significant age gaps.
Yes I picked a school that both my children were likely to get a place at.
If it's primary school you are selecting then you'll be needing to get your children there somehow. It's not like secondary where they could travel independently if needed.
Thankfully, there's not really much of a difference between our catchment school and choice A- choice A has bigger grounds and works outdoors more. Choice B is on quite a busy road and has only a concrete playground.
I think I could manage two commutes, but it's not ideal. As you say, you want them to have (broadly) the same experiences.
Yes, we'd have slightly preferred an out of catchment school but we went with the in-catchment one to avoid risking having them at different schools.
It was a good job we did because it turned out to be a huge boom year in our area, and out-catchment siblings who'd got into infants all lost their places for juniors. They got a double whammy of being moved to a different school from their siblings, and having to leave all their friends. It was a real mess and some people were really angry their children had been "let down" in this way. Most year groups have been ok, our year got unlucky but if past data says it's touch and go, I'd be reluctant.
You want primary aged kids in the same school. Otherwise it's a total nightmare. By secondary its horses for courses.
Unless its a choice between paradise and a total dump, I'd go for the school that they will both get a place in. Out of catchment siblings are too far down that list to risk it IMO.
It's not just the school run (though that could be a juggle, esp if your work circs change in the future). It's 2 x school fair, sports day, parents assemblies, parents evenings, nativity, xmas fair, play, dressing up days, uniforms, knowing the drill, knowing other parents tralala etcetera. By secondary they take themselves and you basically only have to show up for parent's evenings or if there's a problem.
At secondary I attended most of your list! And mine were at boarding school! No parent assemblies but there were Friends events and Christmas carol service and not nativity but essentially the same list plus quite a bit more!
I chair school admission appeals panels and see families in this situation every year. I wish all parents thought through the issues/risks of their children being in separate schools as you are doing.
Thanks all. You've confirmed what I was thinking.
@Bubbles, it's precisely because yours were at boarding school that you had so many things to attend. Most bog standard comps/grammars demand very little interaction - the odd concert or play. Nothing like the weekly faff of primary.
In our LA loads of people get caught out and siblings end up at two schools. Nightmares
Thing is though that things change.
When my eldest (now 17) started school, she went to the closest one and we were in catchment by a long way.
As the school improved over the years and with new and better heads, the catchment shrunk and we’re now out of it. Luckily my younger dc have got places due to the sibling link. But that was before they changed the criteria to separate siblings in or out of catchment.
Mine are very close in age so yes I did consider it very carefully - to the point I initially picked the most local but really crappy school as a guaranteed bet and ended up having to move them as it just desperately wasn't working out. Where we are now we're slightly out of catchment but I knew there were spaces in the year groups we wanted... transition to the out of catchment junior school is a bit of a gamble but the numbers currently add up and a Y3 appeal means we're past infant class sizes so we did take the risk there.
If there'd been a few more years between my two I don't think I would have worried so much - but they are so close in age and so close as siblings I think the shared experiences really counted for a lot as well.
We could not only have had different schools going on but different LEAs as well fairly easily!
At Primary we chose a school we were just out of catchment for for dd but it was quite new and not especially popular
In the 4 years in between her starting and it being time for DS to go things had changed, loads of new houses pushed us further out of catchment and the school had got very popular. It was very stressful waiting to see if DS had a place as we had a plan B for dd when we applied for her but it was really our only viable option for DS - plus he had been on the school run for 4 years and knew the school well and was excited to go to “ big sisters school “ luckily he DID get a place but may not have without the Sib link. All the people I know in his year live not too far from school whereas when dd went the dc in her year were all pretty spread out. More houses have been built now and at the last allocation only 4 children out of catchment with NO sibling link got a place
It’s also influenced our choice of Secondary for DD, we were deciding between Grammar and Private but DS is very unlikely to get a Grammar place which was one (quite minor) reason we decided against Grammar
Yes, we chose schools that both DCs would in theory do well at (we were wrong as it turns out).