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admissions London - general confusion and also question on how places work?

(24 Posts)
anniemac Tue 14-Oct-08 23:43:06

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serenity Wed 15-Oct-08 00:59:44

Is the catholic one private? If it's just a church school then it'll count with the other non-church state schools you apply for - and you'll get one offer only (you list them in preference order) You won't be offered a place at a school you don't apply for. If you don't get in any on your list, you'll have no place and will have to go through appeals to get one (this is all iirc btw, it's late and I'm a bit tired smile)

Madsometimes Wed 15-Oct-08 10:07:41

I would phone your nearest school and take a look around, make sure your dh comes too. It sounds like he needs convincing! There is a lot to be said for a local primary school, including local friends and being able to walk to school in minutes.

If you still prefer the other schools, I would put your top choice as the school 0.7 km away, Catholic school as 2nd choice and local school as 3rd place. I suspect you will be offered your local school but you could accept that place and go on the waiting list of one of your other choices.

anniemac Thu 16-Oct-08 09:58:28

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gladders Thu 16-Oct-08 11:14:41

am a fellow SE Londoner.... Both greenwich and Lewisham councils will tell you what the catchement ara was for 2008 for any school if you ask (ie how far away did the furthest person live....)

the one I was interested in was about a third of a mile I think... so with my dodgy maths, i think you might be pushing it at 0.7km? Halstow/Brooklands/John Bull are all probably less than that?

On the application form you are advised to put down 4 schools - you don't have to give a preference (in Greenwich at least - check your local council's website) - putting a church school down won't hurt - you could end up with an extra offer to consider.

From the non-church options you put down, the council will consider the one closest to your home first... so you are on shaky ground if you don't put down the one 0.2km away as you may miss the cut-off for the others?

isgrassgreener Thu 16-Oct-08 11:27:05

You should look on your LEA website in the education section and they will have the document which sets out all the admission criteria for your borough primary schools.
You need to find out what the different admission criteria is for each of the schools, the two non religious state ones are likely to have the same criteria and the religious one will probably be a bit different.
You then need to work out which criteria you will be applying under for each school eg this is your first child going to school so you are not a sibling, if you do not have special/social needs, or a statement of SEN, then you will probably be applying under the distance criteria.
The council should either have a table in the brochure or you can phone them and ask, which shows the distance that the last person was offered a place in the first round of offers for previous years, this will then give you an idea of what chance you have of getting in. If you live quite a bit further away and the school has had a similar cut off distance for the past few years, then you don't stand much chance of getting in.
This process will enable you to work out which of the schools you stand the most chance of getting in to. Realistically there is no point in going to see what you consider to be a really good school if you stand no chance of getting in.
Most london boroughs work together in something called the Pan London Admissions system, which means that all of your school choices go on one form (state schools not private) and they operate an equal preference system which means they will offer you the school which is the highest of the choices that you have put down that they can, like this

Your choice - Do you fit the criteria - school you are given

school a - no - no
school b - yes - yes
school c - no - no
school d - yes - no

I hope that makes some sense, so in theory if you put your local school down as school d you would only get it if you did not fit the criteria for school b, you would not be given it just because it is closest to you.

Speak to you LEA and see if they work like this.

Good luck smile

bundle Thu 16-Oct-08 11:27:12

do you have coordinated admissions or do you have to apply to each one individually?

we had to put first, second choice etc on form for our LEA but also apply to Catholic school separately (though put them on the Islington form too, iykwim)

pooka Thu 16-Oct-08 11:33:03

I'm also in SE London. LBB.

We put three preferences down, 1, 2 and 3. Admissions are centrally organised by the LEA. If you got places at 1, 2 and 3, you would only be offered 1. If you got 2 and 3, you would only be offered 2. This cuts down on bun fighting after offers are made, as in the past people could be holding 3 places at a time before turning 2 down. Now you get the school highest up your list of preferences.

If you don't get 1, 2 or 3, the LEA will offer an undersubscribed school.

THe catholic school, if a state school, would still have admissions (in the borough) organised by the LEA, to their own criteria. So if catholic school was 2nd pref, and you got your first pref, you would only be offered No. 1.

The schools no longer know whereabouts they were on the order of preferences.

pooka Thu 16-Oct-08 11:33:37

I meant in this borough.

bundle Thu 16-Oct-08 11:37:00

we got our 2nd choice initially (we didn't apply to any in our borough, we live on a border) and eventually got our first choice, the catholic school

anniemac Thu 16-Oct-08 12:00:48

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anniemac Thu 16-Oct-08 12:20:49

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bundle Thu 16-Oct-08 16:20:09

84 for 30 places sounds tough..we had about 100 appns for 60 places and got in from waiting list

anniemac Thu 16-Oct-08 16:57:57

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isgrassgreener Thu 16-Oct-08 20:20:18

Find out if there has been a change in head in the last 3 or 4 years, it can often take a few years for a head to make a real difference. Reputation is often lagging behind the reality, sometimes schools that have had a good reputation for a long time are actually resting on their laurels a bit as they don't have to try quite as hard.
It can be much better to go for a school on the way up as they don't usually slip back down once they have been invested in and parents start to have faith in them.

critterjitter Thu 16-Oct-08 21:24:38

Where are you in Lewisham AnnieMac?

anniemac Fri 17-Oct-08 10:43:01

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critterjitter Fri 17-Oct-08 23:13:21

What about the primary opposite the old library building and hospital in Lewisham? Forgotten the name, but I know my friend's son went there a few years ago and it was OK.

You could also go over into another borough, if the school has places.

I wouldn't make any assumptions about any school being your local school etc. until you've gone in and asked them about their catchment area etc. Sometimes your most local school is not actually your local school (IYSWIM!). Also check on their projections for siblings (who will get priority).

MrsMattie Sat 18-Oct-08 16:47:48

I'm a norf Londoner grin, but my advice is:

Go and see the schools. It may completely change what you think.

I was completely put off the local RC schools after visiting them. Also didn't much like the 'outstanding' non-denominational state school that creates a bunfight every year up this way. It seemed to tick all the boxes and was shiny and lovely with great facilities - but the staff seemed cold and the kids seemed uptight, like they were performing for the prospective parents.

In the end, the school I liked best was a fairly bog standard little primary up the road. Cosy, friendly, lovely and with a high staff-child ratio.

You may be surprised, too.

Ohforfoxsake Sat 18-Oct-08 17:03:57

We're SW London, but go to a completely oversubscribed popular state school. Places are still offered on the first day of the new term as a fair few people simply don't bother to turn up. I was happy to sit tight, go through the waiting list procedure and would have homeschooled if necessary.

Here you can stay on the waiting list of your preferred school, so that might be worth a check.

Also worth asking why the local school doesn't do great in the league tables. Around here many people more out of London towards the end of the primary school years and that has a knock on effect to the results I think.

But go and see the schools before you start worry about any of this. Chances are you'll get a 'feel' for one which will suit DD the best. If its the one which is the hardest to get into, don't give up.

anniemac Mon 20-Oct-08 10:21:38

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Ohforfoxsake Mon 20-Oct-08 14:40:03

Another thing to bear in mind is that going to your local school makes you more of a part of your local community. And makes tea dates easier too.

minch Mon 20-Oct-08 17:19:41

One of the reasons you can get big fluctuations in league table placings is the particular cohort of children going through that year. eg if there are 50 children in a year, each percentage point on the SATs results table is half a child. If there are 30 children in a year, then each percentage point is roughly a third of a child etc. So in that case if one child has an off day, that's 3% down straight away iyswm. Then multiply that by, for example, having a slightly less able group in one year. The stats can be useful, but ime you need not to take them at face value. MUCH more important to visit the school, speak to the head, get a feel for the place. It's all about what would suit your individual child who is after all a person not a percentage smile

babyboo78 Thu 23-Oct-08 17:08:28

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