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Do many parents of kids at private schools hold on to state school places as " insurance"

(69 Posts)
FattyArbuckel Thu 03-Mar-11 11:41:39

We are on a reserve list for our first choice school - I am wondering if it is common for parents with kids enrolled for private secondary schools to also hold onto a state place as "insurance"?

And if so, do these parents give the places back for allocation this month normally or do they hold on to them until September?

pinkhebe Thu 03-Mar-11 11:44:24

my son was accepted with a bursery at a private school. We declined his place yesterday, I do wish we could have held it for 3 years for ds2 though grin

FattyArbuckel Thu 03-Mar-11 11:46:39

pinkhebe thanks for your reply.

Do most people in the private sector not know if they have a secondary place at the time of local authority applications?

twolittlemonkeys Thu 03-Mar-11 11:46:50

Yes I certainly know some people who apply to state schools (whilst intending to go private), get offered places, then make up their minds at the last minute, so hopefully you may move up the waiting list

rollinginthedeep Thu 03-Mar-11 11:48:02

My friends' DD passed the Bucks 11+ exam but she also sat the common entrance exam for Bedford Girls in case she didn't get her first choice grammar. She did manage to get her place at Aylesbury Girls Grammar and has given up her 'insurance' place at the Indie.

It can go both ways.

exexpat Thu 03-Mar-11 11:48:30

Private schools usually make offers earlier than state schools (at least in my area), so although I also did the state application for DS (just in case), by the time the offer came through he had already been offered two independent places, and we had accepted one, so I immediately let the LEA know that we wouldn't be taking up the state place.

It didn't seem to be possible to withdraw the application before being allocated the place though, so the place he freed up would have be reallocated in the second round.

It is possible that some people are still dithering over whether to take up a private school place, but IME the private schools need a definite yes or no by April or you will be charged a term's fees in lieu of notice - one school here did take a mother to court for dropping a place at the last minute.

So I would have thought that most (responsible) people with a private school place would turn down a state school place long before September. There will always be a few disorganised and thoughtless people who don't, though.

CameronCook Thu 03-Mar-11 11:52:15

Guess it depends when parents hear about whether they have got into private school or not.

The big public schools here advise who has been accepted in Jan/Feb but hold places til allocation day and require parent to confirm if they are accepting by end of March. So in theory the parent should be declining their state place this month if they are not taking it up.

I have known children stay on waiting lists and get a place at the end of August so it could be that parents reserve their right to decide til the last minute.

FattyArbuckel Thu 03-Mar-11 11:53:59

I see - so if you are moving from state education to a private school for secondary, you would not usually have had your place confirmed at the private school before the application deadline for state schools?

rollinginthedeep Thu 03-Mar-11 11:58:47


meditrina Thu 03-Mar-11 11:58:47

Private secondary schools are typically making their 11+ offers about now, so you can expect any state places held as "insurance" to be relinquished shortly.

LondonMother Thu 03-Mar-11 12:02:30

No, you have to apply for state school by October half-term and the deadline for applications for independent schools (in SE London, anyway) is late Nov/early Dec, with entrance exams in January and interviews afterwards. Offers made around the third week of Feb, I think. So if you get an offer from an independent school, you already know that by the time you get your state school offer.

In our case (a few years back now) independent school offers had to be accepted by some point in March but scholarship offers had to be accepted earlier. I suppose we could have asked for a bit more time in the circs, but as we were 100% confident that our son would not be offered a place at any of our preferred schools (he wasn't) we decided to go ahead and accept the place in February. We then turned down the comprehensive school place we were offered pretty much by return of post so that it could be re-allocated asap. If we'd known how well our son would do in the entrance exams we wouldn't have bothered to apply to that school but way back in October we were fretting that we didn't want to be left with no school place at all.

FattyArbuckel Thu 03-Mar-11 12:04:39

Thank you for explaining how the private school application and place allocation dates work smile

I am hoping that lots of folk in my area have been allocated places at my local school that they will now not want to take up!

meditrina Thu 03-Mar-11 12:08:58

In some areas, it goes the other way round too when parents turn down private offers when a grammar school place is secured.

FattyArbuckel Thu 03-Mar-11 12:12:53

no grammar schools here so not so likely to have that dynamic in the mix!

exexpat Thu 03-Mar-11 12:13:28

Yep, it goes both ways round here too - no grammars, but lots of people apply to the independents as back-up in case they don't get into the two ex-private-turned-academy schools or the very oversubscribed new comprehensive.

sue52 Thu 03-Mar-11 12:21:53

It goes both ways. I applied for state and private secondary schools. The private offer came first and I held on to it for a couple of weeks before her grammar school place came through.

lateSeptember1964 Thu 03-Mar-11 12:30:16

Yes I held mine last year for ds3 and again this year for ds4. I will let it go between easter and June half term.

careerbreakMum Thu 03-Mar-11 12:31:38

I applied for a Reception place at my local state school just in case there wasn't a reception place at the independent school where my child was at nursery. The independent school were quite slow at confirming the reception place and I missed the deadline for accepting or declining LEA place, so my local council contacted me (surprisingly quickly - within a day of the closing date)to ask what I was doing - obviously so they could reallocate place.

I did overhear conversation between 2 mums in July about their mutual friend who had accepted a place at a local LEA school but was intending to send child independently. Mums were moaning because child was holding LEA place with no intention of going so place couldn't be allocated to a child on the school's waiting list. Round here you need to decline independent school place to avoid fees but can hold onto LEA place so presumably some parents will accept LEA place until last minute. It's not unknown for kids to be on waiting list for popular schools and to be allocated a different school, start at allocated school in September and do a couple of weeks and then move to preferred school when school eventually finds out that they have a space.

Have no idea yet how secondary works around here although we have one LEA that still has grammar schools, 11+ exam and takes out of area kids so presumably adds even more confusion to the mix.

rollinginthedeep Thu 03-Mar-11 12:32:25


Can I ask why you are 'holding on' to them only because of the way you said, like you are doing it on purpose!

belledechocchipcookie Thu 03-Mar-11 12:32:49

I didn't. I only applied to 1 private secondary and no state schools, he was lucky to get the place. There were plenty of other parents at his prep who had a few offers from state and private schools though.

lateSeptember1964 Thu 03-Mar-11 12:33:00

Should have said that the schools are state comps. We have a private place but I always worry until the last minute that we are doing the right thing

lateSeptember1964 Thu 03-Mar-11 12:34:34

sorry crossed posts. My husband runs his own business and in the back of my mind is always the fact that anything could happen between now and September.

PollyParanoia Thu 03-Mar-11 14:12:44

I know people who had paid their deposits for the private preps (ie 99% certain that's where they were going) and held onto their primary school state places. In fact, seeing as though their kids' names were on the reception class pegs I'm pretty certain they didn't bother to tell them at all. As there's no financial cost to not telling the school (as there would be at a private school), the selfish twunts held on 'just in case' something terrible accident befell them and then 'forgot' to tell the school. There were therefore kids who'd bought the uniform for another school (and who could ill afford to do so), starting a week or so late at primary. Don't know about secondary though...

mary21 Thu 03-Mar-11 14:19:59

lots round here had private places as insurance incase they got the special measures comp. they didnt so I am guessing those private places will be released shortly.

mummytime Thu 03-Mar-11 14:25:50

I have a friend who accepted her private school reception place, paid the full deposit bought the uniform, and then got offered a State school place. She then (July I think) rejected the private place, paid up, and sold on the Uniform to take the State school place.

My DCs secondary has at least 10-20 places freed every year by people who are going private.

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