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why do we need to put more than one school name on the list if we prefer only one secondary school.

(28 Posts)
noraa Sat 01-Oct-11 21:24:05

the title says it really.
if we have only one school in our mind why is it wiser to put some other secondary choices in our secondary application.
maybe i feel a bit confused by the whole process.
i will be really grateful if you enlighten me.
thanks in advance.

NickNacks Sat 01-Oct-11 21:26:59

Because if you don't get into that school then they will decide for you.

AMumInScotland Sat 01-Oct-11 21:28:54

If you don't put other preferences, and don't get the one you put down, then your application wil sit and wait while they give other people what they've asked for, and you will get whatever places are left. Those are likely to be at schools you definitely wouldn't have picked!

Don't leave blanks unless you genuinely have no preference between the other schools you might be given.

RandomMess Sat 01-Oct-11 21:30:16

If you don't get your 1st choice and there are no others you will end up in a crap school and the crap school that is miles away rather than your nearest crap school IYSWIM

noraa Sat 01-Oct-11 21:32:52

i guessed so NickNacks.
what i guess is i have to put other secondary school names and enroll to one of them given to us and put my ds in the waiting list for the first choice.
we have to get uniforms for that school and when-if he gets the first choice we have to buy uniforms again for that school.
uniforms is the only one aspect i guess.

noraa Sat 01-Oct-11 21:37:48

thanks so much to everyone who answered me.
i really like my first choice i guess.
if i get the others i wouldn't be happy as the first one.
i guess it is the same case for everyone.

LynetteScavo Sat 01-Oct-11 21:38:52

A few years ago in my town some families didn't want their (oversubsribed) local school, and put down only one or two other (also oversubscribed) schools, presuming because they lived virtually opposite they school they would be offered a place anyway. They ended up being offered a place at a crap school about 20 miles away (same LEA). Needless to say they were less than chuffed.

Schools here now tell parents unless they put them down as a first choice and live in the cathment area they are unlikely to be offered a place.

Having said that I will want DS2 to go to the same school as DS1. We are in catchment, he goes to a feeder school, right religion, sibling at the school, etc so he will be pretty high up the list, and is pretty much guaranteed a place at the school. I will still be putting a second, and probably third choice, just in case. It can't hurt.

noraa Sat 01-Oct-11 21:43:00

i have found up to 4 i think for now.
i will continue investigating, i think we still have time-till 31st october.

CustardCake Sat 01-Oct-11 22:42:16

Lynette - that is only half true. It doesn't improve your chances of getting a school place by putting it first and any school that says that is being untruthful. However it is true that you have to live close enough (or qualify in some other way like having a sibling there for example) in order to get a place (if it is over subscribed which many popular ones are). Simply liking a school an awful lot isn't enough.

If you really like a school 2 miles away and you put it first with no other options at all but their catchment area is 1 mile and they are oversubscribed then you will not get a place. It doesn't matter if its your 1st, last or only choice, you will not get in if you don't live close enough and you will get allocated a random school which might be awful or might be miles away (or both).

The preferences exist so that IF you meet the criteria to get a place at several schools then the council knows which school you like best and gives you a place at that one. It exists to stop some children ending up with 3 offers to choose from and other children getting none. It doesn't exist to get you a place at a school you like but don't qualify for (by qualify for I mean meet admission criteria like living close enough).

So it is important to list your schools in true order of preference and to always give several choices including one that you are almost certain to get into ie that you meet the admission criteria for by living close enough or being religious or having a sibling there so you need to read the info on each school.
You may not feel it now but come March you might decide it would have been better to have the unpopular school 2 minutes walk from your house than the unpopular one the council allocates you that is 2 bus rides away.

Obviously what everyone really wants is their first choice school but depending on where you live upto 45% of parents aren't going to get first choice (average nationwide is 20%) and about 5% don't get any of their top 3 choices so you need a "safe school" as your plan B.

prh47bridge Sun 02-Oct-11 09:08:00

Just to confirm a couple of things...

As CustardCake says, putting a school down as your first choice will not improve your chances of getting a place at that school. Schools and LAs are required to treat all applicants equally regardless of whether they name a school as their first choice or their last choice. The order of preferences simply determines which school you will be offered if more than one has a place available.

Turning to the original question, the important point is that you are only expressing a preference. There is no guarantee that you will get your first choice. If you only name one school and don't get it the LA will offer you a place at the nearest school with places available. That is likely to be an unpopular school and could be miles away. It may be a school you find completely unacceptable. It is best to name some other schools as preferences including at least one where your child has a good chance of getting in. That way if you miss out on your first choice school you have a reasonable chance of getting a place at a school you find acceptable.

And just to nail a popular myth, putting the same school down as all of your preferences will not increase your chances of getting a place at that school.

PonceyMcPonce Sun 02-Oct-11 09:11:47

Should it come to an appeal, it hink it also shows you are reasonable.

I think putting one school only is the equivalent of stamping your foot and saying 'but I want it' and is unlikely to help your case!

IloveJudgeJudy Sun 02-Oct-11 13:05:23

I only put one school down for all our DC. They were in a feeder school next door to the secondary school. They all got in.

RedHelenB Sun 02-Oct-11 13:43:08

I'm only putting one school down since the head assured me dd2 would get in & if by some chance she didn't to ring him up straight away. I really can't see our nearest school being oversubscribed either, school rolls are falling.

RandomMess Sun 02-Oct-11 13:54:09

One of our local secondary school had it's retrospective planning permission refused so they very unexpectedly lost 60 places of their pan!

Mico62 Sun 02-Oct-11 14:02:09

All school admissions, even for Voluntary Aided schools, are administered by your local authority. A primary school head would not have the authority to intervene if you did not get your first choice. You would have to follow your authority's appeals process.

Please list a 2nd & 3rd choice, even if you think you are sure to get a place at your first choice school. I work in admissions and I dread March when parents phone upin tears because they've been allocated a school they would never have picked in a million years. One of our schools is always oversubscribed and this year all applications will be based on distance and siblings are not automatically guaranteed a place.

prh47bridge Sun 02-Oct-11 20:25:02

Mico62 is correct. The head of your primary school has no power to intervene.

The head of the secondary school also has no power to intervene. For a community school there is absolutely nothing the head can do to help you if your child fails to get a place. Even where the school is its own admission authority (an academy, a free school or a faith school) they must abide by the rules. They cannot admit random children on a whim.

Every year we get parents on here distraught because they only listed one school, believing they were certain to get a place only to find that they didn't get in and have been allocated a place at a school they hate. Please use all your preferences. It won't damage your chances of getting in to your preferred school but it will leave you in a better position if you don't get in to your first choice.

By the way, RedHelenB, if the head of the secondary school said that to you he was in breach of the Admissions Code. And if it was the head of the primary school that was an incredibly stupid thing for him to say.

Blu Tue 04-Oct-11 12:45:00

noraa - are you 100% sure of getting into your first preference school? If not, put you genuine second and third preferences, and make sure that you do put down at least one preference for a school that you are likely to get a place in. It won't undermine your chances of getting a place in schools of higher preference.

summer111 Tue 04-Oct-11 18:27:39

No offence to noraa but I still can't believe that perfectly intelligent people still make such incorrect assumptions about this process. It's made clear on admission forms. I feel for Micro62.

SauvignonBlanche Tue 04-Oct-11 18:34:35

Oh dear, I only put one school down but as it's a faith school and DD is second on the list of priorities after looked after children it wouldn't cross my mind that she wouldn't get a place.

admission Tue 04-Oct-11 22:22:20

When you say second on the list of priorities what do you mean? Do you mean that they are in the third admission category or do you somehow know that you are second on the admission list?

CustardCake Tue 04-Oct-11 22:49:21

SauvignonBlance - is it too late to add a couple of extra choices? If you have applied online and the deadline isn't up yet, you can add to your list (just make sure you submit it properly again) If looked after children is the first criteria and faith is the second criteria, how do you know that 100 other church goers haven't all applied for a place at that school in the same category as you (ie category number 2)?

You might well meet the a high criteria but if lots of you meet that same criteria then they have to decide a way of choosing between you and often that's where distance or siblings come into it.

I may be wrong and perhaps you have done lots of research on it and found that the school never has more applicants in your category than places but unless you know for sure that they don't get over subscribed with other church goers wanting a place then you can't assume you will definitely get a place even in category number 2.

noraa Tue 04-Oct-11 23:27:15

thanks very much to everyone who advised me here, really, I appreciate that.
there are 3 schools we are in catchment I think.
they will go in my list.
maybe I will top it up to 6 but those that I will add after first 3; we are not likely in their catcment area.
thanks again.

BadRoly Tue 04-Oct-11 23:38:27

Can I do a hijack please? I understand the arguments for putting 2nd/3rd choices. However, there is one secondary school in our town. The next nearest town (5miles away) also has 1 secondary school. After that we are looking at the towns 10+ miles away.

We want dd1 to go to the local school which has not been oversubscribed to date. From earlier replies it would be sensible to put the next nearest school as a 2nd choice. This school has also not been oversubscribed to date.

Should we be investigating the much further afield towns/schools for a 3rd choice or are the problems greater in more densely populated parts of the country?

CointreauVersial Tue 04-Oct-11 23:41:53

Why would anyone not put down their 2nd/3rd/4th choices?! What have you got to lose? There are no certainties in school admissions. We had a case locally where the secondary school traditionally regarded as easy to get into was suddenly oversubscribed, and several people ended up miles away, missing the chance to get into another good nearby secondary because they just hadn't bothered to put it on the list.

I am 99% sure DD1 will get into the school DS1 is already at, but I still put down alternatives just in case. Hell, the school might burn down over the summer!

prh47bridge Tue 04-Oct-11 23:50:36

BadRoly - In the situation you describe I would agree it is likely that you will get your first choice. As it is also the school where you have the best chance of getting a place it seems unlikely there is another school which would make sense to use as a backstop. However, I would still recommend finding another unpopular school to put as third choice just in case your first two choices turn out to be oversubscribed this year. As CointreauVersial says, you never know what will happen.

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