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moved to UK from Germany - how to apply for secondary schools?

(12 Posts)
Emily1978 Mon 10-Oct-11 16:43:44


my sister has just moved to West London from Germany and her daughter has now joined Yr6 at a local primary school. Her English is OK but probably won't get her very good SAT results in January. The German curriculum is also very different so there are still a lot of things she will have to catch up on. She is otherwise very bright so it seems unfortunate that she may not get the chance she deserves due to the circumstances.

Can anyone give advice as to how to best handle the application for secondary school? Will they all have entry exams that she will have to pass?

Many thanks for your help.

prh47bridge Mon 10-Oct-11 18:08:28

If she is applying for state schools they will generally not have entrance exams. If they do it will be for what is known as "fair banding", i.e. to ensure they get pupils of all abilities, so there is no question of her daughter failing. Your sister needs to apply to the local council for places. She needs to get a move on. The closing date is 31st October. If she doesn't apply by then she will be treated as a late applicant which means it is unlikely her daughter will get a place at a popular school.

troisgarcons Mon 10-Oct-11 18:34:14

Secondary schools are dealt with directly by the school, not the LA. Therefore she will need to ring round, see who has vacancies. Then arrange a viewing.

Personal opinion - sit out side the school at the end of the day and see how the pupils behave. Or go to the local shopping centres half an hour later. That is a good pointer on expectations within the school.

If no school has vacanies - I believe the LA will find a place - but it wont be in a sought after school. You take what you can get. Unles of course the child has some outstanding talent or academic streak, then one of the better schools will make room for him.

prh47bridge Mon 10-Oct-11 19:42:57

As one of Mumsnet's experts on admissions, I'm afraid the last poster is wrong. Secondary schools are dealt with by the LA, not the schools. The last government changed things so that the school doesn't even deal with in-year admissions, let alone the normal admissions round. You do not apply to schools. You apply to the LA. And the national closing date for secondary school applications is 31st October.

troisgarcons Mon 10-Oct-11 20:15:29

Really? here we are told to contact the school directly. Is it a variable policy from LA to LA? (I'm talking casual admissions)

An0therName Mon 10-Oct-11 20:18:26

go on to the relevant LA website and check -but I am sure it will be the standard procedure through the LA

CustardCake Mon 10-Oct-11 22:59:45

The schools can give you a good idea of how many spaces they have in each year group but they do not deal with admissions beyond that.
The local authority accepts applications especially as the girl is in Year 6 right now so will be applying on a preference form with every other Year 6 pupil all at the same time. She isn't moving into the UK at an unusual time for school applications and having to find a left-over space.

OP does your sister know that she need to apply right now to the local secondary schools? If her DD is in Year 6 the deadline is coming up very soon. Can she not talk to the current Head Teacher about the process and get a few recommendations on local schools? It is unlikey she will have to sit any tests (but not impossible - some areas have optional grammar school tests or tests to put you in an ability band before school places are allocated equally amongst the bands). She must however act quickly and make sure she has all the forms and paperwork she needs.

Clary Mon 10-Oct-11 23:03:02

OP listen to PR47bridge, she knoweth of which she speaks!

YY your sister needs to apply asap for a secondary place but closing date is the end of this month so if she gets her application in (best probably on line) she will stand as good a chance as any other child, good English or not.

prh47bridge Mon 10-Oct-11 23:23:56

troisgarcons - If you are in England it has been compulsory for all LAs to co-ordinate in-year admissions since September 2010. The requirement was introduced in the Admissions Code issued in which came into force in February 2010. If your LA is still telling people to contact the school direct someone should point them to paragraph 3.12 of the Admissions Code.

By the way, as this girl is in Y6 she should be applying as part of the normal admissions round, hence the need to get the application in this month.

Emily1978 Tue 11-Oct-11 08:07:38

thanks so much for your replies, everyone. My sister is aware that the deadline for applications is at the end of this months and she will get the application in on time.

She was more worried about her daughter passing any entrance exams as apparently most of the schools she phoned told her there would be some! I was suprised about this myself because I too was under the impression that the LA would allocate the places on other criteria.

thanks again.

prh47bridge Tue 11-Oct-11 11:02:47

If we are talking about state schools and academies (which I presume is the case as we are in West London) any tests will be for "fair banding". Basically they put the children into bands based on their ability and then take a number of places from each band. So, for example, if they have an admission number of 180, they may use the test to split the pupils into 6 bands and then take 30 from each band. It won't be the best (or worst) 30 from each band - they will use their admission criteria to determine which children are admitted. The idea is to make sure the school gets a full spread of academic abilities.

prh47bridge Tue 11-Oct-11 11:03:30

The other possibility, of course, is that she phoned independent (fee paying) schools which do have entrance tests.

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