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Secondary Admissions form - Is there any point in filling in the optional 'reasons for preference' box?

(16 Posts)
ChippyMinton Fri 12-Oct-12 12:05:39

Or is it ignored completely?

tiggytape Fri 12-Oct-12 12:32:56

It is ignored unless you have something to write in the box that has a direct impact on how well you fit the school's admission criteria eg 'we want this school because he has a sibling who already attends'

Qualifying medical / special need issues mentioned here will only help if they are qualifying ones that the admission criteria say they will take heed of. Not all schools give priority even for serious additional needs unless they are statemented (in which case it is a different application process).

If you are simply writing that you like the curriculum / ease of journey / year 9 options etc / work experience opportunities... it won't make any difference at all.

LeeCoakley Fri 12-Oct-12 12:38:10

Unless the LA/school use them for some reason they are completely redundant. There are separate forms for siblings at our schools.

ChippyMinton Fri 12-Oct-12 12:42:58

Thanks, that what I thought. I won't bother smile

tiggytape Fri 12-Oct-12 12:52:57

Chippy - you can still add your comments there. It might not help but it doesn't do any harm either and if it is something you feel very strongly about, even if it doesn't bump you up the admission criteria, you may want to add it in case you bring it up at an appeal later.
It depends whether it is something very important that you may pursue later or whether you were just wondering if it is compulsory to explain your choices (which it isn't)

Blu Fri 12-Oct-12 14:19:26

I don't think it plays any part in the admissions process at all! Isn't there a line somewhere to say exactly that?

Isn't it just feedback to the schools and the LA so that they get an idea of why people choose certain schools?

Blu Fri 12-Oct-12 14:21:24

It said specifically on ours last year (London CAF) that this was NOT the place to write about S&M or SEN reasons for meeting the admissions criteria,

BeingFluffy Fri 12-Oct-12 14:26:19

If you have specific and valid reasons DO fill it in. If it goes to appeal the panel may take it into consideration.

ChippyMinton Fri 12-Oct-12 16:45:01

Blu - it's part of the Pan London CAF, and yes, you are right, there are separate sections for SEN, siblings. This box says 'optional'.

I could mention religious preference <awaits flaming from the anti-church school brigade wink>

Frikadellen Fri 12-Oct-12 16:58:49

I have been wondering a bout this as the school we are most keen on had on their admission info that last year they had taken the boys who had passed the 11+ over 415 then it says "some pupils may be offered places with entrance scores that are slightly lower (one or two marks) than the original first round offer. " I am wondering what will make the difference there in getting that offer if your son has scored 414? As the school specialises in Math and science I am assuming it has to do with showing that your son has an aptitude within this and that would be the place to write it?

Or do I have this completely wrong?

ohh roll on next wednesday (11+ date)

Blu Fri 12-Oct-12 17:19:23

I don't think state funded schools are allowed to make any judgements over admisssions except against the criteria they publish. So if they have a few spaces spare after they have admitted all those over 415 then they might look at admitting those with 414 or 413, but unless it is part of their published criteria I don't think they can, at that point, start saying 'oh look this child is good at maths / chess / trombone / french so let's pick him!'. The places have to be allocated strictly according to the admissions code. State funded schools are not allowed to use an interview as part of the admissions decision, either.

prh47bridge Fri 12-Oct-12 18:04:21

Frickadellen - Blu is correct. They must stick to their published admission criteria. If you PM me the name of the school I'll see if I can figure out what they mean by this comment.

ChippyMinton - You could mention religious preference but it wouldn't make any difference to your chances of getting admitted.

swanthingafteranother Fri 12-Oct-12 22:46:04

I asked this very question today to London admissions team, and they said, no need to put anything in the box, but that legally they have to put a box so that anyone who may have a real reason, but hasn't understood which box to put it in, can put it down, and it can be helpful in case of appeals to have the reason noted. She said people sometimes write things, like "I like the grounds and the headmaster seems a very nice man" all of which are completely unnecessary!!!! Only the admissions team reads it, not the schools themselves. I was worried that if I didn't write something in favour of my first choice it would count against me, but apparently no need!!!

Veritate Sun 14-Oct-12 10:56:18

It's relevant to the duty to take into account religious and philosophical reasons for the preference, e.g. in relation to single sex schools.

tiggytape Sun 14-Oct-12 11:28:22

Veritate - but it doesn't actually increase your chances of getting into a single sex or faith school even if you express strongly your reasons for wanting this.

If you live 4 miles away from the only all girls' school in the area but their last distance offered never extends beyond 2.8 miles, nothing you write about philosophical / religious reasons is going to get you a place there.

The duty isn't that parents reasons must be taken into acccount. The duty is that parents must be allowed to express a preference. These are two totally different things.

prh47bridge Sun 14-Oct-12 15:45:14

Frikadellen - Thanks for your PM. The school you are keen on prioritises based on the score achieved in the test. Last year everyone who scored 414 or more was offered a place when the initial offers went out. Some of those offered places didn't take them up so that meant a few children who didn't achieve 414 were offered places from the waiting list because they had the highest scores. All that matters is your child's score and how far you live from this school. Nothing you put in the reasons box will make any difference to the outcome.

Veritate - Tiggytape is correct. LAs are required to allow parents to state the reasons for their preference but they cannot take any notice of them unless they are relevant to the admission criteria (and there is usually somewhere else on the form to put anything that is relevant). When deciding whether or not your child is admitted to one of your preferred schools they can only look at the oversubscription criteria. They cannot take any other factors into account. The fact that you may want a faith school for religious reasons, for example, is irrelevant. All that matters is whether or not you meet the school's church attendance requirements.

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