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Admissions question

(22 Posts)
circular Tue 01-Jan-13 22:24:50

DD1 (yr11) has attended her oversubscribed comp since yr7. The admission criteria are 1) looked after children, 2) sibling (including those in yr11 that expect to stay for 6th form, and those in yr12 that were at the school for years 7 to 11) and 3) straight line distance. For the last two years, intake has been 30% and 45% siblings, with distance on first offer round being approx. 1.13 and 1.25 miles. Our distance is approx. 1.09 miles, so it’s a fairly close call. DD1 was admitted on first round, and we are still at the same address.

DD2 is currently in yr5, so will be applying for secondary school for September 2014. She has, for the past 4 years, not unrealistically, been looking forward to starting at the same school as DD1. She has attended all the concerts and events, loves the school, knows several of the teachers. Even though almost all (if not all) of her school friends will be attending the alternative catchment school (same distance, but larger intake with only siblings in catchment first, so a place there almost guaranteed), she really has her heart set on going to this one. Five years ago, when DD1 was applying, we did not like the alternative school. Although it has since improved, we still prefer the school DD1 is at.

Although DD1 had always intended at staying at her school for 6th form, it is looking increasingly unlikely that she can, due to subject clashes. So, we will be losing the sibling link. We don’t think it would be fair to expect her to change her subjects just to stay, unless she decides to do that anyway. The subject combination is not especially obscure – of 11 other schools we are considering, only one other has a clash that cannot be addressed.

The question is, if we lose the sibling link for this reason and DD2 does not gain a place on distance, would this be reasonable grounds for appeal? ie. If DD1 had been able to stay at the school, DD2 would definitely have had a place.

Floralnomad Tue 01-Jan-13 22:31:26

I would think not .

Muminwestlondon Tue 01-Jan-13 22:38:38

Floralnomad is right - sibling 1 has to still be in the school when sibling 2 starts.

I am not sure what a school would do if they expected sibling 1 to stay for Sixth Form and she ups and leaves after sibling 2 has been offered a place but not yet started at the school. I doubt they would withdraw the offer... or maybe they would.

tiggytape Tue 01-Jan-13 22:47:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

circular Tue 01-Jan-13 22:51:41

The rules for yr 11 and 12 are that they expect to be staying. I know one or two other yr11's with no intention of staying, but their yr6 siblings will still get places if the parents tick the right boxes. In our case, DD1 will have already left.
My question was on the basis that it is not her fault she is leaving, and would have stayed and kept the sibling link if the school could have timetabled her choices.

tiggytape Tue 01-Jan-13 22:58:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

circular Tue 01-Jan-13 23:03:59

Thanks Tiggy, that's good to know. Must start thinking re the subjects etc.
We are a musical family, and this school is better for music, although ironically it is the other school that has the 'Perfoming Arts' specialism.

Not sure about the 30 per class, as this school tends to have ~ 27 per form.

prh47bridge Wed 02-Jan-13 00:36:53

I am, for once, going to disagree with Tiggytape a little. The new Admissions Code is less prescriptive about siblings than the old one.

Under the old code sibling priority only applies where the older sibling is expected to still be at the school at the time offers are made. So if your older daughter had not chosen her subjects by the time offers came out your younger daughter would get sibling priority. She would not then lose the place (if she gets one) just because it turned out that your older daughter would not be at the school in September.

Under the new Admissions Code it is permissible for a school to give priority to siblings of former pupils provided they set out a clear and simple definition in their admission criteria. So your school could have changed its admission criteria to give sibling priority in this situation.

To be honest I suspect your school hasn't changed but it is worth checking. The information will be in the secondary school admissions booklet issued by your LA.

By the way, the 30 per class rule that Tiggytape refers to only applies to Reception, Y1 and Y2. It does not affect secondary schools at all.

admission Wed 02-Jan-13 11:16:23

The first thing I would be doing is actually ask the school to consider how they may rejig the 6th form subjects to allow your daughter to stay and do her chosen subjects at "A" level. Although schools say there is no ability to change, there is always that ability if the desire is there and losing pupils to other schools is not ideal, especially as at 6th form as they get the most funding per pupil. It might also be worth mentioning that they will not only lose one pupil but probably your DD2 as she will not get a place due to distance and loss of the sibling link..
The admission criteria for september 2014 will be under discussion / consultation at present and will only be agreed in April 2013. So PRH is right in saying you need to see what the admission criteria for DD2 for this school will actually say about siblings. The other point you need to check out is what the sibling link is based on, some schools only have a sibling link for years 7 to 11, not 12 and 13.
I agree with Tiggytape that your line of attack for admission appeal is a non-starter, you will not win an appeal on the basis that the school have forced your DD1 to go elsewhere for 6th form education and therefore destroyed the sibling link. There is much more mileage in being able to show why this school is the right one for DD2, based on your knowledge of the school.

tiggytape Wed 02-Jan-13 11:42:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whistlestopcafe Wed 02-Jan-13 11:44:23

Does the sibling link apply to sixth form students? It doesn't around here.

AfterEightMintyy Wed 02-Jan-13 11:46:22

Oh no prh! Not really?? Some oversubscribed schools may now change their admissions criteria so that siblings of past pupils now get priority? How awful is that?

tiggytape Wed 02-Jan-13 12:06:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mariejo Wed 02-Jan-13 13:05:09

Tiggytape. I am Vice Chair of a VA High school with a sixth form which is currently consulting on changing the sibling rule for September 2014. The proposed rule is that the sibling is on roll at the time of application which is a factual criteria rather than having to decide if the Y11 sibling will stay on to the 6th form as currently the case. It wouldn't help the OP but should make it better for the small number of parents in the situation.

circular Wed 02-Jan-13 13:41:04

The sibling link DOES apply to 6th form. Those currently in yr 11 need to be expecting to stay for yr12. Those currently in yr12 (which will be DD1 IF she is there) need to be expecting to stay to yr13. This has been the criteria for at least 5 years. The school have fairly recently become an Academy, but still not changed the criteria.

DD1 has had several discussions with the head of sixth form, but it is difficult as most subjects are only in a single block. There are 5 blocks, but she has 2 subjects in each of 2 blocks - so a double clash. She has written a letter in with her application, but has since been asked to choose 2 reserve subjects which she is struggling with. It is really worrying her, but she is now of the mindset that she will need to leave. So far we have only seen one school that she would prefer to be at. Others she would be willing to go to that are better schools, but travel difficult (1.5hrs in the case of the one she is most likely to get int to). And all oversubscribed - 100's of applicants for 10's of places.

I have also spoke with the head, as have at least 2 other parents we know of for a single clash. She says she would not want to see any of these 3 students leave, and they need to write in explaining their choices and why - which they all have. But it sounds like the head of sixth form is less optimistic. Historically, one of the subjects is often put in another block which would sort one of the clashes, but the Physics/Music clash is unlikely to be sorted, as not enough do either to make 2 classes.

creamteas Wed 02-Jan-13 19:31:37

circular where I live all the sixth forms work together to try to ensure everyone can do the subjects they want with students travelling to other schools to do the subject they can't fit into their own school's timetable.

I would ask your DD's school to investigate if this is a possibility.

admission Wed 02-Jan-13 19:36:13

It seems to me that the school (or maybe its just the head of sixth form) are not trying hard enough. These things are nearly always able to be sorted with a bit of give and take. If there are three "wanted" pupils already with clashes then there will be more, though I would accept that physics and music is a bit of an unusual combination.
We have about 275 pupils in year 12 and this year we managed to accommodate all the pupil's requests for subject combinations, albeit one or two ended up having classes after the end of the formal school day in our period for optional classes.

ByTheWay1 Wed 02-Jan-13 19:46:08

Our school has recently demoted the sibling link to below the catchment one....

since kids who are 11 and up can be reasonably expected to get themselves to and from (their nearest) school, there is no need for siblings to go to the same school... makes it interesting for inset days etc....

AfterEightMintyy Wed 02-Jan-13 20:04:57

Agree that sibling priority needs to go for over subscribed schools in cities. It absolutely must. Trouble is now that most secondaries are academies it isn't possible to lobby the LA to review their admissions policies.

circular Wed 02-Jan-13 20:38:54

creamteas- Funnily enough, one of the schools we visited (not our LA) is in a consortium, so if there is a single clash, the student can choose to take one subject at a partner school.
Not sure if DD1's school could operate such an arrangement, but will certainly ask. Could prove difficult logistically if the school had to be in the same LA, as the LA is huge and school is right on the boundary. The closest school in the LA with a sixth form (DD's first choice) is about 6 miles away. Ten minute walk to bus stop, buses run every 20 or 30 mins and journey goes all around the houses so at least 20 mins.

admission - Music & Physics is not that strange. RCM do a combined Physics and Music Performance degree. DD1 wants to study Music at Uni or Conservatoire. Physics just happens to be the only subject she is predicted A* in. I believe Maths is the highest single subject taken at A level alongside Music.

titchy Wed 02-Jan-13 21:07:20

Physics and music also both vital for sound recording degrees!

prh47bridge Thu 03-Jan-13 10:06:16

AfterEight - I am sure that some schools will take advantage of this now that it is permitted, as in mariejo's example. This only extends to siblings of previous pupils, not any other relatives. They still cannot give priority to children of ex-pupils, although I know of one school that continues to do so in defiance of the Admissions Code.

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