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what does it mean when a school says 'all applicants were offered places?'

(25 Posts)
MySoreBack Mon 10-Mar-14 14:04:42

Hi, this question has probably been asked before but I realise I've never known the answer. When a secondary school says all applicants were offered places at their school for Year 7, does that mean even those who put the school as, say, 6th choice, or does it just mean as a 1st choice?

tiggytape Mon 10-Mar-14 14:09:35

It means that they weren't oversubscribed.

Many schools have far more people who want a place than there are places on offer. That means they turn away some applicants (the ones lower down the admissions criteria).

However some schools have more places than they do people requesting a place and can therefore offer a place to every applicant who applies.

RoganJosh Mon 10-Mar-14 14:09:57

I would say it would be all first choices, plus all second choices where the first choice was full, and so on. So every applicant that they looked at.

I have no factual basis for that opinion though!

tiggytape Mon 10-Mar-14 14:10:30

And yes it includes people who listed it as their 6th choice but who didn't qualify for any of their higher ranked schools so got allocated that one by default.

RoganJosh Mon 10-Mar-14 14:10:51

I think she gets that, tiggytape?

meditrina Mon 10-Mar-14 14:11:05

I suspect the former - as the school isn't told whether the applicants put them first, 2nd, 6th or whatever. And as the shakedown of second round and subsequent offers hasn't happened yet, if they're saying it now about this round, then it must mean all applicants.

RoganJosh Mon 10-Mar-14 14:11:12

Cross post.

tiggytape Mon 10-Mar-14 14:13:11

I crossed posts too.
I didn't mean to repeat what Rogan said.
I was just adding to my first post and am a very slow typer!

MySoreBack Mon 10-Mar-14 15:01:05

Thank you all. Well, I didn't know that schools weren't aware whether you put them first or second, so that's useful to know. I'm new to this - daughter is in Yr 4 so at early stage of research and a lot to get my head round. Our first choice at this point looks a bit unlikely (too far away); second choice was an example of 'all applicants got a place' - so it sounds like to put them 2nd would be ok (we are pretty close to the school) and possibility of 1st choice on waiting list maybe?

tiggytape Mon 10-Mar-14 15:56:03

It is important to remember that not only do the schools not know where you placed them but also listing a school 2nd doesn't harm your chances of getting a place should your 1st choice not be able to accept you.

You list 3, 4 or 6 schools (it depends on where you live)
Each school knows that you listed them but not where
Each school tells the council if you live close enough / have a sibling or in some other way qualify for one of their places
If you qualify for number 1 school and number 2 school, you get given number 1
If you qualify for number 2 school and number 3 school but not number 1 school, you get number 2

And you get number 2 even if someone else listed it as their first choice but happens to qualify less than you do (eg if they live further away)

MySoreBack Mon 10-Mar-14 16:33:08

Thanks Tiggytape - that is so helpful.

One more question, if you asked an oversubscribed school how many kids got in on waiting lists last year would they willingly divulge this information (presumably they don't have to)?

tiggytape Mon 10-Mar-14 17:21:14

Yes of course they would. It doesn't reflect on the school at all.

The waiting list moves when a person with an offer declines it. That frees up a place to give to someone else. Most schools (or LAs if it is a community school not an academy) will have these figures to hand and will be very happy to tell you.

Most will also be able to tell you the last distance offered on March 1st and how much further out it went with the waiting list eg initial allocations were made to 1.59km in March but then 10 people got a waiting list place over the summer and the last distance offered overall was 1.98km.
If you live at 1.61km this might give you some hope and might tell you which schools are slightly feasible to list, which ones are a safe bet and which ones are a long shot.

prh47bridge Mon 10-Mar-14 17:22:38

They have to divulge that information in response to an FoI request if they won't tell you any other way. They obviously can't identify the children involved but nothing wrong with stating the number. Remember, however, that the number can vary hugely from year to year. There may be lots of movement one year but none at all the next.

Erebus Tue 11-Mar-14 15:23:09

But- I still don't quite get it. A friend's DD passed her (Wiltshire) 11+ so put the GS 1st on her application form, but wasn't offered a place as she lived too far away, thus other, closer DCs did get in (the 11+ is pass/fail). The document says:


"Year SEN 1 2 3 4 5 Total
2011 Every girl of grammar school ability offered a place 125
2012 Every girl of grammar school ability offered a place 121
2013 Every girl of grammar school ability offered a place 127"

I cannot believe that to be the case! The school has no actual catchment, every year parents strive to get DDs in from miles around! Surely they can't all be successful?

Erebus Tue 11-Mar-14 15:26:57

OOI- where do they publish the information about how far away the most distant DC lived who got in? I have seen it somewhere. I am trying to help another friend who lives some distance from the GS but wants to see if there's any hope, based on trends, of her DD getting in.

tiggytape Tue 11-Mar-14 17:16:07

Erebus - I think there is something odd about that too but I don't know enough about the area or the application process to be able to know if those figures are correct.

I did however find this article on the school website which says more than 128 qualify every year which implies they aren't taking every girl who qualifid unless some girls who pass the test don't list it on their form. This is very possible if the exam is early and would serve as a free mock for people out of area trying for other schools.

Anyway, this is the article from their December 2013 newsletter:
The PAN, although a seemingly arcane number, is vital in determining how many student places a school can offer to parents.
To illustrate the pressure on school places: SWGS Year 7 (entry year) PAN is 128 (a number determined by available teaching space). The numbers sitting the 11+ are increasing and there are, year on year, always more than 128 students who meet the entry requirements. The figures for the 2015 entry confirm an increasing demand being driven by an increasing population. By 2025 Salisbury will require more secondary places equivalent to a whole new school.
With this and other data, the Governing Body has been discussing how best to ensure SWGS remains an academic and culturally outstanding school whilst facing an increasing risk to funding and a changing educational environment. One option that may help this situation is to increase the PAN for Years 7 to 11. Depending on the actual increase, Year 7 could move to a 5 form entry with class sizes of 30. Eventually this will lead to an overall increase in Years 7 to 11 of almost 70. However, additional staff and possible classrooms would be needed. PAN increase also has long term implications and risks. So a fine balance between advantages, risk and finance has to be found. These elements will be discussed and a solution agreed at the Governors’ Strategic meeting in January 2014. We need some of Tinkerbells ‘magic dust’.

prh47bridge Tue 11-Mar-14 17:40:32

Another possibility is that some of those who qualify don't name it as first choice and get into higher choices.

admission Tue 11-Mar-14 17:45:25

I did wonder whether the school meant that they admitted up to their PAN and that every pupil who was offered a place, accepted the place. But then if they only admitted 125, 121 and 127 against a PAN of 128 then they must have only been admitting those pupils who met the required standard in the test.
That level of admission does however go completely against what the article says that Tiggytape posted, in that it is saying that they have more than 128 passing the test.
There is then if delve into the actual school website a some what stunning statement that
"The school’s published admission number is 128 in Year 7. The school is able to accommodate more pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 when the forms are split into five tutor groups and taught in option sets. The maximum admission number for Year 9, 10 and 11 is 135. In the Sixth Form the
school can accommodate 80 external admissions."
That completely destroys any suggestion that 128 is the maximum they can take in year 7

Theas18 Tue 11-Mar-14 17:51:24

erebus is that one of the grammar tests where the " pass" mark depends on how bright the year group is- ie we take the to 127 or what ever ?

I would interpret "all applicants were offered places" as "this is a school where kids don't actually fight to apply" it is maybe everyones 6th choice?

Erebus Wed 12-Mar-14 20:55:36

prh47bridge - it'd be my belief that every single parent of a 'pass' DD lists SWGS as their 1st choice! As this would be the only 11+ they've tutored for, Prep schooled for. There's no cheap or 'free' alternative in Salisbury or its environs. The alternatives are private Godolphin (£ £), private religious The Swan- or miles away. Or what is, effectively SM education -though the girls' SM (St Eddies) is considered very good.

My friend's DD definitely 'passed' thus put SWGS as 1st on the preferences form (the 11+ is taken in time to allow parents to do just that). She had a letter saying as much.

Theas SWGS is very 'sought after' it's a biggie in the national league tables. No one puts it 6th!

I do larf at "Year 7 could move to a 5 form entry with class sizes of 30." Hardly revolutionary: It was a 5 form entry when I went there in 1973!

So- we still don't get it!

Erebus Wed 12-Mar-14 20:57:03

And sorry, should have added, Theas, the 11+ is pass/fail, so they then start taking according to geographical proximity (I don't think there's a sibling priority or similar).

prh47bridge Wed 12-Mar-14 21:26:10

Erebus - You would be surprised how many parents still think that they won't get their local school if they don't make it their first choice. They worry about missing out on both the grammar school and the local school so they name the local school first then wonder why they didn't get a grammar school place.

Erebus Thu 13-Mar-14 20:52:45

I would entirely agree, prh but I genuinely believe that the sort of parents who puts their DD up for what is really a 'super-selective' (no catchment, no 'free' alternative), have either paid for tutoring, done the tutoring themselves or prep-schooled their DD thus will know exactly what they're doing in Salisbury.

Check out Salisbury Waitrose. You have to carry a box of Band-aids, the elbows are so sharp grin

prh47bridge Thu 13-Mar-14 22:58:25

I'm sure you do. But I have advised a few parents in Salisbury who didn't get their daughters into SWGS because they made it their second choice for exactly the reasons I have given. A lot of otherwise well informed parents still seem to have very odd ideas about how school admissions work.

Erebus Fri 14-Mar-14 10:42:54

That's interesting- so maybe my friend's DD will actually be the only one who wasn't offered a place for the first time in 4 years!

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