Regretting turning down a grammar school place

(34 Posts)
ASingleJourney Sat 02-May-15 22:07:07

A friend of ours turned down a grammar school place for her DS in favour of an indie but is now having second thoughts.

She's wondering whether it is possible to reverse her decision or to go on the waiting list? If it is possible for her DS to go on the waiting list, will he be at the bottom or at the top (according to his exam results)?

Any insights would be much appreciated.

ASingleJourney Sun 03-May-15 09:06:32

In case it is relevant, our friend's DS took the 11+ exam, which I believe is the only entry point for grammar schools (outside of sixth form).

LimeFizz Sun 03-May-15 09:07:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StrongAsAnOx Sun 03-May-15 09:12:19

Different grammar schools have different criteria e.g. our local grammar ignores pass score. Either you pass or fail, then thereafter the admissions criteria include distance from school, in care, special needs, religion, sibling at school. On that basis someone with a sibling or could be much higher up the waiting list. So your friend needs to check the admissions criteria but also the numbers in the school. Our local schools rarely have places opening up after allocation. Could be several years and then they'd have to its the 13 plus.

meditrina Sun 03-May-15 09:20:20

She'd have to put him back on the waiting list.

The waiting list has to be ranked by how well the pupil fits the criteria, and as he was a good enough fit to be offered a place in the first round, I think it is highly likely he wil, be at or near the top. How much the list moves will depend on whether they have gone over PAN (by admitting after successful appeal) because it has to fall back to one below PAN before anyone is made an offer from the list.

I don't think 'we changed our mind' is going to be the basis for a successful appeal.

Why is she having second thoughts? These aren't decisions taken lightly, so has something major come to light?

ASingleJourney Sun 03-May-15 10:08:31

Thanks, everyone, for your responses.

Our friend is concerned about distance (grammar school is much closer) and financial implications of paying fees for 7 years (this indie's fees are rather high, even after deduction for his 25% scholarship).

We think her DS's grammar school selects through exam results alone (no catchment area).

TeddTess Sun 03-May-15 12:09:35

she needs to phone the school and local authority and find out where he would be. we can't tell you that.
sounds like if just based on exam result (like eg Tiffin) that he will be at the top of the list.
they may not have even got to waiting list yet. she'd better be quick though. these decisions aren't made lightly though and nothing has changed, the fees nor the distance. she must have accepted the indie and turned down the grammar for very good reasons.

teddygirlonce Sun 03-May-15 12:28:51

I would have thought that such a child would go to the bottom of the waiting list....(if there's any sense of what's right in this world).

Surely? Otherwise schools could have loads of issues with this type of behaviour??? As responsible adults, surely parents should be making up their minds before decision-making and then sticking by what they've decided?

Sorry - harsh but fair to everyone else on the waiting list I would have thought!

BadgersArse Sun 03-May-15 12:30:04

Nope - they will have given the place to the next person

meditrina Sun 03-May-15 12:37:39

"I would have thought that such a child would go to the bottom of the waiting list....(if there's any sense of what's right in this world)"

How waiting lists are managed is covered by the Admissions Code, and it has to be by how well you fit the criteria.

Otherwise you'd get the nonsense of someone who moved next to a school but never got into it because they had to wait for those who joined the list before them to receive offers, no matter how far away they lived.

Parents generally do not do what seems to be under consideration here, because they know there is no guarantee they can get the same state offer once it has been rejected. But families move house all the time, and getting a place because you're truly local is better than someone miles away getting it because they stuck their DC on loads of waiting lists straight after offers day and were therefore earlier on the list than the new arrival.

teddygirlonce Sun 03-May-15 12:39:53

I would have thought it might depend on what type of grammar school it is too....and where it is....

Can you imagine the furore though, if it became known that it's permissable to turn down a place and then get it reinstated???

TeddTess Sun 03-May-15 12:42:06

she's not getting it reinstated
she's joining the waiting list

Needmoresleep Sun 03-May-15 12:58:33

The parents should also get some credit for not, as others will have done, holding onto both the grammar and state place, perhaps right up to the start of the autumn term.

teddygirlonce Sun 03-May-15 12:59:05

Even so if the child goes to the top of the waiting list that's not fair as the parents have already given it up.

Adults and particularly parents should be capable of making decisions and keeping to them.

It really sends out very bad messages if schools allow this type of behaviour to become acceptable.

Might be different if there was no waiting list and parents/children already on it weren't so invested in getting the places.

You have only to look at the 'nail-chewing' going on on the 11+ Forum to see how much places are coveted.

Just being pushed one place down on the waiting list could make all the difference twixt getting a grammar school place or not... imagine if you were that family that missed out because of ill-thought-thro' decision-making by another family.

Perhaps you should be asking the question on the 11+ Forum to see if anyone knows of such cases....???

meditrina Sun 03-May-15 13:01:59

If it hadn't been 'ill thought out" then that nail-chewing family would still be chewing their nails, as the pupil who fitted the criteria better than they did would have accepted the place from the outset.

teddygirlonce Sun 03-May-15 13:19:21

That may well be the case but still I really don't think schools should be allowing parents to change their minds like this...It is a very slippery slope.

Why didn't they just hold on to both places (as seems to be the case for many parents with offers for their DCs in state/private school sector) for a little longer???

titchy Sun 03-May-15 13:25:01

They're not allowing her to change her mind. They are simply adding the child to the existing waiting list. Exactly the same as everyone else who applied unsuccessfully for the school. She is not being advantaged in any way. If she gets a place again then the original status quo would have been restored. No other child will have been disadvantaged by this about turn.

Perhaps you'd like her never to be allowed to add her child to the waiting list, regardless of circumstances.

titchy Sun 03-May-15 13:25:54

And why is it a slippery slope? Far more unfair if all parents do what you suggest and hold onto both private and state places.

teddygirlonce Sun 03-May-15 14:21:17

No, I'm not suggesting that parents sit on two offers for an age (that is equally immoral), but there's a difference between 'decision-making' for a month or two and holding on to places unnecessarily for five months (which on occasion does seem to happen). Perhaps OP's friends should have sat on the offer until they were sure?

No objection to the DC being added back to the waiting list but certainly not to the top - surely if the friends were really in two minds they should have contacted the Registrar at the grammar school concerned and clarified policies/procedures relating to just such an eventuality, before giving up their DC's grammar school place?

There are many families who aren't in a position to decide between a grammar school and a private school at all.

Just wondering if any of you have DCs at grammar schools and really understand just how pressured the whole waiting list scenario is (and the demand for places)...?

Your views just come across as 'entitled' - parents who expect the system to work to their advantage.

On a more objective note, perhaps you should be asking some of the Mumsnet resident experts on Admissions etc... for their insights - Tiggytape and prh47bridge spring to mind. If anyone can give you the answer, OP, it's them.

titchy Sun 03-May-15 14:36:59

Regardless of the circumstances waiting lists are held in strict order of the published admissions criteria. That applies to ALL, whether they were offered an declined, then reapplied, were unsuccessful first time round, or have made a late application.

That is what the Admissions code says. Prh, tiggy et al will confirm.

To penalise a child's position on a waiting list because their parents changed their mind is illegal.

Toughasoldboots Sun 03-May-15 14:39:32

We did this with dd- she was put on the waiting list. It's based on score and she went straight to the top. She was offered a place within a week.

TeddTess Sun 03-May-15 15:06:32

teddygirlonce i can't believe you think it would have been ok to hold onto the grammar school place and indie school place after the acceptance deadline

but it is not ok to change your mind and go on the waiting list. someone else got the place they declined. they haven't affected anyone negatively but themselves in this.


pickledsiblings Sun 03-May-15 15:16:58


We turned down a GS place for our DD in favour of an Indy one despite not having an excess of funds. It was definitely the right decision for us.

Your friend should trust her instincts. Why did she choose the Indy for her DS? We chose it because of the very high standard of music and sports and also because on the day of the visit it just felt 'right' whereas the GS didn't. Great standard of education on offer at both (although admittedly higher at the GS) so that wasn't any kind of deal breaker.

Still, it is quite stressful reaching these decisions and it's easy to make a mistake. If she takes the GS place and it doesn't work out it will be much easier I'm sure to get into the Indy (unless it is oversubscribed) that the other way round.

Best of luck to your friend OP.

BadgersArse Sun 03-May-15 16:11:42

* makes vomitty gesture *

Hulababy Sun 03-May-15 16:33:01

Does the friend know that they are likely to have to still pay the first terms fee at the independent school even if their child doesn't go there?

Most have a clause about giving at least a terms notice and that time has now passed.

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