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admission advice for secondary

(26 Posts)
NynaevesSister Mon 03-Aug-15 15:56:28

Is it to early to ask every for their advice/info on secondary applications? Son starts year 6 in sept, which means we have to put in our application in October.

What's the best website to use to find the closest schools?

spanieleyes Mon 03-Aug-15 16:25:22

If you go to the school performance tables, you can find schools within certain distance from a postcode-so this will give you basic information on schools in your local area

TeenAndTween Mon 03-Aug-15 16:59:12

Round here the secondaries have open evenings in July/Sep/Oct which are advertised in the local paper.

Make sure you put a school somewhere on the list that you will definitely get in to. Better a dire school on your doorstep than a dire school 30 minutes away.

superram Mon 03-Aug-15 17:07:39

I think you get 5 choices put the 4 you would like first. Then put your guaranteed school but maybe not first choice, last. The schools don't find out where you put them but as someone said better a rubbish school near home than one miles away.

titchy Mon 03-Aug-15 17:18:31

Your council will have admissions details which should include distances to all secondaries from your house, and the furthest distance each admitted from in this years first round of applications. Then look at school websites for open evenings - you will obviously have missed summer ones but most also have September open evenings and days so you can look around.

As others have said make sure you put one down that you are pretty much guaranteed a place at, even if you don't like the school. Also be careful of rules around free travel if this might be an issue.

PerspicaciaTick Mon 03-Aug-15 17:21:37

Your council/LEA should have details of the admissions process on their website, including details of all schools, their admissions criteria, the number of applications in previous years and the last criteria under which a pupil was admitted. This information might all be in the form of a downloadable pdf document.

Schools will hold open evenings in September/October - so look at their websites or be ready to call for details once term starts in September.

NynaevesSister Mon 03-Aug-15 18:01:07

Wow thanks Spanieleyes that's a much better site than the school finder.

I am in London and can apply to six.

mummytime Tue 04-Aug-15 00:20:19

I started thinking and looking in year 4. By the end of year 5 both DH and I had visited all the relevant schools, and had our preferences worked out. Then in September of year 6, I took my eldest around.

For subsequent children, I mainly just visited with them, and checked out new heads etc.

So I think you've left it a bit late.
Admittedly we get 6 choices here, but as there are only 5 schools in the town, I'm not sure how many people use all their choices.

NynaevesSister Tue 04-Aug-15 06:47:56

I am only asking for tips Mummytime to make sure I haven't missed anything. Actually have already been visiting schools. But you know if I hadn't then getting a little judgemental kick in the teeth by being told I've left it too late would be really helpful. Because you know as a mum I really don't get enough guilt heaped on me anyway.

Just a little thing - think about the implications of what you're saying first before you say them out loud.

HSMMaCM Tue 04-Aug-15 07:37:49

I was also going to say you might have missed some open days, because your OP suggested you hadn't started the search yet. Great that you have though.

Saying that you've left it a bit late might spur some people on to contact schools and arrange a visit in September.

NynaevesSister Tue 04-Aug-15 07:44:31

Very true HSMM. And I have been surprised at the number of people I know who haven't started looking. I wouldn't say anything to them though. Life is pretty busy and you don't know what they have on their plates.

mummytime Tue 04-Aug-15 08:18:40

Sorry you took it so negatively - but you did sound as if you were only starting to look. (You were rather rude yourself BTW.) And I know lots of parents who just really looked in September, I couldn't have stood the stress, but they tended to have either lived in the town for a long while - so have strong prejudices over schools, or really be applying to private schools.

The key things to do are:
To know which schools you could get into.
To know if there is any school that if its on your list you will be offered a place (I had that as my last choice first time I applied, then it changed as due to sibling preference I had two schools I almost certainly would be offered a place at); and make sure at least one of them (if there is more than one) is on your list. If not make sure the best of the "most likely" to get into, is there.
To make sure you know if there are any "tests" or other criteria you need to be booked in for (eg. Music aptitude as well as 11+).
To know the transport routes -is it possible/easy for your child to get there? Are there alternative routes that could work?

NynaevesSister Tue 04-Aug-15 16:27:00

Yeah totally agree Mummytime. I have just come back to apologise to HSMM as I did over react. Combination of reading too early in the morning and a rough night.

NynaevesSister Tue 04-Aug-15 16:28:14

Do all schools require a letter from the primary?

PerspicaciaTick Tue 04-Aug-15 16:30:05

I don't know of any state schools that require a letter from the primary.

meditrina Tue 04-Aug-15 16:32:19

No school requires a letter from a primary, unless there is a criterion for specified feeder primaries, and it is the required form of proof of attendance at a named school. This should be clearly laid out in the paperwork (form itself or accompanying notes).

RaskolnikovsGarret Tue 04-Aug-15 17:59:01

I thought mummytime's response was negative and smug and would only serve to worry parents fwiw. To anyone else reading, it's not too late and please don't worry. Go to the open days in September and fill in the forms on time. Don't let other super organised parents worry you, there's no need to panic.

HSMMaCM Tue 04-Aug-15 18:11:53

No need to apologise to me OP. grinflowers

jeee Tue 04-Aug-15 18:18:46

For anyone with a dc going into year 6 who haven't been to a single open day, and are now feeling a thorough failure as a parent, it's perfectly possible to begin the process in September - we did, and (probably more by luck than judgement) our dc are at schools that they are happy at, and well suited to.

In fact, the majority of our open day visits took place in the week before October half term. We live in a selective area, so we only visited high schools before the 11+ results came out - we left grammar schools until we knew that they were an option. This meant a fairly busy time at the end of October, but did have the benefit that all the schools were fresh in our minds when we filled out the application forms.

mummytime Tue 04-Aug-15 18:45:37

No its not too late - it's just if you are going into year 5 its definitely not too early, and if like me you couldn't bear the stress or have a busy life - it's good to get some of the choosing out of the way.

It might be a bit late - if you suddenly find on visiting that the "lovely school" everyone raves about isn't at all suitable for you/your family/your DS.

But if you are asking the question now - there is still time to find the websites that might help you search for alternatives, which include the LA ones and the National Rail one/local bus company.

No schools I know need a letter from the primary (at least not state), some need a supplementary form - so do watch out for that. They will also receive information from the primary, but mainly after the offers have gone out. Reputation at primary shouldn't be part of any criteria, attendance should be known by LA (ours confirms address using council tax), and religious criteria are usually confirmed by a signature from the Priest etc.

Oh and on distance do check how they measure this - most now uses as the crow flies, but I wouldn't be certain it was universal.

Oh and if you need alternatives - do look out for any new Free Schools, they may well have space in the first year or you may even be able to apply to them in addition to your other choices.

PerspicaciaTick Tue 04-Aug-15 19:19:21

Our local schools only hold open events in Sept/Oct immediately prior to the forms being returned (IIRC the lst one I went to see with DD was a week before the deadline for forms to go back).

NynaevesSister Tue 04-Aug-15 22:02:40

Spanieleyes posted the best school finder link I've seen above. Have already recommended to all my friends.

Does anyone know if there is somewhere you can look up free schools opening in your area?

We are the same Perspecacia. I've never even heard of a state school that only has a July open day. It might be the case with super selective grammars.

PettsWoodParadise Tue 04-Aug-15 22:14:22

If you are in Kent or bordering Kent then the primary school head might write a letter for an appeal panel if the pupil didn't pass the grammar test but they strongly feel they should have and there were extenuating circumstances on the day. Those are the only letters from primary schools that I am aware of. The only thing that could be left too late if leaving it until September is registration dates for entrance tests. In our area these closed in July. I have found reading the 'Moving onto Secondary' booklet that our LA and neighbouring LAs produce essential reading as it includes information on distances offered over the past few years. I've also booked the time off work for the open days that I couldn't do last year as I have to give a lot of notice. I had one friend who never even filled out her CAF on time and still got offered a place! So it all depends on what works for your schedule and DC needs.

thehumanjam Wed 05-Aug-15 09:19:51

We only visited one school which we viewed in year 6. The school was local to us, and we knew that ds would get in. Advantages and disadvantages to this I suppose.

smellylittleorange Wed 05-Aug-15 22:34:41

I'm in Hampshire so had a far and wide choice. I only went to the local school in Year 5 rest in Year 6. Some schools may already have dates planned so worth checking websites now ...that way you may be able to identify clashes and get in early for a day visit if necessary. My tips below...

Some elements of education deemed necessary or great by others are not right for you and your child. E.g we realised that small wasn't going to be great for Dd she needed the drama /dance studio/language provision/plethora of afterschool clubs that we could only find locally with the larger comps.

Read the school websites to get more of a feel for the school ...bits like newsletters, letters home, head teacher blogs and Twitter pages.

Visit again during school day if poss.

In my case we were very much marketed to by some schools..make sure that what they tell you is true. If you can !

If the receptionist are nice and friendly it probably runs true for rest of school...Read that on here!

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