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Poor school, sibling admissions dilemma... What would you do?

(19 Posts)
TresDesolee Mon 18-Apr-16 14:22:15

This is complicated but here goes.

Two sons: one in a (frankly poor) comprehensive, currently Y8. Bright boy, gifted in maths. Treading water big time and losing motivation. Socially not very happy either. School has just been taken over by an academy trust; things may or may not improve but right now my confidence in the school is low.

Younger DS is Y6 and was down to go to the same school, but today got an email saying he's come to the top of the waiting list for a better local comp. not amazing, but head and shoulders above the other one in terms of grades (and I do care about grades. They're both academic and have the potential to do well).

Accepting the place for DS2 feels like a no-brainer but I'm dreading telling DS1 that DS2 will be going to a different school. DS1 well aware that his school is not well regarded, and he also is hugely looking forward to DS2 coming to his school - DS2 much more socially adept (v popular, a real live wire) and I know DS1 is thinking things will look up in the playground when DS2 arrives.

The other (new) school doesn't give sibling priority on the waiting list and they say DS1 would be unlikely to get a place before Y10 - which means it's out of the question really as that's GCSEs underway (?)

I have to accept the place for DS2 really, don't I? I'm not usually a dramatic sort but my heart is breaking for DS1 a little bit.

TeenAndTween Mon 18-Apr-16 14:30:23

Accept for DS2.

Put DS1 on waiting list for the other comp (plus any others you think may be better).

Consider whether you can make any case for appealing for the other comp. You can not say better Ofsted/academics, but as far as I understand a lot of other things can be taken into account, such as clubs, special pastoral support etc. They have to tie to your DS1's needs/interests though.
So 'gifted in maths'. Maybe new schools offers maths Olympiad / kangaroo stuff. Or offers further maths GCSE (if it still exists) but current school doesn't.

tumpymummy Mon 18-Apr-16 14:56:30

Tricky one! I think if I were in your position I would sit everyone down and discuss it as a family. You may find that DS1 totally wants his brother to go to the 'new' better school. My inclination would be to send DS2 to the 'new' different school, but then show DS1 then you are doing everything to try and get him in to a better school. Could you pay for a tutor for him instead?

TresDesolee Mon 18-Apr-16 14:56:49

Thank you teen. I will have a look at the appeals criteria.

TresDesolee Mon 18-Apr-16 14:57:57

Oh and thank you tumpy. Yes, tutors very much on my mind! I will talk to them both when they get home from school. Argh.

prh47bridge Mon 18-Apr-16 20:36:21

I will have a look at the appeals criteria

There are two main grounds for appeal:

- there has been a mistake which has cost your son a place
- your son will be disadvantaged if he doesn't go to this school

As your son is already at this school the first of these grounds does not apply so you need to look at the second. What does this school offer him that the current school does not? Since he is gifted in maths it is worth looking particularly at maths provision, including extracurricular activities. But you should also look at any other subject where they may have activities that will benefit your son which are missing from his current school.

TresDesolee Mon 18-Apr-16 22:07:54

Thanks prh. Is 'bloody awful teaching in maths' grounds for appeal? He's genuinely g&t in maths - independently doing calculus etc. He has three supply maths teachers on a rota this year and says they are currently teaching 'how to multiply things by 100' and how many minutes there are in an hour. It's just lamentable. Can I make an argument that his needs are not being met? (The new academy head acknowledged that there's a particular problem with maths teaching in a public meeting last week, so the information is on the record.)

TresDesolee Mon 18-Apr-16 22:10:20

Oh and tumpy you were right - DS1 very chilled about DS2 going elsewhere and just said it was his (DS2's) decision. It's just me having an emotional explosion over it!

Au79 Mon 18-Apr-16 22:43:01

It's not going to be that much of a problem moving by year 10, and no one really knows how soon a place will come up- put ds1 down!

Maths tutors good ideas in meantime.

prh47bridge Tue 19-Apr-16 00:17:26

Is 'bloody awful teaching in maths' grounds for appeal

You are appealing for your preferred school, not against the current school. None of the appeal panel will be associated with your preferred school but they may be associated with the current school (ex staff, family members with children at the school, etc.). Being negative about the current school can put the panel's backs up.

If you want to introduce the head's comments you need to do so cautiously. But the best approach is to highlight things the preferred school does to stretch gifted mathematicians and show that the current school does not have anything similar.

TresDesolee Tue 19-Apr-16 07:36:29

au he would probably be moving at the beginning or during the first term of Y10, so I'm worried about how that would work with GCSE choices. Would be grateful for any insight!

Thanks prh

TeenAndTween Tue 19-Apr-16 07:52:37

You really don't know when he would move. He is only in y8 now. Depending on how high up the waiting list you are it may only take a couple of kids moving on.

Plus, some people on waiting list may decline offered place if they decide child is settled at current school. You don't have to take a place just because it is offered.

If he moves after options are decided he may be limited in some choices if classes are full. You would need to explore that with the potential new school as and when an offer is made but before you accept.

If he is offered a place after about 3 weeks of year 10 you would need to think very hard due to courses already having started, potential different boards etc.

averythinline Tue 19-Apr-16 07:57:02

Keep DS1 on the waiting list and keep chasing it maybe have a reminder in your diary to call.....after the beginning of the year seems to be much less 'focus' - are there any other schools around esp with Maths strength??? (private school option??)

TresDesolee Tue 19-Apr-16 07:58:14

Thanks teen. The problem is that because of the way the school's admissions policy works for in-year transfers, DS2's status as a sibling doesn't 'kick in' for DS1 until the beginning of Ds2's Y8 (so DS1's Y10).

Until then he has no priority on the waiting list and the waiting list is loooooong (he was somewhere in the hundreds last time I checked). He's part of a massive bulge year unfortunately (which is partly why this makes me want to cry - exactly the same scenario occurred with their junior schools, with DS1 spending three years in a really crappy juniors before transferring, while DS2 sailed in after being on the waiting list for one term).

Kicking myself about managing this all so badly!

Blu Tue 19-Apr-16 07:59:36

Does DS1 school offer Further Maths at GCSE? If not does the school DS2 has been offered? That would be a good appeal point for a child g&t in maths.

On another point, I think it would be unlikely that DS1's playground experience would change much: there is almost zero contact between siblings in different years amongst DS's friends. It might not be how he imagines it!

TresDesolee Tue 19-Apr-16 07:59:55

Thanks avery. Once DS2 is in I will definitely become good friends with the admissions officer!

Not sure about private but at the moment everything seems worth looking at. I'll have a look around

TresDesolee Tue 19-Apr-16 08:01:25

Brilliant, thanks Blu. I'll find out.

And yes, once I calmed down last night it did occur to me that 14 and 12 tend to move in very different circles in school. To be fair to DS1 he's not making a fuss, it's me who's having a crisis grin

mummytime Tue 19-Apr-16 09:30:56

I would apply and appeal. Do they do the Further Maths qualification? Do they run Maths clubs? Do they take part in Maths competitions? What other things does the new schools do: Science clubs, STEM competitions, Formula 1 for schools, Chess club - anything else that you can argue would meet son 1's needs.
I would also get a good tutor - my DD didn't learn much Maths in school (was put in too low a set and had no confidence) her tutor got her a good GCSE and to take Maths at A'level.

TresDesolee Tue 19-Apr-16 21:09:57

Thanks very much mummy - really useful to have specific suggestions.

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