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1 in 3 London kids don't get 1st preference - gross UNDER estimation?

(35 Posts)
FanDabbyFloozy Tue 14-Jun-16 22:04:12

The official stats suggest that in London, only two thirds get their top secondary school, the worst outcome in the country. I think this is a vast under-estimation actually - I'm sure it's probably half.

This fails to consider those children who sat selective exams to get into grammars or other selective (full and semi) schools in September/October, didn't get in the top few so didn't write it down on the CAF. It also fails to count those children who can't get into their local school because they're the "wrong" or no religion.

In an ideal world, Londoners would put down their ACTUAL first choice school, not the ones that they think they'll get, just to demonstrate that parental choice is a fallacy. I'm tempted to write down my real choices in order, not the ones that I'm going to get based on exam results. Am I alone in finding parental choice to be a great big lie?

Traalaa Wed 15-Jun-16 08:34:38

Do put real choices in order. It doesn't disadvantage you. It's what they advise you to do.

Someone will say if I've got this wrong, but for each child they look at all of the schools on their list, and then work out if they fit the admissions criteria, etc. So say a school has places for 200 pupils and 600 put it down somewhere on their list, they look at all 600 applications and give them a rank number. If your child is 199, they mark that as yes could potentially have a place.

Of your list of 6, say they determine that you have a potential place in 3. It's only then that they look at your order of preference and will give you whichever school is highest on your list. So definitely put your choices in order, as it doesn't disadvantage you.

On the stats, it's true lots don't get their first choice, but remember too that a lot of parents put really genuinely dim brained lists in. Several parents at DS's primary put down just one school - it's hugely oversubscribed and none of them got in. They all thought if they just put that down they'd have to be given it. What happened (of course!) was that their kids all got placed bottom of the pile for the other schools. Very sad.

We put six choices. Knew it unlikely that we'd get the first two as we were borderline catchment but thought it worth a punt. We put a sensible and far more likely choice as 3rd and that's the one we got. So okay we got our third choice, but that was fair as our first two were pretty unrealistic. It's a bit of a mine field, but it definitely helps to understand it all. Good luck!

t4gnut Wed 15-Jun-16 08:54:44

You misunderstand. You do not get parental choice, you get to express a preference. Not the same thing.

But if you're silly enough to raise kids in London you get little sympathy from the rest of the country.

minifingerz Wed 15-Jun-16 08:55:12

At least in London there are lots of schools close together and most of them are good, so if your child doesn't get their first choice they'll usually get another not too far down their list, and not too far away.

Traalaa Wed 15-Jun-16 09:46:34

t4gnut, London's a fantastic place to raise kids! smile

minifingerz Wed 15-Jun-16 09:54:57

Tgnut - London is fab for children and families, and London schools are the best in the country.

More choice, better quality, more diverse school intake.

NotCitrus Wed 15-Jun-16 10:00:54

That percentage doesn't sound bad - lots of parents will put a school they know they they have little chance of in first place, and possibly a couple more places, followed by schools they are most likely to get.

My friends just went through this and had to choose which of 50+ schools to even look at, so whittling down a dozen likely options to 6 was hard enough, but would have been content with any of those. I'll be doing it myself in a couple years.

With so many schools to pick from even if you aren't religious or grammar material, why would you fixate on one school rather than a few?

t4gnut Wed 15-Jun-16 10:12:35

Well apart from the dangerous levels of pollution which are particularly harmful to kids of primary age. Oh and the delightful levels of crime.

Plus London schools aren't better - London schools are disproportionately funded (in many areas twice what other parts of the country get), which is ending soon.

PatriciaHolm Wed 15-Jun-16 10:23:11

Whilst there are a number of "black spots" in London (and other areas) where children can live close to many schools but too far from all to get a local school, your complaint seems more focused on the fact your child won't score highly enough in the grammar tests to get into a school you want.

Most London secondaries aren't grammars, so this issue doesn't affect most children. I know many object to the grammar school system in its entirety, but again you don't seem to be saying that - you seem to be saying that selective education is great as long as my kid gets in...

Cleo1303 Wed 15-Jun-16 10:24:57

In my borough it's about half and it's the same in the neighbouring borough. Obviously most people are going to put the top schools at the top of their list even it is wildly unlikely that their child will get a place there because they are quite a distance from the school. If people decide to do that they would have to be very lucky to get their first choice.

OrangesandLemonsNow Wed 15-Jun-16 10:25:40

London schools are the best in the country

Pretty sure there are good and bad schools in London just as there are in the rest of the country.

minifingerz Wed 15-Jun-16 10:49:00

T4gnut - you sound angry about London. Have you moved and are now feeling left out? ;-)

Of course though you are right - pollution is terrible. Though TBH traffic can be hideous outside of London too. Anywhere you get lots of cars you get lots of pollution. But lots of cars generally goes hand in hand with lots of economic activity, and much as many people would like to be in an area where there is no traffic, most people need to work, and the work tends to be in areas where the traffic is also!

As for crime - as you said that I had a vision on you clutching your pearls. grin I've lived in a seriously deprived part of London for 14 years and so far the worst I've had to deal with is a phone being nicked from my car. Once, 7 years ago.

In any case, like a lot of Londoners, we aren't a Caucasian family. There's no way I'd move my kids to somewhere where they'd be the only ethnic in the village. We love the racial diversity of London. It feels like the future here.

t4gnut Wed 15-Jun-16 10:53:57

No and nor would I want to! Horrible place, grossly over-rated. Has some of the worst pollution levels in the UK and health reports have placed it at dangerous levels for child development.

Live in a medium sized town in south - prior to which 'oop north'. Know of two people who've been victims of crime in 30 years (break ins). London is just a bit too stabby for my liking.

We do have people of all races and cultures as the norm outside London you know....

minifingerz Wed 15-Jun-16 10:54:34

Oranges - yes, there are good and poor schools in London, but educationally the region as a whole significantly outperforms the rest of the UK, especially in relation to the poorest children.

minifingerz Wed 15-Jun-16 11:06:13

"We do have people of all races and cultures as the norm outside London you know...."

Yes - my mum lives in that sort of town. They have a few Indian people (run the local takeaway) and a black family live over the road from her. Just the one, mind.

Re: 'stabby' - my mum lives in a massively desirable large village in Surrey . It's absolutely beautiful, no litter, thriving local shops, beautiful common where there are wild deer, 20 minutes to some of the most beautiful open countryside in the UK. It's in the top centile for income. There have been three murders in the village in the past 6 years. Two mums and a young student. There are murders where I live - stabbings. But they are all gang-related, and as a m/c, middle-age woman I very much doubt that I'm at any more risk in my inner city area than I would be in my mother's village.

WaspsandBeesSting Wed 15-Jun-16 11:11:16

There are some very diverse areas outside of London.

There are also some very non diverse areas in London or are you going to say they don't exist?

London isn't the best all and end all.

Cleo1303 Wed 15-Jun-16 11:11:58

t4gnut On many levels I agree with you about London. Some bits are still good but the overcrowding and pollution are not. We live next to an open green space which makes things a little better.

I would move tomorrow but DD really loves her school so that makes it very difficult. As soon as she is a little older I'll move a bit further out and she can commute to school. I had a 20 minute train journey to school from when I was 14 and I'm sure she'll be able to do the same. Lots of her friends do commute already but generally with an older sibling so I'm just waiting for a couple of years.

I absolutely loved London for many years and couldn't imagine wanting to live anywhere else but I do now.

Traalaa Wed 15-Jun-16 11:18:31

Friends of ours live in a small market town. They have zero choice because there is only one secondary. We had a chance of (from memory) around 10 different schools. So we had far more choice in lots of ways. Pluses and minus wherever you live!

t4gnut Wed 15-Jun-16 11:28:29

Choice is a common misconception - you don't choose, you express a preference.

minifingerz Wed 15-Jun-16 12:51:31

London is far an away the most ethnically diverse area of the UK. There are a couple of boroughs whose ethnic make up is similar to the rest of the UK, but nowhere which is less diverse than the average. And by 'diverse' I mean 'diverse'. Other areas of the UK where there are large numbers of people from ethnic minorities living are still less diverse than London. In my youngest's class there are children from: Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Vietnam, Portugal, Pakistan, India, Somalia..... White British born children are a minority at their school.

If I moved to Surrey where my mum lives there would only be about 3 schools which it would be worth my while applying to, but only one where my dc's would stand a chance of getting in. As it was my dc had a good chance of getting any one of at least half a dozen choices.

WaspsandBeesSting Wed 15-Jun-16 13:13:41

You seem to really not be able to see that there are some really diverse areas of the UK that are just as diverse as some areas of London.

I have lived in a 'diverse' part of London btw until recently and my DH was born and bred there and his family still are.

Traalaa Wed 15-Jun-16 13:52:03

Pedantic I know t4gnut, but having a chance to choose from a few schools and express preference as to which one you'd like, is a still a choice. grin

PatriciaHolm Wed 15-Jun-16 13:53:44

But using the language "choice" suggests, to many parents, that they will get that choice. They put a school first in their list, and expect to get it because that is their "choice". Unfortunately that's not the case.

Cleo1303 Wed 15-Jun-16 14:20:03

Maybe instead of choice the form should say, "Wish List"?

FanDabbyFloozy Wed 15-Jun-16 21:39:59

Thanks to all for your interesting replies! I admit I wrote this while looking at an article that suggested that I was lucky and was ranting.

I live in a borough with great schools. Unfortunately most of those are either selective - and you can apply to them from Scotland if you wish - or of a religion I don't belong to. In fact the only school I get on distance is so bad they can't fill half the places each year, despite the baby boom.

I do like London though! wink

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