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Gah, secondary applications. Advice please!

(11 Posts)
CatsGoPurrrr Sat 01-Oct-16 18:21:44

Hi

My LEA recommends 6 preferences for secondary schools, but where I live there are only 4 that I could actually get Dd too.

If I put down the local school, which is less than a mile away, would it be ok to just have 3 other schools?

Thanks

LIZS Sat 01-Oct-16 18:24:50

Depends on the certainty that you'd get one if the four. If they were all oversubscribed and last child was nearer there is a chance you'd get a random one further away. At secondary they can be expected to travel a good distance independently.

Middleoftheroad Sat 01-Oct-16 18:27:29

Still add two - even if they seem out - it beats being allocated a random school that you definitely wouldn't want as PP said.

aginghippy Sat 01-Oct-16 18:35:10

Depends on how certain you are about getting a place at the local one. I only put down 2 for dd, but we live close enough that I was certain she would get places at both

tiggytape Sun 02-Oct-16 00:11:34

You can look on your council's website (or call them) to find out the last distance offered to a child last year in the category you fall into for each school.

Knowing your category as well as your distance is important. If one is a faith school for example, it may be that your chances of a place are low whereas if one is a massive comprehensive taking 360 pupils per year and the only people above you are looked after children and siblings, you may easily get in just by living very close by.

You need to look at each school's admission policy to work out what their order of priority is and how well you meet their criteria to judge how likely or unlikely each one is.

Assuming you are practically a dead cert for the local school then you can risk only listing 4 preferences if you wish BUT the advice is not to. There's nothing to be lost by using all 6 preferences and filling in only 4 might leave you in a difficult situation if none of them work out.

If you do not meet the criteria for any of the 4 schools you want, you won't be offered a place. The council don't take transport into account except for disability related considerations - lots of people travel up to an hour each way for school each day and that's considered acceptable if not ideal.
So if you don't fill up the form by picking two that are awkward but less awkward than others, you might end up being allocated a school several miles and 2 buses away and it will be too late then to get priority at any of the slightly less awkward schools you would have qualified for. The last two preferences are basically "best of a very bad bunch" ones in your case.

mummytime Sun 02-Oct-16 04:31:34

Last time I applied I only put two choices (could have up to 6), but I was 100% certain we would get choice 2 (sibling).
So if you live close enough to you final choice you could risk it.
My town has 5 schools but we get to choose 6. Unless I put a school we were very unlikely to get from out of town high in the preference, then the only out of town school we'd get from 6 place would be a very unpopular one, as we'd be too far away to stand a chance at others.

tiggytape Sun 02-Oct-16 11:37:53

The thing to consider with sibling links (and it wont apply to everyone but is worth checking) is that you can have a sibling and still not get a place if:
1. The school has changed its criteria since your older child joined to give priority for people living nearby over siblings living further away. Some schools have done this in recent years because it got so ridiculous with siblings from 7 miles away being driven in everyday (if their family moved after the first child got a place) and children with no sibling living 700m away not getting in.

2. Bulge classes in the years above can mean more siblings apply than there are places. If both the current Year 3 and Year 1 for example was forced to take 30 extra pupils, there may be far more children that fall into the "sibling" category for reception applications than normal so some of them may not get a place. Even where siblings get high priority it isn't always certain that they will all get in.

As for alternatives - when looking at schools further out, there is no such thing as a school you won't stand a chance on due to distance. It is always due to over subscription. If a school 100 miles away is undersubscribed and you listed it, you would definitely qualify for a place.

If you only have 2 or 3 local schools therefore, it is worth looking at less oversubscribed schools much further away that might be O.K in terms of being on the way to work (as opposed to risking a council allocated one far away but in the opposite direction). You don't have to pick just the closest schools is there are acceptable alternatives that you able to get into

NynaevesSister Mon 03-Oct-16 03:29:09

I think though Tiggy that bulge classes aren't likely to affect a secondary school in that way unless it is a very small secondary. The smallest I have come across around here was a five form entry.

More of an issue is the dropping of sibling priority altogether. I was looking at the criteria for a Harris school for a friend and noticed there was no sibling criteria (although there was for the other Harris school we were looking at). It seemed to have been dropped very quietly since last year.

mummytime Mon 03-Oct-16 11:53:30

Okay - sometimes it can be better to have the LA impose a school on you than to have an extra choice. EG. where I live the only "unusual choice" I might get is the worse school in the County, but if the LA imposes that on me, then they have to provide transport.

Also the only "bulge" class at secondary (as opposed to increasing a school size by an extra class from then onwards) I have known, was when the LA changed the distance criteria which left one whole village with no secondary. The LA initially tried to spread them around all the schools with an odd place or so. But there was enough publicity made that the"natural" secondary ended up with a "bulge" class, and the distance rules were re-written (first to include a foot path and then to go to as the crow flies).
One sad faced child just isn't the same political pressure as 30 sad faced children.

As to sibling rule, schools like having a "family link", but also its different in a city to a rural area - where parents may need to ferry children far more.

tiggytape Mon 03-Oct-16 12:18:10

You're right Nynaeves - the sibling changes are much more likely to affect primary schools. I lost track of which education board I was posting on.
At secondary schools with well over 100, and sometimes over 200 or over 300 Year 7 pupils, siblings are usually a pretty safe bet if they are very high up the list of priorities and there's no distance restrictions placed on them.

prh47bridge Mon 03-Oct-16 13:58:36

Okay - sometimes it can be better to have the LA impose a school on you than to have an extra choice. EG. where I live the only "unusual choice" I might get is the worse school in the County, but if the LA imposes that on me, then they have to provide transport.

The LA may still have to provide transport even if you name a school as one of your choices. The question is whether the LA could have allocated you a place at a nearer school. So if you name a school 6 miles away as your first preference and get it you won't be entitled to free transport. However, if you name it as your last preference and list your nearest schools as higher preferences you will be entitled to free transport if you end up there.

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