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Your 'final choice' school.

(30 Posts)
MrGrumpy01 Thu 06-Oct-16 21:42:44

I am currently in the process of applying for secondary schools. We have 3 choices in our area.

I am really not happy with our catchment school, on paper it looks great, a huge improvement in attainment in a very short period of time and it is now rated as 'good' having been pulled out of special measures a few years back. When we visited I just had a gut feeling that it wasn't the right school.

Our current first choice we are just outside of catchment, 2nd choice we are sort of in their admission zone (they cover a vast area and overlap other schools) but places are randomly allocated and we are in the final group.

So that comes to our 3rd choice, I have found a school we really like, going on previous years we have a reasonable chance of getting in, however if we don't then I am aware that I will then be allocated a place after all other places have been allocated and therefore there is a high chance I will end up in either an 'inadequate' school or an academically struggling school.

Do I just name the schools I want and hope she gets one of them? I really don't want her going to the catchment school, but it is probably the 'best of the worst', so should I keep my 3rd as the banker and hopes she gets 1st or 2nd?

Thanks. A lot is hinging on the school place as it will pretty much determine when and where we move house.

iwouldgoouttonight Thu 06-Oct-16 21:57:25

Watching with interest as we have the same dilemma. Catchment school is really not good and I don't think DD would do well there at all. Three schools we like, but all out of catchment and all very oversubscribed, so trying to decide whether to put another school as third choice because she'd probably get in there as it's quite close and similar to you 'the best of the worst' schools.

PassiveAgressiveQueen Thu 06-Oct-16 22:06:07

I have read other threads about this...
If you don't put the local school you most likely won't get it you WILL get the school that is currently in special measures that nobody wanted

Waitingfordolly Thu 06-Oct-16 22:09:05

So are all your three schools possibilities to get into then, you just don't know or could you rule one out on the basis that you are highly unlikely to get it and use that space for your least worst?

MrGrumpy01 Thu 06-Oct-16 22:23:20

For us we have a fairly good chance of getting into the 1st and 3rd, the 2nd choice I have absolutely no way of telling my chances as places are randomly allocated and is very much over subscribed. If anything I would drop that one and move my current 3rd into 2nd, allowing my 'best of the rest' to go into 3rd place. There isn't really anything that wrong with the 3rd as long as your child toes the line it is just that gut feeling I had about it.

Anyone selling crystal balls? I could really do with one right now.

KayJBee Thu 06-Oct-16 22:28:32

The problem with not putting your catchment school somewhere on the form is that if you don't get any of your choice, then you could well be allocated one that is just as bad as, or even worse than, your catchment school but with the added bonus of being miles away.

nicp123 Thu 06-Oct-16 22:41:07

Yes, be honest and name the schools in YOUR preferred order.
We haven't been offered any of our 6 schools named on the list on allocation day at the time. However, few months later we did get an offer to one of our top choices.

Balletgirlmum Thu 06-Oct-16 22:44:27

The problem for the op is that in many areas you can only name 3 schools, not 6.

tiggytape Thu 06-Oct-16 23:04:57

I think in your situation, I would possibly ditch number 2 if it seems unlikely you'd get a place from the final group anyway. Maybe concentrate on the ones that best meet both desirability and qualification criteria?

When you only have 3 preferences to play with, you have to do your best matching a combination of what you want with what you're likely to get. There isn't the luxury that people with 6 preferences have of selecting 3 or more stabs at a desirable school which possibly won't qualify for. It really depends on how safe number 1 and 3 are though.

If number 1 and 3 are only reasonable-maybes, listing school 2 (which seems a long-shot) deprives you of a banker.
And if your catchment school is now rated good you might find it fills up long before the council get around to placing people who have no school because they chose 3 options that they don't qualify for this year.
Of course, if that happened, you could join the catchment school's waiting list in March and be very near the top but a place isn't guaranteed and is very stressful to get a school in the meantime that you didn't list and may not even have heard of.

BackforGood Thu 06-Oct-16 23:14:20

You won't "go to the botto of a list" if you don't get your first choice of school. You will be considered on the admission criteria of your 2nd choice school at that point. Its perfectly feasible you can be allocated your 2nd choice over and above someone who puts it as their first choice school.
Put the schools in order of preference. What people advise is that you ALWAYS include a school you are likely to get into.

MrGrumpy01 Thu 06-Oct-16 23:16:37

Thanks all. I hadn't really thought about it until I read about having a 'banker' elsewhere in regards to primary schools. It would make sense to drop number 2 (no qualms there the bus is £5 a day) and put our catchment school as 3rd choice. It is certainly getting more popular both in overall numbers applying but also more children in my immediate area going.

I'll talk to my dd in the coming days before submitting my form.

Blu Thu 06-Oct-16 23:46:03

Your catchment school: is it undersubscribed ? If it has been for the last few years, you could possibly risk leaving it off the list on the basis that you could take up an unused place there if you don't get stronger preferences .

That is the only circumstance that I might leave the 'banker' off the list .

tiggytape Fri 07-Oct-16 10:25:18

That's definitely something that people factor in Blu especially where their catchment school is the one nobody wants, is always massively under subscribed and hasn't improved one bit.

However where a school has gone from special measures to good and has seen improvements in, as OP describes, a "very short period of time", historical data on applicant numbers might not hold true.

Schools can and do double or triple their applicant numbers on the back of an improved Ofsted inspection or decent set of results.

catslife Fri 07-Oct-16 11:03:02

I agree with tiggy and would suggest that the "best of the rest" school should be preference number 3. Schools that "are on the way up" and have improved significantly tend to become more popular with parents and you cannot guarantee that it will stay undersubscribed, especially if the number of 11 year olds in your area is increasing. This has happened to a few schools in my LEA over the past few years and parents have been allocated the "worst" school in the area instead.
For the lottery school. I would say that if you don't like it enough for it to be first preference and are in the lowest priority group, i wouldn't include it as an option.

3asAbird Fri 07-Oct-16 13:00:10

I'm having same issues lots sleepless nights as we still haven't picked 3 or decided what order

The problem is kids in my area go to school within 3 different local authorities so on past figures it's possible we get school place in a different area but nothings definate.

I wish we had 6 preference not 3

We looked at the 2 best performing schools in the city both very oversubscribed / random allocation with 10% places going to music or language aptitude .

Dd has sat the music test and sadly not gifted so only chance is random allocation
Only 24 random places available last hear over 900 apllications so as muxh as we loved it we taking it off our list 2% chance too much gamble
Tommorow we have the only state girls non verbal reasoning test which fair bands to provide comprehensive intake then it's still random allocation.
We thinking 1 lottery trophy school and 2 comprehensive as we don't meet criteria for faith school and we cannot afford private

Our local catchment school is in special measures but had good gcse results for them ans just taken over by academy so if dident get 3 not sure I be allocated my 3 nearest schools

We have seen 4 other possible schools in different local authorities but based on historical data and Intake size we stand a chance of getting on 2nd round .

It's very unclear where our la would allocate I suspect 2 schools distance away as can only be allocated an undersubscribed school and they nearly all over.
I have read councils core strategy of places and short term plan is breech pan / admissions at current schools until they can get their arse into gear and open ew ones probably after the 10k new houses built!
So maybe if lots kids locally without anything we get catchment on bulge year.
Scary amounts people at all open evenings
Even the year 5 parents seem stressy .

MrGrumpy01 Fri 07-Oct-16 13:06:25

Thank you everyone for all the input. Having slept on it and having spoken to my husband and another parent I think I am clearer on what I want to do.

So originally it was A, B and C - (D being the 'banker'.) I have decided to drop school B - the chance of us getting in is very slim especially as we do not have any sibling priority, and almost feels like a waste of a choice. It is a good school - hence the fact that it is heavily over subscribed but it was one of those schools that I felt I should like because it is so good.

I will then move school C into 2nd choice (out of authority) and then use our catchment school as the 3rd choice. I am fairly hopeful that we will get into one of the first two choices but if we don't I'd rather our catchment school than the other 2 potential schools.

MrGrumpy01 Fri 07-Oct-16 13:12:58

3asabird that sounds a very difficult choice you have to make. I hope it becomes clearer for you.

megletthesecond Fri 07-Oct-16 13:14:48

Same problem here. Almost touching distance of a failing under subscribed secondary. And I can't see it improving. Am tempted to not put it as a third choice banker because I suspect it would be allocated if D's doesn't get his choices. If not, I don't think a waiting list would take long.

DS is only year 5 and I'm panicking.

3asAbird Fri 07-Oct-16 13:51:58

Thanks grumpy

My 2 nearest schools are on the up and same academy chain.

School 1 I dislike as drugs issue and poor gcses over a number of years it does have a good ofsted but 55%pass rate a to c including maths and english

School 2 where most kids go locally had 59% pass rate this year/ new teachers / head/ posh new uniform which daughter hates and requires improvement ofsted
It also has a few feeder primary I dislike no one from Dd school would gp to school 2 some might go to school 1.

School 3 and 4 are highest performing gcses results within our la
73%pass rate but both requires improvement ofsted / various changes in heads and lots negative publicity

Visited school 3 in year 5.
Location bit remote
It's huge intake and dident feel like my quite middle ability cohort child do well there .

School 4 is another test and random allocation lottery and don't want put 2/3 preferences as lottery.

There's other schools just outside of our la that were meh
I dident love them and dident hate them so contemplating 1 of them as 3rd banker.

We found 1 nice comp 3 miles away we initially thought great safe 3rd but it's had fab gcse results and real buzz so is now oversubscribed

We pretty much decided on 2 schools
We just need a 3rd and can't decide on order.

If I had 6 preferences I could easily pick 6 and would have taken chance on 2 lottery .
With only 3 and all our nearest la schools being over makes me nervous

MrGrumpy01 Sun 09-Oct-16 22:15:36

Well I've done it, it is all submitted. My banker is in 3rd position.

My only concern is that I was speaking to someone today and they said that they had written reams in the additional info box - I have simply put that the school is closest to the house. I haven't even included that we are thinking of moving to that area because after all anyone could say that.

The second school was different as the school is in a different authority and I had a lot of yes/no questions so I could put about distance and suitable travel arrangements (more relevant in the neighbouring county as vast swathes of it is very rural)

But it's done. Now to forget about it until March, I can't do anything to change the outcome so won't worry about it - both 1 and 2 were undersubscribed last year so hoping I get one or the other.

BertrandRussell Sun 09-Oct-16 22:39:15

Children who care so much about which school they will go to will absolutely, definitely do well whichever school they go to. I promise!

tiggytape Sun 09-Oct-16 22:55:15

My only concern is that I was speaking to someone today and they said that they had written reams in the additional info box - I have simply put that the school is closest to the house. I haven't even included that we are thinking of moving to that area because after all anyone could say that.

Don't worry, the boxes have to be placed there so parents can write any information that may affect how well they qualify for a place but things like "my child is very bright and this school offers 3 languages" or "my mother lives on the same road as this school and I need my daughter to go there after school" won't be considered at all.

The only thing you could put in the box that would help you get a place is something that affects your ability to qualify for a school that isn't covered elsewhere on the form or which you need to further explain
eg "this school would make school runs easier because our foster child already attends it and is in year 8"
The council don't care about how easy your school run is but they do count a foster child as a sibling so this extra information then tells them you have a sibling link and therefore higher priority.

3asAbird Mon 10-Oct-16 10:55:51

Well done Mr grumpy and good luck

I wouldent worry about additional info

Unless specific sen or the school has priority medical /social need.

In your case all school you picked to list work on distance priority.

We have decided only list 1 oversubscribed lottery/random school down as just too risk have 3 when only 3 preferences.
We just can't decide what order we had verbal reasoning and language aptitude test on weekend so waiting hear results of that before do application the school said they let us know before the deadline so lots stalking postman although doubtful my Dd be top 14 languages so still doesn't tell me if possible space in marcg as random allocation Is chance.

We picked a non catchment comprehensive that's on the up was undersubscribed recent years , we 3 miles door to door and it was oversubscribed last year but at 2nd round so it's not a definate banker but remain fairly optimistic

What we still struggling for is a 3rd
Going to view local school which I hate just to be fair.
Ruled out 2 other local after seeing them.
Was 1 other daughter liked but decided results just not good enough.

So we looking at schools outside of our city but still stressing about logistics and commute of what's a reasonable distance or time frame to go to school.

I will complete form very close to deadline .
Lot people seem get lucky 2nd round here as lots go private as apply for both.

nickEcave Mon 10-Oct-16 12:12:43

Are there many areas where you only get a choice of 3? I live in London where we have a choice of 6 and I live on the border of 3 local authorities so will probably be looking at more than 10 schools to narrow the choice down to 6. I would find it impossible to choose only 3 schools, one of which I could be sure of getting a place at.

MrGrumpy01 Mon 10-Oct-16 12:33:08

Just the 3 round us. There are only 6 schools in the authority plus a 7th that is within a neighboring authority but the catchment also covers part of my authority. There are a number of schools which are geographically nearby but fall into other authorities. For us we had 4 within the authority that I looked at plus another one from a neighbouring. There is a 6th that is fairly close but practically very difficult to get to.

3 is ok I think, the banker and 2 to have a stab at.

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