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If we don't get the school we want, what are the chances of an in year transfer if we remain on the waiting list?

(16 Posts)
MsGameandWatching Sat 07-Oct-17 14:30:16

I know this depends on a lot of things but was wondering if anyone had a success story where they eventually managed to get in?

Dd has autism, no EHCP but we are applying. We've seen a number of schools. This is the only fit. She cried and asked to leave half way through your tours of the others. They were huge schools, 8 form entry. I know she will not cope in them.

I am prepared to home educate until such a time as she gets a place. It's an all girls, outstanding state school in London. I accept that we may have to HE for a while and that's just how it has to be. Was just wondering if anyone had success in a similar situation?

PettsWoodParadise Sat 07-Oct-17 18:37:29

Schools still operate their oversubscription criteria to waiting lists. Therefore it isn’t always a case of just staying on a list, if you don’t qualify on the grounds of a statement then you it will be the other criteria that apply, for example if it is distance your place on the waiting list can go down if others move to the area and are closer to the school than you are or move to the area, get a child in at the normal Y7 point and then have older siblings who can also get in if they have a sibling rule. Sorry, probably not what you want to hear.

On the plus side some of the large schools can operate in a way that makes them feel less huge. They can sometimes be large enough to have specialists who may be better placed than a smaller school where they may not have full time expertise.

hertsandessex Sat 07-Oct-17 18:58:19

Small chance but probably not for a year or two. Once it gets to year 9 lots of people drop off the waiting list or even if they are on it don't want to move if given the chance. That said certainly wouldn't get your hopes up even if you wait years.

hereshecomes Sat 07-Oct-17 19:10:53

Is the oversubscription criteria distance only? If so, first step is to find out what the typical cut-off distance is on National Offer Day - that may be in the admissions brochure. Second step is to find out what the typical cut-off distance is on September 1st - you will need to ask your LA Admissions team or the school for this info. If you're close to either distance then you've got a good chance of getting in if you stay on the waiting list, especially if you live in an area where lots go private.

I live near one of the "best" state schools in the country and their admissions radius typically increases by 100m between March and September, and there is usually some movement in the first few weeks of September too. That's because it's the sort of area where lots of people are inclined to go private, but not just "any" private because some privates are better than others, and only a small number are considered better than the top state schools, so they will keep their outstanding state offer until they get offered a place at the super-selective private school that is their top preference.

Some other local schools (also good or outstanding) have even more movement in their admissions areas, but you have to be very local (and a bit of an admissions nerd) to know about it, because the September distances aren't published anywhere.

TeenTimesTwo Sat 07-Oct-17 19:10:55

However, if you don't get in you don't just have to hope for the waiting list. You can also appeal. You 'only' have to show that the disadvantage to your child of not getting in is more than the disadvantage to the school of taking them.

So start gathering / thinking about evidence now on why this school is the best fit for your daughter. Expert opinions which state 'St Brilliants is in my opinion the best fit due to ......' will help. The admission experts on this site will advise you when the time comes.

Is there a social / medical category on the admissions priorities? If so would you meet the criteria there? Because obviously getting in first time would be less stress for everyone.

Witchend Sun 08-Oct-17 18:12:19

It is very varied, so people can't really tell you.

Some areas, once they've started, people tend to decide it's more hassle than it's worth to move them. Some areas people will move when a space comes up.
Some areas have big movement (eg army areas), others don't.
But even within that you can have variations, so a year where hardly anyone leaves or a year where a huge number do.

You also have to get to the top of the waiting list-and like shares, you can go down as well as up. If someone comes whose sibling gets in you may find yourself bumped. I know of people who have been top for a year and then hear someone's leaving, only to find someone just joins the waiting list above them at that point. And the other way, someone who's down at 10/11th and when it comes to it all above say they don't want it.

MsGameandWatching Sun 08-Oct-17 18:59:25

Thanks for replying. Last year the offer radius was 3.1 miles and has been similar to that for the last couple of years. We are 1.6 miles away - walking distance. Our SENCO has said she will write a letter supporting our appeal if it goes to that. I know must sound dim but why will the distance criteria change? I thought they always remained fairly static for popular schools. The closest one to us is HIGHLY sought after and has a very small distance criteria that never changes.

Herechickychicky Sun 08-Oct-17 19:09:33

I don't understand.
Is she currently in a school? Is this an in year application for immediate entry? If not you seem well within the usual allocations distance.

TeenTimesTwo Sun 08-Oct-17 19:35:55

The distance could change due to, for example:
- new housing development
- a larger than usual number of siblings
- another usually more popular local school getting downgraded by Ofsted

PanelChair Mon 09-Oct-17 11:49:52

When looking at the published data for last place offered, you need to check what you're actually looking at - the farthest distance might be a sibling (say) rather than a place offered under the distance criterion. As others have said, the distance can fluctuate from year to year simply because there are more or fewer siblings, say, of the admissions number had gone up and so the net is cast more widely.

As for appeals, you would need to be clear about why this school is the best fit. A letter from a SENCO won't (frankly, sorry) carry much weight - panels can't give much weight to letters from head teachers or other school staff and most LEAs discourage school staff from providing them. Far better to have a letter from a psychologist or paediatrician saying that in their professional opinion this is the school best able to cater for the child's needs. We quite often see letters that say "Mrs A tells me that St Leafy's would be the best school for her child". Such letters don't help, because they don't tell us what the health professional thinks (and tend to suggest that they don't agree with Mrs A or aren't willing to put their professional reputation on the line, as otherwise they would have said so).

PanelChair Mon 09-Oct-17 11:55:19

Afterthought: when you say the distance criterion doesn't change, do you mean the distance for the last place offered or the actual oversubscription criteria?

As mentioned, distance for last place offered can fluctuate for many reasons, where the criterion is couched in terms of "those living closest to the school as measured by [usually] straight line distance". But if the school has a fixed catchment area, this will change only after going through a consultation process, and so probably not every year as that would mean near-permanent consultation.

hereshecomes Mon 09-Oct-17 13:51:04

Last year the offer radius was 3.1 miles and has been similar to that for the last couple of years. We are 1.6 miles away - walking distance

Then why are you worrying? Provided the 3.1mile figure you gave was for the distance criteria only (not siblings, etc), then you are well within it. Unless there is an unusual event, such as a massive sibling bulge, a reduction in the admission numbers, a huge house-building programme coming online, and/or several bulge classes graduating from local primary schools, you'll probably be fine. Apart from the sibling cohort size, all of those things can be checked in advance of applying, so you can reassure yourself.

why will the distance criteria change?

The answer to your question as worded is that if the criteria have changed for 2018 relative to 2017 then that will be reflected in the wording of the policy. The policy for 2018 entry will now be fixed so you can check. (But if you're applying for later years, then watch out for the school consulting on changes in January/February of the year before you apply - the timetable for change is statutory and set out in the Admissions Code).

If you meant "why does the distance fluctuate from year to year even if the criteria don't change?" then that is because of the natural variation in the numbers of siblings, bulge classes, population size etc. It can also be because of a change in Ofsted ranking, positive or negative.

However, if you meant "why does the distance increase between March and September" then that is because of waiting list movement.

If you live in an area where everyone gets 6 preferences rather than 3, and/or an area where a lot of families give up their state offer (even if it is their first preference) to go private, then it is likely to increase fairly significantly.

Our LA sends out offers, and then re-offers of higher preferences, in "waves", the first being on National Offer Day, the next being shortly after the acceptance deadline 2 weeks later, followed by a trickle of further offers as various private school deposit deadlines are passed, and another moderately sized wave after the LA-wide transition day in July (after which no-shows are contacted to see if they still want their places). There are then more trickles over the summer holidays, and a final "wash-up" at the beginning of September when most schools have one or two "no-shows", whose places are offered out to their waiting list.

The most popular schools are desperate to fill all their places by the "census" day in late September, which determines their funding for the year. The least popular schools have a gradually diminishing cohort, and usually lots of spaces by September.

Our local uniform shops routinely tell people to leave tags on their newly bought uniforms in case they get a higher preference offer, as they're used to making the swap.

Yet, none of this is visible in the admissions brochure which just provides "last distance offered on National Offer Day" for the previous year and makes good and outstanding schools look a lot less attainable than they actually are.

MsGameandWatching Mon 09-Oct-17 16:28:59

I know, I know. I'm just terrified. We've seen numerous schools and it's the only one she smiled and was excited in. She was frankly, terrified and became non verbal in all the others. She's got quite complex additional needs but is very able academically. I've had it drummed in to me that we "need a plan B and preferably a plan C and D as well!" by various teachers and parents. I'm just trying to prepare for all eventualities.

MsGameandWatching Mon 09-Oct-17 16:30:03

Thank you VERY much for taking the time to reply in such detail to me. I do appreciate it smile

trumptown Mon 09-Oct-17 16:33:57

Your best bet to get the right school for your DD is to get the EHCP finalised with that school named in Section I. All depending on timings and where you are in the process but if your LA have agreed to issue a plan and she's in year 5 or 6 it should be doable. The over riding principle is parental preference so when you get your draft EHCP you can inform them that your first choice is X school and they will go in to formal consultation with them to see if they can meet her needs etc, then you can get them named in the Final Plan. Start talking to them now about the process and your wishes for her secondary placement.

trumptown Mon 09-Oct-17 16:37:26

If she has an EHCP and you are looking at schools within the borough then distance is less of an issue, it becomes focused on your wishes (and your DDs) and whether or not that school is appropriate in terms of meeting her needs. The school can refuse her a place on certain grounds but not because of her SEN and certainly not because of distance.

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