What are secondaries/transfer
to secondary like in your area?
In a rural area there is often no choice - so no nightmares. Where I live, there is one local 11-16 school (OFSTED Outstanding) serving the 5 local primaries and virtually all children transfer to that. Other schools are impossible to get to unless parents give lifts (and they may well be full anyway), There is a faith school in the nearest big town which is served by school buses - as our local school is well thought of, virtually no one in our area goes to the faith school.
When I read about experiences in other - usually urban areas I am very glad we don't live in areas where school transfer is so difficult.
Rural area, no choice, local comprehensive not terrible but not v good academically either.
However if we had chosen to live a few miles nearer the city (with much bigger house prices) we would be in the catchment for several very good comprehensives.
I think you just have to pick your area.
I think you would have to be very precise in your research, ie make sure you read school admission policies and don't take anything for granted. If an estate agent said to you 'this house is in the catchment for Top Local Comprehensive' you would have to not take their word for it in case it turned out that the house was in fact right on the edge of the catchment.
Though no guarantee that they're not going to change the rules
Still, I think most people probably are happy with their schools - I bet if you started a thread asking MNers whether they felt their local provision was basically ok, most people would say it was.
In a nutshell, most areas in England use the comprehensive system although a few still have the grammar system you are used to.
Comprehensive admissions are administered, and criteria determined either by the local education authority (county council), or in the case of church and foundation schools, by the school itself. Church and foundation schools tend to make attending local church, or living in very specific area the main admissions criteria.
LEA admissions criteria tends to be based on distance from home to school. So a school with 90 places available after siblings and special needs places have been allocated (these will virtually always take top priority) will give those places to the 90 closest children.
Unfortunately if 100 children want a places that will of course mean 10 disappointed children, who would then be allocated either a school lower down on the list of schools they listed on their form, or if no places were available in these schools either (when you apply you list three, sometimes more, schools in order of preference), the nearest one whick had places.
However, some schools and LEAs will have slightly different admissions criteria (e.g. feeder primaries) so always best to check. Also the above only applies to year 7 entry. For entry into anything other than a standard admissions year, the school rather than the LEA will allocate places if available.
I would add that admission into anything other than year 7 might be tricky, and you'd do well once you identified an area and potential schools to see how many places on years 8+ become available.
You also ought to know that assuming your dd is going into year 6, most LEAs need applications for entry to secondary in Sept 10 to be sent in before this October half term, so unless you moved in the next few weeks you would be looking at either a late application, or entry into a later year.
The private system is different, schools decide their own admissions criteria, some may be by academic achievement, others won;t care as long as you can pay!
If your eldest is nearly 11, then you will miss the normal admissions procedure. (Forms have to be submitted by mid October for most LEAs).
Depending on the age of your next child, you might be better aiming to move in the August when your daughter is 12. That way you'd be in situ for normal applications for your next child/children, and your dd1 would go into yr8, and hopefully would pick up a place from the normal process of someone else moving away. (Getting a space in an good school in yr7 as a late application is notoriously tricky, as you are up against students who are appealing against non-allocation, and also students whose parents didn't get the forms in on time.)
Our area (SW Cumbria) doesn't have any academic selection. Allocation is done purely on catchment area. Having said that round here many, many people still automatically send their children to the local school, so despite the wide variation in desirability of schools, competition to get in is not as high as you might expect. (In some middle-class areas of the country, you do get far more difficulties, and London is a nightmare, but it's not the case everywhere.) If your child goes to a school in the next town by your choice, then you have to pay transport costs or arrange transport yourself.
The other option is RC schools if you're Catholic.
Does anyone know if this is true?
My impression anecdotally, is that someone who moves into the catchment area of a school mid-year or not at normal transition time, has priority on the waiting list over someone who was already living in the catchment are at the normal application time and didn't get allocated a place, or didn't choose to apply at that time?
Any waiting list must be ordered in accordance with the oversubscription criteria for the school so if the school allocates places based on distance then someone who moves into the area closer to the school will have a higher place on the waiting list.
Also schools do not always allocate places in year groups other than year 7. I work in school admissions and in parts of the county where I work we have local agreements whereby the local authority allocates places for those who move into the area.
Round here the LEA school admissions team handle all school applications for all year groups, including mid-year transfers. The only exception is the RC school.
In terms of getting in to a good school your best chance are probably in a very rural area, where effectively there is no choice, and there will be spaces.
But that's probably not the best sort of area to find employment?!
We're in Bucks (grammar system). It's extremely hard to get into the grammar ds attends at age 11 but oddly q. a few seem to join for yr 9 or 10, but of course they have to pass the 13 plus or whatever it's called.
The high schools (secondary moderns as they were) are actually not bad in the local town which is affluent but much worse in a poorer town (High Wycombe) 6 miles north.
Can only reinforce what others have said. Huge differences between areas and that's reflected in the house prices. There is "choice" in theory but not in practice.
We live on the rural edge of a big city and most children will go to the same - pretty good - secondary school. To "choose" another would involve a nightmare journey across the city in the morning.
you need to narrow down the area you'd be happy to live in considering other factors eg work, urban/rural, family/friends then talk to the LA about their 2ndry schools application requirements as other posters have said their are a lot of differences in each LA
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