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DD quite likely to get no offers for secondary next year. Please comfort me!

(20 Posts)
sabire Sat 24-Oct-09 12:34:43

I live in a rough old part of SE london. A third of schools round here are oversubscribed church schools, which we can't apply to (because we're atheists). Another third are scarily rough, and the other third are decent comps which are hopelessly over subscribed.

Last year a really good handful of kids in year six got no offers at all. Sadly it was all the kids like DD - the well behaved ones from nice families who just happened not to be church-goers. DD is in top sets for everything, but that's not hard at her primary - many of the children in her class come from households where education isn't valued. She's smart, but she's also the youngest in her year, and her work doesn't stand up to scrutiny compared to the middle class kids she'd be competing with who've been to better primaries and who've had a couple of years of tutoring to boot. There's not much chance she'll get into any of the good comps on the basis of academic selection (they can select a couple of handfuls of children according to test scores on each intake).

I handed in her application form last week, and I've been waking up at 5am every day since, worrying about what we'll do if she doesn't get an offer. Has anyone else been in this situation? What happened? Did you put your DC on a waiting list and keep them at home in the meantime? Really, really worried, and feeling sad and angry. I try not to get into conversations with friends about it - many people I know are applying for church schools or have enough money for private schools. I look at my little DD and feel that it's so unfair on her. What's she done to deserve this?

roisin Sat 24-Oct-09 12:47:45

Oh dear, Sabire, that sounds a really grim situation to be in.

I know it doesn't help, but try and get all your minds off it for the next few months, as worrying won't actually achieve anything.

Do you have any other options? Could you move? There is some internet schooling available, which is cheaper than independent schools. Is that an option for you. Or what about home ed?

mwahahahamwahahahallyroger Sat 24-Oct-09 12:50:05

I am not saying you are unreasonable to be worried, but I want to say that this whole process is very stressful and lengthy and you need to not burn yourself out with worry just yet. Save that for March (or whenever it is you hear). Be open minded about all the comps. A failing school can be turned around and become sought-after in a very short space of time. A 'resting on its laurels' decent comp can take a significant dive if a headteacher leaves....
You don't know that she won't get an offer and you don't know that she will be beaten in tests by tutored kids....

sarah293 Sat 24-Oct-09 13:04:01

Message withdrawn

sabire Sat 24-Oct-09 13:09:49

I know I'll calm down eventually - you can't keep this level of worry up for any sustained period, and it's all very fresh in my mind at the moment because we've just had to go through the business of looking at schools and making a decision.

When I say 'decent comp' by the way, I mean a school where about 50% of kids are getting 5 GCSE's - not one of those really top comps which are full of the children of BBC producers and middle class creative types....

And when I say 'rough' I mean - really rough. One of the schools was on a list of the bottom 17 schools in the entire country a while back...... Yes, a new head can turn a school around in terms of management and teaching standards, but it takes a while to change the intake of a school. At the moment many of these comps at the bottom of the borough league tables have a disproportinately high number of very difficult children and constant disruption in lessons. I've worked in schools like that and it's a very demoralising, boring and sad environment for children to have to spend their 'working week' in.

violetqueen Sat 24-Oct-09 13:24:00

six years ago we had one offer for my daughter which after much heart searching we decided we couldn't go with.
We did decide to keep at home but were ,few weeks into term lucky enough to get into a comp in Westminster - although over the summer we were 217 on the waiting list.
where abouts in SE london are you ?
We're Peckham/ East dulwich .

sabire Sat 24-Oct-09 14:04:57



nancy75 Sat 24-Oct-09 14:15:20

sabire, can you apply for any bromley/croydon schools? (its south norwood right?), depending where you liveyou must be near the border for one or the other? i live in bromley and know that bromley take applications from greenwich residents, so you should be the same?

LauraIngallsWilder Sat 24-Oct-09 16:20:42

Hi sabire
Given those options I would apply for the schools Id be happy for dd to attend and then home educate until they hopefully offered her a place

Or try to move to a different area

Easier said than done though I know

Tis pants

GhostlyPixieOnaPumpkin Sat 24-Oct-09 18:47:18

I just wanted to let you know that the test scores they get will be 'value added', meaning that they'll be adjusted because of when she is born - ie children born in September will have points taken off the score, and August born children will have points added on so that it's fair.

sabire Sat 24-Oct-09 19:47:09

GhostlyPixie, that's good to know.

Shame they can't adjust to take into account the fact that she's probably lost a third of her learning hours over the past three years, as her class is so badly behaved. angry

Can't move unfortunately so that's not an option.

Do feel very angry at both Labour and Conservative govts.s over the past 20 years for creating this ridiculous 'market' in schools, where we are all competing to get our children into the same places. It stinks.

cherryblossoms Sat 24-Oct-09 20:08:19

Sabire - Big comforting hug to you. You, obviously, haven't done anything to deserve this. It's not fair.

I suspect you will already know all this, but just in case ... .

You will either be allocated a place at a school within borough with vacancies, or sent a letter listing boroughs that have school vacancies with the suggestion you apply to them. There are indeed schools in London where many dc have no school place, at all. But I'll bet you know that.

So the first thing to say is, well, you can give one of those schools a try. You and your dd are not alone, so there will indeed be kids just like your dd at those schools. Whether that's enough to make it an OK experience is another matter.

Will the primary she is at help? At some primaries in London the Head will spend a good part of the September term trying to place former students who have either not found a place or who find they are unable to fit in at the school they have been allocated.

If that isn't available, then you have to do that yourself. I think that you are able to put your dd on as many waiting lists as humanly possible as soon as allocations are out. Some boroughs have a better school selection than others, which can mean vacancies in OK schools. Well, that was true a few years ago, anyway ... . Also, people drop out and waiting lists can move.

If you are on a waiting list, you are in a position to appeal. I'm a bit squeamish about this option but what do I know? Try "schoolappealsservice" - they give both free advice and the option of paying for an advocate.

Good luck. Sorry, if this is a bit "cold" but I'm terrified I'll rant and that's not helpful.

violetqueen Sat 24-Oct-09 21:42:46

Could you consider Kingsdale ( Alleyn Park ,SE 21 ) /
Has good reputation but I think possibly not oversubscribed yet ?

bigTillyMint Sun 25-Oct-09 07:08:12

Kingsdale is massively oversubscribed now and unless OP has already put it on her form (first or second) there's virtually no chance even though it operates a lottery system regardless of distance.


Tryharder Sun 25-Oct-09 07:28:37

I don't live in London but live in another town which has one massively popular ex grammar school which takes in a massive chunk of it's kids from "rural" areas (think expensive houses in posh villages as opposed to farm workers kids) and one massively popular church school where unless you are a SAHM, member of WI, do massive amounts of charity work etc your kids have no chance of entry.

Both these schools get away with refusing entry to any kid on local council estates but somehow have space to bus in middle/upper class kids in from ANOTHER COUNTY.

Agree, am angry with the Government for creating this situation.

I think appealing is a good option. I have a friend who basically went to an appeal hearing and said I am not sending my child to this school so what are you going to do about it and they caved in and made space for her child at the preferred school.

Make a fuss, write to your MP and local council, local press.

Agree with you totally - it is always kids from nice but not "impressive" backgrounds who come off worse.

violetqueen Sun 25-Oct-09 09:43:59

tiilymint ,that's interesting.
I know Kingsdale is now very popular and of course it can quote applications received in hundreds more than places .
But that is the case for any good school as they count all applications received - many are lower down the list and are entered by parents to meet their LA's requirement to list multipile applications.
So I don't think people should be deterred from applying .
I also know that Kingsdale are currently considering an application from someone wanting to change schools in year 7 .

madamearcati Sun 25-Oct-09 13:24:56

Tryharder- I used to live in a town in North Yorkshire which was exactly as you describe.
We moved house because of it !

bigTillyMint Sun 25-Oct-09 18:49:20

Violet, it is now the top local school (maybe overtaking Charter?) of choice amongst the chattering classes! Hundreds applied for the scholarships, and it is in the top two for very many now.

violetqueen Mon 26-Oct-09 09:08:23

Mmmm, I know .I've read on other forums how popular it is.
Even running a special bus from local areas not well served by public transport.
I just think it's easy to be put off even trying ,the scholarships only take a percentage ( allright I know it's 15 % ! ) but the rest of the places are allocated by lottery /randomly so people do have a chance....

sabire Mon 26-Oct-09 11:24:29

Thanks all who replied.

I've calmed down now. Started to think about home schooling - getting excited about the thought of all the fun I could have with DD.

Will bung her on waiting lists if she doesn't get a place.

LauraIngallsWilder - love your user name. I am a huge fan of the LHOTP books. Just re-read 'The Long Winter' last month. If I have to home educate DD I will do the whole series with her. Teach her how to do patchwork, how to make butter, about the settling of the USA, etc, etc.


No point getting so down about schools really, when there's not much you can do about it.

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