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Admissions advice please-can schools tell what order i put them on my list?
50

Totallyfloaty35 · 08/11/2010 19:52

A school that i viewed today said that everyone who put it down as 1st choice last year got a place,with the rest of the places going to those who had it as second choice....
but how do they know what order you choose?

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BetsyBoop · 08/11/2010 20:35

The school doesn't know who put them first/second etd

The get the list of everyone who has applied, (but not what preference that was for them) and then rank everyone on that list according to their admissions criteria (or the LA do this for them, it depends on the school)

The LA then take the ranked lists from all the schools & do the "sums" to work out who gets offered which school, giving everyone their highest preference school where they got a place (unless they didn't get a place at any preferred school of course).

eg
Assuming 3 children put schools A,B&C as their choices, in ranked order
Child 1 - ABC
Child 2 - BAC
Child 3 - CBA


Child 1 could in theory a place at school A, B & C. As school A is first preference they get offered that & "free up" the places at schools B & C for another child.

Child 2 didn't get a place at B, but did a A&C, so is offered A

Child 3 didn't get at C or B, but did at A, so is offered A.

For school A Child 3 could have actually been higher up the ranked list (by admissions criteria) than child 1 & 2, and child 2 higher up than child 1, you can't tell this from which preference number school they got the place at KYSWIM (it's diffucult to explain! Confused) So I can't see what point the school are making by saying "everyone who put them first got in" Hmm

It's an "equal preference" scheme, NOT "first preference first".

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Onlyaphase · 08/11/2010 20:38

I'm not sure how it works either - I think it might differ from area to area. My favoured school has said to put it down as my first choice else we may not get in, so it obviously does matter in this area.

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mummytime · 08/11/2010 20:47

Schools who say you have to put them first (in England) are breaking the law, and should be reported to the LEA and the ombudsman. A local Catholic school got into trouble for saying this only 2 years ago.

No they do no know which order you put them down, and if they found out and used the information it would be grounds for appeal.

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elphabadefiesgravity · 08/11/2010 20:51

Well yes you may not get a place at the school if you don't put it as your first choice IF you get a place at the school which you did put down as your first choice.

They won't save the 2nd choice place in case you turn the first choice down.

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BetsyBoop · 08/11/2010 20:56

onlyaphase, assuming you are in England? then the same admission rules apply everywhere, it is "equal preference" NOT "first preference first".

The school will not know what position you ranked them in, all places are awarded according to admissions criteria, whether you put them first, last, or somewhere in the middle makes no difference. You get offered a place at the highest preference school you were high enough up the admissions criteria to make the "cut" (or the LA pick a school if you weren't high enough up at any preferred school)

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Onlyaphase · 08/11/2010 21:29

Well, that is good news! I won't waste time dithering about the order of schools any more.

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BetsyBoop · 08/11/2010 21:49

Just in case anyone reading this wants "official" confirmation

school admissions code (LHS)

para 2.16 "In setting oversubscription criteria admission authorities must not:
.
.
b)give priority to children according to the order of schools named as preferences by their parents, including ?first preference first? arrangements;"

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prh47bridge · 08/11/2010 22:15

Agree with BetsyBoop . Local authorities in England are required to operate the equal preference scheme.

I wish schools would stop telling parents "you won't get in here unless you make us your first choice". I hear that far too often. If the staff don't know how admissions work they really shouldn't be giving advice.

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DiscoDaisy · 08/11/2010 22:23

The transferring school guide where I live has a section by each school listed that says Total Preferences Received 2010 followed by a number. It then lists 2010 preferences allocated 1st 2nd and 3rd with numbers under each heading of 1st 2nd and 3rd.

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ASmallBunchofFlowers · 08/11/2010 22:27

As others have already explained, schools don't know what order you placed them in. But if you meet the criteria for two or more schools, you will be offered the place at the one that's highest in your preferences, so that is why it is important to put them in the right order for you.

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Simbacatlives · 08/11/2010 22:30

If you are required to do a separate application as well- for example a church school you may be asked to indicate this.

Where I live I would automatically get a place at a very oversubscribed school. I selected another school-with additional criteria which point scores. We were told by the la that whilst all preferences were equal they would take the 1st one on the paper if you would be eligible for more than one.

However if I had not been offered a place at the school with additional criteria I would have automatically got one at the other school above someone who did not meet their criteria (distance as closely as I did) even if another parent had put that one first.

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zanzibarmum · 08/11/2010 22:35

DiscoDaisy you are spot on - schools don't know for current applicants their preference order but they will know in aggregate how places were allocated by preference ranking for previous years. So schools who say put them first if you want a place may be being helpful to applicants.
What do they say about a little knowledge?

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Simbacatlives · 08/11/2010 22:38

I should add that our LA matches in the order you put them on the form.

What changed a couple of years ago was that if you did not get your 1st choice it did not put you behind all the parents who had out your second choice school first.

When my daughter started prior to this change if she had not got our first choice additional criteria school she would not have been considered for our second choice oversubscribed school as it would be full of 1st choice parents (who lived further away than us).

My son started after the change. We knew that the equal preference met that had he not got our first choice additional criteria school he would have been automatically considered alongside all those of our second choice oversubscribed schools and would definately get a place as we lived so close.

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TheNextMrsDepp · 08/11/2010 22:52

I can think of one reason to choose carefully. In our area there were a few people last year who, when the admissions were announced, didn't get into ANY of their three choices.

Lots of panicked phone calls to the local C of E "fall-back" school that everyone had expected to get into (hence not bothered to put first on the list)! At the eleventh hour the school agreed to open an extra class but it would only help those who had put it as their FIRST choice.

So if there is a risk that none of your choices will come off, then you might want to give some thought as to who you put first, because you may find it hard to win an appeal for one that you didn't. I've a feeling you can only go onto the waiting list of your first choice too.

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admission · 08/11/2010 23:00

Sorry MrsDepp but that is illegal under the regs. I would be very surprised if even a C of E school got away with such a blatant piece of twisting the regs, especially as the LA was responsible for the actual written allocation of places.
You can go on the waiting list of any school and appeal for any school, even ones that you did not express a preference for.

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TheNextMrsDepp · 08/11/2010 23:08

OK, maybe I'm wrong about the waiting list (I wasn't sure), but this only happened once the places had all been allocated by the LA (Spring term).

It was the school who had to decide whether to expand their PAN, and they (as I understood it) only then considered the first choices to decide this. They felt their duty was to accomodate only those who "wanted" to attend the school.

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whomovedmychocolate · 08/11/2010 23:16

I spoke at length to the admissions authority locally after behind told by a head you had to put his school first (bollocks btw as you will know from the rest of this thread). However if you do appeal the school will get to know what rank you gave it. But that does not mean you can only appeal your first choice. I plan to appeal each of our choices if we don't get any of them.

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Simbacatlives · 08/11/2010 23:23

You do not have to put school first- however if that is your first choice you should. Otherwise you may be offered another school when you would have got your first choice.

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ASmallBunchofFlowers · 08/11/2010 23:29

WMMC - You don't need to put the preferred school first in order to be considered. But, as mentioned already, you may need to put it first if you are likely to meet the admissions criteria for more than one school, because if you receive more than one offer, it will only be the offer from the higher-ranked school which is passed on to you.

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prh47bridge · 08/11/2010 23:34

TheNextMrsDepp - Agree with Admission. Whatever the school wanted, there is no way they would be allowed to admit only the children who put that school as first choice. That would be a clear breach of the Admissions Code.

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TheNextMrsDepp · 08/11/2010 23:47

No, this was AFTER all the places had been allocated by the LA, so the preference knowledge was in the public domain. The school (Voluntary-Aided) were trying to decide whether to open up some ADDITIONAL places for that year, and were primarily concerned with accomodating the first choice children who had missed out.

Obviously the initial allocation of places obeyed the equal preference rules.

Prepared to believe I mis-interpreted the situation, though.....

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prh47bridge · 09/11/2010 09:45

The equal preference rules apply all the time, not just in the normal admissions round. If the school opens an additional class it MUST take the first 30 (or however many the class can accommodate) children from the waiting list. The waiting list MUST be ordered using the same criteria as are used for admissions. There is absolutely no way a school can legally say that they will only take children who have named their school as first choice, no matter what the circumstances. If this happened as you describe, any parent near the head of the waiting list who did not name this school as their first choice has an open and shut case for appeal.

For what it is worth, preference information should never be in the public domain other than as aggregated figures.

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Totallyfloaty35 · 09/11/2010 10:16

Oooh, loads of replies ,thanks.Grin

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TheNextMrsDepp · 09/11/2010 21:03

prh47bridge and admission - I'm clearly in the presence of experts, so thank you for correcting me! I'm sure the school followed the rules; it was more likely the perception/conclusions reached by gossiping and disgruntled parents.

I think the Equal Preference system is so much fairer tbh, but it is quite difficult for people to get their heads around.

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janeyjampot · 10/11/2010 09:16

Apologies for hijacking the thread, but I have a technical question for the experts.

I am interested in the statement that the waiting list must be ordered in the same way as admissions. I know this was not the case for a school to which we won an appeal for DD2. Admission criteria were on faith and distance grounds. When it came to the waiting list, however, an additional factor was included to incorporate distance from the child's nearest school. We were penalised under this rule (without our knowledge) because we live near to a school. Incidentally, when this was sprung on us at appeal, I was able to argue that they had made a mistake in considering this other school as our 'catchment' school - it is not, in fact, as we live in an area in which any one of three schools may be allocated, as all are within walking distance. We did not have a place at this school in any case.

Was it therefore wrong that the school (or LA) had ordered their waiting list using different criteria to admissions, in which proximity to other schools was not mentioned?

Although my case is over, having won an appeal I find that many people ask my opinion about admissions and I'd like to be giving them the right information!

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