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I'm confused as to how the allocation of primary places works out ...

34 replies

imaginaryfriend · 30/09/2006 18:05

I'm in a bit of a pickle with trying to understand if I've made a blunder in my choice of primary school for dd.

She was born in October 02 so is due to start Reception in September 07. She's at the pre-school nursery of the school I've put as first choice on my list but we're not living that clsoe to it, we're a good 40 minute walk away, I don't know how many miles.

I'm really confused about this bit, I hope I can write it out so it makes sense:

The school does two Reception intakes a year, one in January, one in September and obviously most of the children in the nursery apply for places. Dd started the nursery in January and lots of those she started with will go into Recpetion in January 07. The new nursery intake this September contains at least 17 children with siblings in the school so will get priority. But the September intake will mostly be going into Reception in January 08. So will dd's Reception place be affected by there being so many sibling prioritised places in the second Reception intake? There will be 60 children in total in each Reception year, I guess taken into two classes.

I've put this school down as first choice and have been making the treck there because it's a good school. But if I'm up against so many children with siblings, given that we're nowhere near closest to the school and dd doesn't have special needs, is it madness to put it as my first choice?

And how likely is it, ever, to get a good school on a second choice option?

TIA. And sorry sorry sorry for waffling...

OP posts:
imaginaryfriend · 30/09/2006 20:53

Or maybe I should ask if there's a website anywhere that explains the process. I've been looking and looking but come up with nothing. I'll probably phone the school on Monday but I'm fairly sure they'll be fairly 'cagey' about it, so just to set my mind at rest if anybody does know anything ...

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PretendFriend · 30/09/2006 20:58

The intake will be decided as a whole and whether they start in Sept or Jan makes no difference to the numbers IME. How many children are there in your DD's cohort at the nursery?

(As an Oct birthday your DD should be starting in Sept, if that helps )

PretendFriend · 30/09/2006 20:59

(Or are you in Scotland? in which case I'm talking tosh )

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 30/09/2006 21:00

hi there IF - the thing is, every LEA has slightly diffierent policies - so I doubt anyone's going to be able to answer, unless you find someone in the same LEA. My instinct would be that your dd's place would be affected by this - surely it would be more logical to allocate places on a yearly basis, and then decide who starts in Sep and who starts in jan based on their age, iwswim. (but since when did logic ever come into it? ) Does everyone apply at the same time - is it the same deadline, regardless of whether the child is due to start in Sep or Jan? If there's only one application process per year then I would think that gives you your answer. My LEA has an info line you can call - speaking to them is probably the only way to get the right answer. How's your head, btw? any news?

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 30/09/2006 21:01

speaking to your LEA, that is, not mine...

Clary · 30/09/2006 21:03

imaginaryfriend if I read you right I agree with pretend friend, the intake for the year will be assessed as a whole.
So (probably, but you can check the LEA policy) places will go first to children in local authority care (not that many I imagine), 2 to those in catchment with siblings at school; 3 to those in catchment without siblings; 4 to those out of catchment with subs 5 to others out of catchment.
3 and 4 however may be reversed ie priority given to non-catchment siblings rather than in catchment non-sibs. Although this does seem a bit hard to me.

Are you out of catchment? Does the school regularly take children from out of catchment (some do! ours for eg).

The school should asnwer these qus for you.

slalomsuki · 30/09/2006 21:08

Speak to the school and assess the chances. There is generally a falling birth rate at the moment for 4/5 year olds and there are spare places at schools. The local school where I am a govenor has 6 spare places in recption despite being the best out of 6 in the town and the second best in the LEA.

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat · 30/09/2006 21:10

I think the actual criteria vary from LEA to LEA - no such thing as a catchment area round us

foxinsocks · 30/09/2006 21:15

we have sept and jan intakes here (the last year of doing it this way - they are getting rid of it next year!)

basically, they admit all children to reception based on their published criteria (have a look on the council website). Once they've done this, they are split between those born sept to feb (start in Sept) and march to aug (start in Jan).


imaginaryfriend · 30/09/2006 21:17

Pretendfriend are you taking the mickey out of me with your name? No, not based in Scotland.

hatwoman,hello! No news yet. Still plugging though. Liquidclocks has had her baby, did you see?

I don't actually know if you'd say I'm 'out of catchment' or not ... I'm a 30-40 minute walk to the school but 10 of that is through a park so I'm not sure if that counts as it's not residential.

BUT I do know that some children who are within a 3-4 minute walk of the school didn't get nursery places this September so dd will be competing against them if they apply for Reception anyway, plus all the sibling-attached kids.

Everybody does apply on the same forms for the places but if there are, say, 40 children at high priority for places in January, how could that affect those starting in September? Unless they left places empty in September to accommodate those wanting places in January?

OP posts:
imaginaryfriend · 30/09/2006 21:19

But fox, if they chose the 60 children for the year according to their criteria and they are all born after Feb, what do they do with the Sept intake places?

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PretendFriend · 30/09/2006 21:20

Certainly not! My name is based on a member of marthamoo's family referring to MNers as her "pretend friends"

foxinsocks · 30/09/2006 21:21

because there won't be 60 children all living close enough to the school who are all born after February unless it is a total freak of nature!

PretendFriend · 30/09/2006 21:21

January and September intakes are in different academic years though, IF.

imaginaryfriend · 30/09/2006 21:23

Ok, sorry, just gave me a bit of a jolt!

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PretendFriend · 30/09/2006 21:23

Oh sorry, you mean Jan 08.

They do leave space for the January starters, yes (or they did when my kids went in under split intake rules).

hunkermunker · 30/09/2006 21:24

The schools round us do it "as the crow flies" for distance from the school.

foxinsocks · 30/09/2006 21:25

lol imaginaryfriend (hope your head is feeling better)!

but I do find it fascinating how that sort of thing works - ds's year (for example) has loads of girls. There are 90 in his year - 3 classes of 30 and in each class there are only around 10-12 boys. Dd's year is more equal but has a very high proportion of children born in July and August.

sorry, have gone off a bit on a tangent!

imaginaryfriend · 30/09/2006 21:26

So you could have a September intake that was substantially smaller than it should be to accommodate the Jan births?

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imaginaryfriend · 30/09/2006 21:31

Basically there are 50 children in the nursery and there are 60 Reception places. If half of those places are filled by siblings regardless of where they live (which is our LEA policy), plus a small percentage of SN kids, that doesn't leave many places left for those who live a distance away (there are lots of kids living much closer to the school than we do). I was just thinking that dd won't have a hope in hell if she's up against those kinds of odds and I should change my first choice on the application form?

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foxinsocks · 30/09/2006 21:32

theoretically yes

I know in ds's year, it worked out quite evenly with around 15/16 starting in Sept and the rest in Jan. I didn't pay much attention to dd's intake but I imagine the split was more like 12/13/14 (sept) then 16/17/18 (jan).

This is part of the reason they are getting rid of it. It's just a silly system really.

foxinsocks · 30/09/2006 21:33

I would either phone the school or ask to speak to the admissions person on the council. They will have some idea of what your chances are like.

Where have children who live on your road got into previously?

cece · 30/09/2006 21:37

I think the best thing is to g onto the school office and have a chat about either to the office staff or the Head...

hoxtonchick · 30/09/2006 21:41

i think your reasoning is right, imaginaryfriend. as you live so far from school & don't have a sibling there already your dd is unlikely to get in. dunno what i'd do in your situation though. ds has just started reception at a school which is 2 minutes away from us, & the proximity is ace .

imaginaryfriend · 30/09/2006 21:47

I think I will speak to the school.

fox I have two schools within 5 mins of me and both are truly awful, I couldn't with any conscience at all send dd there. There are a couple of other schools nearish to the one where dd is now which I might have more of a chance with so I'd probably try for those.

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