The school places 2016 hand holding thread

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The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Marrow » 17 Sep 2015, 19:17

Anyone with me?

We're fortunate in that we have no "bad" schools near us. But I'm a control freak - I want to know NOW, not next spring.

In order of closeness to our house (only including state schools):
A. CoE VA. We go to the wrong church, but we should get in on distance. Historically one of the schools that adds ££ to house values, but its star is waning slightly. Painfully white (which C isn't) middle class (which C is). PAN 60. Most kids from our road either go here or private.
B. CoE VA. Changed admission criteria this year - until now there's been no faith criteria. Theres a category for the right church, but then a category for other churches before you get to distance alone. PAN 30. Until a few years ago, it was the school everyone avoided, but it was oversubscribed last year for the first time in ages. More ethnically and socially diverse than any of the other schools.
C. CoE VA. Wrong church, live in the wrong parish, no hope.
D. CoE VC. Linked infant & junior. Historically we would have got in, but last year we wouldn't have (by quite a way - cut off was 0.4 miles and we're more like 0.7). PAN 60. In the wrong direction for work, town etc.

The next nearest school that C would be more likely than not to get into is 1.6 miles away, on the other side of the city centre, but even that was only undersubscribed by 1 last year (offered 59 with PAN of 60).

I filled in the form today (can be changed till Jan), putting ABD (we get three preferences). Have visits booked in at A and B - might change their order. Not sure what to do about D (worth visiting? Worth putting on the form (or should we put a school miles away that we would definitely definitely get in)?

I know I've got it better than most - we have two good, very different schools within half a mile, both of which C would probably get into. But I'm not good at waiting!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby mamapup » 17 Sep 2015, 20:07

Me, oh me. Also panicking although along with every other parent around here. We have 40 schools within a mile of our house. We have to choose six. I've already looked at one, been to one summer fair and judged our closest one on their website.

First choice is 900m away. Might get in of we're lucky. Secular and very middle class.
Second choice is a c of e school, which we hate but it is one form entry and has a forest school on site. Also might get in but suspect not as there's a new housing estate near by and it's getting fairly popular suddenly.


One right by our house is very working class estate as there are two estates around here. Don't care if my kids are the only white kids but do care if they're the only middle class kids, I think. Also it seems fairly old fashioned in terms of homework and lots of sotting at desks from early on. Also, they wouldn't let me look around last term, which was mean. But it is visible from the puppy's bedroom window it's so close.

We are worried we will he penalised for not putting it as our first choice.

Also no good at waiting. I've already opened my account for submitting but we are waiting for open days to be announced.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby handstand79 » 17 Sep 2015, 20:19

The schools don't know where you place them on the form. You wouldn't be penalised by placing a school as you're third choice. They look at the first school, if you don't get it they consider you for the next school as if it was your first choice and so on. The school receive a list of who has applied but not which order they placed them.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Marrow » 17 Sep 2015, 20:20

mamapup wrote:We are worried we will he penalised for not putting it as our first choice.


Do you mean in terms of the admission process? If so, you can't be. At least, not legally - it has to be an equal preference system. Meaning each council/school ranks all the applications they get (no matter whether they are 1st or 6th preferences). Then the places are doled out up to the PAN as per that list. If any child would get more than one offer in that process, that child "keeps" whichever one they ranked highest, and the others are released to whoever is next on the list for the relevant school(s). And so on until either everyone has a place or the places have run out. So the only way you don't get a school that you've listed is if you get a higher preference or if more people meet the criteria better than you.

Also 40 schools within a mile? Blimey. I know we're in the sticks and all that, but we've only got six within a mile.

ETA - X posts! What she said.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Kanga » 17 Sep 2015, 20:26

I'm here too. Today Ds1 brought a letter home from preschool about doing the application!! I think I'm only going to put Dd's school down as I can't drop them in 2 different places, but might put a back up. Will have to see what dh says.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby catkin » 17 Sep 2015, 20:34

Hamster will be in 2016 entry. Place at mouse's school would be automatic as we're in catchment, couple of hundred metres away and sibling priority.
Am slightly worrying if it's the best place for her. She's very ahead, ptic with reading, and not sure they'll deal with it well. But if we find another school that are better at differentiating we'd give ourselves either a guilt trip or an awful logistical headache. To go to open days or not?
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Lily » 17 Sep 2015, 20:52

I'd been resisting starting this thread because I didn't want to look too crazy. So thanks everyone for making me feel normal!

The system here is that the whole district is divided into non-overlapping catchments, so every child is in the catchment of precisely one school. Of course, your local one might be oversubscribed, and if others further away are less popular then you're free to apply, but in practice almost everybody goes to their local one.

Our nearest is 10 mins away, small and friendly, one-form entry, quite socially mixed but rather white, doesn't have much in the way of facilities - just a small Tarmac playground, not much IT equipment etc. We ought to get in but it's not 100% guaranteed.

The other one I'm seriously considering is about 20 mins walk away, in the middle of a council estate. Much more ethnically mixed, twice the size, with much better facilities, more extracurricular activities etc. It's undersubscribed so we should get a place if we apply. Ofsted says it's outstanding but I can't help wondering why it's unpopular - can it really just be because of the location? And is a 20 minute walk too much to consider in any case? There is a bus we could get, for very rainy days.

There's really no point in even applying to any others, as we'd have no chance getting in from outside the catchments. So now I just need to organise visits to both. (Open days don't seem to be a thing here, which is irritating.)
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Marrow » 17 Sep 2015, 21:11

Lily - if it's the school I think it is, then I'd say yes, it's the catchment.

It was Kanga's Facebook post that convinced me I wouldn't be crazy to start the thread!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby emzit » 18 Sep 2015, 03:20

Can I tag along? Due to school year running January to December muncher won't start till 2017 but I need to do the choosing next year!

The school system is very different here. We have two schools a mile or less away and another option 1.5 miles away. We apply to the school direct, not an LEA and we should get into any school we choose without fuss. The nearest is very small with a bad reputation but the other two have good reputations and good facilities as far as I know - we've only been to see one so far.

Not sure what our preference is and a lot will depend on where we move to (we want to stay local but be in walking distance on a flatter block) so that's making things a bit uncertain. Muncher's bestie will be going to the furthest one but the other choice is where his kinder feeds into. That one is also right next to childcare so handy logistically, but going to school with his bestie means I may be able to get her to look after him one day a week when I've got work after school hours.

So much to consider but enrolment's not until May so plenty of time to figure it all out.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Kanga » 18 Sep 2015, 06:16

Marron wrote:It was Kanga's Facebook post that convinced me I wouldn't be crazy to start the thread!

Sorry about that ;) Ds has only been back to preschool 2 weeks so only done 4 days so I couldn't believe we were getting letters already! I know the application date will come round quickly but it still seems v early!!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Cofa's Tree » 18 Sep 2015, 07:09

We've got one village school to choose from and we're just metres away in the straight line test, nearer than all the new-builds expanding the boundaries of the village, so I'm reasonably confident he'll get in. It's CoE which is the main issue for me, but he's there at the pre-school now with his friends (whose mums I know so we can all help each other out) plus the convenience of the locality wins out over that disadvantage. It's good not outstanding and a bit tired looking inside, but I'm really not fussed about the often-subjective Ofsted rating (I work for the DfE and hear all sorts of great practice from just 'good' schools). The two next nearest villages have the outstanding school so is heavily oversubscribed but is stricter in its religious teachings (CoE) so no thanks, and the secular school which will do as a back up choice. But ours has chickens, a vegetable plot and a large playing field, plus you often see the kids standing in the local brook doing science experiments etc, so that'll do for me!

Thanks, you've inspired me to make our application today!
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby mamapup » 18 Sep 2015, 07:32

Hmm good to know we shouldn't be penalised. My sister in law was told she was penalised though. She didn't put her closest school first and was informed it was an error.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby pirate_han » 18 Sep 2015, 07:45

We can pick six; I've picked four so far. I'm feeling worried about it - we live right on the edge of one area and our closest school (0.5 miles away) is actually in the next area (under a different local authority). I assumed B wouldn't have to go there as we're under a different council, but the application made clear there are no catchment areas, so I think they might put her there. It's not a good school and I won't be happy with her going there. I realise 'because it's shit' wouldn't get us very far on appeal :(

The one we want her to go to is the next nearest (1.3 miles) she stars preschool there today (although I know that makes no difference). It's a secular school, outstanding, with a forest school onsite. Socially mixed.

We'll have to wait and see I guess. I refuse to put nearest school down as one of my six.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby sabrina fair » 18 Sep 2015, 07:50

mamapup wrote:Hmm good to know we shouldn't be penalised. My sister in law was told she was penalised though. She didn't put her closest school first and was informed it was an error.


Just check your LA's oversubscription policy - it should be on their website. In our case it would've been a bit silly not to put down our catchment school as one of our choices because if we hadn't been placed at any of our choices we could've been placed at one miles away, particularly as the catchment one is over subscribed. But putting it down as our last choice would've made absolutely no difference to our eligibility for it - monkeyboy was almost certainly eligible to go there (we live incredibly close) but he was also eligible to go to our second choice school so he was offered a place there.
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Re: The school places 2016 hand holding thread

Postby Marrow » 18 Sep 2015, 07:51

mamapup wrote:Hmm good to know we shouldn't be penalised. My sister in law was told she was penalised though. She didn't put her closest school first and was informed it was an error.

When? The rules have changed relatively recently.
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