School selection

blackpanther
blackpanther Posts: 221
edited March 2010 in The bottom bracket
One of my kids got her school decision yesterday,

There is over subscription at the local girls grammar school, 1 st choice

There is over subscription at the ok school less than a mile away 2nd choice

Shes been given a place at a school that requires her to walk past the 2nd choice school to catch a bus into the nearest big town and out again to the school she has a place in. A journey of over an hour (if the busses run on time)
Its not safe to ride because she would have to cross two very busy dual carriageways

This school has a specialist teaching profile taking children with learning and behavioural difficulties from 3 different leas. My daughter is the top performer in all subjects in her year group currently

40% of the intake fell into the above catagory last year and on average 30% of the intake does not have English as a first language. The number of specialist learning proffesionals is good to get this group a better education. It has one of the lowest achievement rates in the country (not surprisingly) and is proud of the work it does for its "student profile".

As a parent i want the best acccademic and cultural and social start for my child. One that will provide the best opportunity for her potential, quite why the 11+ and selectiveentrance are unpopular i have no idea. I only imagine its yet another effect of the PC access for all irrespective of ability nightmare this country has become.

Needless to say, well be appealing after all the local girls grammer is a language college and she speaks French to a reasonable standard already. The school shes been allocated also teaches modern European languages. Sadly the biggest uptake for a second language is English.
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Comments

  • finchy
    finchy Posts: 6,686
    One of my kids got her school decision yesterday,

    There is over subscription at the local girls grammar school, 1 st choice

    There is over subscription at the ok school less than a mile away 2nd choice

    Shes been given a place at a school that requires her to walk past the 2nd choice school to catch a bus into the nearest big town and out again to the school she has a place in. A journey of over an hour (if the busses run on time)
    Its not safe to ride because she would have to cross two very busy dual carriageways

    This school has a specialist teaching profile taking children with learning and behavioural difficulties from 3 different leas. My daughter is the top performer in all subjects in her year group currently

    40% of the intake fell into the above catagory last year and on average 30% of the intake does not have English as a first language. The number of specialist learning proffesionals is good to get this group a better education. It has one of the lowest achievement rates in the country (not surprisingly) and is proud of the work it does for its "student profile".

    As a parent i want the best acccademic and cultural and social start for my child. One that will provide the best opportunity for her potential, quite why the 11+ and selectiveentrance are unpopular i have no idea. I only imagine its yet another effect of the PC access for all irrespective of ability nightmare this country has become.

    Needless to say, well be appealing after all the local girls grammer is a language college and she speaks French to a reasonable standard already. The school shes been allocated also teaches modern European languages. Sadly the biggest uptake for a second language is English.

    Unlucky, this country's admissions system is a total disaster. I used to work in a school admissions department and we had cases of pupils who had to travel 20 miles so they could attend a grammar school.

    It's nothing to do with PC - the government and councils set admissions criteria based on ability and distance between home and school. Unfortunately, because of the existence of certain "sink schools", which every parent avoids like the plague, the better schools are massively over-subscribed. The law says no more than 30 sprogs per class, so schools and LEAs have their hands tied.

    Grammar school entry tends not to be based on how well you did on your test - as long as you get the necessary result, you're considered, with no discrimination between the top 1% and top 20% (at least that was the case in my LEA). Go ahead and appeal, but I'll give you some advice - find out the ins and outs of the admissions policy of the schools. It's a tough job, and the ONLY way you'll be able to win an appeal is to say why your daughter fits the admissions criteria. DON'T just go in and say, well it's so unfair, she's the best in her year, the school is suited to her needs, etc., etc. Everybody wants their child to go to grammar school and they all have equally valid reasons, so you need to make an appeal based on their rules.

    Is it the LEA that makes the decision in the case of your preferred schools, or are they foundation? You need to speak to the body that makes the decision, and ask them why your daughter was rejected before you make your appeal.

    Good luck.
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    In my area, the only LEA schools were a bad one, and an even worse one.
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  • Harry B
    Harry B Posts: 1,239
    Sorry it hear that.

    I sit on an education appeals panel which hears admissions appeals. You will need grounds on which to bring an appeal. Check the criteria on those schools where you didn't get in and try to find out how the numbers were made up, number of siblings etc. As I said you need legal grounds if your appeal is to be successful.

    You could also ask to go on the waiting lists but this may not help. You may need to consider moving house.

    We were worried about our son but fortunately he got into the scool we wanted under its gifted and talented pupils critera (they take 10 kids per year under this criteria) :D
    If I can help further send me a pm.

    Good luck
  • Thanks John,

    Sadly the best school is an Ex grammer school so no entry by examination or we should have had little or no problem. Im going to appeal but look for advice first to get it right. One thing i do know is shes isnt going to go to that sink school.

    Theres a police officer and social services based there becasue of the kids with "behavioural issues" its very stressfull and ill take her out of school before exposing her to that. I spoke to the deputy head yesterday, she said they "try and challenge the more able students"

    :(
  • Harry B wrote:
    Sorry it hear that.

    I sit on an education appeals panel which hears admissions appeals. You will need grounds on which to bring an appeal. Check the criteria on those schools where you didn't get in and try to find out how the numbers were made up, number of siblings etc. As I said you need legal grounds if your appeal is to be successful.

    You could also ask to go on the waiting lists but this may not help. You may need to consider moving house.

    We were worried about our son but fortunately he got into the scool we wanted under its gifted and talented pupils critera (they take 10 kids per year under this criteria) :D
    If I can help further send me a pm.

    Good luck

    Yes my daughters on the gifted and talented list but no difference. ill pm you
  • DrewDubya
    DrewDubya Posts: 35
    Good luck with the appeal

    Just as a question - do you have any private options near you? If you have not looked already you may be surprised by the range of both scholarships - based on academic prowess, and bursaries - based upon personal situation (even excluding financials - ushc as location where you live etc.)

    Not all Private options are uber-prviileged and can have a surprising diverse background
  • Ands
    Ands Posts: 1,437
    I can't offer any practical advice, I'm sorry. I do sympathise with your situation, however and the fact that you wanting the best for your daughter seems to be out of your control. I hope you get it sorted out for your and her sake.
  • finchy
    finchy Posts: 6,686
    Thanks John,

    Sadly the best school is an Ex grammer school so no entry by examination or we should have had little or no problem. Im going to appeal but look for advice first to get it right. One thing i do know is shes isnt going to go to that sink school.

    Sorry, bit :? now - is your first choice a grammar school (as stated in your original post) or an ex-grammar school?

    Regarding the second choice school, if you live less than a mile away, then I'd be astonished if they've got that decision right. Unless a school has specific entrance criteria such as ability or religion, it's usually based on catchment area, with priority being given to the pupils living closest to the school. If they've managed to find 150-200 year 6 pupils living closer to the school than you, then you must be living in some ultra-densely inhabited area. Again, this would be a case of checking out every detail of the school's policy. Your daughter's primary school headteacher may well be worth chatting to, as they should know the transfer system and how it works with each school. Also the LEA's admissions department should be your first port of call. I remember with horror the day of the school transfer results. For a week afterwards the phonelines just went into meltdown, literally the second we put the telephone down it would start ringing again. So you'll probably have to be really patient with it (and the poor sod who answers - remember, they can't do anything to change the rules, they can only tell you what the rules are).

    By the way, some middle class parents really know how to play the system - giving a relative's address as their home address, etc to get their child higher up the list. When I was working for the LEA we had to investigate such cases, following tip-offs from other parents.
    Theres a police officer and social services based there becasue of the kids with "behavioural issues" its very stressfull and ill take her out of school before exposing her to that. I spoke to the deputy head yesterday, she said they "try and challenge the more able students"
    :(

    Sadly I'm not surprised.
  • Hi John,


    The first choice school was a girls grammer, its nno longer a grammer but has retained the reputation and practice of promoting accademic excellence and is still single sex. its also a language specialist college.

    ive had a long chat with the lea admissions people and also the department that deals with children who dont go to school. The admissions people said i could appeal but would be extremely unlikely to get a place and the truancy people encouraged an appeal?

    Anyway, im going to do it and well see but im happy not to send her in prefernece to the other option. shes already a level 5a in English and maths which is a higher level of achievment than achieved by 89% of the children in that school at age 16.
  • finchy
    finchy Posts: 6,686
    Hi John,


    The first choice school was a girls grammer, its nno longer a grammer but has retained the reputation and practice of promoting accademic excellence and is still single sex. its also a language specialist college.

    ive had a long chat with the lea admissions people and also the department that deals with children who dont go to school. The admissions people said i could appeal but would be extremely unlikely to get a place and the truancy people encouraged an appeal?

    Anyway, im going to do it and well see but im happy not to send her in prefernece to the other option. shes already a level 5a in English and maths which is a higher level of achievment than achieved by 89% of the children in that school at age 16.

    Nothing ventured nothing gained. Don't forget you may have to put an appeal in to both schools on an individual basis, depending on the local system. Did they give you all the information you need about each school's admissions policy?

    Hope you succeed, I don't have children yet, but I can imagine just how awful it must be sending an intelligent child to a crappy school. :x
  • yup, collecting all the info now,

    Im going to calm down beofre doing anything just yet
  • finchy
    finchy Posts: 6,686
    Im going to calm down beofre doing anything just yet

    Good idea. :wink:
  • Aggieboy
    Aggieboy Posts: 3,996
    yup, collecting all the info now,

    Im going to calm down beofre doing anything just yet

    I'll bet it was African goat herders kids that took up the spaces :wink: .....................................

    10,9,8,7,..............
    "There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world, t'would be a pity to damage yours."
  • pintoo
    pintoo Posts: 145
    Sorry to hear that you didn't the school you want for your daughter.

    We also received our notification yesterday. My daughter has a 15mile commute now, but it is to an excellent school. We will probably move to be closer to the school to make life easier for her. She also took the 11+ and although her school was not one of our first options, we are happy that she is guaranteed a quality education in an excellent environment.

    I do think the system is broken because of political interference, though. You don't raise standards by bringing everyone down to a lower level. You don't raise standards by discouraging excellence. And it's only in academia that that seems to be acceptable in the UK. We have specialist sports, IT, drama, music etc.schools. But when it comes to a classic education, the choices are the ever fewer Grammars or private. If that's not a two track society, what is? Only the wealthy are allowed a good education?

    My local council is anti-Grammar schools. My local (Con) MP went to Private school. Does that stack up? The best school in my borough is, on a national scale, average. I.e. all the other schools are below average. The best kids in my borough can hope for is a middling school. And my borough is also the richest in the Country with a rather high Council Tax.

    Anyway - none of that helps you, but I would say that where we are, a number of people are appealing their allocations. I would guess that creates a certain amount of fluidity in the schools, even the over-subscribed ones, so do go through the appeal process. Distance from home is a significant factor in many schools' selection criteria, so that might work for you in terms of the allocated school is a long way away.

    All the best.
  • Westerberg
    Westerberg Posts: 652
    Aggieboy wrote:
    yup, collecting all the info now,

    Im going to calm down beofre doing anything just yet

    I'll bet it was African goat herders kids that took up the spaces :wink: .....................................

    10,9,8,7,..............
    nah - it'll be them ethnic, disabled, lesbian's whose lilly livered, pinko, Guardian reading PC brigade, do-gooder parents make up the secret liberal elite who run the country :wink: ...now where did I put my pills?
  • Westerberg wrote:
    Aggieboy wrote:
    yup, collecting all the info now,

    Im going to calm down beofre doing anything just yet

    I'll bet it was African goat herders kids that took up the spaces :wink: .....................................

    10,9,8,7,..............
    nah - it'll be them ethnic, disabled, lesbian's whose lilly livered, pinko, Guardian reading PC brigade, do-gooder parents make up the secret liberal elite who run the country :wink: ...now where did I put my pills?

    Westerberg you are a complete cnut. if youre able one day to have children you might just might start to understand. Until then gleefuly hop around blissfully unaware of the real world and real world concerns.
  • Pintoo and Ands and everyone i havent already thanked.

    Thank you for your comments and ideas its very helpful.
  • pintoo
    pintoo Posts: 145
    Westerberg wrote:
    Aggieboy wrote:
    yup, collecting all the info now,

    Im going to calm down beofre doing anything just yet

    I'll bet it was African goat herders kids that took up the spaces :wink: .....................................

    10,9,8,7,..............
    nah - it'll be them ethnic, disabled, lesbian's whose lilly livered, pinko, Guardian reading PC brigade, do-gooder parents make up the secret liberal elite who run the country :wink: ...now where did I put my pills?

    Good grief. Well, call me a snob, but it's precisely that kind of mentality I don't want influencing my childrens' thinking. I do hope that was all tongue-in-cheek irony that I missed. I would rather that I'm the fool here than you being the bigot that I think you are.
  • Westerberg
    Westerberg Posts: 652
    Westerberg wrote:
    Aggieboy wrote:
    yup, collecting all the info now,

    Im going to calm down beofre doing anything just yet

    I'll bet it was African goat herders kids that took up the spaces :wink: .....................................

    10,9,8,7,..............
    nah - it'll be them ethnic, disabled, lesbian's whose lilly livered, pinko, Guardian reading PC brigade, do-gooder parents make up the secret liberal elite who run the country :wink: ...now where did I put my pills?

    Westerberg you are a complete cnut. if youre able one day to have children you might just might start to understand. Until then gleefuly hop around blissfully unaware of the real world and real world concerns.

    Mark - I already have an 11 year old thanks very much. As for your insults- I see you've reverted to type very quickly after skulking around for a week or so since your ban. If your post is genuine, then I have sympathy for your daughters situation. The only trouble is, you have well known form for dropping in baited and paranoid posts in which you seek to blame 'the liberal PC elite' for all current ills and then abusing those who disagree. Besides which - i was having a joke - where's your sense of humour :lol:
  • Stewie Griffin
    Stewie Griffin Posts: 4,330
    Westerberg wrote:
    Westerberg wrote:
    Aggieboy wrote:
    yup, collecting all the info now,

    Im going to calm down beofre doing anything just yet

    I'll bet it was African goat herders kids that took up the spaces :wink: .....................................

    10,9,8,7,..............
    nah - it'll be them ethnic, disabled, lesbian's whose lilly livered, pinko, Guardian reading PC brigade, do-gooder parents make up the secret liberal elite who run the country :wink: ...now where did I put my pills?

    Westerberg you are a complete cnut. if youre able one day to have children you might just might start to understand. Until then gleefuly hop around blissfully unaware of the real world and real world concerns.

    Mark - I already have an 11 year old thanks very much. As for your insults- I see you've reverted to type very quickly after skulking around for a week or so since your ban. If your post is genuine, then I have sympathy for your daughters situation. The only trouble is, you have well known form for dropping in baited and paranoid posts in which you seek to blame 'the liberal PC elite' for all current ills and then abusing those who disagree. Besides which - i was having a joke - where's your sense of humour :lol:

    He is upset as today is the 19th anniversary of Rodney King being bashed up by Whitey, give him some space.
  • Westerberg,

    If it was a joke, i admit, i have no sense of humor about this today and i appologise.

    word
  • Westerberg
    Westerberg Posts: 652
    Westerberg,

    If it was a joke, i admit, i have no sense of humor about this today and i appologise.

    word

    fair enough. wasn't seeking to make light of a stressful situation. apologies also.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,454
    Westerberg,

    If it was a joke, i admit, i have no sense of humor about this today and i appologise.

    word

    Let's hope your daughter spells better than you do, if she's on the 'gifted and talented' list.
  • verloren
    verloren Posts: 337
    Your LEA should have a list of the criteria it uses to judge. Typically proximity is about fourth on the list (after things like children in care), and it's very carefully controlled, so if you're further away from the stairwell in a block of flats you count as living further from the school. So spend some time on google maps and see if you can work out how many houses' front doors are closer than yours, as that will give you a clue as to how oversubscribed they're likely to be.

    '09 Enigma Eclipse with SRAM.
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  • jedster
    jedster Posts: 1,717
    blackpanther,

    my sympathies - it's stressful and the outcome for your daughter does seem perverse.

    We moved out of London into an area with excellent schools partly because we had a preference for our children to be state eductaed (as my wife and I were) but did not want to make big compromises on quality. We are lucky that we are able to to do that.

    I'd reiterate someone else's point that you should not rule out the private option. You might be surprised what financial support is available for gifted children. Although we have a clear preference for state education we would reach for the private option in your situation.

    A second point though, the choice of school is only one factor in how successful your daughter will be. What you do at home is probably just as important. Consider that the the Milliband brothers went to a shockingly poor secondary school and ended up at Oxford etc. You can more than compensate whether that is through your own support or through tutoring, etc.

    Good luck,

    J
  • finchy
    finchy Posts: 6,686
    verloren wrote:
    Your LEA should have a list of the criteria it uses to judge. Typically proximity is about fourth on the list (after things like children in care), and it's very carefully controlled, so if you're further away from the stairwell in a block of flats you count as living further from the school. So spend some time on google maps and see if you can work out how many houses' front doors are closer than yours, as that will give you a clue as to how oversubscribed they're likely to be.

    Proximity is not the first priority but so few children are covered by the other selection criteria that proximity is the deciding factor for the vast majority of pupils.

    I assume that all of the schools in Mark's area are LEA controlled ones, I don't know how it works in cities with Nu-Labour/McDonalds Partnership Akademis of Educashun.
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    Sounds bad - appeal on the whatever grounds are reasonable and stick to their criteria and relevant facts, such as the length of the commute. That commute is A) dangerous - duty of care springs to mind B) long - it could interfere with academic performance & after school activities/ commitments - music lessons, looking after the elderly etc..... Then again I have no idea how these things work. Good luck.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • passout wrote:
    Sounds bad - appeal on the whatever grounds are reasonable and stick to their criteria and relevant facts, such as the length of the commute. That commute is A) dangerous - duty of care springs to mind B) long - it could interfere with academic performance & after school activities/ commitments - music lessons, looking after the elderly etc..... Then again I have no idea how these things work. Good luck.

    Thanks Passout
  • finchy
    finchy Posts: 6,686
    passout wrote:
    Sounds bad - appeal on the whatever grounds are reasonable and stick to their criteria and relevant facts, such as the length of the commute. That commute is A) dangerous - duty of care springs to mind B) long - it could interfere with academic performance & after school activities/ commitments - music lessons, looking after the elderly etc..... Then again I have no idea how these things work. Good luck.

    With such a journey the LEA is obliged to lay on transport, if they couldn't get Mark's daughter into a nearer school which he had put as first choice. Incidentally, any parents choosing a school for their children in the future really should check out the LEA's school transport rules - not doing so can land you up shite creek without a paddle.

    If, for example you put the 2nd nearest appropriate school (which might be walking distance) as your first choice, but the only school the LEA can get you into is one 20 miles away, then because you didn't put down your nearest appropriate school as first choice (even if it is a sink school), then you're the one who ends up paying for transport. It's an absolute nightmare.
  • johnfinch wrote:
    passout wrote:
    Sounds bad - appeal on the whatever grounds are reasonable and stick to their criteria and relevant facts, such as the length of the commute. That commute is A) dangerous - duty of care springs to mind B) long - it could interfere with academic performance & after school activities/ commitments - music lessons, looking after the elderly etc..... Then again I have no idea how these things work. Good luck.

    With such a journey the LEA is obliged to lay on transport, if they couldn't get Mark's daughter into a nearer school which he had put as first choice. Incidentally, any parents choosing a school for their children in the future really should check out the LEA's school transport rules - not doing so can land you up shite creek without a paddle.

    If, for example you put the 2nd nearest appropriate school (which might be walking distance) as your first choice, but the only school the LEA can get you into is one 20 miles away, then because you didn't put down your nearest appropriate school as first choice (even if it is a sink school), then you're the one who ends up paying for transport. It's an absolute nightmare.

    I rang the local council guy whos spoken to head of childrens services who told me of a space at another school with slightly better results, he told me to get down to the council tomorrow morning and get my name in. he also said that i should go ahead with the appeal but dont pin my hopes on success :(

    So not as awful now and thank goodness that some councillors care enough to try and help.

    I shall report on success or otherwise.

    Thanks again for everyones suggestions