5 School Admissions Myths Debunked
National Offer Day on 1st March saw parents across the UK eagerly waiting to find out which secondary school has given a place to their child. But do you really know how the process works?
Our Education Law Solicitors and Lawyers have found that many parents have misconceptions about the school admissions process. Below we debunk a few of these myths.
For initial advice get in touch with our Education Law Solicitors and Lawyers.
School Admission Myths Debunked
Myth 1: You can play the system
Many parents believe that by putting only 1 school down on their application, and leaving the other spaces blank, their child will be guaranteed a place. Others put down the favoured school for all the options, or include schools that they believe are unsuitable, in the hope that their first choice will be the only viable choice.
But this approach really limits your options if your child doesn’t get into the only school you specified. That’s because each application for a place is considered individually and in line with the school’s admission criteria.
Our Solicitors have also seen parents rent out properties in catchment areas and listing them as their child’s residence, in the hope it will get them a place at a school in a more desirable area. But Local Education Authorities are getting wise to this and might check up to see if the child actually lives at the property. If the Local Education Authority finds out that the child doesn’t live there, an offer to your child will be revoked.
Myth 2: Second choice schools won’t offer a place as they’ll know they weren’t first choice
Not true. Many parents believe that if they don’t get their first choice school, the other schools listed won’t offer a place as they’ll know you didn’t put them down first. But schools don’t actually find out where they’re listed in order of preference, so listing a school as anything other than your first choice doesn’t jeopardise your application in any way.
Myth 3: Siblings of existing pupils are automatically guaranteed a place
Not true. There’s no automatic right to a place at a school already attended by a sibling. While having a brother or sister at the same school is factored into the decisions made by many schools, admissions criteria can vary, which means not all schools will prioritise admissions to siblings and you won’t be guaranteed a place.
Myth 4: Attending a related infant school guarantees a place at the senior school
Parents often send their child to a nursery or primary school with the intention of securing them a place at the related senior school. But whilst going to a related school (feeder school) can be taken into account in the school's admission criteria, again, priority is not always given by schools so this won't necessarily guarantee your child a place.
Everyone is given a fair and equal chance to apply. With that in mind, it’s very important to research other options and include other preferences on your application, so you don’t limit your chances.
Myth 5: Rejecting one offer will increase the chances of getting into another school
Some parents might turn down a place they’ve been offered to boost their chances of getting into another school. But even if you have no intention of sending your child to the school that’s given you an offer, keeping your options open is often wise.
Each place is offered on the school's individual criteria, which means rejecting your allocated place won't make it easier to get into your preferred choice. What's more, if you choose to reject the place, you could be in a tricky situation if you don't get offered anything from the waiting lists or if you lose your appeal, as you won’t have another school as a back-up. In this situation, the Local Authority will allocate your child another school place, but this could be a place at any school with places available and might not be a school you like.
Contact our Education Solicitors
School admissions can be a minefield, but our Education Solicitors and Lawyers know the difficulties and uncertainties you're faced with. So if your child misses out on National Offer Day, we could be able to help.
Download our free school admissions guide to learn more about the appeals process or get in touch with us for legal advice.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.