School Admissions Mythbuster


Today, 2 March is National Offer Day for secondary schools in England. Many myths continue to surround the anarchy that is school admission appeals. We've found 7 of the most common which we'll be busting for today and in the run up to National Offer Day for primary schools on April 16.

Secondary School

Getting Your First Preference

Myth 1: Putting your child into the pre-school or nursery gives you a better chance of getting into the Reception class.

Fact: This does not necessarily give your child priority to be first in line for Reception places. Each Reception class will have its own admission arrangements and applications are ranked according to those arrangements.

Myth 2: If I only apply for one school preference, my child will definitely get a place there.

Fact: Only applying to one school not only limits your child's chances of a suitable place, it doesn’t guarantee a spot at the school you chose as your one and only preference. If the one school you applied to is oversubscribed, the only way of gaining a place is through prioritisation based on the school's admission criteria. The local authority must offer you a place but if you haven’t expressed any other preferences you may simply be allocated the nearest school with places and this could be some distance away as other parents who did express additional preferences will take priority for those schools.

Myth 3: One of my children already goes to the school so their brother or sister will automatically be allocated a place.

Fact: Each child must apply individually for school places and there is no automatic allocation based on having a sibling at the same school. Most schools do offer siblings priority as part of their over subscription arrangements but this still does not mean that a place will be given if there are children who rank higher in the criteria.

Waiting Lists and Entitlements

Myth 4: If a school is very popular and the waiting list is long, I shouldn't bother to apply. My child will never get in.

Fact: Every school uses admissions criteria to determine whom they give a place to and who will end up on the waiting list. This shouldn't put you off applying as this process is the same for every school. You may be able to get information on how school places were allocated in the past to give you an idea of the likelihood of success. When places become available the spaces have to be allocated from the waiting but in accordance with the application of over subscription criteria. Just because you have been on the waiting list for the longest does not necessarily mean that your child will get the paces if another ranks higher according the criteria.

Myth 5: If my child goes to the related infant school, they will automatically get a place at their related senior school.

Fact: If your child goes to a related infant school, they will have no automatic entitlement to a place in the related senior school. Everyone is given a fair chance at school admissions and this means applying through the same process as everyone else. Only if the secondary school has the primary school as a named feeder school in its admission arrangements will potential priority exist.

Myth 6: Rejecting a school place will strengthen my chances at another school.

Fact: Rejecting a school place does not make it easier for you to get your preferred choice. Every place is offered based on those individual schools criteria and not because you were offered a place elsewhere or you turned down a place at another school.

Myth 7: If I do appeal and my child gets a place, won't they treat them differently?

Fact: Your child will not be treated any differently because they gained their school place through an appeal. Denying your child a place initially was not as personal attack and should not affect how teachers interact with them whilst they are there.

These are just some of the myths we've heard from parents who are unsure about the school admissions process. If like more advice on the school admissions process you can contact us to receive your free school admissions appeals pack to help you prepare for a possible appeal.

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