I am not sure if this will stay the same this year, but having been on this forum on and off for several years I seem to remember that those that applied for their secondary school place via an on-line system provided by their council found it very helpful in the past. This enabled them to get information on the offer day next March, rather than having to wait for the post man to get to them - sometimes several day later!
I imagine that some areas may no longer offer a choice, but certainly my council does still allow parents to make on-line application or paper application ..... so just a bit of food for thought
Of course a bit of patience may be required on 2 March 2015 - as the on line allocation service does sometimes get a bit overloaded with people trying to check it ... but less patience hopefully that waiting for that letter to drop on the mat!!