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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:53 am 
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Here are some observations into applications to Birmingham grammar schools between 2013 and 2015

A) Total preferences marked on CAF forms for a Birmingham grammar place 2015 vs 2014

2015 = 8683 (+5%)

2014 = 8268

This 5% increase in preferences for grammar expressed on CAF forms. looks like a notable change, but The 5% increase is almost entirely explained by the rise in preferences for KEFW from 1377 to 1802. It would be nice to know where that 425 increase is. Is it 1st preference or relatively meaningless 5th and 6th. The % successful preferences for KEFW below suggests to me that a lot of it was 1st preferences. (in other words parents are being far less realistic with KEFW than say at CH boys).

B) Perhaps a measure of a school depth of popularity perhaps is to look at the % of 2nd preferences in relation to the number of 1st preferences. Here's the full list for 2014. So for Bishop Vesey 315 expressed a first preference for the school and a further 259 (82%) expressed the school as a second pref., you can see that circa 285 (adjust for the 2% extra preferences 1-6 in 2015, so may 290??) put HGS as their 1st pref in 2015, but way less than 10% of those actually succeeded in getting a place.

I have added in, in the 3rd column the % of people putting the school as their 1st preference and successfully getting a place. Bearing in mind the caveat that I have mixed 2014 and 2015 data. In comparison BV and CHG applicants seem far more realistic based on the score and the completion of the CAF form. May be just no one wants HGS, and those that do are being completely unrealistic. In that regard KEFW and HGS look very similar to each other.

BV 315 /82% / 40.3%
HGS 285 /81% / 6.9%
KEA 210 /139% / 25.6%
KECHB 381 /29% / 30.2%
KECHG 381 /38% / 39.4%
KEFW 393 /109% / 20.4%
KEVIHS 393 /84% / 35.2%
SCGSG 366 /76% / 35%

C) For last year did things change much? Well it does not look like it really. Increase or decrease in total applications made to school in 2015 vs 2014

BV -6%
HGS 2%
KEA 6%
KECHB 4%
KECHG 7%
KEFW 31% (the increase to 1802)
KEVIHS -11% (this only fell back to the numbers applying in 2013)
SCGSG 0%

To note the drop of 11% at KEVIHS prompted me to look at little closer. So I compared the difference in the total of 1st and 2nd preferences between 2014 and 2013. The following emerged.

BV -10% - relatively stable
HGS 47% - big increase, but were parents realistic
KEA -28% mmmmh! not sure
KECHB -3% - stable
KECHG -2% - stable
KEFW 3% - stable, suggests that Pupil Premium was the main cause of the huge jump
KEVIHS 10% - relatively stable
SCGSG -6%- stable

Key questions I can't fully answer are whether the increase in 1st place preferences in 2014, was sustained at KEVIHS in 2015, despite the drop off of 11%. With pupil premium available last year I would have expected the numbers to rise for 2015, not fall. So I am scratching my head a bit with that.

HGS seems to following a trend of a strong rise in preferences for that school. When you look at the unrealistic 1st preferences being made for the school in 2015 (only 6.9% being successful), I wonder whether that is being driven by ethnic factors. Why would nearly 290 people put the school as a 1st pref and have very little realistic chance. Who are they are why are their aspirations so far from reality??

Overall I bet that Pupil Premium will have caused some ridiculous completion of CAF forms this year. The amount of kids saying they are in, based on very low scores e.g. 200 for KEFW, suggests to me that the FO communications team have not really succeeded in explaining PP parents and how school places are allocated at the margins.

Note to the stats and analysis team at the Foundation Office, can we have some analysis please. You have a powerful set of data, that could be used to inform parents, but you keep it all under your hat in the main?? Or at least published a consistent set of data year on year, it is not that hard to do. pretty please??


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:45 pm 
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On the first preferences for HGS when marks below a realistic prospect of a place: some parents I know have put the school down, knowing a place is unlikely. But in Sandwell you have six schools to put on the form, so it's not like you don't have plenty of other options. If your child has worked towards the 11+ but not scored realistically, it is sometimes a help (especially as the form goes in so soon after the score arrives) to put the school down, giving the child more time to process the low score and come around to the merits of other schools before National Awards Day.

There are many parents who really don't understand the system and put down schools where there is no remote chance of a place. I often talk to them and try to explain things, but people are fooled by the concept of choice, and fail to get their heads around how children gain places at different schools. Some refuse to put down local catchment schools because they still believe that by doing that their child will definitely get a place at a school of their choosing. You can understand this in Sandwell, where often people's catchment schools get poor academic results year after year.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:22 pm 
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Interesting perspective. Although the our experience of parents we know that did not get scores needed to have a chance, in the main set about plan B's pretty quickly after results came out in September.

We only did 3 out of 4 KE girls options. However assuming that the average pref rate is say 4 selections on the CAF form, that means that about 2200 parents from the 5300 sitters last year actually got to the stage of putting a KE down, suggesting most were realistic in their assessment if my average is not too high

You hear all this stuff about 10 kids being after every place, but when you whittle it down, there are 1170 chairs to fill and ultimately 2200 actually end up trying for one, so its really 2 kids after every place. Even if you go with the three choice per parent, then that still only makes them 3 kids after every place, and 1000 of those would have no chance from the outset, if you just looked at the scores they were applying with.

Any how, we will soon enough know


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:59 pm 
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Big long post PP, couldn't read as I am at work but I appreciate that you channel your time , anxiety into positive discussion.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:01 am 
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Talked to a mum last night who'd only put three choices on the form, all Ofsted rated outstanding but given their catchments, with almost no chance of a place. The catchment schools here are both rated good but have only recently improved. People *really* don't understand the system or are under the impression that they can beat it...


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:28 am 
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TurtleG - that is the desperation of the system. Most people know there kids would do pretty well if given the chance and the right school. Reality is another thing though!!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:32 am 
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Location: Essex
Turtlegirl wrote:
Talked to a mum last night who'd only put three choices on the form, all Ofsted rated outstanding but given their catchments, with almost no chance of a place. The catchment schools here are both rated good but have only recently improved. People *really* don't understand the system or are under the impression that they can beat it...


You're being a bit 'previous', there, possibly - haven't you noticed that every year there are posts indicating that in whichever area the LEA totally fails to put out any information about how the equal preference system, or indeed the admissions system in its entirety, works? I am always surprised how unnecessarily informative our LEA is :lol:

_________________
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:03 am 
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Petitpois:

Not meaning to stress you - because I know you very much want your DD to make Handworth Girls (and I sincerely think she will - maybe not on offer day if it goes up a lot from last year's 219 cut off - but I certainly think she has a great chance from the waiting list). - So although I generally agree with what you posted regarding chances in relation to first choice - I think you do have to consider savvy parents playing their options: So knowing they haven't made KEFW or KECHG but putting them above Handworth Girls on the basis of 'it can't hurt'. Therefore you can't just go by first choices and do really have to consider all choices - as you posted originally in another discussion on preferences:

Quote:
Code:
School
KEHGS 936 decrease of 12% 112 less applied
KECHG 863 increase of 7% 57 more applied
SCGS 1151 no change
KEFW 1877 increase of 27% 500 more applied
HGS 1047 increase of 2% 22 more applied
KEA 1097 increase of 5% 58 more applied
KECHB 778 increase of 4% 32 more applied
BV 1009 decrease of 6% 65 less applied
Fairfax 1248 increase of 8% 103 more applied
Arthur Terry 1085 increase of 9% 93 more applied


So Camp Hill Girls in 2015 had 863 people put it down as a preference (at whatever rank on the CAF) and there are only 150 places (I think it's 5 forms of 30 but may have that wrong).

863 divided by 150 = 5.75 (but as 3/4 girls don't exist) let's call it nearly 6 applicants for every place.

Now - who choses CHG as their first preference - parents who want a girls school/ parents who live nearby/ all sorts of reasons.....

But some parents may fundamentally prefer a mixed school and KEFW has a slightly higher cut off score (recently) - so they may put FW 1st choice/ then CHG/ then just in case the scores really sharply rise - maybe Handsworth girls or if they're closer may put Sutton Coldfield.

So although it may seem logical to you to look at the score and choose x or y school on that basis - even you've admitted above that you've put 3 grammar schools down (which assuming you're playing odds means Handsworth is probably 3rd choice on your CAF and you've taken the 'you never know' approach - which to be fair I did with little fish whislt suffering from Precious First Born secondary transfer shock & close but no cigar syndrome in relation to her 11+ result).

-----------------------------------------------------

I also agree with ToadMum - Birmingham LEA and our primaries could be doing a lot more to explain clearly how this system operates. Interestingly - little fish and small fry have been in different schools for Y5/ Y6 due to house move. Little fish's school circulated KE Grammars flyer and open days flyer in Y5 and at start of Y6 sent out a letter telling us we had to submit our CAF form by beginning of October even though the city council website said end October. [I suspect high numbers for FW/ CHG/ CHB for 2014 entry may have reflected the fact that some parents were bounced into submitting their CAF before KE grammar scores were known].

2 years later and at a different school - the HT organises for small fry's Y6 cohort to have HTs from all local secondaries come and speak to parents/ children about secondary transfer. It included a briefing and worked examples of how to fill in the CAF and openly talked through the scenario of a borderline grammar school score.

Schools can do more - if they want to...

-----------------------------------

Finally what I will say is that I don't envy the secondary transfer team at Birmingham LEA (or indeed the KE foundation office - by the way the sparkly my little pony is in the post! [please visualise sparkly pony emoticon - how's that coming moderators?]) - It's a massive enterprise and my experience of the system to date is that it has worked incredibly smoothly. So a very hearty WELL DONE to you all! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:08 am 
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Location: Birmingham
Turtlegirl wrote:
Talked to a mum last night who'd only put three choices on the form, all Ofsted rated outstanding but given their catchments, with almost no chance of a place. The catchment schools here are both rated good but have only recently improved. People *really* don't understand the system or are under the impression that they can beat it...


It is a real headache. Parents do make irrational decisions every year or sincerely believe irrational things (such as that the grammars give preference to siblings and children of ex-pupils!)... I know one parent who (many years ago) really wanted a school that their child had almost no chance of gaining a place at, so put it on their form for all six choices (paper form - the online version fortunately will not let you do that).
I understand the LA queried this the parents insisted that was how their application must stand. They were offered a school in Ofsted category many miles away.

Then you will get parents on here every March saying something along the lines of how their child did really well in the exam so they put Xyz comprehensive as first choice and KE VI Aston as second choice and now they are upset that the child was offered Xyz comprehensive :(

Then you get plenty of parents who will never come onto this forum because they did not actually fill in a form for their child in the first place. These children are allocated schools with places left over - usually very badly performing schools, three bus rides away. The children have to suffer because their parents couldn't get it together to fill in their form :cry:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:36 pm 
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OldTrout wrote:
Petitpois:

Therefore you can't just go by first choices and do really have to consider all choices - as you posted originally in another discussion on preferences:

863 divided by 150 = 5.75 (but as 3/4 girls don't exist) let's call it nearly 6 applicants for every place.

:D


I agree, that why I looked at the ratio of second preferences to first. Also the info on the success of 1st preference choices was illuminating. e.g 93% of HGS first choices not being successful and 80% for KEFW vs 35-40% for CHG/CHB/ KEVIHS, being successful.

We nearly did the above and put CHG first, but I think KenyanCowgirl or another poster came back strongly and said don't do it. Put what you want first...so we did.

1) KEVIHS 70/30 chance of success perhaps
2) CHG - total punt 0.01/99.99 chance of success
3) WGHS - 100/0 chance - outcome is certain

my logic was to put CHG first and then we would definitely be on the waiting list for that, but I think we will get an Offer from Wolves and then be on both waiting lists for the KE's. That is the scenario I really think will have happen. Not quite sure what happens then. I presume if you were then lucky enough to get an offer from KEVIHS, you let go of Wolves and still stay on the CHG waiting list.

The final three preferences contain two grammar one Birmingham and one clack country, but I don't think it is meaningful to call us applicants for them, so I treat the stats saying 10 applicants per place with caution. Only the first three really matter in most cases


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