We are in catchment for BGS, but DD would prefer BHS and we are only 20metres out of catchment - so hope we may be lucky (assuming she passes of course!) We would prefer single gender school - we think it will suit her best - so I have also looked at WHS, and liked it. People travel long distances to go here - so, if BHS does not come off, this may be our second choice, with BGS as a third.
That is the correct order. You may well be in with a chance of Beccy High, and if that doesn't work out Wycombe High was able to offer places to every girl who applied this year.
My question is this - if we don't get a place in either of the first 2 girls grammar schools, will we get BGS as our catchment school, or do we risk getting no place as we have not put it first? How does this system work?
This year, on March 1st, Burnham was able to offer places to all applicants in catchment, all siblings out of catchment and out of catchment children living up to 11.589 miles. Before this year the school was able to offer places to every child who applied and was left with vacancies in Year 7. I am just guessing here, but I suspect that by August the school may even have been "All offered", as it has been in previous years.
If I am correct, you can express only four preferences on your CAF? If so, and if you have another Berkshire comp that you really want to add to your list, you could almost certainly leave Burnham off the CAF completely because if your DD qualifies and you live reasonably close to the school she would be virtually 100% certain of being allocated a place there anyway as the "default" grammar school if the other two are full. There is a risk that if Burnham suddenly sky rockets in popularity you could be left out in the cold, but that is something that you need to balance against the opportunity to secure a place at another decent comp rather than your catchment comp if it is not all it should be.
Also - we were considering Altwood in Maidenhead as a fall back comprehensive - however the head said last night that unless you put them 1st, or have the serious church affiliation they are now also using on admission, you will not get a place! I thought they didn't know where you had put them in order, and also, surely if you don't get a grammar place because of not passing surely the highest comp on your list becomes your first choice anyway, doesn't it?
Exactly - schools are not told where you have ranked them in your preferences. If your DD does not qualify then the three grammars are taken off your list and Altwood becomes your first preference. What the Head is trying to communicate in a very clumsy (not to mention misleading) fashion is:
:: that the school is over-subscribed, so anyone wanting a place there should put it as their first non-selective
:: that those with church affiliation take priority over some others (although not everyone), because the order of admission is:
a) Children in care
b) Children who live in the ‘designated appropriate area’ of the school
d) Children who attend a primary, first or middle school that is formally linked with the preferred secondary, middle or upper schoolY. For Altwood Church of England School only. Children whose parents choose the school on denominational grounds.
f) All other applicants
Last year there were 471 preferences for 150 places and the last admission criterion where children were offered a place was "F" (all other applicants) to a distance of 4.891 miles. There will have been quite a lot of people who got in ahead of those with religious commitment because of where they live or because of the primary school their child attends, and there were also a number of children who got in purely because they lived close enough to the school and had no religious commitment.
I have checked that there was no change to the admission arrangements compared to last year. There were a similar number of preferences (453) and allocations were made to: "all designated area, sibling, feeder school and mixed education criteria, some others to a distance of 9.174 miles". Confusingly there is no mention of the religious criterion, but it was definitely in force in 2009 and nothing has changed. All that changed was that in 2010 more children applied who live close to the school.
Now, aren't you glad that I'm bored today ...
If you still have any doubts, talk to Admissions and tell them what the Head has said. I am sure they will be fascinated!