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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:39 pm
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Please can some of you offer some help. We have been given conflicting information!

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 sex 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.

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?

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?

Grateful if anyone can help here!! I am getting a bit confused!! Thanks in advance! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi booklady,

Booklady wrote:
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.
Quote:
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.

Quote:
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 preference, and

:: 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
c) Siblings
d) Children who attend a primary, first or middle school that is formally linked with the preferred secondary, middle or upper school
Y. 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 ... :wink:

If you still have any doubts, talk to Admissions and tell them what the Head has said. I am sure they will be fascinated! :roll:


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:39 pm
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Wow! Thanks Sally-Anne! Your thoughts echo what I thought, although I had not considered leaving BGS off! We get 6 choices - so was planning 3 Bucks grammars, 1 Berks grammar and 2 Maidenhead comps.

Great to know the Altwood head was wrong in the way she expressed it - not sure we'd use that one anyway - we may end up private if not grammar! Anyhow she scored 74 and 77 out of 80 in the 2 tests we did this week (March born too) - so fingers crossed ..............

One other questions - as you have the data at your finger tips it seems!! Do you know the number who applied and got in etc for Newlands in Maidenhead over the last couple of years? That's the other comp I am keen on!

Thanks so much for all your help!!
:)
Janet


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Booklady wrote:
Your thoughts echo what I thought, although I had not considered leaving BGS off!
It's a useful trick in areas where people have only 3 choices on the CAF and they know that their catchment school will definitely be offered, come what may.
Quote:
We get 6 choices - so was planning 3 Bucks grammars, 1 Berks grammar and 2 Maidenhead comps.
Ah, of course, I had forgotten that you live in Bucks - Windsor & Maidenhead residents only get 4 choices. As that is the case, you should definitely put Burnham in 3rd place rather than leave it off.

Looking back over the allocation profile for WHS, this year was an exception with all applicants receiving places. The distances previously have been quite variable, so it's hard to tell what might happen. If you are less than 7-8 miles from the school you should be ok though.

Quote:
Anyhow she scored 74 and 77 out of 80 in the 2 tests we did this week (March born too) - so fingers crossed ..............
That sounds promising. Good luck to her!

Quote:
Do you know the number who applied and got in etc for Newlands in Maidenhead over the last couple of years?
You can view all the information about the admissions criteria for W&M schools at the back of their Guide to Secondary Schools 2011/2012 http://www.rbwm.gov.uk/web/ed_admissions_secondary.htm Helpfully the guide for the previous year is also there, so you can compare the allocation profiles over 2 years.

I think there is an error in the Newlands entry, which states: "186 places, 421 preferences, the last admission criterion where children were offered a place was B (sibling) at a distance of 2.488 miles." I think it should read "C" (sibling), because "B" is children living in the designated area and attending feeder primary schools. There couldn't possibly be 186 siblings within a radius of 2.5 miles!

Anyway, I am afraid that the bad news seems to be that unless your DD attends one of the named feeder schools you have absolutely no chance of getting a place at Newlands. I would give W&M Admissions a call to clarify the allocation profile though, just in case there is an even bigger misprint than there appears to be.

Quote:
we may end up private if not grammar
Claires Court? It is spoken of very highly by everyone I've ever come across who has sent their child there.

Quote:
Thanks so much for all your help!!
Anything but face up to the mountain of ironing!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:26 pm
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Location: Burnham
We put BHS as 1st choice and WHS as 2nd 2 yrs ago. At first round of allocations we didn't get into BHS but 2nd round we got in. We missed it the 1st time by a few metres!Literally if we'd been living down the end of our road we would have got in first time round. So don't worry if you don't get your first choice first time around.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:30 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Indeed! It may come down to a waiting list for BHS and WHS, so don't buy the uniform too soon!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:39 pm
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Thanks again to all - I am becoming clearer about what to put where! Still no great revelations if she doesn't pass though - we seem a little stuck on that as she is NOT going to Burnham Upper. It's a real issue in this area as that's the only catchment upper, and the other reasonably local and good comps are getting impossible to access if you don't live in catchment - or go to church ........ :(

On the private - we may well do St Pirans and then do the 12+ if the worst happens!

Thanks again! :)


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