Hi scary mum
Our DS has been allocated JHGS as we wanted but we are bang in the middle of catchment so no surprise really. The issue of allocations has vexed me, though, in previous years (DD got allocated BHS, when we lived in a different place and within but on the outer edges of catchment.....in her year, 2009, we got lucky. A year before or after and we would have lucked out).
There are many factors that affect school allocation, among them:
- popularity, as you say
- population data (e.g., everyone at our school gate was saying for years that 2000 was a baby boom year but I have also been saying for years that the national birth data doesn't bear that out - perhaps I have been been vindicated?!)
- catchment area mobility
- % of students sitting the 11+ (in my DS's indie primary, 25% less children sat it this year than usual for who knows what reasons?)
- % sitting the 11+ that pass (in DD's year, according to the then HT of BHS, one third less girls passed the 11+ than were expected to); the 'no chance' effect (I know a handful of kids this year who are staying indie because their parents didn't think there was a hope in **** of them getting allocated the grammar(s) they wanted - and they would probably have been wrong this year!).
There must be other factors too.....
The JHGS allocation is, I would think, not unexpected, with only a bit of a variation in distance vs last year. The shock data in our area of Bucks is (a) DCGS - allocated all in catchment and to 11.3 miles beyond for the first time in years....
(Sally-Anne, you'll know the answer to that?!) and (b) even bigger shock - RGS allocated EVERYONE!
You could live in Surrey and you'd probably have gotten a place there this year! These are real turn-ups for the book.
My take on it all is that it's just not worth worrying about because few if any of these factors are within most people's control.
Hope you got one of your choices.