DS is on the waiting list for Pates (listed 1st on CAF) and will probably get offered STRS (listed 2nd). If we accept STRS, is that binding ? When do you get informed of movement on the waiting lists (presumably after 15th March) ? Do they contact you to say places are free ?
You are not bound by the offer - and by later taking up another offer is how places get freed up further down the pile.
I would advise you to accept the offer, assuming that it is one that you could live with (and you wouldn't have put it on the list if it wasn't).
Make sure that, having accepted that offer, you contact Pates and make sure that they know you want to remain on the waiting list - you can try asking to find out where on the list you are.
As offers are turned down, the schools then offer them out to those on the top of the waiting list; they may wait a little until they've got enough to make an offer to all those of equal rank, or they may do it one by one. I've even known them offer places during the appeals process (so a parent appealing doesn't turn up to the hearing as they've just been offered a place from the waiting list) - but once a panel has made the decisions on the appeals, there is likely to be no further movement on the waiting list (as the school may well be over capacity/PAN by the children admitted by appeal).
As you can probably see, I'm not clear on what "saying no" on the offer form means.
Saying no would leave you in serious limbo. You would run the risk of being allocated a spare place at the nearest school that has places after everyone elses preferences have been taken into account - and that's not likely to be a grammar. If you were on the waiting list for Pates and a place didn't come up, just think where your child could end up - a school in Fairford, the Forest, Tetbury - where ever there happens to be a space.
Of course, in all this there is the appeals process. When does that come in because the waiting list is fully taken up ?
The waiting list & the appeals process are two separate things. If you've got reasonable grounds for appeal, then it's worth a go. The panel does not know where on the waiting list the children are - for although we get told the scores (both raw & adjusted) and can work out a rough rank of the children, not all will be on the waiting list. For that matter, we don't go down the list and pick (say) the top 5 scorers and allow the appeals - as appeals are where parents can tell us any 'mitigating' circumstances - maybe why a child had problems on the day of the exam.
The appeals start at different times for different schools, but by and large tend to be late May and June. It depends on the availability of panel members - we have to be available to hear all the appeals from a school, and many of us have 'day' jobs as well (and holidays, etc) - we're unpaid volunteers!!!
Sorry for so many questions !
Nah - it's a very tricky area, and the process isn't exactly made clear for parents. That's what this forus is for!