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 Post subject: "Mis-information"
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:38 am
Posts: 24
I am saddened by the number of people I have heard of this week who have not got their first - or sometimes any - of their school preferences. However - and I am sure this does not apply to anyone who has found this great site - many people seem so confused about the "rules".

I have lost track of the number of people I meet who seem convinced that the order in which you rank your preferences is passed to the schools in question, and that you will be instantly cast aside if you have placed a school third. Others think deliberate social engineering is going on (I mean they think their DC have been deliberately deprived of a place at a popular school to improve a not so good one). And one mother has insisted to me today that the 45 exam places at Watford boys are allocated on a banding system (like Bushey Meads - to get a comprehensive mix) & that her son was "too clever" to get a place as his "quarter was over-subscribed".

I know many of these people are hurting. I think Herts CC do their best to set out the rules clearly in the Moving On booklet but still so many people misunderstand them. Why is this, & can anything be done to help parents understand better so they can make informed choices for their children?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:13 am
Posts: 170
I think there are a lot of urban myths around and unfortunately we all feel hard done by and don’t believe it could possibly happen to us!

Request an audit report if your child score more than that of the lowest admitted child then that is ground for appeal and you will win.

Simple fact is whilst the process remain as it is this will always happen.= and so many people will be disappointed.


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 Post subject: Re: "Mis-information"
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:26 am
Posts: 1326
Location: Watford, Herts
Pinkboots wrote:
I have lost track of the number of people I meet who seem convinced that the order in which you rank your preferences is passed to the schools in question, and that you will be instantly cast aside if you have placed a school third.

Confusion about preferences is common across the country; some perform a "tactical" re-arrangement of their preferences, only to discover now that the LA really does take them literally. I think it's partly a hangover from a few years ago when schools were able to discriminate using preferences, but I think the schools also sometimes give a misleading impression. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard or been told of heads on open evenings saying something like "If you want a place at this school, you should rank us first on your form". Not actually false, but not the whole story from the parent's point of view either.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6691
Location: Herts
A example of this was a case last year where the family, desperate to avoid the local sink school, decided that they needed to put a good state school first to avoid the sink school, so they put the good school first and DAO second. Their DD actually would have got one of the 65 exam places at DAO but because they put the other school first they were not offered the DAO place. What they should have done was put DAO first and the good state school second, but like so many they believed they had to put the good state school first to have any chance of getting in. They thought the gss would be able to see that they had not put it first and would therefore discriminate against them. What they did not understand was that the council would give them the school they ranked first if they were offered it. I also know of people who put the school they want first, second and third and think that will improve their chances or they put it first and leave the other two blank. Understanding the rules of this game is the exam we have to pass as parents. What was so sad about the family in Admission Impossible who spent eight hours a week preparing for the sports test, but did not contact the school and ask for a list of sports their son would be tested in and did not give him a prospectus to read before going into the interview with the head, was that they spent their time on the wrong things and did not give their son the best chance that they could have done. Hopefully the parents on this site who did not get the school they wanted can feel that they did the best they could.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:34 pm
Posts: 11
Unfortunately a lot of people do not get to grips with the intricacies of the system until they have come a cropper and by which time it is often too late.

This forum is excellent and WP is very knowledgeable - a virtual oracle but parents need to make the time to read the admissions code, read the schools criteria, look at the stats and come up with a plan. The moving on booklet can contain some useful information but it is only part of the picture and I don't know why more is not done by the junior schools. They are focussed on irrelevant SATS and not secondary intake.

There are always going to be variances in performance between schools and most parents will naturally want the better ones for their kids. What I find hard to accept is the vast difference between top tier and bottom tier schools. It just does'nt seem fair, even though my child has just got a top tier place on merit and I am chuffed to bits, my heart goes out to those who have missed out and are so sad.

Ed Balls says the system is fairer than it has ever been. Ed Balls, need I say more.


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 Post subject: Re: "Mis-information"
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:19 pm
Posts: 74
Pinkboots wrote:
Others think deliberate social engineering is going on (I mean they think their DC have been deliberately deprived of a place at a popular school to improve a not so good one).


I have also heard of this "myth" Pinkboots. Supposedly the headteacher of one of the SW Herts community schools has claimed that he needs "children from some of the "better" primary schools to help make his job of turning his school around easier."

I am not sure if the headteachers quote is true or not but sounds good and will add to the myth and make it more plausible. The theory of this myth can also be "proved/backed up" by the fact that Francis Coombe has spaces this year but children who live nearer to Francis Coombe than to Bushey Hall are being allocated Bushey Hall.

I guess the social engineering theory could be deduced from this piece of information but not proved

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