Thanks for the welcome. I'm looking forward to the return, but it feels a bit daunting right now!
I think we're a little luckier than Nitram, as we can (just) get into the "normal" process, without having to leave everything to appeals & waiting lists. That's probably a blessing: DD doesn't know what she wants to do next week, never mind another decade - so I doubt if I could put together an appeal quite like the one Acme's thread discusses.
Like Nitram, we're putting school ahead of house-hunting (or rental-hunting), so we do have that flexibility.
We've already been to visit Harrogate Grammar and Rossett - it made for a busy week, interspersed with visits to 2 Surrey schools too. Even though the Grammar has obviously had more money spent on the buildings over time, both it & Rossett impressed us with the staff attitudes, and came out better with us than either of our current locals (which both get Ofsted-ranked as "good").
HGS, however, managed to do something different - they enthused DD in the open evening, which is unheard of at any of the other school visits we've done. It was something of a surprise to us when they took the children off separately, to give them a kids-only talk while we listened to the head. We were unsure of how she'd take that - especially as she already has an anti-move bias because she'll lose her friends - but it worked a treat.
But yes - we might need to come & visit SGHS and RGS too - but that can now only happen after we have to have the CAF back. It would have to be something of a punt for now...
I chatted to an NYCC admissions guy during the HGS open evening: The distances for HGS last year were 1.47 miles in-town and 5.99 miles rural. Those were 1st March figures; the in-town figure had increased to 1.8 miles after people got in through the waiting list. That compares with a worst case of 0.75 miles in 2008, under the old town/rural allocation rules. The cohort size also looked to be down this year too, by about 60 out of 700, but his figures on that were a bit out of date. So admission there is definitely tight - but our current aim is to make sure we're within it by Christmas-ish.
Rossett go out further - and seem to deliberately target OOA children from Leeds. I have a link to a presentation
they did last year, where they predicted an ability to take OOA children. NYCC stats show a larger distance for both town & rural - so anywhere in HGS catchment is also within Rossett's catchment.
As for the "pass" marks and numbers - I can see on another thread that there are differences between Ripon and Skipton - 224 vs 206. Are they the same tests? If so, it is strange that there is such a wide difference in the pass mark - the high mark obviously isn't working for Skipton if they still only manage to 3/4 fill the school!
But I guess the thing I need is to try to correlate the "pass marks" against either her current ranking at school, or against some practice tests- but what does the 224 and 206 actually represent? Is it an "out-of" figure, or something age-adjusted, or fiddled to compare with the cohort?
Better pop out for some practice papers, quick...