Now the common response to this on the forum is that it shouldn't matter
The reason that this is the common response,is it that the Equal Preference system is enshrined in law. (admissions code) http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adm ... egulations
Lambeth don't do a particularly good job of explaining equal preference in the admissions booklet
but they do say..
admissions booklet page 9 wrote:
It is very important that you select the schools on the CAF in the order that you prefer them.
The following does a much better job of explaining the process
LAMBETH PAN-LONDON SECONDARY CO-ORDINATED ADMISSION SYSTEMhttp://www.lambeth.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/ ... me2012.pdf
“the Equal Preference System” the model whereby all preferences listed by parents on the Common Application Form are considered under the over-subscription criteria for each school without reference to parental rankings. Where a pupil is eligible to be offered a place at more than one school within an LA, or across more than one participating LA, the rankings are used to determine the single offer by selecting the school ranked highest of those which can offer a place
All preferences for schools within this LA will be considered by the relevant admission authorities without reference to rank order in accordance with paragraphs 1.76 and 2.16 of the School Admissions Code. When the admission authorities within this LA have provided a list of applicants in criteria order to this LA, this LA shall, for each applicant to its schools for whom more than one potential offer is available, use the highest ranked preference to decide which single potential offer to make. [This is the ‘Equal Preference System’.]
You should list the schools in your true order of preference and they are each considered equally. The only purpose in ranking schools is that once all the school lists have been collated, strictly according to the over subscription criteria, the LEA will offer you the highest ranked school for which you qualify. The whole point of the Equal preference system is so you do not have to hedge your bets!
It is extremely unfortunate that someone from the council gave you such poor advice. Perhaps someone was covering in a busy period. The council do provide information where you can get advice on applying for schools (page 4 of the admissions booklet). For your own piece of mind go back and double check with one of the designated advice points.