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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:02 am 
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At the risk of seeming ignorant... I am curious to know why the Tiffin Girls' catchment policy is not applied at stage 1. Wouldn't it be easier for parents if addresses were checked at this point and only girls in catchment allowed to apply? There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst posters on this forum whose daughters have got through the first stage but are out of catchment. It seems rather unfair on girls whose hopes of gaining a place have been raised but who now have, according to the school's website "no realistic chance". One could of course argue that parents should check the admissions policy before applying, but is there a reason why the school can't apply distance criteria at stage 1? Hoping for enlightenment; explanations welcomed! Regards, Peridot.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:39 am 
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Thanks for posting this Peridot as I have wondered this myself. In fact I did not realise that OCC girls had sat the stage 1 till results day as my understanding from the consultation was that OCC were not allowed. It's all rather confusing in my view . I guess we will find out more March 3rd :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:04 am 
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Allowing OOC girls to take the stage 1 test effects the standardised score. More children means the cut off would be higher than otherwise. Perhaps this is the reason; other wise, TGS would have saved cost (the apparent objective number 1 of introducing catchment area), if OOC candidates were not allowed to sit for the tests unless school was undersubscribed ( policy followed by Newstead Wood and Redbridge grammars).


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:39 am 
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Peridot wrote:
At the risk of seeming ignorant... I am curious to know why the Tiffin Girls' catchment policy is not applied at stage 1. Wouldn't it be easier for parents if addresses were checked at this point and only girls in catchment allowed to apply? There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst posters on this forum whose daughters have got through the first stage but are out of catchment. It seems rather unfair on girls whose hopes of gaining a place have been raised but who now have, according to the school's website "no realistic chance". One could of course argue that parents should check the admissions policy before applying, but is there a reason why the school can't apply distance criteria at stage 1? Hoping for enlightenment; explanations welcomed! Regards, Peridot.


My, admittedly limited, understanding is that TGS does not have a catchment area but rather a designated area that is used as an over-subscription criteria.

The criteria for taking candidates outside the DA is lower in priority compared to those in the DA area. So, anyone can apply as there is no bar on any candidates but those outside the DA will be given lower preference to those in the CA.

In practice, this would though translated to act as a catchment area with almost nil chance that the seats will not be filled from the DA and hence school is guiding that those outside have no realistic chance.

it is confusing, though. Not sure of the rational of this elaborate charade. Might be some legal obligations?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:45 am 
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Could any one think of any difference between Designated area or Catchment area, a solicitor's playing with words? Are these not the synonyms in the context of the admission arrangements?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:15 am 
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Schools aren't allowed to ban parents from applying or asking for a place (unless they are outside the UK at the time of application).


Schools can apply an oversubscription criteria that in effect acts as a ban on out of area candidates but they cannot legally stop a parent requesting a place at their school no matter where they live. This has been an issue at other grammar schools in other areas. They cannot limit who sits the test. Even Newstead Wood just says "Please Note: In practice, given the level of over-subscription to the School, no places have ever been offered to applicants from Group 3." to make it clear it isn't worth applying but they cannot turn away people who do.


Bucks has had upset over out of area candidate numbers and the effect they have driving up raw scores. Their council confirmed "BCC spokesman Mr Wells said legally the county cannot bar any child who wants to sit the test." Article here: http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/10 ... plus_test/


Theoretically if the places aren't filled by girls in catchment, they must be offered to those out of catchment who meet the criteria. The school of course can set their admissions criteria to counter this by ensuring the pass mark is at such a level whereby it is guaranteed that all places will be offered in catchment and by having a large enough catchment area that they will easily fill places from inside it.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:38 am 
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Whatever the law says, schools do get round it. From memory, Redbridge says that they will only let OOC children sit the test in the unlikely event that not enough IC pass to fill the places at Woodford and Ilford, and St Michael's restricts in a similar way but based on religion (I may have misunderstood this?).

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:44 am 
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Redbridge is the only one that does this and even they have a clause of late testing for out of area candidates. If the places cannot be filled in catchment they will test out of catchment but never do.

I don't actually know how they get away with this clause and what would happen if an out of catchment family objected and made their objection official. People don't tend to do that of course especially as it would do them no good since they would still never be allocated a place even if they sat the exam at the same time and scored top marks. The other grammar areas which use catchment criteria make it clear that they would like to restrict the exam to their area only but aren't allowed to do this (like Bucks).

St. Michael's is a bit of a half-way option. It doesn't bar anyone from applying but says "Within living memory, St Michael’s has always been oversubscribed with candidates who fulfil Criterion 1" It allows non Catholic girls to apply but only to sit a test if the number of Catholic girls in Criteria 1 is low. Again, I have no idea where they would stand if a Muslim family or Jewish family absolutely insisted that their daughter be allowed to take the test. In reality who would bother going through the adjudication process to do so because even if they won and took the test (which theoretically should happen) they still could never gain entry to the school anyway?

You also have to account for people sitting the test out of catchment but applying from within catchment (if they move in the Autumn of course). It is where the child lives when they apply not when they sat the test that counts.

I do agree that it is kinder to let people know where they stand and, if out of catchment girls have no chance of a place, it might be kinder for them to not even consider the school. As far as I am aware though (and based on the restrictions other schools say they operate under and the admissions code) schools can only refuse candidates after they have applied not refuse to even consider them in the first place (even if they make it very clear they are such a last priority they will in fact never get in). Perhaps a letter enclosed with the stage 2 invite might address this: something along the lines of "whilst your daughter has met the criteria to be assessed in stage 2 of our examination process, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that our admissions criteria gives priority to all in-catchment girls even if they achieve a lower score. We have invited 557 in-catchment girls to sit the second test and as such, it is considered inconceivable that any out of catchment girls will be offered a place. If you do not wish your daughter to sit the second test, please contact the admissions office on 0208..........."


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:44 am 
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Even Latymer didn't allow OOC to take the test and this point was subject to complaints to School Adjudicator. Have they changed their policy for 2013?


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