...Different in different areas... academic intake will stay the same here - the qualification level in the area is set by the local catchment area kids then the rest are offered on distance - you can have the highest score but be too far away - makes no diff (Snowdrops has this problem in Ripon.. she is too far from RGS). They don't drop the qualifying level they just start the year with fewer kids if there aren't enough qualifying DS's year was 7 down initially and these were filled over the next few years by people moving into the area.
The extra girls from Ilkley may well go to the local comprehensive despite having taken exams - I don't think the parents had any real intention of paying fees at senior level....
I deffo agree re the point about it is who ie how many turn up that matters - some will definitely suffer
If one follows through what is likely to happen in the circumstances you describe:
- some children whose parents would have preferred Indie will go to GS. These presumably will be more academically able (if they displace others).
- some children whose parents would have preferred GS will miss out on GS, but have applied to Indies as a back-up. These presumably will be less academically able (comparatively only of course).
I would read the consequences of that scenario as:
1. Both GSs and Indies will see a rise in applicants.
2. GSs will have a marginally improved academic intake. You can see this in the higher cutoff scores in Kent (for example) this year despite the exam haven been taken earlier (DCs were younger). I am not familiar with scores elsewhere - it would be interesting to compare with earlier years.
3. Indies will see a marginal slip in their academic intake. Also some of the parents will eventually conclude that they cannot or will not afford the fees, or that the bursarial support is insufficient. This is Mike1880s point: it's not who registers, it's who turns up. Whether this matters to the school depends on their normal level of demand. Some will suffer.