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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:27 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:54 pm
Posts: 3
Hi,
My name is Peter Dominiczak and I'm a journalist with the Evening Standard.
We are looking for any parents in London who have children waiting to see which secondary school they have been admitted to next week. There is concern amongst parents that many children will not get into their first-choice schools this year and we would like to hear from you.

We would also like to talk to anybody who has experienced the "offers lottery" in the last two years and willing to talk about how not getting your first-choice school has affected you and your child.

The article will appear on Monday next week so if you could back to me by the afternoon of Friday 27th, that would be great.

You can contact me at peter.dominiczak@standard.co.uk or call me on 07946 422 503.
I look forward to hearing from you.

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peter.dominiczak@standard.co.uk


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:58 am
Posts: 21
Location: London
I may be a cynic, but parents are aware that their child may may not receive their first choice allocation, hence a preference system.

Should the question also be changed to the following -
‘Are you disappointed that your child did not get into their first choice school?’

Also the use of the words “offers lotteryâ€


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:08 am
Posts: 211
To be fair, the words 'offers lottery' are in italics!

Yes, parents know they may not get 1st choice, but they also know that the whole notion of 'choice' is 100% bogus. How can they 'choose,' when the school they want has 700 applications for 220 places - and here in Sutton, that's just the good local comp - never mind the Grammars!

It is the schools which choose the kids, not the other way around


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:59 am 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
huntlie wrote:
Yes, parents know they may not get 1st choice


I disagree. Every year we get our local evening paper running an article highlighting where parents are shocked and angry that they didn't get their first choice.

When you look at the article in depth, you find that they've only put one choice down and they've not put a realistic choice...

'I put down school x because her second cousin goes there and her granny & I went there, so that counts as Siblings doesn't it'. 'If I only put one choice that means they'll have to give me that school' (irrespective of more people with a higher claim living closer to it).

Then they complain that the school they have been offered might be 30 miles each way in a taxi, whereas if they'd bothered to put a second choice then they'd probably have been offered that!

In our county that Y6's all get a book sent home with the details, and a lot of the inner-city school parents get chance to talk to an Options Advisor to help them (it should cover all schools, but sadly they never make it out to the country - but in the country there's often only one realistic option for a school).

To sum up, a few people mistake 'Express a preference' for 'Express an absolute right to a place at that school', then the press picks it up.

All that said, occasionally a child will not get a place at any of their options. They they appeal...

For primary schools in the area it is less clear, in that many are very oversubscribed, so even putting 4 choices doesn't guarantee a place at one of them.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:52 am 
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Location: London
Huntie, I agree with much of what you say however the use of the words 'options lottery' could be deemed to be a leading question and my contention is whether this will provide a sensible/fair debate/article or just pick up predetermined replies.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:59 am
Posts: 893
Location: Cloud 9
I assumed that the OP was referring to the literal lottery system trialed by Brighton and Hove last year? Perhaps he could provide clarification...


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:25 pm
Posts: 2610
Is it just those two counties doing it, Charlotte67? I thought I had heard that more counties were going to take up that option?

I would be very interested to see the effect that this system has. Personally there is one secondary school in my area that if my DSs ended up in I know I would have to sell my house and be forced to go down the private route with the equity.

Idealogically the system is great and over time should even everything up but who wants there child to be a guineapig in the meantime?


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