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 Post subject: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:04 pm
Posts: 1953
Is this a year with unusually high levels of confusion about CAF form completion on the forum?
It's such a relatively simple straightforward and logical system that I find the confusion odd. (And it's not just on here. My friend who is a teacher - though not in a state school - is filling in the CAF for her child and was worried that they would lose a place in their catchment school if they put down their preferred school because it's such a high birth year).
Maybe we should have mandatory CAF training somewhere along the line? After reading this forum I wonder how many children lose out on their preferred school because of confusion.


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:17 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 6722
I was wondering that - I find it so easy to understand, that I do wonder what the confusion is sometimes but then I have heard panicked parents in the playground - I have also listened to the phraseology of some heads when they are trying to explain, if you really want this GS, above all other grammar schools then you have to list it first above all other grammar schools The problem being the bit in italics is said in their heads....


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:32 pm
Posts: 188
I'm also surprised! I have had to explain to a few friends that they won't lose a guaranteed 2nd place on CAF if they put another school as 1st choice. Also some people think that they have to fill the CAF (we have 6 spaces in our area) even if they have a guaranteed school as first choice. I wonder how many children have lost their preferred choice of school due to the misunderstanding of filling in the CAF.


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:26 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:32 pm
Posts: 188
I have also heard the one "I'm only putting on schools that I really want and then the council will have to offer me one of those". All listed schools were not within catchment for DC and therefore they ended up with local school no one wants and they wondered why!


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 10092
Location: Herts
My list of sad stories is very long and increases every year.

It is not helped by some schools actually telling parents in the Head's speech: "If you want a chance to come here you have to put it first."

But it is very odd that highly educated parents can think that the council will just know that the school you put third is actually the one you really want????

How are they supposed to read your mind?

Herts CC used to have their own talks you could attend and drop in clinics but of course all that is gone now.

I know of twins who were both ranked in the top 30 at DAO but lost the places because their mother, a teacher, put the local school first.

I was actually sitting behind her when the Head said "You must put this school first on your CAF as we are an oversubscribed school."

I leaned forward and told her it was not the case, especially as they lived one street away, but she believed the Head and not me.

Another local family put Tiffin first and DAO second even though they had a rank in the top 100 and ended up having to move even though the ranks were in the 140s for DAO that year.

I could go on and on........ DG


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:35 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 9880
The problem with the "If you want this school, then you have to put it first" is that actually it is correct.

The parent has to put it first (if they want it above all others) , but the school don't actually care where it is.


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:02 pm
Posts: 1128
Yes, this is exactly it.

My DD got a language aptitude place - a ranking within the top 30 and there are 30 places - and the letter from the school said something like: "If you put this as your top preference you are guaranteed a place". Which is true. But other parents who also got the letter thought it meant that if they DIDN'T put it as top preference they WOULDN'T be guaranteed a place, so they will put it at the top even though it's not actually their first preference.

Parents in this position don't realise that they are holding the cards - they will get a place there if they put it at the bottom of the CAF if none of the other schools above it come through. Schools could definitely help clear this up, but it's not really in their interests to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:42 am
Posts: 158
This from the Hounslow Council's admissions for Secondary Schools - https://hounslow.app.box.com/s/i3pn7mej ... 17vevzu59o

If you scroll down to page 5 and look for Your Preferences, it is clearly stated. Don't other councils issue similar guidelines?

I think it is more to do with the fear of not having filled the CAF correctly that drives these questions from Parents every year.


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 9880
Feels like some of this dates back to the days of the UCCA (pre UCAS form) where there was a distinct order to preferences and Unis often didn't to get too excited about people who put them lower down the list. People still feel that putting a school at the top of the list should lead to some advantage in getting a place (but it doesn't)


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 Post subject: Re: CAF form training
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 9235
Location: Buckinghamshire
Unfortunately there is also an issue with some Heads placing great value on the number of first preferences they receive compared to other "competing" schools.

All Heads take pride in the number of first preferences their school receives, but for a very small minority it's a little boasting book for them. It can lead them to put far too much emphasis on the need to put their school first if you want to gain a place, and misleads people as to the correct order of preferences for their situation.


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