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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:32 pm 

Joined: Thu May 18, 2017 10:35 am
Posts: 58
2 days to go and I feel sick!! I can't let on to DD how nervous I am but its definitely more nervous than her!!! :lol:

Just having a panic now about filling in the CAF - say for example, we end up not ranking for Pates, but ranking outside of PAN for HSFG and Ribston - when filling in the CAF, if I put HSFG first, and Ribston second, but they end up not going low enough for our HSFG ranking to be good enough - does that jeopardise our chance of getting in at Ribston being that we put it second not first?

I think I remember reading somewhere that if you don't rank high enough for 1st choice, then your 2nd choice becomes your 1st and is treated as such? Cant remember if I'm making that up though? Just stressed as to whether to go for the school we really want with a lower ranking, or take the safer option with the higher ranking just to secure the place?


Sorry its all gobbledygook - my thoughts aren't coming out in writing very well! I hope this makes at least a smidgeon of sense!

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:04 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:41 pm
Posts: 10577
Location: Essex
This is from the Secondary School Admissions Guidance Booklet on the Gloucestershire CC website - but you will find the same advice on any LA's site:

Equal Preference System Explained

Background to the system
Whether you’re applying for a primary or secondary school place for your child, it can be tough deciding
which schools to list on your application form, let alone in which order you should rank them.
In the past, some schools and Local Authorities operated a ‘First Preference First’ system. Admissions
Authorities could prioritise those who had listed a school as their first choice on their application form. In practice, this meant that a child who lived some distance from a school but had made it their first choice could be offered a place above a child who lived nearer but had listed it as their second choice.
The Schools Admission Code outlawed the ‘First Preference First’ system. Admission Authorities are
now legally required to operate an ‘Equal Preference’ system. This means that places are offered
purely on the strength of how well children fit the admissions criteria. Schools can’t favour children who listed the school as their first choice, nor rule out those who placed it lower down their list; in fact, they
are not even told where they were ranked in your list of preferences.
The Equal Preference system was introduced to prevent Admission Authorities being able to give higher
priority to children who listed a school as their first choice. This is particularly important where a school’s Admission Authority is the school itself – for example, foundation schools/academies, where the governing body controls admissions – as they are no longer able to select pupils based on where the parent/carer has placed the school as a preference.
What does this mean in practice?
 On the Common Application Form you will be asked to list your top 5 choices of school in order of
 After the closing date, we will put your child’s name on the list for each of the schools you have
listed. Their position on the list will depend on how well your child fits the school’s admission
criteria – for example, they may be higher up a school’s list if you live very near to it.
 The Equal Preference system means that at this stage, the order in which you ranked the schools
will not be taken into account. Your child will be put on the list for every school you have applied
 Each school has a Published Admission Number (PAN): the number of places it has to offer. We
will mark up the names at the top of each school’s list, up to its PAN. This is known as the School
List. Those children whose names fall outside the PAN will not be offered a place at this
school. You will have the opportunity to place your child’s name on a waiting list as part of the
Reconsideration process (for further guidance please see Step 7).
 If your child’s name appears on only one School List, your child will be offered a place at that
school, regardless of where it ranked in your preferences as long as the child falls within the
school’s PAN (see above)
 If your child is on more than one School List, we will then take into account the order in which you
ranked the schools on your Common Application Form. Your child will be offered a place at the
school that you ranked highest.
 If your child isn’t allocated a place at any of your preferred schools, we will allocate a place at the
nearest school with a space.
 If you have been offered a school that wasn’t your first choice, you will then have the opportunity
to request for your child to be placed on the waiting list for your higher preferences; so your child may be reconsidered for a place at any of these schools in subsequent allocation rounds (for
further guidance please see Step 7).

So basically, rank the school's you list on your CAF in your true order of preference :D .

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:14 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:01 am
Posts: 3
Thanks for the detailed explanation of the ranking system. Very useful info.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:22 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:46 pm
Posts: 309
Long ago!(well when I was at sch) you had to put your first choice first as otherwise it jeopardised your chances as they wouldn't necessarily take account of your preference order. The system has changed for the better imo & simply put your 1st choice if not allocated disappears & your 2nd choice automatically becomes your first. If your 2nd choice is also not allocated then your 3rd choice becomes your 1st choice. They go down your list in order if they need to but fingers crossed you get your first choice.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:17 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:59 pm
Posts: 6735
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS list your school order on your CAF in your TRUE order - ie put the school you REALLY want first, first and so on. Make sure at least one of the schools on the list is one that you are guaranteed a place at (eg your local comprehensive in the final position, for example - assuming it is not always oversubscribed and you live furthest away) otherwise, you run the risk of being allocated a school not on your list at all, which is inevitably one miles away or a school that no-one wants to apply to.

The equal preference system is exactly that - it treats every school you order equally - so if you don't get your first choice, your second choice is looked at as if it was your first. There is no game playing or guessing - if you do not meet the admissions criteria for the first one, the second one will be looked at to see if you meet their criteria and so on until they can offer you a place.

We cannot stress this often enough.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:37 am 

Joined: Thu May 18, 2017 10:35 am
Posts: 58
Thanks guys, I thought (and hoped) this would be the case.

I'm really really hoping she meets Pates minimum criteria, although I don't imagine she will be within PAN, so I'm hoping to then put down Pates as 1st choice just in case they rank low enough, with HSFG as 2nd choice and Ribston as 3rd.

Obviously after tomorrow if she doesn't even qualify at all, all of this becomes a moot point (a cows opinion - Friends, anyone?!)

Thanks for your help - fingers crossed.

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