Out of our control – Primary school allocations

With only a few days to go until parents hear about primary school places for reception class, the anticipation is building, and I’m becoming a little more anxious.  With our county, 91% of children got their 1st choice place at secondary schools, so it’ll be interesting how different it is for primary places.

Waiting for primary school places - Bubbablue and me

We should be ok.  Friends with children at the school and living in the village tell me that the level ahead of us (siblings in catchment) are looking like taking 9 of the 15 places.  We know there’s a friend of N’s at nursery who has moved into the village, so he’ll get in ahead of us, which moves us down to 11th place.  I’m holding out hope that like in the last 4 years, there won’t be any children from outside catchment with medical need or who’re in care and apply (the rational for putting those ahead of catchment drives me mad…surely they should be going to their nearest school not one elsewhere?).

But there’s always the worry that for some reason 1 of those 4 little places will end up for some reason not being allocated to us.  Despite us being in catchment (thank you to the person drawing the catchment area, by drawing a little box around our farm and therefore including us in catchment), all of his cousins having been to or going to the school, his dad, aunt and uncle being at the school way back when the school was trying to stay open.

We’ve been given a couple of handmedown school sweatshirts by the youngest cousin too, in readiness for September.  I’m hoping that’s not jinxed us.

I was always really calm before when thinking about it, and hearing about the worry from other parents, but now it’s only a week away and I’ve got everything crossed.

The OH isn’t concerned.  I don’t think he’s even taken it in that we’ve had to apply and that we’ll get a place confirmation this week.  He keeps joking that N will be home schooled anyway…by him on the farm.  Hmm, I’m thinking there’s a bit more to education than just showing N how tractors work, management of cattle, writing cattle passports and getting someone else to do the accounts.  That’s definitely not going to happen.  In reality, he just assumes that the village school is where N will go.

Our NCT group are going out in a few weeks so I’m sure we’ll be comparing notes, worrying about how our 4 year olds are growing up, and planning for school.  I’m going to be watching out for my online friends going through the same wait and opening of those emails and letters, and hoping everyone gets the news they want.

These school placements are almost the biggest decision that will be made for our children, and we can’t even guarantee that as parents we have control of the decision.  Even when we’re sure a place should be ours, it’s still a horrible and long wait.

Good luck to those awaiting their primary school allocation, and let me know on Thursday how you got on.

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  1. It was so nerve racking waiting up until midnight although a few bloggers on twitter made the most of it with a fun hashtag… lol But it was hard to swallow some getting their first choices and others not getting any of their choices. And my heart went to those distressed and high fives to those that got what they wanted. It’s such an emotional roller coaster. We got disappointing news but not devastating news and I have not come to terms with it. What a system we dont have this back home. Yikers. Hope you got good news. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    1. So hard – on the one hand we want to celebrate, but then you end up knowing friends and acquaintances both on and offline, and really feel for themnot getting where they wanted. Hope you’ve decided what you’re going to do, and good luck with your decision.

      We never used to have this. When we were children everyone just went to their local school and enjoyed it, got on with it. Since then league tables appeared, added to that increased birthrate particularly in certain areas, and now it’s chaos because so many people don’t want their children in their nearest schools. Without removing league tables which are unlikely, and going back to a system where people get catchment schools…and then exceptions are requested, then I think this way will continue unfortunately.

  2. Best of luck I hope you get the spot, there is nothing worse than your child not going to the school you want.

    1. Thanks Ashley. He got his place. Just hoping that his best friend (who didn’t stand much chance anyway) who got his 3rd choice, gets in on appeal.

  3. Good luck! We didn’t get our 1st choice primary – we were 4th on the waiting list! She eventually got a place in year 1! Then her brother got a sibling place – it does all work out in the end …!

  4. Oh good luck, will be thinking of you. I remember the wait for confirmation of the 8yo’s place in Primary 1, and we lived across the road from the school! But, it was such a popular school that it was still a worry…

  5. best of luck, it’s a horrible waiting time though isnt it’s. We’ve been lucky getting our 1st choice schools both times

    1. Oxfordshire did ok on the secondary school allocation, so I’m hoping we get it for N. It seems that people with siblings outside catchment are those worrying most.

  6. We will be finding out about A’s school too. There are two within walking distance but they are part of the same umbrella school so we only put one option down to get either school – we then pick once we’re told she has a place at the umbrella school – if that makes sense.

    I hope that one of those 4 places is yours! x

    1. Thanks Donna.

      I’ve never heard of an umbrella school before. V strange, but guess that means double chance of getting in to your local school. Hope you get the part you want if you’ve a preference.

  7. ohh I didn’t realise A-day was so close.

    We’re now out of catchment for the school Noah’s big brother goes to (tho will possibly be moving back into it in 2 months time).

    I’ve already told the board on my application form if he doesn’t get in they will have to move Ben as we cannot physically get to 2 schools for the same time every day – Ben already has to go to before school club on a Friday so Noah can go to nursery (at a different school) and on a Thursday I have to start work late so hubby can take one and I take the other. It’s a logistical nightmare.

    I’m ready for a fight tho (kinda helps I work in the same building occasionally as the people who make the decisions lol)

    The priority system annoys me too – siblings should take immediate priority above catchment, medical and looked after.

    Good luck.

    1. I’d have to disagree with you on that one. Agree that medical and looked after shouldn’t make a difference…fair enough if they’re in catchment. I know one mum who didn’t get any of their 6 choices, even though they had medical needs and were in catchment for 2, they got given a place 6 miles ago across the city – she didn’t drive, had a younger child, so would have had various bus journeys and walking for the school run (or sending the 5 year old by taxi each day). In the end she had to home school because even on appeal they didn’t get a place.

      But on siblings outside catchment, I think it’s right it comes after catchment. Yes, it’s a logistical nightmare/impossibility, but really if everyone went to their catchment school like the majority used to when I was a child, then there wouldn’t be problems. I don’t see why, just because in a year of lower pupil numbers children outside catchment get in, then later on when it might be busier, a sibling should get a place over a child who lives next to the school but doesn’t have a sibling. A couple of N’s nursery friends who have siblings in the school might not get in because they live the other side of town and there’s siblings outside catchment who’re nearer.

      I guess if I had siblings and was in danger of not getting my second in then I might have a different view, but I know of children who live closer, only just outside catchment who won’t get in due to siblings who live miles away. It’s sad that children who live locally won’t be able to go to school with friends they know from outside.

      Good luck with your allocation too.

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