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If your child sat the 11+ entrance exam this year, then you should have already received their (long anticipated!) results. Whatever the outcome, you will now need to make some important decisions about which schools to place on your school preference form.
What is important at this stage is that you know exactly how the school allocation process works and the essential things to consider when filling out the form. This way you can rest assured you have made the most realistic, informed decision possible to secure your child’s future.
The main cause of upset from parents on allocation day largely stems from confusion in filling out these preferences or a misunderstanding of a school’s admission criteria. In order to prevent such disappointment, KSOL have listed some helpful suggestions to guide you through the process:
1. Most importantly, you must remember to place your school choices on the form in order of preference. Councils do take into consideration your order of preference so it is vital that you take care when filling out the preference form. They will work down this list and when they get to a school your child has enough points for, you will be offered a place. If the offer is not your first preference, your child will be placed on a waiting list for all the schools you have listed above the school that has been offered to them.
2. Ensure that you have at least one local comprehensive school on your list for which you know your child meets the criteria. If your child does not secure a place at a state grammar school, they will most likely be offered a place at a comprehensive school from your list of preferences, as long as you meet the criteria for those schools. If you do not list any comprehensives, your child will be allocated to a school that has places left over (which may not always be close to home).
3. Thirdly, make sure you list more than one school. This is vitally important. There is absolutely no advantage, nor does it increase your child’s chances of gaining a place, if you only write down one preference. If your child is not offered a place at that school, they could be placed in any school which has spaces left at the end of the process.
4. Once you have short-listed your top schools, arrange to visit their open days before making any final decisions. With the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions across the UK, we are now seeing a mixture of both virtual and in-person open events for prospective pupils. Please check the individual school website for further information.
Often children have strong social preferences when it comes to favouring schools which peers may be attending whilst parents prioritise the quality of education and specialist programmes or curricular. Where your child has a specific like or dislike, attempt to determine which factors are influencing this. Instead of dictating the advantages of attending the school which proposes more rational benefits, try exposing these advantages to them in a subtle way which opens room for discussion and reasoning.
5. If you do have any further questions regarding the application process, check the schools individual admissions policy as these will give further details for waiting lists & how they’re structured etc. If your child has enough points to choose any school but you are unsure as to which grammar school to choose, make sure you have done as much research into each as possible. Consider the distance the grammar school is from your home, as they will need to travel this journey every day. You should also look at what specialism the grammar school offers (e.g. is there a focus on football/science/rugby/music/arts? etc)
(Please note that applications for independent schools require separate forms for each independent school you wish to apply for).
Finally, don’t forget to submit the local authority preference form by the national deadline of 31st October 2021.
We hope that you found the above information helpful. Please feel free to contact our expert tutors for further advice on 0121 733 6558. We will be happy to help.
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