Applying for a school place – myth busters

Small children running across a school yard

Are you applying for a school place for your child? If so here are some myth busters to help you with your application.

Listing only one preference increases your chance of getting into that school - False!

The school won't know that you have only put one preference down as they can't see what order you have listed them on your application. Putting only one preference limits your options.

Applying for more than one school weakens your chances of getting a place at your preferred school - False!

If we can offer a place at your first preference school we will do, regardless of your other choices and how many you have put on your application.

You should name the school you are most likely to get into as your first preference school because you have less chance of getting your second or third choice - False!

You should list the schools in the order you would want to be offered, putting your most preferred school as your first choice. Schools don't see whether you have put them as first, second or third place, so they can't 'rank' the applications based on this.

Naming schools that you are very unlikely to get as your second and third preferences will increase your chances of getting your first preference school - False!

The other schools you applied for are not considered when deciding who to offer places to. Each of your school preferences are looked at on an individual basis.

Naming the same school for all three preferences will mean they will have to offer me that school - False!

If you do this, we would ignore your second and third preferences, and you are limiting your options. Therefore, if the only school you listed as a preference can't offer a place, we would offer the nearest school to your home address that still has places at that point in time.

 Applying at the start of the application round when it first opens gives you more chance of getting the school that you want - False!

As long as you apply by the given deadline, all applications received by the deadline will be considered at the same time by schools.

Applying for your nearest school means you will be automatically offered a place there - False!

You cannot be 100% guaranteed a place at your nearest school, as it will depend where in the county you live and how far you are from your nearest schools along with other factors such as whether it is oversubscribed with applicants that might live closer, have siblings or other criteria in the school's admissions policy.

Priority is given to those who put the school as their first choice - False!

The order in which you list the schools is only used if you could be offered a place at more than one school. In this case, you would be offered whichever of those schools was highest on your application form. Schools themselves can't see what order you have listed them on your application.

Some schools will only take children based on what their parents do for a living or how clever they are - False!  

There are Grammar schools in Lincolnshire where your child does need to have passed the 11+ exam in order to gain a place, but for all other schools, they take children of all abilities.

Having gained admission for one child at a school guarantees a younger child will be admitted - False!

If the school is oversubscribed at the time of application of a younger sibling, it would depend on how the school prioritise their applications (their oversubscription criteria). Not all schools have 'siblings' as an oversubscription criterion, although most do.

Be realistic

Do not use all three preferences on schools that are unlikely to be able to offer your child a place. Have at least one school as a “safety net” where you are most likely to be offered a place. 

Published: 7th October 2021