What to do on the wait­ing list

The Jewish Chronicle - - EDUCATION - BY RABBI DAVID MEYER

IF YOUR child hasn’t got a place at the school you want, here’s what to do next. A fuller ver­sion of this ar­ti­cle ap­pears on­line at www.thejc.com/education

Who makes the de­ci­sions?

The for­mal of­fer of a place comes from your lo­cal au­thor­ity. The school sets the ad­mis­sions pol­icy and con­firms which ap­pli­cants have sat­is­fied the Jewish prac­tice cri­te­ria, but plays no part in the se­lec­tion process. Nor do schools know where par­ents have put them on their list of pref­er­ences.

I’ve heard about sev­eral “rounds” of of­fers. What does that mean?

Af­ter of­fers are made on March 1, there is al­ways some move­ment. Some fam­i­lies de­cide to go to pri­vate schools, or go abroad, or move house, which frees up the place they were al­lo­cated. This place can then be of­fered to some­one who put the school as their first pref­er­ence but who was al­lo­cated their sec­ond­choice school. This, in turn, means there is a space at the sec­ond-choice school that can be of­fered to some­one who put this school as their first pref­er­ence but was al­lo­cated an­other school.

Al­most 100 places at JCoSS, JFS and Yavneh were of­fered af­ter the first round last year. It is also im­por­tant to note that this year JCoSS is of­fer­ing a bulge class which means 30 more of­fers will be made in the first round, which should take off a lot of the ad­mis­sions pres­sure. JFS will then wait un­til af­ter this first round of of­fers to see if there is de­mand to jus­tify a fur­ther class.

When are the rounds?

Schools tend to make a fresh round of of­fers ev­ery few weeks, if there are places to of­fer; how­ever, this varies be­tween lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. If the of­fer you re­ceive is from a school you put lower down your list, your child’s name can re­main on the wait­ing list of your first choice of school au­to­mat­i­cally.

How does the wait­ing list work?

The schools and their lo­cal au­thor­i­ties main­tain a wait­ing list for places that be­come avail­able af­ter March 1. The first round of of­fers have to be ac­cepted or re­jected by March 15. When the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties re­ceive this in­for­ma­tion, they up­date each child’s sta­tus on their sys­tem. Each school cross-checks their list of avail­able places with their lo­cal au­thor­ity and then of­fers places ac­cord­ing to the school’s ad­mis­sions pol­icy to those on the wait­ing list. If your child’s name is not se­lected, it will re­main on a school’s wait­ing list into Septem­ber un­less you tell the school oth­er­wise.

Schools will usu­ally try to up­date you from time to time on the sta­tus of the wait­ing list. If you ac­cept an of­fer, your child can still re­main on the wait­ing list for a higher-pref­er­ence school.

Why do some peo­ple who put a par­tic­u­lar sec­ondary school sec­ond get places ahead of peo­ple who put it first?

The sys­tem gives your child a place at the high­est school on your list that has a place. If your first-pref­er­ence school can­not of­fer a place, the com­puter au­to­mat­i­cally treats the next high­est school on your list as your first pref­er­ence, and tries again there.

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