What to do on the waiting list
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.