Filling in the secondary school application form

School viewings are coming to a close and there are fewer than two weeks left to fill in the application form.

Your child will want to have an input into their choice of school. will explain to them how to make a good decision. This should strengthen your bargaining position – they’ll understand why they can’t necessarily go to the same school as their friends.

Tips for filling in the form together:

Each of you write down and honest list of preferences, regardless of what you think you’ll actually get.

Compare your lists. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Now write down which schools you’re actually likely to get. This may well come down to two schools out of six spaces on the form. It’s very important that you put these schools in order of your preference even if it’s a least bad scenario. You might put them 5th and 6th on your form – that’s okay – just make sure at least one guaranteed school is on there or you could end up with nothing.

Now fill up the top of the list with what you really want. Here’s where you may be able to allow your child to express a degree of preference with your guidance. You might end up with something like this:

School No. 1 My child is a genius/maybe I can arrange a brain transplant/I’m the Archbishop of Canterbury
School No. 2 What the heck we might get lucky
School No. 3 A bit far but could get in on the waiting list
School No. 4 Might just have squeezed in last year
School No. 5 Fall back school
School No. 6 Over my dead body I’m just filling up the form

For guidance on using schools data to compare schools visit

Good luck!

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School Buildings

Open evening viewings are well underway. If you’ve seen a school in the evening, do make sure you take the chance to look around during the day.

There’s been a lot in the news this week about school buildings. In order to save money on forthcoming buildings the government has put forward measures such as constructing them with narrower corridors and smaller canteens. It’s true that many schools built over the last few years could have been constructed more cost effectively with less impressive but good designs. Allowing for the fact that many schools are adapted to accommodate existing buildings it would still have been less expensive to build schools using architectural design templates.

However, many heads disagree with some of the changes that are being proposed. They argue that wider corridors allow for more orderly movement of pupils around the school and that bigger dining halls encourage more take-up of nutritious school meals.
Better school buildings definitely improve the learning environment. If you are looking at a newly built or renovated school it’s a plus.

However, be careful not to dismiss a school because its buildings are shabby. Many missed out on funding.
Weigh up everything you know about the schools. Remember that teaching and learning, staff, pupil wellbeing and opportunities are what make a good learning environment.
Find out about looking around schools at:

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Types of schools

Make sure at this point that you understand the entry criteria for each school you’re interested in. If your child’s sings like a shovel being scraped down the pavement then full bursary at St Paul’s Cathedral School might be looking like an outside chance at this point. However, consider all options – did you know for example that a lot of faith schools accept other pupils as well? To find out more go to:

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