Disappointment on National Offer Day


It has been a day we have been equally dreading / looking forward since last October when we submitted Isaac’s secondary school choices.

Like all good parents, we trawled around half a dozen of our local schools, attended head teacher talks and got a feel for his preferred choices. For Isaac, there was one school that stood out head and shoulders above the rest and he has had his heart set on attending this school ever since.

He completed the entrance “banding” test and I filled out the required forms, putting his chosen school as his 1st choice and a begrudging 2nd and 3rd choice, as required by our local authority.

On 1st March at 10am, we finally got to which school Isaac had been allocated……..it wasn’t our 1st choice, or even our 2nd.

I have to admit I was devastated and worried about how I was going to break the news to Isaac. The school we were allocated is our closest one, but also one that I feel failed his older brother and has also recently entered special measures.

Isaac didn’t take the news well at first and it is hard seeing your child so disappointed, but having spoken to his friends and discovering 50% of his class will also be going to his allocated school, he seems more positive about it now.

We have taken advice about what to do next and are hopeful that things might change as we have appealed the decision, but are also prepared that Isaac may not be going to his first choice school.

What to do if you don’t get the school you wantS

  1. Keep calm and even if you’re feeling devastated, don’t let your child pick up on your worries and stress.
  2. Accept the school place you have been offered, you can always decline the offer at a later date.
  3. Ask to go on the waiting list for your school of choice. Places can come up all the way up to the beginning of term.
  4. Appeal the decision. Each school is different, so check the procedures on their website and make sure you have a solid reason for appealing before you start the process and ensure it is done within the correct timeframe.
  5. Look into other schools, visit them and speak to other parents who send their children there.

From having three older children, I know that secondary school isn’t all plain sailing, however, the kids get out of school what they put in and will do well if they work hard, which I am confident Isaac will do.

Did you get the school your child wanted on National Offer Day?

17 thoughts on “Disappointment on National Offer Day

  1. Jenni says:

    I hope the appeal works in your favour. We are waiting to hear about primary place next month x

  2. Lauretta says:

    I’m sorry to hear about what happened but I’m sure keeping an open mind and a positive mindset about what other schools has to offer will be good. Reaching out to other parents who send their children there will dedinitely help.

  3. It’s so difficult when they don’t get the school that they were hoping for. I think that I would certainly appeal the decision, the worst they can say is no.

  4. From my experience as a child (many many years ago) I was given a secondary school that wasn’t even in my top 3 – because my brother had gone there a few years earlier. The whole looking round schools seemed a waste of time as history dictated where I was going, whether I liked it or not. With my two children, both of which are in an extended secondary school (you go up in year 5) there was only one school we wanted, so we only put that option down. No 2nd, 3rd choice. Both children got in. The school has falling into ‘requires improvement’ after a badly timed OFSTED, but my children are thriving. I wouldn’t read too much into the rankings, but more how they are working to improve. My children’s lower school was outstanding, but it’s nowhere near as good as their new school

  5. Louise says:

    When I applied for both my kids primary school and secondary school places I just put the one school down that I wanted them to go to. No one ever told me I HAD to fill in the second and third choice boxes so I just left them blank. I think it really helps when you have your heart set on one particular school.

    Louise x

  6. Kira says:

    Oh what a shame he didn’t get first choice . Keep positive , I’m sure the school he goes to will be fab x

  7. Laura Dove says:

    My youngest didn’t get his first choice of primary school and we had 7 years of switching schools and waiting on waiting lists. It was a nightmare!

  8. I know how stressful it can be when it comes to picking schools. I was so stressed when picking primary schools for my twins. It is hard when you don’t get the school you want.
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  9. Anosa says:

    This happened to my nephew, the school his parents wanted him to attend which he liked too wasn’t given to him and a few of his friends. They couldn’t appeal but others did and were successful.
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  10. Afshan Nasim says:

    Seems really unfair not to get the place your son wanted. Same thing happened to us, but in the end the school my son goes to now is better than our first choice.
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  11. You’ve offered some really good advice here. I can imagine it being such a distressing time xxx

  12. I’m so sorry he didn’t get his first choice. It’s really hard when you don’t get your first choice. I think this is great advice for starting the appeal process and seeing if you can change the result
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  13. The whole school process is very stressful! I felt sick waiting to know which infant school my daughter was going to get, we had chosen a school out of catchment. I am not looking forward to going through it all again with secondary school. Good Luck!

  14. I remember how stressed my parents were when I was younger and I am dreading this in a couple of years. I can only begin to imagine how disappointed you are. We’ve actually got a major hoohah going on in our area right now – there’s a new school being built but they aren’t sure if it will be finished by September so those who applied for that school have been given it AND another school in case it isn’t finished – and 180 others haven’t even been given a school!! It is a total and utter shambles, I think the whole system needs an overhaul tbh.

  15. Kelly says:

    My little one goes to a private school and because kindergarten incorporates ages 3-6, thankfully we were spared this whole offer system. (Where I’m from in Canada there was one local school and that’s where you went!) I have to admit I don’t entirely understand the school system here but I do know the stress and anxiety the offer system causes my friends seems awful. I’m sure you’ve made the best choice possible.

  16. Sarah says:

    I cant imagine how stressful this must be for you all. I know my siblings had to fight to go to the same school when they were younger as we had moved house, but they didn’t want to be at separate schools! I’m lucky my eldest daughter did get in to our first choice, fingers crossed my boy does too this year!

  17. stephanie says:

    I can’t imagine how stressful and nerve wracking this must be – I was lucky, I got my first choice as a child, but I know my parents had to really fight to get me into that school x

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