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07-10-2009, 14:25   #1
banjobongo
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Common Application System (CAS) for entering secondary schools in Limerick

My child will be entering secondary school next year. As all parents in this situation are aware, the Common Application System (CAS) coordinates all the entries for the schools in Limerick.
As far as I understand it, the parents/child rank their choice of schools and then depending on how full the schools are, they accept the child into their school in this choice of order.
Some questions:
1/I can’t find anything about this organisation, I have googled and found nothing on the web - highly secretive group?
2/If this system worked perfectly (i.e. online realtime intranet), when the first choice school decides to reject a child, the second choice school should IMMEDIATELY be made aware so that if there are still places left in the second choice school that the child can still get into their second choice school, and so on down the list.
However we don’t live in the ideal world and my understanding of how this system works is that a delay of a few weeks can happen between before the first choice school rejects a child and the second choice school is made aware of this.
Of course in this situation, by the time the second choice school is notified, there are no places left, ditto for school choices number 3, 4 and probably 5! - So in the real world if the child does not get their first choice of school, they will probably be offered their 5th 6th or 7th choice of school!
So I am nervous that if my child does not get their first choice of school, that they wont get their second, third or forth choice either....Im not just nervous, Im really worried about this!
Am I correct in this opinion (which I freely admit is based on nothing more than talking to other parents)?
->Nobody official seems able to clarify this matter to me, and I for one would be much happier if this system was transparent, efficient and most of all quick!
->no website (that I can find anyway) which clearly lays out the procedure, and states how quickly the system moves down the choice of schools.
->if you add in the fact that this year there will be a big increase in the intake of pupils this year, there will be a lot of unhappy children and parents this year that wont get their choice of school!
Any feedback on this from other boardies/parents/officials etc would me MOST welcome!
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07-10-2009, 15:46   #2
oh well
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We went through this system the first year it was introduced. It is under the direction of the Education Office which is located in the Parkway Shopping Centre (the entrance to offices faces onto the Dublin Road side). All the schools on the application form have signed up to the system. You return the application form the your first choice school before the closing date. All schools use the one closing date. If you don't get a place in your first choice school, the application form is forwarded by that school on to the Education Office. They are then responsible for forwarding it to the second school. As you quite rightly point out, in a lot of cases your first choice school will however be full with its own first choice pupils. The form is then returned to the Education Office and so on down the line. If your chosen school is a popular one that will be oversubscribed, if you don't get a 1st choice offer, then your chances of getting 2/3/4 could be slim if they are oversubscribed too.

The letters of acceptance are all sent out to the pupils on the one day. On that day you could conceviably receive up to 8 or 9 rejection letters and one acceptance - ie you've then got your 10th choice school. What this does to the morale and confidence of a young person is totally unacceptable at this age. In the first year of the system, it happened that 80 children received NO school offer at all. As you can imagine, the ensuing uproar was very loud and public meetings followed. All the children eventually got placed in a school but many of them in schools far down their list or in areas right across town from where they live with no transport avail. You now have to list all relevant schools on your application form (it was originally only 6 schools I think).

The literature you receive from prospective secondary schools should include the processing dates - ie closing date of applications, date offers sent out, date of acceptance, etc.

Each school must have an enrolment policy which they have to adhere to. The policy differs for all schools. Some will give first choice to siblings of current/past pupils, children of past pupils, children of a catchment area, feeder schools, etc. Check to see if you qualify under any of these for your chosen school, if you do fill the criteria, then you'd have a right of entry to your school. If you go to the open nights you should be able to get all the details of the system in place and the enrolment policy for your chosen schools.

The one important thing for the secondary schools is that they have to follow their enrolment policies to the letter. If you don't get a place in your 1st choice school and you think that the school didn't follow its policy, you can take an appeal to the Dept of Education (a Section 29) appeal. However, these are hard to win as, after the fiasco of the first year of the system, schools have tightened up their systems in place and have even had legal representation to help them draw up their policies.

So, hope that answers some of your questions. I don't agree with the system as it places an incredible amount of stress on the children. Having gone through it in the first year (and eventually getting a satisfactory outcome for my child) I'm have to say its one of the worst things I ever went through with my children. What system would be better is debatable though? Best of luck
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07-10-2009, 16:32   #3
banjobongo
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thanks for that! - I suppose my main query here is that I feel that the systel moves too slowly. I fear that a situation could and will arrive where if a child was not offered their first choice school, but at that time there are free spaces still available in the second choice school, but by the time the first choice school gets around to forwarding on the details the free spaces in 2nd (and 3rd and 4th) schools are all gone.
If there was an immediate update when a school rejects a child this would be much better, but again, I dont know if this happens, my guess is that the school can take anywhere from 2 - 3 weeks before they update the next choice school....
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07-10-2009, 22:02   #4
 
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Hi Guys, will be going through this process next year for my young fella, does the application rely on exam result and/or extra curricular sports music etc... we have no history in Limerick although my kids are born and bred here so no past pupil ties
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07-10-2009, 22:54   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musha View Post
Hi Guys, will be going through this process next year for my young fella, does the application rely on exam result and/or extra curricular sports music etc... we have no history in Limerick although my kids are born and bred here so no past pupil ties
No, your application does not depend on any of that. You are no longer allowed to discriminate against a child for a place in a school based on exam results. Schools may chose to have a child sit an exam AFTER being accepted, but this is usually only to get an idea of the ability and level, especially if the school streams it's pupils.

Quote:
Originally Posted by banjobongo View Post
thanks for that! - I suppose my main query here is that I feel that the systel moves too slowly. I fear that a situation could and will arrive where if a child was not offered their first choice school, but at that time there are free spaces still available in the second choice school, but by the time the first choice school gets around to forwarding on the details the free spaces in 2nd (and 3rd and 4th) schools are all gone.
If there was an immediate update when a school rejects a child this would be much better, but again, I dont know if this happens, my guess is that the school can take anywhere from 2 - 3 weeks before they update the next choice school....
One area where a number of people make mistakes is that they choose a school where (a) they don't have a right of entry or (B) where the number of people with a right of entry exceeds the intake of the school. This can then mean getting a number of refusals before finally getting a place. It is VERY important to think through your choice logically and to make an informed decision which will more than likely result in getting a place early on in the process. If your child has a right of entry to a specific school, then I would STRONGLY urge you to make that school your first choice. This is the school which will provide you with your best chance. If you put it as, say your 4th choice, the first three schools are under no obligation to take you in, which means that if you get as far as the 4th round, you may then find that your "right of entry" school is full up - where does that leave you? Just to warn you, last year, a number of schools attained their intended intake of students in round 1!!

I know that the system has it's faults, but consider the situation that existed previously - every school held a seperate entrance exam. The results in this and your eligibility for acceptance determined whether you got a place or not. The difficulty arose because each schools exam was held on different days, sometimes spread over a month or two. Successful students who had been offered places in schools then held off accepting a place in a second level school until they found out how they did in each entrance exam in which they sat. This resulted in students "sitting" on places which they did not always intend on taking up. You could have had students being accepted in a number of schools and waiting until the last minute to decide whether to accept a place or not. As a school, you might have agreed to accept 150 new students into 1st year and when the deadline for acceptance came, you might find that only, say 120, actually accepted the offer.

Last edited by Dirac; 07-10-2009 at 23:05.
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08-10-2009, 09:31   #6
oh well
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I wouldn't necessarily agree that you should put your right of entry school as your no. 1. In many cases, the right of entry school might not suit your child at all for a great variety of reasons - it might be co-ed and you want single sex (or vice versa), it might be miles away from your home making travelling difficult and tiring, or might be english or gaelcolaiste, might not just be the right `feel' for you and your child, etc. I'd recommend you take your child into account in the decision, take them to the open days, talk to current teacher and talk to your child. If your chosen school is then not your right of entry, I'd recommend you put it at no. 1. Every school has a significant number of places avail to students without right of entry. The school one of my kids chose would not have been a place I'd have thought of at all, we went to open day, were happy to go along with the choice. We had no right of entry to that school (but had to another school which child had absolutely no interest in). Child is now so happy in chosen school I'm positive we took the chance and put that school as No. 1. By taking our `right of entry' school we would not have done the right thing by our child. Our second child took their `right of entry' school and is more than happy there. All kids are different - and alot of them are focused already at this age and more or less know what they want from a school or for a career.

There is a second round of offers in the system too - and even the heavily subscribed schools have in recent years found a place or 2 for children who didn't get a place in the first round offers. You are taking a chance with whatever you put on the form but also remember that no matter what school you decide on, and what school you get an offer of, every year there are one or two in each school who change schools in 2nd year for vast variety of reasons.
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08-10-2009, 12:09   #7
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Hi OP,

I think if you have concerns then maybe speak to the principal of the school of first choice or ring the education centre. From experience I wouldnt listen to what other parents/friends etc are saying. Go direct and find out the facts
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08-10-2009, 14:17   #8
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This systme was operated unofficially as far back as 10 yers ago. I remember having to fill one in. I got my first choice because my dad went to the school and I had a number of cousins in the school at the time I applied. Those are factors that will positively affect the application. There are no negative factors.

Each school will have an admissions policy, so ask for the policy of the ones your son is interested in. Some may be on the schools' websites.
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08-10-2009, 17:01   #9
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OP, The secondary schools are running their open days at the moment. You should have received a list from your child's primary school and the dates / times were also advertised in the local papers recently. You should also have received the application form from the primary school but these are also available at the open days.
You will need to nominate 9 schools from the list in order of preference. If you have right of entry to one of the schools on the list, you must nominate this school as first choice if you want to exercise this right of entry.
I also have a child going through this process and it is a very worrying time. If you pick a very desirable school as first choice and do not get it, you could end up with 8th or 9th choice. Even picking 9 schools from the list is difficult if you exclude Irish schools, Villiers (€3300 / year) and the schools in Croom and Pallaskenry.
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08-10-2009, 17:08   #10
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thanks db! and other posters....
I am of course well aware of the open days and am going to them all. My query was, and still is, how quickly does the first choice school advise the 2nd choice school, once they have decided not to offer the child a place? Is there a minimum length of time for this process to take place, and if so, how long? Or is there no minimum length, is it just to the individual school?
My fear is that while the first choice school is hmming and hawing the 2nd choice school is filling up their open places, and by the time the first choice school rejects and advises the 2nd choice school, that the places are all gone, and so on, all down the line.
If the schools ranked 2, 3 and 4 all operate to the same timeframe, then there is no point really in having this system, as in most cases, if you are rejected by your first choice school, you will then move straight onto school choice number 5 or 6.
This is the core of my query, and nobody seems to know how quickly the schools pass on this information and how quickly the schools react to this information....
worrying times for us all....
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08-10-2009, 18:18   #11
oh well
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all the schools operate to the same date for closing date of applications. All schools then send their list of 1st choice pupils to the Education Office by a certain date. The Education Office co-ordinates all the dates - they are usually printed on the application form or school literature. They ensure that by the date of posting out the letters of offer, no pupil is left without a school. You are correct in that your 2nd choice school could be full by the time your form is rejected by your 1st choice - that is the chance everyone has to take. It happens every single year since this system commenced, and children across the city are given their last choice school - a school which they wouldn't ordinarily even have applied for other than that they had to complete all the boxes.

The Education Office get lists of 6th class pupils from the city and feeder county primary schools and ensures that every child has an application completed. The child's PPS number is on the application form and every year it throws up people completing two application forms using different addresses trying to beat the system and better their chances of a place in choice schools.

You should ring the regional offices of Dept of Ed and Science in Rosbrien(061) 430000 and ask them to clarify answers to all your questions. I'm not an employee of any school or the Dept - just a parent who has gone through the system, saw the trauma it left on children who got no offers of a school place (a sure fire way of destroying a child's confidence in themselves when they think no one wants them), and wouldn't wish it on anyone.

At the end of the day you have to make a choice, there's no harm in aiming for the best for your child but you must be realistic too and remember that if you don't have a right of entry, or choose not to take up a right of entry, you are at the mercy of the system. In our case it was a traumatic 4 months for the whole family - not just the child who was seeking a school place but the siblings too.

Best of luck.
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08-10-2009, 21:55   #12
ninty9er
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What is your first choice school. We might be able to give a better idea on the chances knowing the school.
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09-10-2009, 09:35   #13
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Castletroy College. We are NOT in their catchment area, dont have any siblings there, ie we have no right of entry.
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09-10-2009, 12:25   #14
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CCO

Coláiste Chiaráin ftw: http://www.cco.ie
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09-10-2009, 18:24   #15
 
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Does it also include County schools or just the city schools?
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