Random Selection Batch#

This is the process by which the school randomly select the external applicants that are to be offered a place at the school.


This functionality is only available if your school have the Random Selection functionality enabled. Speak to your account manager to find out more.

The main goals of performing random selection by this process are:

  • To place the maximum number of applicants possible given the available space at the school.

  • To provide an equal chance for each applicant to be placed, thereby removing any bias from the process.

To achieve these goals the random selection process runs the steps a fixed a number of times (currently 100), each run is known as an iteration. Running this number of iterations provides the best chance for process to create a set of offers that place the maximum number of applicants at the school.


The school have no control over which applicants are offered a place.


In the event that multiple iterations place the same number of applicants the one that occurred first (in time) will be used. Schools should make this clear in their admissions policy wherever possible to avoid confusion.


This process is only used for external applicants.

Before generating a new random selection batch you need to ensure the data is correctly configured to allow the process to run successfully. The following must be in place:

  • Available Places

    • You must enter into each Option Block Course mapping the appropriate number of available spaces.

  • Internal Applications

    • You must ensure all internal applications have had their “Likely To Achieve” option reviewed, in order to make the number of available places for externals as accurate as possible.

    • Any internal application with it’s likely to achieve option set to “Yes” will reduce the places available in their selected courses. Specifically their selected configuration will be used to reduce the spaces.

    • All internal applications reduce the places that are available unless they have their likely to achieve option set to “No” or they have a status that signifies a withdrawn application.

  • You should ensure that any application that should reduce the available places does so. This can be done by updating those applications to a status that signifies an offer.

  • You should evenly distribute internal applications as well as any external special cases between the available courses to make the spaces available appear across the option blocks rather than in a single one.


It is a good idea to include in the number of available places a small number of additional places in order to make an over offering to applicants. This helps the school deal with people withdrawing and not achieving their required grades.

Your school should make an assessment on how many (if any) additional places should be added for over offering for each subject bearing in mind that once you make an offer you can’t rescind it.


If the school have a desired way of dealing with internal applications eg. placing them all into Maths in Option Block 1 then you will need to make sure that this is reflected in their course choices on their applications in order for the number of spaces to be reduced in that specific option block and course.

When making offers to applicants with a special case, such as an Education Health and Care Plan you should manually select the correct option blocks and courses that you’re making an offer against and then update their status to one that signifies an offer. Applications that have one of the following criteria are not included in anything to do with the random selection process:

  • The Education Health and Care Plan option set to “Yes”

  • The In Care or Previously In Care option set to “Yes”

  • The Child of Staff Member option set to “Yes”


Because these applications are not part of the random selection process it’s very important that you review that each claim to one is valid and correct any errors before running the random selection process.


As per the School Admissions Code (section 1.6) “All children whose statement of special educational needs (SEN) or Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan15 names the school must be admitted.”


As per the School Admissions Code (section 1.7) “All schools must have oversubscription criteria for each ‘relevant age group’ and the highest priority must be given, unless otherwise provided in this Code, to looked after children16 and all previously looked after children. Previously looked after children are children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted17 (or became subject to a child arrangements order18 or special guardianship order19).”

How It works#

The steps the process takes are laid out below. The process is not intended to be a secret and is designed to be completely random and therefore completely fair to all applicants.

Step 1 - Generate Course Combinations#

An applicant selects 3 courses within 3 option blocks. Due to the fact that (in most cases) there are many potential ways they could have selected the courses and option blocks we don’t restrict the offer of a place to the combination they selected on the application.

The first thing we do is to create all possible combinations of the selected courses that are valid. This is used later in the process to offer a place if the selected courses are valid.

This means for each applicant we might end up with multiple different ways they could have chosen the courses they are applying for.

Step 2 - Randomly Select Applicants#

We put all applicants into a pot and select at random an applicant to have their course choices tested.

Step 3 - Test Course Choices#

The applicants course choices are then tested using the combinations generated in step 1. Each combination is assigned a score. This is calculated based on the summed number of places available in the courses of that combination. The combinations are then tested in order from highest score (most places) to lowest score (fewest places). This provides the best possible chance for future applicants to be placed. Without this it would be possible for one option blocks course to fill up immediately ruling out future applicants with that course selected.


This means that if there is any possible way that the selected courses can be studied by the applicant they will be offered a place. If all possible ways for the courses to be studied do not have spaces available then the applicant will not be offered a place.

Steps 2 and 3 are repeated for every single applicant in the batch, meaning every applicant gets all of their possible combinations tested on every iteration*.

*Once an applicant combination successfully passes the checks and is marked to be offered a place, no more of their combinations are tested.

Step 4 - Results#

The results can be seen by staff at the school (with permission) by navigating to the View / Edit option under the Random Selection Batch menu option. The iteration that places the highest number of applicants will be used as the iteration that offers are made from. In the event of multiple iterations placing the same number of applicants, the first iteration (in time) will be used.


The successful iteration is the only one you will be able to make offers from and will automatically be marked as the “Best in Batch”.


The successful iteration is the only one combinations data is saved from. Data such as the applicants sequence and remaining places is stored for each batch but the combinations test data is only stored for the best iteration as that’s the only place it’s needed.


Calculating Available Spaces#

The following rules are used to calculate the spaces that are available within each option block course mapping for a given batch.

The following scenario will be used to illustrate more clearly.

Biology in Option Block 1 will be the option block course, it has 20 spaces configured.

There were the following applications for the biology class:

  • Internal Applications - 6

    • Internal Likely to Achieve Applications - 5

    • Internal Unlikely to Achieve Applications - 1

  • External Applications - 24

    • External Special Case Applications - 2

    • Standard External Applications - 22

To calculate the number of available places that should be used within this batch the following formula is used:

20 (total places) - 5 (internal likely to achieve) - 2 (external special case) = 13 (places available for external applicants)

When the batch runs, it may determine that only 12 places can be filled. This would result in the following class size.

12 (standard external applicants) + 2 (special case external applicants) + 5 (internal likely to achieve) = 19 (total class size)

This calculation is performed on all configured option block courses to provide the process with it’s number of available places.

Generating a Batch#

To generate a new batch click the Create option from the Random Selection Batch section of the side menu. Once on the create page you’ll need to select the statuses that applications to be included could be at and then click the Generate Batch button.


Before creating a random selection batch you should prepare the internal applications to provide the best possible configuration to maximise the number of external applicants that can be offered a place. Our recommendation would be to evenly distribute the internal applicants between each of the available classes.

You should also evenly distribute the external special case applications.

For example if you have 9 internal applicants applying for Biology and you offer it in 3 option blocks, you should update their applications so that 3 of them have selected each of the 3 Biology classes. This would reduce the space available in each Biology course by 3 instead of within a single course by 9.

Once the batch is generated it’s added to a queue for processing by our servers and you’ll be taken to the edit batch screen to see the details. The processing can take a few minutes to complete, so please check back in a few minutes to review the progress.

Random Selection Batch Results#

You can view a batches progress and detailed information by navigating to the View / Edit option from the Random Selection Batch section in the side menu. You will be asked to select an academic year to view batches for.

Once selected the batches that have been created for that academic year will be shown. The table contains the batches ID number, Generation time, if it was used to make offers and its status.

To view more detailed information about the batch, click the checkbox next to the corresponding row and click the edit icon in the tables action bar. This will open the batches edit view.

Here you can see the details of the individual iterations within this batch including the iterations ID number, the time the iteration started and finished, the number of successful applications, the number of course places and the status of the iteration.

You can view additional information about a specific iteration by selecting the corresponding checkbox and selecting either View Course Places or View Sequence on the tables action bar.


If the selected iteration is the “Best in Batch” (meaning the one that would be used to make offers) it will be highlighted green in the table of iterations.

Course Places#

To view the iterations course places, select the corresponding checkbox and then click the View Course Places option on the tables action bar.

This shows details of each course, the number of places used out of the total, the places remaining and if full the time at which it became full.


This screen shows the total number of places available to external applicants only. Therefore you should not expect these numbers to match the total number of places available within each option block course.

The number of places available in an option block course is calculated by subtracting the number of internal applicants that have the likely to achieve option set to YES and that have selected that course from the total entered when creating the batch. The resulting number is what you see displayed in this section.

You can view a summary of what class sizes might look like by clicking the View Potential Class Sizes button.

This shows a breakdown of how the class sizes are made up including the following figures:

  • The Name of the Course and Option Block.

  • The number of internal applications that have either been already offered a place or not yet withdrawn. This consists of the internal applications marked as likely to achieve and any internal application at a status that signifies offer (regardless of what their likely to achieve flag is set to).

  • The number of external special case applications.

  • The number of standard external applications that are already at a status that signifies offer.

  • The number of successful external applications that this iteration places and the total maximum that were available within this iteration.

  • The number of places that would be filled should this model be used and the total maximum number configured against that option block course.


These figures are only estimates and not a guarantee of any number of students in classes. Due to the fact that applicants may withdraw or not achieve their minimum grades to be offered a place.

It is however a good indication of the potential position.


You can download the data that is displayed using the download option from the tables action bar.


To view the iterations sequence information, click the View Sequence option.

This shows the position in which each applicant was randomly selected and tested for being offered a place within the iteration. Should you wish to view the combinations that were tested for that applicant you can do so by selecting the corresponding applicants checkbox and clicking the open icon on the tables action bar.

This opens the combinations in a pop up window for you to view.


The combinations data is only available for the iteration marked as “Best in Batch”.

Using a Random Selection Batch to Make Offers#

You can use a random selection batch to update the statuses of the applications that were successful and unsuccessful thereby making offers.


You can only use the most recent batch to make offers from. This helps maintain the integrity of the process, for example preventing the school from selecting a batch that was run in the past because a particular student got a place.

If the batch can be used to make offers a message and button will be visible under the header information of the batch.

Upon clicking of this button you’ll be taken to the use batch screen. Here you can enter the required information allowing you to customise the statuses and messages that are applied to applications that are both successful and unsuccessful.

Once you’ve completed the form, click the Use This Batch button. This will process the best iteration in the batch, updating the successful and unsuccessful applications accordingly as per your selections.


The batch is added to a queue for processing so check back to the batch in a few minutes to review its progress and address any errors that occurred in processing.

The update process also updates their course choices to match those that are in the iteration being used. This allows for space in course to be correctly maintained moving forward. It enables future random selection batches to keep accurate values for the available places in each option block course mapping.

When the updates have been queued, you’ll be taken straight to the edit random selection batch page to view the batches details. Here you will see the current processing status of the batch. While the batch is in the queue for processing you’ll see a batch status of “Processing Offers” letting you know that it hasn’t completed yet.

Once the processing is complete the status will be updated to “Offers Processed” and should there be any errors during the process a banner will be displayed informing you there were errors that need attention.


To provide a user with access to this functionality you should apply the following permissions.

  • Create Random Selection Batches

  • Use Random Selection Batches

  • View Random Selection Batches