School Admissions Applications Begin – Dont Miss Your Deadline
It's that time of year again to start thinking about school admissions. Many Local Education Authorities (LAs) have started, or are soon to be starting accepting applications for your child's place at school.
Remembering to Apply and Making Applications
It is important to remember that the dates that LAs begin to accept applications can be different, and each LA can have different dates for applications depending on whether it is a primary or secondary school you are applying for. It is important to check exactly what your particular LA has set as their date.
You can apply with a paper application form from your council, or online using your council's application form, but if you apply in the post, remember to be aware of the deadline dates so your information arrives in time. Late applications are often dealt with outside the ‘normal’ round and thus you may lose the opportunity to be considered for popular schools at first instance.
Some parents believe that there is no need to apply if their child's current nursery or school is linked to the school you want them to attend. This is not the case. Even if the schools are linked you must still apply and your child could miss out if you don't.
You should use all the preferences available to you in order to maximise your chances of your child being allocated one of your preferences. You do not gain an advantage by simply naming one school as preference. If that school reaches its published admission number without you child having gained a place and you have not expressed another preference, your child could be allocated any school with available places and that could be a considerable distance from home or not suitable for other reasons.
You should consider in detail the oversubscription criteria especially for popular schools which should be available from your LAs website. When looking at preferences you should ensure that you meet the criteria and that if you want to make a special case to the admission authority, particularly in terms of arguing social or medical need, that you submit detailed information to support your case. If you do not think that you will rank very high in the criteria, consider other options within your area in order to ensure that you are more likely to obtain a school of your preference.
School Admissions Results Dates
Once you have finished your child's applications, all you have left to do is to eagerly wait for to hear about whether your child has got their desired place.
You should find out whether your child has their preferred place on National Offer Day, which is the 16th April 2016 for primary schools, or 1st March 2016 for secondary schools.
If you're Unhappy with the Decision
Increasing numbers of parents are not securing the places they want for their children and are then required to lodge an appeal against the decision. Department for Education (DfE) figures show an 8% rise in the number of appeals, with 54,600 being lodged in the last year.
If you are unhappy with the decision made by the LA, you will need to make an appeal to the Independent Appeals Tribunal. A panel will assess your child's case to see if any errors were made or if the place was unreasonably refused. If things do not go to plan for you next year and your child does not get into the right primary or secondary school, you can get legal support if you decide to make an admissions appeal. Our Education and Community Care solicitors are experts in guiding parents through this process and providing the right support to make a successful appeal.