If your little girl or boy will be turning 4 between 1st September and 31st August, you’ll soon have to apply for their primary school place! Here’s what you need to know.
Schools in your area
Not sure where you would like your child to attend? Information about state and independent schools can be found with the government’s Find a School tool (including Ofsted reports and performance scores and stats). Enter your postcode to find out about schools near you.
Your local council will also provide information about schools in your area. Councils usually publish directories of their schools and guidance about their particular admission arrangements for the following year in the first two weeks of September.
We wouldn’t recommend basing your decision about the best school for your child on Oftsed reports and performance scores alone. Each child is an individual and what may be best for one may not be ideal for another.
Draw up a longlist of schools and then find out about open days and opportunities to visit so that you can get a true feel for all the schools you are considering. Schools can change a lot between Ofsted reports and only you know which school will give your child the best experience and outcomes. Spend time talking to teachers and parents with children at the school – then go with your gut instinct.
Of course, saying that – if you discover the school you love is regularly oversubscribed, you may also need a Plan B.
If you’re applying to state schools, make sure you read your council’s guidelines for how places are allocated when the number of applications is greater than the number available (i.e. the Published Admission Number [PAN]).
Schools usually give priority to children in care or being looked after, children with older siblings at the school and those in the catchment area that live the closest. Faith schools also give priority to children who practise their religion.
If your child has Special Educational Needs and their SEN statement or an education, health and care plan recommends a school for them, that school must also give that child a place by law.
Allow plenty of time to visit all the schools in your area so you can also make informed second and third choices.
Independent schools have their own individual admission criteria, and will be happy to provide all the information you need.
The appeal process
In areas where popular schools are regularly oversubscribed, some parents find all their choices are refused and a place is allocated at a school they hadn’t even considered. If you’re unhappy with the place you are offered, you have the right to appeal. Your local council will provide information about how to do this.
If you’ve decided to home educate your child, admission criteria and PANs won’t concern you. Instead you’ll be busying yourself with lesson plans and home-schooling arrangements. You do not have to inform anyone but your local council may request you advise them. Once your child is 5, your council may make an ‘informal enquiry’ to check you are providing a suitable full-time education.
Good luck to all parents making decisions for their little ones. Don’t forget, our preschool tutors and primary school tutors are here if you ever need any additional support or would like to widen their education experience! Tailored tuition that focuses on a child’s individual interests can help any child become an enthusiastic learners!
Contact your area advisor and find details of tutors in your area by browsing our Locations.