If your son or daughter has just turned 11 or will be turning 11 between now and 31st August, you need to apply for their secondary school place by midnight on Monday 31 October 2017. 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. Some schools also give priority to pupils from feeder primaries, and faith schools may give priority to children who practise their religion.
Grammar schools and some other schools also require pupils to sit an entrance exam or another test or assessment.
Schools may also use other criteria for their selection process. Read the admissions criteria for your preferred school carefully and ensure you explain how you meet it in your application.
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 as well 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
If you aren’t offered the place you are offered, you have the right to appeal. Your local council will provide information about how to do this.
Don’t forget, our Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 tutors are here if you need additional support, especially as they prepare for GCSEs. In our experience, tailored tuition that focuses on a child’s individual interests can help any child become an enthusiastic learner!
Contact your area advisor and find details of tutors in your area by browsing our Locations.