Sunday 15 January 2017 is the deadline for primary school applications, so if you haven't already done so, you need to take action quickly. Your chances of getting the place you want for your child are greatly reduced if you miss the deadline.
How do I apply?
Applications for places at state primary schools may be made online or via a printed application form which you can obtain from your local council. The admissions process for all the schools in your area is then managed by your Local Authority.
For a list of all of the schools that are closest to you, you should visit the government website (gov.uk) and search for the page entitled Apply For A Primary School. On entering your postcode, you will then be taken to the admissions page of your local council, where you can peruse the school choices in your catchment area. Then you are advised to apply for your three favourite schools, in order of preference. You will be sent a confirmation email once your application is received.
Every school has a specific admissions criteria which help them decide which children are allocated places. These tend to differ slightly from school to school and information regarding these criteria is available from your local council.
What do I do if I miss the deadline?
If you happen to miss the application deadline, you should get in touch with the admissions team of your local council as soon as you possibly can and file a request for a late application. Late applications will be processed only when the first batch of places has been allocated to applicants who met the deadline.
What this means is that it is unlikely that you will hear about your application until May or June 2017. In this case, it is highly unlikely that your child will be awarded a place at your number one choice of school, particularly if it's a popular or over-subscribed school. If you meet the deadline, however, you will find out where your child has been accepted on 16 April 2017.
Can I appeal the decision?
Along with your letter of notification, you will receive details of how to appeal if you are not happy with the decision. On receipt of your appeal, you will be allocated a time for a hearing, where you will appear before a panel of between three and five people. This wholly independent panel will be given all the information regarding the school's decision and will listen to your side of the story before deciding whether the school’s decision has been made properly, and whether or not you have been treated fairly.
It is very important that you prepare for your hearing as the decision of the panel will be legally binding. You should focus on why your choice of school is the right one, highlighting medical or logistical reasons if there are any, and collecting relevant evidence to support your case.
If you require help securing the right place for your child and are not quite sure how to proceed, Match Solicitors can help. We have a team of expert education lawyers who have a great deal of experience in helping parents achieve the best possible outcome for their children.