Wrong school? What to do.

Today is ‘D’ Day’ for many parents with children about to enter primary school in September 2017.  There will be a flurry of excited relief at the pre-school gates, with many parents basking in the fact they have been allocated their first choices.  Some would have whiled away many a Sunday kneeling at a pulpit with the hope of gaining a place at their local religious school. Some may even have moved house to win that coveted place.  For many it is as simple as being on the right street, at the right distance from the school gate, on the right birth date.

For thousands of parents – today will be a day of huge disappointment.  Last year 12% of pupils did not get into their first choice schools.  Our advice would be to not panic! There are a number of things you can do if you do not get your school of choice. We have put a list together of things to think about.

Waiting Lists:  There is a lot of movement up until October and even November so get on the waitlist of the schools you do want.  You can be on the waiting lists for as many schools as you like!   Call them to check where you are on the waitlist and what they think your chances are of getting in. Good luck!

Appeal: You can choose to appeal. This can be an intensive and stressful process so make sure you move quickly and figure out the best way to do it.  It should be clearly laid out in your offer letter but every council varies and non-community schools and academies will most likely require you to appeal directly to the school’s governing board. It is also worth noting that accepting your allocated place will not affect the appeals process.  This might be a safe route to take if you want to be assured of a place in September while you wait for the results.

What to think of if you decide to appeal You can win an appeal in one of two ways: by showing that the school or local council published incorrect admissions rules (i.e it was not obvious a school had rules around going to church) or by demonstrating that the “problems caused to the child by not being admitted would be greater than the problems caused to the school by admitting them”.   Think through carefully why your child should be at a particular school.  Does the school have features or strengths which will be particularly useful for your child?  Does your child have a talent that the school can cater for via a specialism such as drama, IT, sport, languages or art? Does he or she have learning needs which the school could address better than other schools? You should also research the appeals process from previous years to judge success rates and finally take care not to criticise the allocated school – it won’t help.

Keep an open mind: Have you actually seen the school you have been given? We would strongly recommend you visit or revisit the school you have been allocated.  It will confirm or erase any existing prejudices based on local chat or opinion. It will also help your appeal process. You may be wonderfully surprised!

Delay: This is obviously not ideal but you can defer your child’s entry to school until later in the same academic year or until the child reaches compulsory school age. I.e your child does not actually have to start school until the ‘prescribed day’ after they turn 5 years of age. The prescribed days are December 31st, March 31st, and August 31st.

Try again next year? if you still do not get a place you can always send them to the allocated school and apply for a place on Year one or Year two, and move them later.  These in terms of places are also allocated on proximity to the school and obviously relies on someone leaving for a space to open up but it happens a fair amount as people move.

We hope you find this useful and do let us know how you get on!? We will all be finding out today and will be sharing our experiences on Facebook here.

Information & key dates:

Tuesday 18th April 2017: You find out which school you have been allocated.

Tuesday 2 May 2017:  If you want to reject the offer the school you have been given then complete and return the notification slip attached to your offer letter by this date.  You don’t have to do anything if you accept the school offered to your child.

Government Information: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-primary-school-place

Free Advice? http://www.ace-ed.org.uk/about-ace-education?a760dbee-ec7b-45ec-bfa3-0bb6166cfab6

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