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School Applications - Using All Of Your Choices

With the deadline for primary and secondary school applications fast approaching; we visit the fourth in a series of five articles where Sophie Britten, a trainee solicitor in the Education Law Team shares some tips about the application process.

School Preference

Parents are able to express a preference for which school they would like their child to attend and local authorities must allow at least three preferences to be identified on the application form.

Although you can apply for any school you want it will be no surprise that the most popular schools in your area are often oversubscribed. If you apply to schools where your child has no realistic chance of being offered a place you could be wasting a preference on the application form. This is something you need to think carefully about before submitting your application.

If none of your preferences can be met the local authority will offer you a place at any school that has a vacancy; which is something you will want to avoid as it may be a school that you consider unsuitable for your child.

If you express a preference for only one school, this does not mean you will be offered a place at that school. If there are too many applications for that school and your child cannot be offered a place once the oversubscription criteria have been applied then the local authority will offer you a place at any school that has a vacancy.

It is therefore important to think carefully about each school you express a preference for and to use the maximum number of preferences you are allowed to avoid, as far as possible, the chance of being offered a place at a school that you don’t think is suitable

Top tips to consider:-

  1. Identify your preferred schools.
  2. Check the admissions arrangements and the oversubscription criteria of the schools you have identified. Make sure you fully understand exactly how places are allocated under each of your preferred school’s oversubscription criteria.
  3. Apply for at least one school where your child has a very good chance of being offered a place and that you would be happy with.
  4. List all of your preferred schools to give yourself the best chance of securing a place at a school you would prefer. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you list just one school you have more chance of getting a place.
  5. Do not waste your preferences by applying to schools where there is no realistic chance of getting a place, even if you really like the school. Think about other schools that might not be your fist choice, but where your child has a much better chance of being offered a place.If  have special reasons for choosing a particular school you should include the information at the time of the application, even if you think your child will get a place anyway. It is important to explain how that school can meet your child’s needs and explain what might happen if your child cannot go to that particular school.

You will of course be anxious in securing the right school for your child to ensure the best future for them. It is hoped that by following these simple guides it breaks the application process down to give you best opportunity in securing your child a place at your preferred school.

If you missed our previous school application blogs? Read them by clicking on the links below:-

Check when and how to apply,
Research Schools
Visiting Schools
Admission Arrangements

Article written by Sophie Britten

If you are applying for a school place for your child and require assistance or further advice, contact our Education Law department.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.