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.
Once you have decided which schools you are going to include on your application you must consider the admission arrangements for each to ensure that your child is likely to be offered a place at the chosen school or schools.
Each school has its own rules to decide how places are to be allocated, although these rules have to comply with the Statutory Guidance regarding school admissions. These rules are known as the ‘admission arrangements’, and can usually be found on a school’s website. The admission arrangements set down by the school will also set out the number of places available; which is known as the published admission number (PAN).
What happens if a school receives more applications than places?
If the school receives more applications than places available, the over-subscription criteria will be applied. The criteria will be applied, in priority order, to determine which applications will be granted once places have first been allocated to pupils who have a statement of special educational needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan which names the school or looked after and previously looked after children.
Many parents who are applying for a school place for the first time are surprised to learn that their child may not necessarily be offered a place at their nearest school. It is also a mistaken belief that a child’s attendance at the pre-school or nursery attached to or near to a particular primary school will automatically offer an advantage when it comes to the allocation of places at an over-subscribed school.
There are some circumstances where children are given special consideration in their application for a particular school. These could be children who have particular medical needs, mobility support needs, special educational needs or social circumstances supported by written evidence from a doctor, social worker or other relevant professional stating that the school is the only school which could cater for the child’s particular needs. If you believe your child may fall within this category your evidence must be presented at the time of your application.
- You must look at the admission arrangements of your chosen on its website
- Consider the over-subscription criteria of your chosen school to make an assessment as to the likelihood of them being offered a place there
- Your child is not always guaranteed a place at the nearest school to your home
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 on 0808 168 5550.