Tuesday 20 October 2015
Council leaders are urging families applying for their child’s school to make sure they fill the application forms.
With a tight squeeze on places due to a rising population it is more important than ever that parents and carers complete and submit their forms on time.
They are also being encouraged to make sure they fill in all three preferences in order to keep their options open. Parents are entitled to express up to three preferences but some parents choose not to. Council leaders want to stress putting down three preferences does not dilute the chance of them getting their preferred option, but does provide alternatives should this school be over-subscribed.
Families are also encouraged to name their catchment school as one of their preferences as places cannot be reserved for catchment pupils where a positive preference for this school has not been expressed.
Sheffield City Council’s admissions team deals with thousands of applications for secondary and primary schools every year. And with the deadline looming for the secondary applications to be in by the end of this month, the council is stressing families must make sure the forms are submitted before the closing date so they can be processed and decisions announced on the national allocation date next year.
The closing date for transfer to secondary is October 31st but the online site is only open until October 22nd. Parents will find out the outcomes of their secondary school application on March 1 2016.
Families of primary school age children entering reception for the first time, or whose child is in Year Two at a separate infant school, have also begun to receive letters inviting them to apply for schools. Again, the same rules apply in order to secure a preferred place.
For entrance into reception and junior schools, the online site is open until December 4th 2015 but paper applications and telephone applications will be accepted up to January 15th. The allocation date for this round is April 18th 2016.
Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families said: “Every parent deserves to get the best education for their child close to their home. We are seeing increased pressure on school places due to a rise in birth rates, that’s why I would encourage everyone to complete the application form for a school place as soon as they can, and make sure they fill it in in full.”
The council prides itself on being able to offer the vast majority of parents and carers their preferred choice of schools, she added, having over 97 per cent success rate this year. “But sadly some people miss out on their preferred school because they fail to realise they need to fill in their admissions forms correctly,” she said.
People should not assume that by not filling in their application forms that they will get their local catchment school, added Cllr Drayton. If it is an oversubscribed school, the places will go to the families who have applied and live in the catchment area although in limited cases this is not always possible.
And if people don’t put their catchment school and are not offered another preferred school because they do not meet the relevant criteria, again they may miss out on a local school altogether, leading to children sometimes having to travel further afield to the next available school. This in turn leads to parents going to appeal which can mean that children are delayed from starting at school.
The application form basics:
- Children can start school full time in the academic year following their fourth birthday.
- Forms are sent to the child’s home around a year before they are due to go to school.
- Parents and carers will be told which their local catchment school is on this letter.
- They are required to put down three preferences. Those applying for a faith school will have further forms to fill in.
- Parents and carers are also expected to apply to junior schools when their child is in Year Two in the same way. Just because a child has attended the feeder infant school is no guarantee of a place in the junior school.
- The same criteria must be met for all school applications – with priority given to children in care, then catchment, then sibling and then feeder school.
- Applications for secondary school is made a year before the child is due to start Year Seven. Again the same criteria apply and the forms should be filled in in the same manner to optimise parents’ and carers’ chances of getting the school of their choice.
For more information please contact Emma Hollingworth, Communications, on 0114 205 3546 or 07710 737905. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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