Parents encouraged to get online to apply for primary school place

Starting school can be an exciting time for families and applying for a place in good time can help to make sure that the whole process runs smoothly.

The application process for first admissions to reception class at primary school is now open. The process closes on 15 January 2017 and parents are urged to make sure that they have submitted their application by that date.

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Parents are reminded that if their child attends a school’s foundation unit, nursery class or early years’ group, it does not guarantee that they will get a place at the main school at reception age, and they must still complete an application for a full-time place

Parents of children currently in year 2 in an infant school will need to apply for a year 3 place in a junior or primary school for September 2017. Children do not automatically transfer from infant to junior/primary school.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s acting service director for education Marion Clay said: “If your child will be five years old between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018, you will soon need to think about applying for a reception year place and deciding which schools to include on your application.

“If it is your first child who is starting in reception, we want to make sure that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision which will give you the best chance of getting your child into your preferred school.

“The good news, however, is that last year, over 97% of families who applied for a primary school place on time were offered one of their preferred schools.”

It is important that all parents are aware they must make an application, even if their child is already attending a nursery or another early years setting. Children do not automatically transfer from nursery to full-time school.

Parents living in Nottinghamshire will need to apply through Nottinghamshire County Council, even if they wish to apply for schools in other local authority areas such as Nottingham City or Derbyshire.

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The website www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk has information to help with the application process, and it is worth reading Admissions to schools: Guide for parents 2017-2018 which contains lots of useful information and advice.

The information about schools in Admissions to schools: School information 2017- 2018, also available on our website, is organised into district areas (Ashfield, Broxtowe, Rushcliffe and so on), so it is easy just to print off pages about schools you are interested in applying for.

Marion Clay added: “The easiest way to apply for a place is online but parents who do not have internet access can telephone 0300 500 80 80 to apply.

“If parents miss the 15 January deadline, their application will only be processed after all the on-time applications. Parents should be aware that, by that time, the schools they would really like their child to attend might all be full. In that case, the County Council will make an alternative offer of a place at a school which could be at a distance from the home address.”
Apply online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/schooladmissions. Parents who apply online will also get the decision by email on what’s known as National Offer Day (18 April 2017), instead of having to wait a few days for a letter sent by second class post.

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Parents must also remember to:

Use all four preferences – there is never a guarantee that a preference can be met, but parents should make sure that they use all four of their preferences rather than just making one preference and limiting their options. This way they are more likely to be offered a place at a school they are happy for their child to attend

Check the admission oversubscription criteria – parents are urged to include at least one school within the four preferences where their child will have high priority within the school’s admission oversubscription criteria and are therefore highly likely to get a place. Information about the criteria can also be found on the Council’s website.

It is important to note that Nottinghamshire’s admission arrangements changed with effect from September this year. So for community and voluntary controlled schools across the county, there is no longer any priority for siblings living outside a school’s catchment area at first admission to school. However, some priority still exists for children living in a catchment area and who have a brother or sister attending the school or the linked junior school.

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Other relevant information – when applying, parents also need to make sure that they mention any information that is relevant to their application, and which may affect how the admission oversubscription criteria are applied. They should also tell the Council if they are moving house as this may affect how their application is considered. It is important to read the relevant sections in Admissions to schools: Guide for parents 2017-2018.
For any enquiries about how to apply for a school place, please contact 0300 500 80 80 or visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/schooladmissions
Applications for secondary school places for September 2017 have been open since 8 August 2016 and the deadline for applications was 31 October 2016. Any Nottinghamshire parent that has not applied for a secondary school place should contact 0300 500 8080.
Changes to school travel entitlement
From September 2018, the County Council will only provide home to school transport to pupils who have a statutory entitlement. This change will apply to all children, including those applying for a school place from September 2017, who may be eligible for help with transport in 2017-2018, before this change comes into effect.

Parents might need to consider this when deciding which schools to apply for as the future cost implications of paying for their child’s transport may influence their preferences. The Council is advising parents to read its home to school transport policy if they think this change may affect them: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/schooltravel