Primary school places: When is the deadline, how many schools should parents apply for, what factors affect the decision

Parents or carers of children born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012 are being warned not to miss today's deadline

Samuel Osborne
Friday 15 January 2016 15:18
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Today is the deadline for parents to submit applications for children starting primary school in September
Today is the deadline for parents to submit applications for children starting primary school in September

Today is the last day parents with four-year-old children can apply for a September 2016 primary school place.

As Labour warns more than half a million primary school children are now being taught in "super-size" classes, here is what you need to know about the application process.

When is the deadline?

Parents or carers of children born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012 are being warned not to miss the deadline, which passes at 23.59 tonight.

Those who applied through an online application form will find out which primary school their child has been offered a place at on 16 April, while others will have their offers sent to them by post on the same day.

How many schools should I apply to?

While parents must apply to at least three schools in order of preference, many have been left wondering whether to include a fourth and fifth choice.

Parents are being encouraged to list five preferred schools, as school places cannot be guaranteed, failing to list additional choices could mean children are allocated to schools parents would not have chosen.

What factors influence the decision?

Admission criteria differ between each schools. Schools often receive more applications than they have places.

They may give priority to children:

  • Who are in care or being looked after - all schools have this as a top priority
  • Who live closer to the school
  • Who have a brother or sister at the school already (sibling rule)
  • Who are part of a certain faith - some faith schools ask for references from priests or other religious ministers
  • Who pass an exam - in the case of grammar schools

However, each school has its own oversubscription criteria. Check with the schools individually to find out more.

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