Don't Quite understand Primary Admissions - any help please?(13 Posts)
My son will be 5 in September, so starting reception Sept 2014 as one of the oldest. He currently has a statement of special educational needs, this is to be reviewed next month but he has improved so much I don't think he will keep it for the next year.
Our catchment school is not the school I want him to go to, for various reasons. There are a few in a 4 mile or so radius that we will put down as our choices (am I right in thinking it's 3?)
If we are turned down for all of our choices, would be then be offered a place at our catchment school (which is I believe over subscribed) or would it be the closest school which had available places?
I have called admissions last week to try and discuss this with them but have not had a response.
If my son does keep his statement I appreciate that this is all irrelevant and we can choose where we wish to send him.
Any help is much appreciated, I am confused and starting to panic a bit!
You'll be offered the school that has places. Not necessarily the catchment school, and unlikely if its popular.
I thought that for a statement to come into play for admission, it has to name a specific school?
You need to sort this out quite quickly as applications are already underway for Sept 2014 intake and the deadline is January. You need to have applied by then.
If he has a statement now and you are applying now (as you should be) then the statement should name the school. That doesn't mean you get a totally free choice though - it has to be agreed it is the best school to meet his needs.
If for any reason he won't have a statement as for admissions then you cannot rely on an automatic place at your catchment school unless you list it on your form.
If you don't list it, people who did list it but live miles away still get priority over you since they asked for it and you didn't. To be safe, you need to list your ideal schools followed in last place by your catchment school just in case you don't get lucky.
The number of schools you are allowed to list varies by area - minimum 3 and maximum 6. Look at your council website - there should be an admissions booklet on there to tell you.
Tiggytape, at Primary level do children also have to apply early if on medical/statement reasons? They do at Secondary.
As far as I am aware, if rules are same for primary and secondary, it is based on the statement he has at time of application and also it needs to specify a school. It doesn't matter if that statement won't be continuing next year if it is after the admission date.
As others have said, all school spaces are allocated first to those who have put them down as preferences. If you don't get one of your preferences then you are allocated the nearest school that has a space AFTER all the preferences have been allocated.
Therefore if catchment school is over subscribed then you won't get a place.
Even if for reasons of the renewal date you can't use the statement, you can still apply under the school's social and medical criteria if you can present evidence demonstrating that the school you are applying to is the best one to suit your ds's needs. You would need letters from two healthcare or other relevant professionals naming the school and why they believe that that school is the best one / only one which can support his needs. Send all this with your original application, don't wait until appeal. They are very strict in how they apply this criteria, but if he has a statement now presumably he will have some on going or future needs?
Thanks, some really helpful advice here!
He does still need ongoing help, but think they'll say that it can be covered under Action Plus, rather than a statement to be honest. He has improved dramatically, especially at pre school - just at home he's a horror!
I visited a school last week and have another 5 visits lined up over the next few weeks at open days, so will know where I want to apply by mid November so will definitely be in time for the cut off. No one has mentioned having to apply early under his statement so I will ask his key worker about this next time he is at preschool.
With regards to which school would be best for him, will that come down to me arguing my point? Out catchment school is huge (420 in 5 year groups) and I think he will struggle in a big environment, I would like him to go to a small nurturing school (130 in 5 year groups). Catchment school also has 75% English spoken as a second language, and seeing as he struggles with speech, communication and comprehension, I again think he will suffer because of this.
Would they be valid reasons for wanting a different school does anyone know?
If he has a statement, the admission process is entirely separate (and earlier) so you do need to ask about this. You will probably need to be quite insistent in speaking to someone and be prepared to
nag ring daily.
If you suspect his statement won't apply for admission purposes, you should apply at the normal time even if you are relying on social and medical criteria.
Firstly, you need to check if the small school actually gives priority for social and medical needs. Not all of them do. If they don't, proving a need to attend won't help get a place but would help at appeal. If it does have a social and medical criteria, you need to send all the evidence you have with his application. This isn't just proof of diagnosed conditions but medical opinion that says the school you are asking for is the best one for his needs.
A small school is certainly something that may be a factor but I would be wary of raising English as an additional language as a concern. Most children who have English as their second language speak it just as well as children who have it as their first language byt the time they start school. And if this isn't the case, it could contradict your point - if the catchment school have a lot of children at the early stages of English, they must be experienced at supporting language learning.
I agree with tiggy. I think it is likely that a school with 70% EAL would be very geared up to supporting your DS's speech and communication needs. Do you have evidence to suggest this is not the case?
If I were you, I'd push to keep the statement until the end of the phase (ie the end of EYFS). It will be easy to argue that a change in setting will set your DS back anyway. How are they using the statement funding at pre-school?
EAL can be very misleading. Our DD is officially EAL, as are two others in her class, but: she speaks English like the native speaker she actually is.
She is classed as EAL because at home we only speak German to her, she only now, with 6, starts to speak German to us.
So, before rejecting a school with higher EAL percentage, check how exactly this is affecting the class/school.
The admission process is all around dates and if you are looking for admission under a medical / social category or under a statement of SEN, then you need to get them agreed now. If you get to the cutoff date which will be 15th Jan 2014, then you will be allocated a place on the basis of the admission criteria.
So if there is a medical /social category, you will get priority but only if it has been agreed with the LA in writing before the cut off date. After that the admission will be based solely on other factors like do you live in catchment and distance.
There is also a need to get it sorted if you have and want the statement to continue ( I would completely agree with the idea that you keep for the foreseeable future, as you have no idea how well your child will cope with school.) At a purely admin level, if you have a statement of SEN agreed by the date of the allocations then you will be counted in the PAN, if you have not got it sorted by then, you will be treated as a normal application. I suspect you will then find it rather more difficult to get a statement agreed if you actually want a school that is not the one allocated under the normal allocation procedure.
Thank you all so much for the advice.
My DH spoke to someone from the LEA (he's got a better touch than me obviously!) who couldn't have been more helpful and has explained where we are/where we need to go in relation to the statement/possible lack of one.
We went to visit the catchment school this week and it just didn't feel right, even to my DH who on paper thought it would be great, but saw another one which I really liked and who sounded quite positive regarding admission and also helping DS with his additional needs.
to all, you really helped me when I was panicking!
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