Missed the deadline for reception

(37 Posts)
TheCollection Wed 06-Mar-13 23:34:26

We realised today that deadlines for reception class application was Jan. There is a school literally opposite us (one of the reasons we moved here, ironically) so like idiot I was pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Now I realise that we missed the original deadline AND the late applications deadline, which was 15 Feb. reading the brochure there is pretty much nothing I can do. Has anybody else had a similar experience? If so, was there any flexibility on part of the local authority? (I suspect I know the answer to this one) Also, we never received any correspondence about this at all - not a letter, not a booklet, nothing (today my husband went over to the school to ask about it, and they gave him a booklet saying that he missed the deadline already). Is that normal? Any advice appreciated. Thanks in advance

Clary Wed 06-Mar-13 23:38:05

You need to apply at once via your local authority. Put as many schools on as you can. You will be classed as a late applicant and your application dealt with after all others.

In other words if, for example, there are free spaces in the school over the road, they will offer you one. If not, then wherever there are spaces. You can go on the waiting list of any school you want as I understand it. There is often quite a lot of movement between now an dSept so don't lose heart.

KatieMiddleton Wed 06-Mar-13 23:43:29

You don't get contacted. You're expected to look it up yourself I think. We have lived here 5 years and ds was born here and will be going to reception in September. We had no prompts.

As Clary says you need to make an application now via your local authority, assuming you are in England.

Sam100 Wed 06-Mar-13 23:47:43

Do not despair. We moved house on allocation day having successfully applied and been offered our local school! We arrived in a new county as a late applicant in an area with over subscribed local schools. I called up the LA to ask them to just tell me where they had spaces. But they don't work like that. We had to go round and put out dd on waiting lists for schools we were interested in. We saw 3 or 4 and got offered a space in one about 2 miles away straight away. We stayed on waiting list and as the house we bought was fairly close we were at the top of the list. Our dd started school at the allocated school and was settling in well when at half term we got offered a space in our nearest school. We had a younger dd starting the next year so we took the space and moved her.

Good luck - get on the waiting list ASAP and look around to find a school to take your child in the meantime. They can deal with the change.

But for future reference - it is your responsibility to look up and know the application process. Many parents opt out of the state system completely so you cannot expect state schools to chase pupils that have not applied - for all they know you may have chosen to go private.

TheCollection Wed 06-Mar-13 23:59:26

Thanks for your advice everybody. We will definitely get in touch with them tomorrow. It seems odd not to contact parents at all - a mail out doesn't cost that much, they waste time with individual enquiries of which there must be many... But obviously I'm kicking myself for not checking sooner, won't be making that mistake again.

Saracen Thu 07-Mar-13 00:03:30

If you don't get in via the normal admissions round, you can go on a waiting list. For you, the good news about the waiting list is this: on-time applicants who were unsuccessful in getting into your local school won't have priority over you. Everyone on the waiting list will get ranked according to how well they meet the criteria. Living opposite the school means your son will likely be at or near the top of the waiting list.

If it seems likely that he will get a place eventually, you could consider keeping him out of school while he waits for a place to come up. There's no legal requirement for him to be in education at all until the term after his fifth birthday, so even if he is autumn-born you can wait until January. Or you could wait longer than that by home educating int he meantime. That would eliminate the need for him to settle into a school and then be uprooted and have to adjust to a new school - for some children that might not be an issue, but for many it would be quite an upheaval.

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 00:23:26

I'm not sure how a mailing list would work. How would they know which specific households have a child who will want a reception place for the next school year? There's no way my LA could possibly know everyone. They would know who is eligible for free nursery hours or enrolled at a state nursery school but that's it.

They could of course mail every household but that would cost £1000s. Very few parents miss the deadline now which sort of proves the current system works pretty well.

Not that it matters now. Good luck with the school place. You might be lucky. Where I live my child probably won't get any place in the standard allocation and we'll have to join a waiting list which will be the same process for you, except you'll be higher up the list because you live closer. Which is my clumsy way of saying that getting the application in on time might not make any difference to the outcome.

5madthings Thu 07-Mar-13 00:31:46

I think most leas DO get in touch actually they go on the info if births from the registry office? I have had a letter for each of mine for rhe yr before they were due to start school with info about applying.

You need to speak to your local council admissions office.

Also there are some mnetters who know all about this hopefulky one of them will be along if you keep thread bumoed.

But basically you will get whatever place is left over after everyone else has got theirs. You can apply to go on waiting lists.

ClayDavis Thu 07-Mar-13 01:06:01

I think in your situation I would put the school opposite you as first preference (if it is your first preference). I would then phone the LEA and ask which school were undersubscribed last year and put the one of these that is most acceptable to you somewhere on your list of preferences. It won't guarantee you a place but it might give you a bit more choice over which school you are allocated.

When the school places are allocated you should be placed on waiting list for any preferences above the one you are allocated. The fact that you were a late applicant won't affect your position on the waiting list.

I'm sure admission and prh will be along later to give better advice later.

SavoyCabbage Thu 07-Mar-13 01:53:35

I am looking at 'in year' admissions at the moment and the LEA's publish how many applications they have for each school and how many places they have. For last year of course. This has been useful for me. Where I am going there were more spaces than applicants in nearly every school.

MissDuke Thu 07-Mar-13 08:09:44

I defo think we should be sent the application form too. Maybe it should be part of health visitor's role to at least inform you of procedure, even just the basics. Many people don't know when their dc is due to start school. I had no idea with my eldest, and had to ask around, but I was just lucky to have had a bit of an idea who to ask. It would be very easy to not know when to apply.

I hope you get sorted, what a stress that you don't need x

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 08:18:30

It seems odd not to contact parents at all - a mail out doesn't cost that much

Some parts of the country do send a letter - they get the information via local GPs but most parts of the country don't. The population is far too transient to be able to keep track of every 3 and 4 year old. The council relies on parents finding out the dates for themselves but they normally publicise it in the local paper and with posters at Pre Schools.

There isn't a lot you can do about that now anyway since it is not the council's duty to inform you. All you can do is get your application done ASAP. As a late applicant, you will be allocated a school place after all of the on-time applicants have been allocated theirs. This won't be a problem if the school you like normally has spare places but if it is an oversubscribed school, it means you are unlikely to get a place offered initially.
You will then go on the waiting list as which point you won't be a late applicant anymore - you'll be treated the same as all other applicants and, because you live so close, will probably go straight to the top of the list. If anyone declines the place they've been offered at the school, it will then be offered to you.
You may have to wait a while and of course there is no guarantees about when / if people will decline their places. In the meantime accept the school the council offers you and prepare to wait it out on the list.

If the worst comes to the worst and you really dislike the school offered but no waiting list place comes up, you can accept the place at the allocated school but actually keep your DC at nursery until the term after he or she turns 5 and hope that a place at your preferred school comes up before he / she is of the legal age that they have to start at the school you first accepted.

TeamEdward Thu 07-Mar-13 08:18:42

Aren't all 3/4 yos invited for pre-school jabs? I should have thought that would be your clue that school place applications were looming...
It would also be a good time for H/V to remind parents.

ToTeachOrNotToTeach Thu 07-Mar-13 08:27:11

All the pre schools around here make a big thing of checking parents have applied. Do you not see other parents? It was a huge topic of conversation here. I just can't quite imagine anyone not knowing - just chatting at groups or pre school or nursery drop offs or toddler groups. It would be unusual not to see any other parents at all surely?

You do need to contact your lea. Around here school places in good schools are over subscribed. We're thinking of moving and the school places issue gr a big one.

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 08:27:32

Not in our area - we get a printed vaccination schedule and are expected to make appointments at the right time.
Also, some children will be applying for school places when they are 4years+4 months whilst others will only be 3years+5 months so it doesn't necessarily fit in around boosters since there is a whole year difference in the ages of the children when they need to apply (Summer and Sutumn birthdays).

In our area posters go up outside Pre School and there are adverts on the back of some buses and in the local paper. In smaller areas of more stable populations, writing to parents is more common

Indith Thu 07-Mar-13 08:36:31

Ours don't contact, but there are posters up in the Dr surgeries, libraries etc.

Good luck with you application.

5madthings Thu 07-Mar-13 08:41:50

I am in norwich and as i said we all get a letter some months before and yes posters go up at pre-schools etc. Not all children go to.pre-school tho.

I just assumed there was a similar system everywhere. But it is all over the internet, media etc and at toddler groups its talked about.

Hv might be a good way of making sure everyone knows?

As othets have said you can go on the waiting list and as yoi live so close you will hopefully get lucky smile

Zipbangboom Thu 07-Mar-13 08:46:31

Go into the school and speak to the head or admin staff and they should be able to help you. There is still some movement ( children moving in/ out of the area or people going to private education etc) between now and September so make sure they know how keen you are. No school wants empty places.

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 09:16:32

Zipbangboom - it isn't the school that allocates places - they have nothing to do with the process really. It is the council. The council receives the application forms, checks to see who qualifies for each school (siblings, distance etc) and then sends out the offer letters to parents. Parents then reply to the council to accept or decline. The school just gets a list of children who will be starting in September.

That said, if it is a school that traditionally has spare places this is good as it means you'll be offered one as soon as you apply. Most schools though don't have empty spaces in which case the waiting list options apply.

nipersvest Thu 07-Mar-13 09:22:53

we moved area after the school admissions deadlines when dd was due to start reception. if you're already moved in, you'll have a head start, and as others have said, if you are within catchment and your first choice is the closest school, you will most likely go straight to first on the waiting list. we had to languish at ninth until after we moved, which after a mountain of delays turned out to be mid july! dd went straight to first on the list, and within a week got a place at the school.

any admissions, appeals etc all should go via the local council admissions office. find out where you are on the waiting list and ring back every week to check on movement.

Floggingmolly Thu 07-Mar-13 09:30:44

Did you think the school was going to approach you? confused
Get your application form from the local council offices ASAP and hope for the best.

Zipbangboom Thu 07-Mar-13 09:41:50

Tiggy- no it isn't the school who allocates. The school where I work happily helps parents through the process though. Any parents who look round and express an interest are put on a list and our lovely admin woman double checks to see if these children have a place. You definitely need to speak to the county office but the school can explain what you need to do and if you are local may help fight your case.
Some reception classes take 15 children but if year 1 numbers are low and there are mixed year groups further children can be taken.

ByTheWay1 Thu 07-Mar-13 09:49:32

Our school holds open days and takes names, addresses and email addresses of interested parents, and then reminds them to apply when the date is looming..

Dededum Thu 07-Mar-13 09:50:44

We exchanged in April, moved in May and went straight to the top of the waiting list for reception. Got allocated a place before the summer holidays.

Large intake of 60 kids and quite an affluent/mobile area so that worked in our favour.

Good luck, hopefully you will be ok.

CockyFox Thu 07-Mar-13 09:56:51

The council send a leaflet out if not I may well have forgotten especially as all the open days/evenings in primary schools are this term here.
I think like other posters have said you will probably get away with it due to your proximity to your chosen school and movement on waiting lists.

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 10:00:38

Zipbang - it is very nice of your school to help parents with the process but that isn't the norm so in OPs case might not help. The school will just refer parents to the council - especially at this late stage because the school has no say whatsoever in who they admit. I am sure they will be sympathetic but there is nothing practical they can do to help at all.

Decisions about taking extra pupils is also not something for the school to implement. Where places are short, councils sometimes ask schools to take bulge classes (extra children taken above the official numbers) but again that is a central decision not something the school itself just decides to do. If there are places available in other local schools, then children will be expected to go there even if it isn't their nearest school and the 'full' schools won't have extra numbers added to them since this is a last resort not done as a favour to parents seeking a nearer alternative.

Some schools have an interested parents list but it has no formal footing - it just prompts parents to apply on time. Being very interested in a school offers no special advantage when getting a place - you either qualify on distance / sibling criteria or you don't even if you've had your name on the 'interested parents' list since birth. In short, schools may be sympathetic and offer advice on how to apply but, in practical and legal terms, they have no discretion when it comes to admitting extra pupils or enabling parents to get their choice of school.

SavoyCabbage Thu 07-Mar-13 10:57:01

In both of the LEAs I am looking at you do contact the school directly for in year admissions. It will all depend so much on the area. There are lots of areas where the schools are not over subscribed at all.

Pyrrah Thu 07-Mar-13 11:42:42

There does seem to be some difference with allocations of in-year admissions in some areas.

We are very unlikely to get a place at our first choice school in the initial round as we are outside the usual distance accepted by a fair bit.

However the school has very high mobility levels and we are likely to get a place through in-year admissions.

I contacted my LA about who to contact to keep an eye on waiting list movement and they said that with that school, the school itself would be managing waiting-list places. The school confirmed this and told me to ring at least once a week to check what was happening.

So definitely make sure that you know who to contact after initial offers are made and definitely accept the school you are offered - doesn't affect your position on the waiting list for other schools, but if you reject the offered school the LA is not obligated to find you another.

If you're not in the pre-school/nursery system and don't go near your GP, it can be very hard to work out when you need to apply. I do understand why a mail-out would be too expensive though.

I only found about the nursery places at local Primary schools through sheer luck.

KatieMiddleton Thu 07-Mar-13 11:48:49

Lol at HVs helping or pre-school booster reminders for where I live. You're lucky to see a HV when your child is born here such is the pared back service sad

Round my way (London borough) it is a very transient population and also quite an affluent area so we're expected to pay for a lot of private services ourselves inducing some healthcare and schooling. I also can't imagine GP surgeries cooperating on a list when they won't even agree to some really important public health stuff going on their internal intranet.

Sorry, bit of a tangent there but quite interesting who does/doesn't contact parents and how.

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 12:11:57

There should be no regional variation on admissions. Admission procedures and rules (both in and out of the usual admissions round) are laid down by law and all schools and councils are supposed to follow them.
Once upon a time schools did their own admissions in-year (if they had a space and a parent asked for it, they could give it to the parent) but now local councils have that job in order that things were better coordinated apparently!

If you approach the school itself they can advise you on vacancies because obvioulsy they know how many children are sat in each class but what they can't do is offer you a place even if they can see one is spare.

Academies are slightly different in that they do manage their own waiting lists (but not the on time admissions) and even then, they aren't in charge of giving out places that come up. They tell the council who is at the top of their list and the council sends the letter to the parents to offer them the place. The parents reply to the council and then the council tells the school whether the child accepted or not!

Schools can advise generally (eg they can tell you that 7 people got in off the waiting list last year or that there are currently 2 spare spaces in Year 2) but they cannot offer you a place - not even the ones that do their own lists. So definitely check you are on the lists that you want to be on but most importantly get your application form into the council. You cannot even go on a school's list until the council have your completed form.

5madthings Thu 07-Mar-13 12:28:45

I have applied for in yr places three times. Each time i contacted the schools i was interestex in to check on spaces and spoke to the ht and then got in touch with the council. The ht when ds1 changed high schools last oct also got in touch with the council to say she had a place and he coukd start asap. She did this to help speed the process up. She also warned me the council would try and make me wait til after the xmas break to move him. She was right! But ds1 started at tge new high school after oct half term...then about six weeks later i got the letter from the council telling me there was a space at the school! I had already informed them of his start date as agreex with the ht etc. We had numerous email.conversations...

Our schools will put you on the waiting list and you can phone and check and then if there is a place call the council asap to get them to process it as they take an age otherwise! Apparsntly they look at in yr applications/changes of school twice a term?!! they really did not like us doing a mid term transfer!

Zipbangboom Thu 07-Mar-13 13:20:11

Tiggy I bow to your greater knowledge. Maybe we are lucky to live in an area where people are generally helpful. I too wass just trying to be helpful and it will do no harm to visit the school first.
By the way, to be pedantic, the word is 'sitting' and not 'sat'.

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 13:33:02

I’m not sure why you feel the need to be pedantic as you say - I am sure OP appreciates all advice (including possibility of local variations because even though they aren't supposed to exist this can happen).

The reason for my emphasise was that, whether OP talks to the school or not, it is more important that she definitely talks to the council and talks to them today if possible. The Admissions arrangements aren’t locally set and aren’t designed to be very helpful in situations like this unfortunately. They are dictated by long and specific laws and rules and access to all state school places comes via the Local Authority so this is where all parents should be directed first - especially when time is of the essence.

For their own peace of mind, parents can also speak to schools, research past admissions via waiting lists and get the current state of play regarding vacancies in each year group but ultimately, it all falls on the council to allocate places and it is important for parents to understand that schools have zero discretion when it comes to admitting children and very little part to play in the process.

Zipbangboom Thu 07-Mar-13 13:41:54

You are too scary and I'm going to hide.
Good luck OP.

clam Thu 07-Mar-13 13:53:44

hmm zipbangboom
tiggytape has merely stated the normal, expected protocols, as opposed to giving potentially mis-leading advice that schools themselves can somehow get a late applicant a place. Why is that scary?

MrsMelons Thu 07-Mar-13 13:59:20

The only way we knew (other than knowing they would be due to start school) was through the pre-school as schools send posters and flyers to all pre-schools/nurseries.

Does your DC not go to a pre-school or nursery? The staff at ours made sure that everyone knew about the deadlines.

I don't always find the LA particularly helpful but it is only them that can make the decisions although I know the my DCs infant school put a case forward for someone who was on the waiting list and missed the deadline (in spite of their elsest child being at the school already)

tiggytape Thu 07-Mar-13 14:02:34

I think you are being a bit rude Zip. I am not scary (well not much)
I was politely trying to deter OP from following your advice which frankly was wrong and could have wasted valuable time. She needs to get onto the council so she can apply formally. Otherwise she'll miss being added to the waiting lists quickly as well as missing the initial allocations

You said make sure they know how keen you are
This makes no odds. You can be the keenest parent in the whole world and still not get a place if you don't qualify for one

You said if you are local may help fight your case
Which is also complete nonsense. No school will help you fight a case. Schools have no discretion in this area and it is not correct or fair to let OP think that they do.

and you said Some reception classes take 15 children but if year 1 numbers are low and there are mixed year groups further children can be taken.
Which is true but is up to the council to organise and the school to agree to. The school have no power to take 15 extra children just because their parents are keen or local or desperate.

So whilst I probably seemed a bit like I was jumping on your posts, it was because I don't want OP wasting her time trying to see somebody at the school to talk to when in fact she needs to get the councils form, fill it in and return it ASAP.

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