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how soon should i apply to schools for admission????

(16 Posts)
kasparkey Fri 05-Aug-11 14:20:59

I have a 2yr old DD and we'll be moving to UK (Bishops Stortford, Herts.) in Sept/Oct. Ive heard and read a lot about how tough it is to get a place in your preferred school and I just want to ask if I should apply for a place for DD now, even though she'll start in 2013. Also is there a pre-school yr when they turn 3?
Im very new to the education system in UK so would appreciate all the help/advice you can give me!

AMumInScotland Fri 05-Aug-11 14:27:59

If you are looking at state schools, you don't need to start thinking about it for a while yet. Independent schools vary - some like you to register with them asap, others won't guarantee you a place even if you register, and will consider your application nearer the time.

exexpat Fri 05-Aug-11 14:32:48

You can't apply early for state primary schools - there is a fixed application procedure, and if your DD is due to start reception in September 2013, applications will need to be in sometime late 2012/early 2013 - precise deadlines depend on the local authority, but it will all be laid out very clearly in the school application pack or on their website.

The most important thing for getting a school place in an oversubscribed area is living as close as possible to your preferred school - the difference between getting and not getting a place can be as little as living a couple of metres further away from the school. Or religious attendance can be a factor if it is a church school you are interested in.

Some primary schools have attached nurseries, but that is usually a separate application system, and going to the nursery often doesn't give you any priority in getting a primary place at the same school. Most primary schools don't have nursery years, so people send their DCs to independent places and move for reception.

LIZS Fri 05-Aug-11 14:40:12

Some state schools have a preschool/nursery class attached for 3-4 yr olds and you would apply sometime after September for those. Private preschools (often in church halls rather than dedicated premises) and daycare nurseries(which may also have a sessional preschool) will have their own system to apply and possibly already waiting lists for the more popular. You need to visit fairly soon after arriving to get a feel for what is what. For Reception class(1st year of primary school), assuming she is 4 before Sept 1 2013, you woudl apply sometime after September next year - you need to check the Herts website for details of their application deadines and criteria.

mummytime Fri 05-Aug-11 15:10:29

Usually if you get a place in the nursery class/pre-school for a state school this does not mean you will get a place at the school. Be aware of this.

kasparkey Sat 06-Aug-11 14:44:10

Wow! lots of gr8 advice from you all....thanks a lot. I am looking at state schools, as I feel that spending so much money on private schools doesnt guarantee the BEST education, and also Ive heard that the state schools curriculum is very good.
@exexpat - Im definitely NOT looking at any religious schools as I want her to grow up respecting and knowing abt all religions.
Cheers guys, lots of help!

kasparkey Sat 06-Aug-11 16:15:15

PS: can you please tell me about Dunmow and if its a nice place to live in? Im just looking at places in & around BS, where my DH will be working. Are there good schools in Dunmow?

Saracen Sat 06-Aug-11 21:01:38

"Usually if you get a place in the nursery class/pre-school for a state school this does not mean you will get a place at the school."

Always, in fact. The School Admissions Code forbids admissions authorities from giving preference to children who attend an attached nursery.

Many parents like their children to attend a preschool where they can meet their future school classmates. But since this gives your child no priority in school admissions, that means you can be laid back about exactly when you move and which preschool your child goes to. Save all your stressing for the school admissions process!

kasparkey Mon 08-Aug-11 11:21:32

how is Sawbridgeworth as a place to live?? Are there any good schools there? just thinking in terms of when i start working and my accessibility to london.

exexpat Mon 08-Aug-11 15:08:32

Can I suggest you start a new thread to ask about schools in specific areas or what it's like to live there? If you mention the area names, or just Hertfordshire, in the thread title you're more likely to attract the attention of people who are familiar with the area (I'm nowhere near there) who won't notice a question half-way down a general thread about school entry procedures. Good luck with the move.

kasparkey Fri 19-Aug-11 13:05:17

exexpat: good suggestion! will do so..

prh47bridge Fri 19-Aug-11 13:34:27

Just to correct a couple of things...

The application date for primary schools is set nationally by the government. Unless it changes you will have to apply by 15th January 2013.

And the Admissions Code does not forbid admission authorities to give priority to children who attend an attached nursery, although it is difficult to see how they can be fully compliant if they do. There are a few authorities that do give priority to children attending the attached nursery but it is pretty rare.

Erebus Fri 19-Aug-11 13:59:22

kasparkey, prh47 is our MN guru in Admissions Policy, and I mean that respectfully! They (she?!) know the law and letter of the law regarding admissions and offer excellent advice here on MN. I'm saying this to avoid you accidentally following wrong advice inadvertently given by other MNetters.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 19-Aug-11 14:09:20

wrt church schools - don't discount them.

I think they get a bad press sometimes; certianly they all differ, but they do have to cover other major religions as part of the curriculum. Ds has never said a prayer in school in the 6 years he's been there!

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 19-Aug-11 14:10:13

ahem - "there" being the local CofE school.

Some are churchier than others, basically.

Erebus Fri 19-Aug-11 14:14:18

I'd agree with that re religion. When I were a kid, many if not most village primaries were C of E- there was no option!- but, apart from the odd hymn in assembly and the vicar popping in once a week to tell us about being nice grin, there was no suggestion of having religion rammed down our throats at all!

I know there are some areas where religious schools have had to use their 'branding' to 'exclusivize' themselves. They are usually in areas where the alternative schools are dire so parents are sharpening elbows to get their DCs in and the schools have maybe become 'more' religious to justify their inclusion/exclusion policies. You can't demand 3 years of church attendance from the families then not do Major Church at school, can you?!

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