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Need some guidance here please!!

(6 Posts)
neshi Mon 06-Jun-11 16:26:31

I've been living in london for 5 years now but the schools admission issue was never something that crossed my mind until now, that I have a 10 months old DS.

I'm having some trouble finding the most basic information to understand how everything works around here...sorry if the questions will sound beyond stupid and obvious but guess i need everything very clear!

1. At what age does mandatory school start?
2. Regarding state schools, do you also have to put your name down if your in the catchment area?
3. how to apply to state schools?
4. My DS is goint to nursery this september but this place only takes kids until 2 yeas old...what next?

I know it may sound really basic...sorry...xx

PanelMember Mon 06-Jun-11 17:15:40

Look on your borough's website. There should be plenty of information on starting school. Very quickly:

1. School is never mandatory, but children must be receiving an education (which could be education at home) by the term in which they turn 5.

2. Yes always. If you don't apply you can't get a place.

3. See your borough's website. There should be a common application form for all your borough's state schools (with supplementary forms for faith schools, academies and foundation schools).

4. That's up to you. Look around for other preschools and nurseries.

Don't panic. You have plenty of time to sort all of this out!

sunnyday123 Mon 06-Jun-11 17:23:13

it doesnt sound basic - at least you are thinking about it and asking questions which lots of people dont and end up coming unstuck later on!

Heres my take on your questions:

1) legally kids start the term after their 5th birthday although they can start the september before i.e. my dd was 5 in the nov and started the september before. Some schools start all the kids in the sept, others do termly intake. Regardless of what point in the academic year they start, you all apply the year before at the same time. In Lancashire, we apply in the October for a place in September the following year.

2) You can put your name down for as many schools as you like in theory but thats not the same as applying for and getting a place. I had my DD down for 5 schools - all it meant was that i had expressed an interest and wanted them to send me the application form. As it was all 5 schools sent me the form but its the LEA who decide who gets a place (except foundation schools but even they go through the LEA). Therefore you technically don't have to have them down at all for any school and having their name down wont increase your chance of getting a primary place - pre-school maybe but not reception.

3) Contact your LEA - you can complete a paper based or online application, some allow 3 choices, some 6. Contact the schools your interested in to look around and also because many have supplementary forms which if not completed, may put you in a lower category- esp faith schools.

4) after nursery you can look at pre-schools and also private nursery as not all schools have pre-schools. If you are going to put your child in a pre-school, i would make sure its a school you are confident of a place at - but again, most schools dont prioritise pre-schools.

Just a quick word of advice that i wish i'd had is resist applying out of catchment. We did for my DD1 and presumed my DD2 would be fine but the numbers applying change yearly and now DD2 wont get in the same school!

Speak to other parents to get inside info on schools!

sunnyday123 Mon 06-Jun-11 17:26:00

sorry yes the term in which they turn 5!

prh47bridge Mon 06-Jun-11 17:50:50

Just to expand a little on some of the answers you have already been given:

1. Sunnyday123 was right the first time. Children must be receiving an education by the start of term following their 5th birthday. However, assuming you use the state system your son will start in Reception in the September following his 4th birthday.

2. Yes, you have to apply but you can't do that now. Putting your name down for a school now will have no effect at all. You will apply to your local council the autumn before your son is due to start in Reception, so he may be only 3 when you apply for a place.

I don't have anything to add on the other two questions.

PanelMember Tue 07-Jun-11 15:09:16

Yes, profuse apologies. I had written something longer at (1) about when children generally start school and when they're obliged by law to be receiving an education and, as I cut it down, it got garbled. Sorry.

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