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When am I supposed to choose and register DD for a school?

(26 Posts)
ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Sat 03-Sep-11 10:28:55

My DD is 3, 4 in April and will start primary school next september. Everyone keeps telling me I should have registered her with a school by now. Is this the case? Or will playschool advise me on this at some point in the near future?

catsareevil Sat 03-Sep-11 10:32:08

I think it is usually the Dec/Jan before they start. If you contact a local school or your LA they should be able to tell you how it works in your area.

LawrieMarlow Sat 03-Sep-11 10:34:11

Firstly you couldn't have made an application for her yet so don't worry smile Which council are you in?

If you look on your council's website there will be an education part which will tell you about deadlines for applications to primary schools. You should receive something in the post at some point (think they look at NHS records) but applying online is generally easier. Different LEAs accept applications from some time this term and will close some time this term into January next year.

Now is a good time to look at different schools that you might want to apply to and decide which one(s) you put on the form. Remember that although you have a choice, basically it comes down to distance. If you do prefer a school further away than your nearest one, if you would be happy with the nearest one make sure you put it on the list as well.

thisisyesterday Sat 03-Sep-11 10:39:28

we get our forms in september/october time... so you may get something in the post within the next couple of months.
you just fill the form in (or do it online) and then send it back,

now is a good time to see if local schools are having open days, or to book an appt to look round. if you have a choice and want to see them that is!

prh47bridge Sat 03-Sep-11 10:42:32

A lot of parents seem to think they can put their name down for state schools early and get places that way. That is a myth which some schools play along with simply because it is easier than trying to persuade parents they are wrong.

You will apply to your council by mid-January for a place in Reception in September.

caughtinanet Sat 03-Sep-11 10:56:23

You should get a form automatically from your LA.

prh is right about applying early but its definitely isn't too soon to be starting to look now both at your catchment school and any others that might be suitable.

If any of the schools are oversubscribed then its very useful to be fully aware of the admission criteria.

Whatever you do, don't miss the application closing date.

tallulah Sat 03-Sep-11 11:42:46

DD starts school next week. At no time did we ever get anything from the council, so don't wait for them to send something. Deadline for this year was January. The council generally update their websites around Sept/ Oct for the next year. Go onto your council's website and look under school admissions. They will have booklets and info on all your local schools, and if you're lucky will also tell you the furthest distance the last child admitted this year was so you can see what your chances are of getting into a particular school.

mrsbaffled Sat 03-Sep-11 12:10:57

My DS will be in the same academic year. We will have to go to our local school in collect a form in Sept/Oct. The preschool he is at will have a large poster in the window telling us when to do it. We will apply in Oct and won't hear back til well into next year.

We cannot register for primary places from an early age, it's all done on the one application.

puch Sat 03-Sep-11 13:04:47

we didnt get a form automatically. We had to go to the schools we wanted and picked up a form. To apply for a place for sept 12 even though the cut of point is jan i would actually go to the schools you are interested in and pick up the forms now as tbh the time flies and you dont want to miss out of a place. If you go to the library there is usually a poster telling you what to do.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Sat 03-Sep-11 13:25:58

Thanks all smile

I had no idea it had anything to do with my council blush

I have just been on their website and have found out I can apply online up until January. The online forms aren't available until Novemeber though, so I guess I'll have to wait until then. At least between now and then I can request some prospectus' and go for some visits smile

Thank you all for the pointers.

catsareevil Sat 03-Sep-11 14:03:29

I dont know if all schools do a prospectus. The only ones I have seen are for private schools. My DDs school does a pupil handbook, but not a prospectus.

caughtinanet Sat 03-Sep-11 14:06:12

That's interesting that not all LAs operate in the same way. In all the one's I've come across you apply centrally.

Putting the responsibility on parents to know how to apply doesn't seem like a very reliable system, surely lots of children must miss out on places just because their parents don't know the system.

MigratingCoconuts Sat 03-Sep-11 14:24:33

yes, the most you can do here is register and interest with a school but its the council you have to apply to.

Letters/booklets were automatically sent out in October and I believe they are based on NHS birth records with the most recent address for the child on them.

prh47bridge Sat 03-Sep-11 17:48:25

caughtinanet - You always apply to the LA for a school place. That is a requirement of the Admissions Code.

The LA has no way of identifying all the children who will need school places in its area which is why the onus is on the parents. However, the LA should put some effort into contacting parents, e.g. by sending information to the local nurseries, advertising in the local papers and so on. But yes, every year some parents fail to apply on time because they didn't realise they had to and end up at the back of the queue.

CardyMow Tue 06-Sep-11 00:15:50

Our LEA sends the forms out based on who is registered at each GP surgery at a given point (Think it's the April before the forms are sent out in the September/October). So there ARE ways that LEA's can identify all the children in their area who will need a school place. I assumed ALL LEA's did it this way!

prh47bridge Tue 06-Sep-11 00:50:36

Loudlass - I sincerely hope that your LA doesn't do that. They aren't allowed any access to the information held by GPs as that would be a breach of the Data Protection Act. If they are doing as you say then every single GP practise in the area is guilty of a breach of the DPA.

JarethTheGoblinKing Tue 06-Sep-11 00:53:35

Apparently we're getting the application forms any day now, according to the council website. Have you googled? I know they differ wildly, but our council website has quite good information.

failing that, ring the nearby schools and ask them, or check their websites.

CaptainNancy Tue 06-Sep-11 00:59:12

catsareevil- all the state schools close to me certainly have prospectuses (prospecti?)... as did the school I was a governor at. They were all paper-based though.

CaptainNancy Tue 06-Sep-11 01:00:47

prh- I think you have raised this issue before (health authority providing details of children) - there are some areas that have local agreements in place so that they may do this- my LA is one of those areas.

prh47bridge Tue 06-Sep-11 09:47:56

A local agreement, however sensible it may seem, cannot override the Data Protection Act. If I recollect correctly there has been a specific ruling by the Information Commissioner banning this practise.

One of the fundamental principles of the DPA is that personal data must only be used for the purpose for which it is collected. There are various exemptions but they don't apply here. The NHS collects personal data for the provision of health care services. The information can therefore only be passed on the local authorities for use in the provision of education services if the data subjects (the parents) have given specific consent. This may take the form of a blanket tick box ("We pass information on to other bodies who provide services to you. Tick here if you don't want us to do so" for example) but consent cannot be presumed, so the NHS cannot say that you consented simply by providing your name and address.

If the NHS Trust(s) involved are only sharing information where they have consent from parents they are safe. However, if they are sharing information without consent that is a potential breach of the DPA.

Having said all of that, there are regular reports of NHS Trusts breaching the DPA so nothing would surprise me.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Tue 06-Sep-11 10:11:37

OP, most schools have websites (of varying usefulness) these days - so there's something to be going on with. I don't think many send out prospectuses - that'd be far too expensive.

Oggy Tue 06-Sep-11 10:16:16

Just to say don't wait to get forms, not all Councils send them (ours doesn't). My friend got caught out waiting to get forms and never got them and ended up with only a few days to apply before the deadline.

In our case you can start applying in October but deadline is not until mid-Jan. You can apply online very easilly (plus it means you get an email as soon as the result is published rather than having to wait for the post - I liked this because I am impatient and was applying for a difficult school to get into so saved me a day of stress.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Tue 06-Sep-11 10:21:17

prh without wanting to derail the thread, might it be that the PCTs or NHS Trusts or whatever have an arrangement with LAs to send stuff out on their behalf, as part of the health visitor service? In that case it might not strictly be a breach of the DPA.

caughtinanet Tue 06-Sep-11 10:54:54

Interesting points about where the LA gets its info.

I had assumed (wrongly it seems) that the most up to date and correct info would come from child benefit payments. Doctors records seems an odd way to go.

If some LAs can be proactive and send forms to parents I wonder why they don't all do it that way.

JarethTheGoblinKing Tue 06-Sep-11 11:16:14

Just had a google and our local council lets you apply from mid September online. Might be worth a look so you've got an idea of dates as well. Our catchment areas are up as well.

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