Support thread for primary applications Jan 2021

(50 Posts)
RednaxelasLunch Wed 02-Sep-20 08:59:28

Hi all not sure if this is a thing but wondered if a support thread for those applying for primary school this year (deadline of Jan 2021) could go here?

I feel totally overwhelmed by the amount of form filling and the pressure of choosing somewhere / getting in or not. I'm sure there must be some of you feeling the same?!

OP’s posts: |
2littleboyzmum Wed 02-Sep-20 12:02:30

Yes feeling very overwhelmed! Haven't really started it yet but looking into local schools. How do you pick a second and third choice when you can't event view the schools inside or meet the teachers? We have decided the school where my little boys nursery is located at is going to be our number one and luckily when he started there in January we got a tour round so know the basics about the place. Is it even worth looking at schools more than 3 miles away that aren't in our parish/district/county? If it's outstanding and oversubscribed and far away I assume that may as well be a no. A lot of our are church schools and we don't attend church so it's difficult to know what to do. Our first choice isn't a church school and the next non church school in nearly 6 to 7 miles away

Tobebythesea Wed 02-Sep-20 12:40:40

@2littleboyzmum

Our little girl starts school tomorrow so we had this last year but obviously we could visit the schools. No idea how that’s going to work this year. Maybe virtually?

How many preferences do you have? In our area we had 6. Look very carefully at catchment areas and the last 3 years entrance distances. If you only have say 3 preferences, apply for schools you are in catchment of. You can ring up your council to double check distances.

In my opinion it isn’t worth using up a preference and applying to an oversubscribed, out of area school as the likelihood is small and you risk getting none of your preferences and being allocated to a school with a space miles away that is undersubscribed.

Aroundtheworldin80moves Wed 02-Sep-20 13:09:20

My tips...
- look at data to see where you would have got a place the last few years. Be realistic. Church school doesn't necessarily mean over subscribed for example- for many it's just the local school.
- list schools in genuine order of preference.
- relax. Broadly speaking, schools are very similar, teaching the same things. Many aren't perfect- even the 'best' schools.
- make sure you submit the supplementary form if there is one.

Good luck.

2littleboyzmum Wed 02-Sep-20 15:36:07

How do you see entrance distances? In our area they have catchment areas which is usually the parish have an advantage and then anybody surrounding the parish comes after, but it doesn’t tell me how many came from within the parish/catchment area or not.

No but all the kids have advantage to be more accepted if their parents go to the local church and live in the parish over someone’s parents who don’t. Means we’d be last on the list to be picked.

waterofthehills Wed 02-Sep-20 21:55:13

Generally the LA will publish the distance of the last place offered for all the local schools last year. Not sure if they have to though? And it's not always easy to find. Maybe contact your LA admissions dept and ask (or try asking on a local parent Facebook group if anyone knows where you can find that info).

Zarara Thu 03-Sep-20 10:19:38

I’m just wondering has anyone contacted any schools to see if they will be doing any tours etc. I feel like they are so busy at the moment that they probably aren’t thinking about their process for tours, but at the same time don’t want to leave it too late to ask incase there are local lock downs etc

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2littleboyzmum Thu 03-Sep-20 10:49:28

@Zarara thought of doing that this morning so I've just emailed the schools to see if they are doing any 🤞🏻 I know some schools have an online prospectus but who really wants to sit and read page after page of words!!! Doesn't really give you feel of the school or the teachers. We also had a virtual tour of one school on their website and it was terrible! You saw three kids from year 6 heads, no teachers and a very limited look at the school always outside the classrooms and never inside. That's supposed to be an outstanding school too! 😕

2littleboyzmum Thu 03-Sep-20 10:50:32

Also by looking at some websites a lot of open events and look arounds happened in October/November then again in the spring once the offers to confirmed

2littleboyzmum Thu 03-Sep-20 10:52:21

Ooo and I found a good website called locrating - you do have to pay though if you want this years entry information otherwise you can view 2016-2019 for free. It helps you decide a bit easier

Twickerhun Thu 03-Sep-20 10:58:11

Can anyone tell me where we get the applications from?

Our first choice is obvious, no idea how we would choose any other options.

Zarara Thu 03-Sep-20 11:14:54

@Twickerhun I believe the application process opens on the 1st November. You’ll have to register on your local authority website which will have all the forms on. I don’t think you can register before then? Happy to be told otherwise though. I’m

Twickerhun Thu 03-Sep-20 11:29:04

Ah thank you. That helps. I don’t want to miss DC getting into the local school due to a basic admin error

admission Thu 03-Sep-20 12:19:05

The application process for all state primary schools started on 1st September 2020. There is no need to rush to put up your school preferences because you have till 15th January 2021 to do this. However please do not leave it till the last minute as I have every year school admission appeals where the parent meant to apply but did not do it properly or just forgot the cut-off date. It is soul destroying for parents and appeal panel members when this happens and somebody would have obviously got an offer of a place if the application had been on time.
You will always for any state school be applying on the Local Authority website where you are living. You can apply for schools in a different LA but you must apply through the LA where you live. Many faith schools have a supplementary application form to complete and this has to be returned to the school not the LA before the cut-off date. If you do not complete then you will not gain any preference in the admission criteria order.
As others have said be sensible about the schools that you put down as your preferences. If you put down the 3 closest schools that are deemed outstanding by Ofsted, you might think that you are certain to get one of these preferences allocated but in many cases you will not be given a place at any of your preference schools. If when it comes to allocation time in April 2021, if you cannot be offered a place because you are too far down the admission criteria order, the LA will allocate the nearest school with places which may be a long distance. That is why the best course of action is always to put down your nearest or catchment school no matter how good or poor you may think that they are. It is better to be allocated a place in a local school rather than a place in a school which could easily be 5 miles away. You should also recognise that you are looking for a place in a school in twelve months time and that schools can and do change so what might be a "requires improvement school" may actually be a school that is making great strides forward.
No matter how you choose your preference schools, it is best in my opinion to go for the school that you feel most comfortable with as your first preference and then put down you most local catchment school as your last preference. Each school is treated as a totally separate application when it comes to putting all applications for the school in admission criteria order, so it is no disadvantage to do this.

Zarara Thu 03-Sep-20 12:31:52

@admission that’s interesting I just went to double check and my local authority isn’t opening admissions until
November so I’m guessing this just differs from authority to authority,

BusyBeeMummy1 Thu 03-Sep-20 16:13:47

Hi ladies OMG I’m so glad I found this thread. So I have actually called all 6 options and to clarify NONE of them are doing open days or evenings at all at this stage.
One school told me they are PLANNING a virtual tour online and a zoom call with the head teacher. In order to pick my 6 I used gov.uk and checked Ofsted reports, Performance Ratings and I used the results by characteristics to see how the Boys performed and also how students of EAL performed. I also made an excel spreadsheet and I’m being really realistic. In London some schools have over 300 applications for 30 spaces! So I have put my top 2 accorddingly, then 2 closer by but still good and the last one is an outstanding infant nursery (they have to move school at 7) but it’s close by. I have also called all schools and asked about the following:
- opening hours
- breakfast and aftercare clubs (availability too as these get booked up so quick but it’s important for us as a 2 full time working parent family)
- reception and y1 & 2 class size. Typically 30 in London.

Going back to not being able to see schools ladies please call them and see if there will be virtual tours and a friend told me if I want to get a feel for a school (just a feel obvs) go down at drop off/pick up time and see what it’s like from the outside etc do kids seem happy to be going etc, is there staff visibility.

waterofthehills Thu 03-Sep-20 17:19:27

admission you are normally right about everything so I hardly dare contradict you (!), but I thought all primary admissions open in November and secondaries in September?

BendingSpoons Thu 03-Sep-20 17:29:14

Where I live (London Borough) you can apply from 1st Sept. I think that is standard but I guess some places have delayed it so they can do secondary and then primary.

OverTheRainbow88 Thu 03-Sep-20 17:37:41

Do you think we’ll be able to go on a tour of the schools?

BendingSpoons Thu 03-Sep-20 17:44:44

Echoing what others have said. I would put:
1) Favourite school for whatever reason e.g. convenient location, afterschool club, teach Mandarin etc. No harm in putting down a long shot, but a wasted choice if you have no hope of getting in.
2) School you like and have a reasonable chance of getting in to
3) Closest thing to a 'sure bet' e.g. nearest/catchment school where you would expect to get a place even if it's not amazing

If you have 6 preferences, you can add in other options e.g. 2 or 3 'long shots' as long as you put 1 or 2 'sure bets'.

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where your 'sure bet' is also your favourite, then put it first and fill up your preferences with others in genuine preference order.

Don't try to cheat the system e.g. only putting one option to force them to give it to you. It won't work! When people say it worked for them, they would have got the place regardless, but if you don't get in there you will probably be offered somewhere miles away that no-one wants. And check if you need to fill in a SIF form. You generally do for faith schools and some others.

It seems overwhelming at first but in reality there are probably only a few realistic options for most people. Start by looking at the local children's uniform to see where they are going, as they are more likely to be schools you might get in to.

waterofthehills Thu 03-Sep-20 22:06:16

Round here it's always between November and January for primary applications, not just this year. I thought it was the same everywhere, but looks like I'm wrong, sorry (I knew I shouldn't have contradicted admission grin).

prh47bridge Fri 04-Sep-20 08:35:35

There is no national date for the start of primary school applications. However, the LA must publish a composite prospectus by 12th September. This must contain the admission arrangements and supplementary admission forms for all the state-funded schools in the LA's area. It must also be available as hard copy for parents who don't have internet access. I have to say that a lot of LAs fail to fully meet the requirements of the Admissions Code on this point.

It seems odd that an LA would publish the composite prospectus in September but not open for applications at that time but there is nothing in the Admissions Code or the relevant regulations that prevents them from doing so. Perhaps some LAs find it convenient to delay the start of primary school applications until after the closing date for secondary school applications (31st October).

OverTheRainbow88 Fri 04-Sep-20 08:55:58

I had a google last night and our LA opens online applications on 14th sept

EggsFried Fri 04-Sep-20 19:11:02

I would just echo what others have said about putting schools in your genuine order of preference, always including at least one school that you can be fairly confident of getting a place at. All LEAs have to use the equal preference system by law, so don't listen to any rumours about "X school fills up with people who put it first- if you put it second you have no chance". The only way that the order you put the schools in has an impact is if more than one school is able to make you an offer- as everyone can only have one offer, the LEA will then offer you the school that is highest in your preference list that is able to offer you a place.

RednaxelasLunch Sat 05-Sep-20 17:56:39

@EggsFried oo I didn't know that. I wondered why there was an order of preference at all, that explains it ta.

Thanks for helpful info @prh47bridge @BendingSpoons @admission

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