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Places in Year 1 classes

15 replies

flipflap · 22/08/2008 17:09

We've just moved into a new area, and been told by our local 4 form entry primary that their Year 1 is completely full (120 children). Neighbours have said that they knew they had about 5 places free mid- year, but these now seem to have gone.

Does anyone know any rough percentages of turnovers in large primaries? Do children sometimes just not turn up/ return in September? Anyone have any experience of this?

OP posts:
Rachmumoftwo · 22/08/2008 18:47

I know that it is not unheard of for children to just not turn up in September. Parents may move for work, split up, send them to another school, etc. I would look into your options, but ask to be put on the waiting list for a place, as one may very well come up by Christmas or even sooner. You can also ask them what their turnover is like, as they will have a rough idea. Be persistent and good luck.

SchoolGuru · 22/08/2008 19:17

Amazingly, sometimes kids just don't turn up - but I wouldn't rely on this as a strategy. If you're on the waiting list, it could take weeks... or it could take years, and your position on the waiting list is always subject to change. If I were in your shoes, I'd look further afield than this school. If you're anywhere near St Albans, St Michael's C of E Primary has got places (last time I checked). If you get a chance, pls see my website - - it's got lots of helpful tips on it. Good luck!

MadBadandDangeroustoKnow · 22/08/2008 19:23

Our school seems to lose 1 or 2 from each class (one form entry) each year, but we may not be typical. Not all schools keep a waiting list - they're not obliged to - and it may be a case of re-applying. Where schools do hold waiting lists, they're usually in priority order in line with the school's admissions criteria, so you may be overtaken if someone comes onto the list who's higher up the priorities.

Speak again to the school just before term starts but speak too to the education authority, who should have a list of schools with current vacancies.

Good luck!

flipflap · 22/08/2008 19:27

Thanks for that SchoolGuru and Rachmumoftwo.

Keep thinking that out of a total number of 120 in the year (4 classes), there will surely be some who just don't come back for a number of reasons???

Also, as the weeks progress in September, surely some of the other people on the waiting list will get offered places at other schools and decide not to go with our one? (Am I just trying to convince myself here??)

I'm not in St Albans unfortunately!

OP posts:
nkf · 22/08/2008 19:30

I think there is always some movement in schools, particularly in primary.

flipflap · 22/08/2008 19:30


Thanks for that. I keep multiplying 1 or 2 x 4 classes and hoping!

OP posts:
SchoolGuru · 22/08/2008 19:39

It's a big school, which would give me hope. But do you know where you are on the waiting list, at the moment? I think you're right to assume that other people are likely to drop out, but that doesn't unfortunately mean that you'll be offered their places... In my experience, think worst case scenarios with schools, then you'll be prepared for all eventualities and won't be disappointed. In terms of vacancies, if schools have got them, they'll want them filled, as they are funded per capita. Apparently each empty school place is worth c £2,500 a year to the school. It takes a lot of fund raising from the PTA to raise that kind of cash! I really hope you get what you want.

flipflap · 22/08/2008 19:43

Thanks SchoolGuru.

TBH, I haven't asked where she is on the waiting list, because I know that this can change in minutes (someone moves into the area and lives closer to the school/ child with siblings at school/ SEN etc.) I'd hate to find out that we were No 1 one day, and No 2 the next!

OP posts:
lljkk · 22/08/2008 20:26

I don't know if it's typical, but DS (about to start yr4) has lost or gained about 4 children each year from his classes.

izzysauntyclaire · 22/08/2008 21:10

I'm probably telling you stuff you already know but anyway, here goes! Even if there are no places left in year 1, say there is only 70 places available, the stats are taken over the whole school so if each year group has an admission number of 70 for example, if a year only has 68 pupils in, even if it is year 4 (and you're wanting a place in year 1) the school is not full and you should be admitted. I know all education authorities are different, therefore criteria for being awarded a place differs from one area to another. I didn't get a place for ds2 at our school, despite ds1 being in year2 at that same school,so had to go through the appeals process last term which was frankly a pain.
What does happen though if you go to appeal is that a school can admit more than the planned admissions number but only if you go to appeal. I found a great woman on the internet who used to work for the County and schools admissions, she now has her own company helping parents get their kids into the school they want. She was absolutely brilliant and gave me the confidence and advice to present my case. If you decide to give it a bash and go to appeal let me know and Ill dig out all my stuff and try and help you in more detail.

Rachmumoftwo · 23/08/2008 10:13

I thought that only applied to junior classes and that there was a limit of 30 in an infant class. Could be wrong though.

Yorkiegirl · 23/08/2008 10:26

Message withdrawn

flipflap · 24/08/2008 10:09

Can they go beyond the 30 maximum if I am successful at appeal?

OP posts:
roisin · 24/08/2008 15:55

Flipflap - have you contacted the LEA admissions people? I believe they handle all admissions now. When we got a space from being on the waiting list, the school phoned us to tell us that a space had come up and that the LEA had said that it was for ds1.

When we were moving we phoned schools A, B, and C.
School A had spaces and we looked round and it was OK.
School B said they didn't have spaces, but would show us round, and it was fab.
School C said they had no spaces, so we didn't bother to arrange to look round.

In the end a space came up at School A. But we actually discovered in retrospect that there were loads of spaces in School C. To this day I have no idea who answered the phone on that day, or why they told us there were no places.

Good luck!

SchoolGuru · 24/08/2008 17:03

Hi Flipflap. A few things to consider:

  1. Yes, schools can exceed the 30 maximum, even for key stage 1, if you win your appeal. They then have a period of grace - a year, usually - to get the class size back to 30. They can be pretty confident that this will happen, due to natural wastage (kids moving away, going private etc). If it doesn't happen, they have to increase resources and facilities to accommodate the extra child(ren), because that's the law (for key stage 1). However in practise, I've never heard of this happening.

2. I wouldn't recommend an appeal, in your situation - it's a stressful and unpredictable business. You'd be better off, in my opinion, visiting this school (and any others within an acceptable distance) and being very nice to the head teachers. With more research, you may find that the best school for your child isn't necessarily the one you've got your heart set on now. However, if you feel you must go to appeal, I've written a Beat-the-System Guide to Appeals, available on - reckon it would be helpful.
3. Roisin mentioned that you should contact the LEA at this stage - however, whether or not they can help with this particular school will depend on where you live, and what type of school you're interested in. It's always a good starting point, though, as they may be able to inform you about other viable options that you hadn't previously considered.
Bye for now!
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