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Primary education

I have a few questions about starting school...

21 replies

ElfOnTheTopShelf · 18/01/2009 15:32

  1. am I right in thinking that children have to start school the term they turn five? So my DD who will be four in October, has to start in the September term of 2010?

  2. will the council write to me regarding getting her in school (have not heard anything yet)

  3. if the council writes to me, will I only be able to request a place at their schools, as we live just on the border of the council areas, and I think our closest schools are not in our council boundaries iyswim

  4. Am I putting DD in a disadvantaged state by not getting her in the school earlier?
OP posts:
NewAmazingBeginning · 18/01/2009 15:36
  1. yes, though you might be bale to defer until Janusry but she woul dbe one of the older ones so I wouldn't see the need.


2. You need to register an interest at the school you want to go to, forms have been sent out and then you send them back. The form is your application.

3. you can specify upto 3 choices.

4. she can't go to school until 2010.
petrovia · 18/01/2009 15:38

The term after they turn five is the egal requirement, so although most kids will start reception at four, you don't have to. You could put her straight into year one in 2011.

ElfOnTheTopShelf · 18/01/2009 15:41

Sorry, on point four, I meant getting her in at nursery / half days at the nursery section of the school iyswim

I have had no forms for the schools, so do I need to request them for when I do want her to go to school?

OP posts:
NewAmazingBeginning · 18/01/2009 15:42

Is that every school, petrovia?

NewAmazingBeginning · 18/01/2009 15:43

Ring the school you want her to go to and ask how to go about it. You should do it tmw tbh.

The date has already passed where ours had to be back.

Acrtually, scrap that mine is going this September. So you won't have a form yet.

LadyMuck · 18/01/2009 15:46

Check your LEA website. They will have details on the application process. You will almost certainly be able to apply across county borders though, but you need to check exactly how this would work ie where do you fill in the form.

The council will almost certainly not write to you. They tend to advertise the need to get an application form via libraries, preschools, doctors surgeries etc. I'm not sure as to how the council would know how many children I had to be honest, let alone when they are due to go to school?

When you look at schools you can ask about the backgrounds of other children eg how many go to preschool or nursery. I think that for a child to have had no element of group preschool education means that reception can be a big transition, but all that means is that you need to manage it carefully.

petrovia · 18/01/2009 15:47

As far as I know in England NAB. Might be wrong tho.

petrovia · 18/01/2009 15:48

We had to go and ask for an application pack at our local school. It doesn't have to be the one you're choosing. Not sure about the county thing though.

You'd be putting in the form around now for a place this autumn as NAB says. Maybe go get one around xmas.

ElfOnTheTopShelf · 18/01/2009 15:55

I am checking the websites of both councils, is this the best place? One is easy to navigate around, but this is the one I dont belong to! But, the school which is a two minute walk from me is on that council site, and all the other ones local to me. On the other site (my council website) they're all a fair distance away and probably too far for my CM to go to (given she does a number of school pick ups already) and I really dont want to have to swtich CMs or use two (as I would like the next child we're planning to go to this cm!)

So I have until about Christmas to sort this out - might be able to dechiper it by then

Do schools get annoyed if you apply directly to them?

OP posts:
ElfOnTheTopShelf · 18/01/2009 15:56

Sorry, wasn't reading properly then - so you can get the application packs from the schools, any of them, rather than at the council?

OP posts:
petrovia · 18/01/2009 16:14

Yes, I think so.

You'll need to ask about where you can apply though it should explain it fully in the pack.

NewAmazingBeginning · 18/01/2009 16:17

It is the school you have to contact directly, not the council.

Ring the school once your child is 3 and say you want to register an interest. They will tell you when the forms go out.

Dottoressa · 18/01/2009 16:29
  1. I believe the legal requirement is the term after they turn five.

  2. no idea!

  3. no idea again!

  4. Not in the slightest. My DS missed Reception, and it did him no harm whatsoever. He is still academically miles ahead of his classmates, and has caught up socially. I believe that the longer children can be at home, the better. If my DD hadn't been so keen to go to school, she'd have missed Reception too!!
blametheparents · 18/01/2009 16:40

Regarding Point 3 I believe that you can have 2 applications, one for each local authority.

For example at the time of applying to schools we were due to move. I applied within the London Borough of Bexley (where I lived then) and I also applied in Kent where I was due to move to.

The processed were entirely separate and one authority would have no idea about the other application.

LadyMuck · 18/01/2009 16:48

The application process really does vary from LEA to LEA. For example locally our deadline was around the beginning of December 2008 for 2009 applicaions, so I wouldn't wait until Christmas personally. We also apply online so no need to get an application pack for the school.

I think Petrovia's thing about starting straight into year 1 doesn't apply in England - or at least it could only apply to summer-born children, which obviously yours isn't. So if you delayed starting school by a term to Jan 2011 then they would still have 2 terms in reception before moving into Year 1 in the autumn. You would still have to apply for a school place as for a September start though as the school is capped on the number of children that it can have in each reception class.

cat64 · 18/01/2009 16:57

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

terramum · 18/01/2009 23:27
  1. Children must start receiving an education the term after they turn 5. School is not compulsory

  2. Not necessarily. Ours didn't. Best to contact them if you aren't sure when you need to start thinking about school choices by.

  3. Have no idea tbh....probably best to contact the neighbouring council and the schools concerned.

  4. No - as long as she is secure, happy and learning/developing then she will fit in no matter what age she starts school
IdrisTheDragon · 18/01/2009 23:33

My DD will be four in September. The school that she will go to (and DS is at now) has a nursery/reception class where children can attend mornings from the term after they are 4, for two terms and then be full time for the rest of reception.

We live in Bedfordshire and lower school admissions forms come out in July and have to be returned by end of September and you find out about places in December, so I would advise checking your council website to find out the procedure.

ChasingSquirrels · 18/01/2009 23:42

she has to receive an eductation, not necessarily school, from the term after she turns 5 - ie Jan 2011. In reality being one of the eldest in the year she will start in Sep 2010.

the council will have the procedure, different LEA's have different deadlines - ours is late Dec for the following Sep, others are later, some are earlier.
Our council you can apply online, so don't actually need forms at all.

You can apply in different counties, just follow the procedure for each.

The councils are very unlikely to write to you, but by registering an interest (ie putting her name down) with the school they are then likely to ensure you get the forms.

You could look at a pre-school for her now, she might enjoy is. My ds2 is a few months younger (3 in a week) and has just started pre-school a couple of mornings a week and is really enjoying it. Or look at it from Sep 2009. Or don't send her at all. Depends on your circumstances and your child.

lovelysongbirdie · 18/01/2009 23:43
Clary · 18/01/2009 23:50

Is yr DD in any kind of pre-school setting? If so the forms should come to you through that. If not contact the council.

You will prob have to apply some time in autumn term 2009-10 (ie this Oct-Nov).

AFAIK you can apply to schools across boundaries but if dealt with by different LEA then there will be diff app forms...check with whichever LEA you are interested in.

If there is a school nursery at the school you prefer then I would aim to get her a place - call them ASAP as children will already have started this Jan (it's free the term after they are 3).

Newamazing, in most LEAs (certainly ours) you apply to the councilm not the school. There's no point contacting the school wrt to applications (looking round is a different matter of course).

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