National Offer Day lands on April 16 this year, with anxious parents gearing up to find out if their three-and four-year-old has been given a place at their school of choice.
It’s the official date when primary school - and junior school – places are determined.
How do I find out about my child’s school placement?
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If the application has been submitted online, the news is likely to arrive in an email or through a portal you’ve registered to.
Or, if parents have applied for a school place via paper format, the news should arrive by letter on doormats by the early morning.
It’s important that you accept the offer by the deadline stated in the letter or it could be given to someone else.
What happens if your child doesn’t get accepted into the schools you have applied for?
If your child isn’t offered a place at the schools you’ve applied for, the council is responsible for providing a placement at another school. This is normally a school nearby with places available.
However, you are also entitled to appeal against the decision of the schools you have applied for.
The type of school will determine who will consider your appeal - this could be the academy trust, local authority or governing body.
Your appeal should be lodged as soon as you receive a refusal letter, and should be submitted no later than 5pm on May 14, 2021.
The law states that no more than 30 children should be taught by a single teacher in infant classes, which can change in exceptional circumstances.
Mike Pemberton, partner and head of the civil liberties and public law team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, who specialises in education law said: “When you consider that the initial allocation is going to have an effect on the next seven years of your child’s life as they develop through Key Stage 1 and 2, it is not surprising that national offer day can be stressful.
"The main thing though, is not to panic. Parents’ starting point should be to firstly look closely at the school your child has been given a place for – there may well be more merits in that option than you first realise.”
How do you appeal?
Pemberton provides the following advice for parents who want to pursue their school of choice:
1) Find out who to appeal to – the type of school will determine who will consider your appeal, this could be the academy trust, local authorities or governing body.
2) Check the admissions policy of the school – refer to the school or local authority website to view this and ensure that the correct policy has been followed.
3) Find out the published admission number of the school.
4) Look at the school’s oversubscription policy - has it been applied correctly?
5) You may also want to check the School Admissions code of Practice 2014, School Admissions Appeals Code 2012 and relevant parts of the School’s Standards and Framework Act 1998.
6) Gather evidence supporting any medical, social or other exceptional circumstances you wish to rely upon.
7) An appeal must be made in writing so make sure you do this in good time. Whilst it is possible to appeal out of this time, this may cause delays and practically, in-time appeals may be considered first and result in more places. Also allow time to seek advice on grounds to appeal if you need assistance.
8) Consider whether you will need assistance or representation at the appeal hearing. As a parent you’re entitled to be represented at an appeal by a friend or lawyer. If you decide on legal representation, it is a good idea to seek help as soon as possible – it can get busy at this time of year.
9) Once an appeal is lodged it must be heard within 40 school days of the appeals deadline.