Applying for a Primary School place

Today I am applying for Chloe’s primary school place . . . which seems utter madness.

Applying for primary school

In all honesty I’ve been a bit slack as I’ve had the forms to apply for Chloe’s primary school place for over a month and just not got round to it.  As Ben is already at school and Chloe attends Nursery there, we haven’t got much of a decision to make this time – of course we want Chloe to attend the same school as Ben.  We have to apply for Chloe’s place twice – once to the LEA online and once to the school as they have set admissions criteria if they are oversubscribed.  There is a six point scale, when Ben was admitted he was on point 6 and it was just down to distance.  Chloe, as she already has a sibling at the school, is on point 4 of the scale.

If you’re applying for a Reception place for next September here’s a few things to think about: 

1. Ask around – speak to your friends, find out which school their children go to. Are they happy with it? What do they like about it?

2. Consider the practicalitiesHow will your child get to school?  Who will be looking after them?  Does your current childcare provider do drop offs at your chosen school?  If Chloe didn’t get in to our chosen school we’d have to find new childcare provision for her . . .

3. Read the Ofsted report – Yes read the Ofsted report but don’t get bogged down in it.  It is just a snapshot of the school, it’s results and data and it may even be years old.  Yes it is important but it’s not the be all and end all.  Of course we would all like our children to go to “Outstanding” schools but there is more to a school than it’s Ofsted grading.

4. Go and visit the school – This really is the most important thing.  Lots of schools will hold set “open evenings” but try to visit during the day when the children are there to get a real feel for the place.  Your gut reaction to the school is so much more important than data and results.  You will know if its the right school for your child.

5.  Don’t just put one school on the form – you might well feel there is “no other choice” and this is the “only” school you want your child to go to but your LEA might not see it that way!  I’ve seen so many parents disappointed not to get their first choice school and then placed somewhere completely random as they hadn’t put second or third choice schools down.

Good luck!

Applying for Primary School
Five top tips for choosing a primary school for your child

12 Comments

  1. To infinity and ivf
    October 13, 2014 / 1:00 pm

    Good luck 🙂 I've just done this for Z after putting it off for a month. Feels like such a massive thing doesn't it? Eek.

    • October 13, 2014 / 1:32 pm

      It does indeed! I think it helps that she's already there – but there's always the "What if she doesn't get in" panic!

  2. October 13, 2014 / 3:17 pm

    Good luck. We have one more visit until we make a decision for Jack. We have two clear contenders but just can't decide which would be first and which would be second choice. They are both great schools – one is well established and gets glowing reviews from all local parents and the other is new and still proving themselves. I think I already know in my heart which one to go for but we just want to visit this other one so we are sure.

    No matter what they are going to be a darn sight better than the ones which were around us before!

  3. October 13, 2014 / 3:41 pm

    Great advice! I was lucky enough to get my first place with my kids, thankfully. But speaking welsh in school was a big factor for me and as there is only one welsh school within a 3 mile radius of my house we had to get accepted. Good luck with the new school year!

  4. katefever
    October 15, 2014 / 12:17 pm

    Great, practical tips. Can't believe you are applying for a place – when did Chloe get so grown up?!

  5. emma lander
    October 17, 2014 / 10:23 am

    Great advice Colette. There's only one Catholic school in our village so that was our first choice. Fingers crossed for us all xx

  6. October 17, 2014 / 1:41 pm

    High school for my son next September. Not sure which is harder.
    Two of the schools in my area need a church letter which I personally feel is ridiculous. Why should anyone have to go to church to get their child into a school. It's not like teenagers actually want to go to church but that's just my opinion.

  7. October 19, 2014 / 10:17 pm

    This was us last year. I felt sorry for the head of KS1 as I reeled off my many (many) questions about the school. I felt so much better coming away from school, absolutely certain that the school was right for him. Good advice.

  8. October 20, 2014 / 8:38 pm

    I think my son got the last place in his intake year as we were out of catchment but his big sister was there! We have just had to choose her secondary though… eek..

  9. October 20, 2014 / 8:42 pm

    This is such an important post for parents with kids about to start school- great tips. We are soon to be looking at high schools for Eva!! Eeek! x x

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