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Even though the new academic year has just started, administrations are already gearing up for the date when parents and carers can apply for primary school for the following year.
While it might seem way too early, schools actually start accepting applications for the following year as soon as kids go back after the summer holiday. Not only does this give councils plenty of time to allocate children before the date when primary school places are announced (opens in new tab), it gives parents the chance to launch a school appeal if their child doesn't get the school they want (opens in new tab). Before you choose a school it's always worth going to visit it. And before you do that, it's always good to have a few questions for a primary school to hand.
Even if the nursery or infant school your child goes to has links to the primary school, it's still necessary to apply separately for a primary school place. This isn't always an easy process and it can take a while, so it's best to begin primary school applications as soon as possible.
When to apply for primary school for 2022
While each local council area opens their applications on a different date, all councils open applications for primary school in September in the UK.
It is important to apply as soon as possible, as applications then close on January 15 2022 across the country. By the time applications finish, your child must be three years old or have just turned four years old.
Some children't aren't ready to start school full time at this age for a variety of reasons and you can apply for the following school year, starting after they turn five years old. But if you want your child to go to school part-time or part-way through the year, you'll still need to apply through the same process in September as well. The application process only opens once for every school year.
To find out when your local council opens their primary school applications, visit you local council's website (opens in new tab).
To apply for a private primary school, contact the school directly for information on applications as this goes through them directly.
How many schools should I put down?
You should put down a minimum of three schools on the application form, in order of preference.
The form should also allow you the space to write down why these schools are of particular interest to you. Some of the reasons to include on the form are insights you gained from attending open days, reading the school's admissions criteria and looking into the school's Ofsted inspection reports.
Looking into these will also tell you if your child is eligible for the schools that you're planning to put on the application form.
Do you have to put 3 school choices?
Yes, you should put three school choices down on the form.
When you complete the application form, it'll ask you to write down the schools you're applying for in order of preference. It's important that you list complete the form fully and write down three schools that you want to apply for. As the government's website says, listing just one won't make it more likely that your child gets a place there.
Writing down three choices means you're more likely to get at least one of the schools on your preference list, rather than a random one allocated by the council.
When are places announced?
Councils will send out offers of primary school places on April 16 2022 for the September start date later that year.
If this date falls on a weekend or bank holiday, councils send offers the next working day.
When you receive the offer letter, it's vital to accept the offer by the deadline on the letter. Otherwise, the council will likely withdraw your child's place and give it to someone else.
If the council doesn't offer your child a place at any of the schools you applied to, they have to give you another one at another school. More often than not, this is usually the nearest school to you with places still available.
Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics. She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.
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