Primary School Admissions Process Part 2: Your Questions Answered

A while ago I published a post called Primary School Admissions Process Part 1: Your Questions Answered.  To date it has been one of the post highly viewed posts on Bishopston Mum and local mums have told me that they found it helpful when deciding on primary school preferences for their children.

Now that myself and many other local mums and dads have actually made those choices, we are now playing the waiting game to find out if we will be granted our first choice of primary school for our children.

So today’s post is about part 2 of the primary school admissions process: the actual receiving of offers of places at local primary schools.  Again, I used actual questions from local parents and emailed these to Mike Wheeler at Bristol City Council who, very kindly, agreed to answer them for the readers of Bishopston Mum.  I hope you find it helpful…

When can parents expect to hear which school their child has a place at?

If parents applied on line and on time (by the closing of midnight 15th January 2013), they will receive an email on the morning of Friday 19th April 2013 along with a confirmation letter sent the same day.

If the parent completed a paper application, they won’t receive an email but will receive a letter that will be posted on 19th April first class.

What choices of action do parents have if not granted their first choice of school?

They can choose to accept offer school.
They can choose to go on the waiting list for the preference school (if they are higher preferences).
They can change their preferences to new schools – this will be dealt with in the second round of allocations.
They can exercise their right of appeal for their preference schools.

How successful do parents tend to be when appealing against a primary school placement for their child in and around the Bishopston area?

In the Bishopston area, all school appeals for Reception are heard under Infant Class Size Regulations.  This is national legislation that states you cannot have more than 30 children in a class – except in exceptional circumstances e.g. a child in care.

The Independent Appeals Panel can only look at a very specific set of circumstances.  For example: Did the admissions authority allocate places fairly and in line with their published admissions criteria?

Community Controlled Schools do not take into account personal, medical or social circumstances.  So unfortunately at an Infant Class Size appeal, circumstances such as where a childminder lives or where you work cannot be taken into account.

Due to the legislation, Infant Class Size appeals are rarely successful and parents can find this frustration.  However, parents are fully in their rights to exercise their right of appeal.

For over 99% of schools, no appeals have been upheld since the legislation was introduced in 2000.

How likely is it that parents will receive their first choice of primary school in and around the Bishopston area?

Unfortunately we are unable to confirm any likelihood of being successful for a first preference school.

Many thanks to Mike Wheeler for kindly answering the above questions.

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