Guest columnist: Golden rules when applying for primary school places

Coun John Peck, chairman of children and young people's committee at Nottinghamshire County Council
Coun John Peck, chairman of children and young people's committee at Nottinghamshire County Council
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As a parent, grandparent and former head teacher, I know that applying for a school place can be exciting, but also a little daunting.

If your child was born between September 1, 2012 and August 31, 2013, you have until January 15 to apply for a reception place for September 2017.

You should have already had an admissions pack.

If not, I’d ask you to contact our admissions team on 0300 5008080.

Applying for a place in good time can help make sure that the whole process runs smoothly.

Last year, more than 97 per cent of families who applied on time, were offered one of their preferred schools.

Even if your child is already attending a nursery or another early years setting, you’ll still need to apply as there’s no automatic transfer to full-time school.

Parents of children currently in year 2 will also need to apply for a place in a junior or primary school - again there’s no automatic transfer between the two.

Apart from applying on time, parents need to use all four preferences, including one for a school where your child meets one of the higher admission criteria.

No guarantees, but this way you’re more likely to be offered a school you want.

We also need to know about brothers and sisters attending any of your preferred schools.

Admission arrangements have changed – for community and voluntary-controlled Notts schools, there’s no longer any priority for siblings living outside a school’s catchment area.

Some priority does still exist for children living in catchment with a sibling attending the school or linked junior school.

Please also check if you need to provide any extra information for any of your preferred schools.

The easiest way to apply is online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/schooladmissions.

But parents without internet can apply by phone on 0300 5008080.

More information on applying can also be found at this web address.

And the Admissions to Schools: Guide for parents 2017-2018 contains lots of useful information and advice.

From September 2018, only pupils with statutory entitlement will benefit from home to school transport.

This includes those applying for a place for September 2017, who may be eligible for help with transport in 2017-2018.

Parents might want to consider this when deciding which schools to apply for given potential future implications of having to pay for their child’s transport.

Find out more at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/schooltravel

I wish you good luck with your application.