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Top tips for secondary school admission applications

View profile for Mike Pemberton
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Its that frantic time of year again when parents and children are considering their preference for secondary schools as the admissions window opened in early September 2019 for pupils going to secondary schools in September 2020.

Education lawyer Mike Pemberton – who is going through this process with his own family this year shares his tips below:

  1. The admission window opens in early September and runs until 31 October 2019. It is crucial that you make an admission application within this timeframe or you will be deemed an out of time application, which may mean that all available places in your preferred school have been allocated.
  2. Go and visit the schools you are considering. At this time of year, many schools are holding open evenings and it’s a good opportunity to have a look at what the school can offer and get a feel for the place with your child.
  3. Check out the admissions criteria for the school you are considering. This should be available via the schools website  – if you do not meet the criteria for that school, then it is more likely your preference will be unsuccessful.
  4. Provide all relevant information during the admissions process. If there are additional documents which need to be uploaded then have these ready (e.g. evidence of medical or social circumstances).
  5. Give yourself some time to complete the application – don’t leave it until the last minute.
  6. You can make more than one preference during the application process. This does not prejudice you and is expected. The suggestion that applying for only one school increases your chances is a fallacy.
  7. Ensure you receive an acknowledgement of the application – take a screen shot or save your email somewhere safe.
  8. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, then contact the admission authority before the deadline for applications (31 October 2019).

You have right in law to express a preference for the school which you wish your child to attend, but this does not guarantee it will be met. The outcome of this admission round is published on 2 March 2020.