For the September 2022 school term, over 614,000 applications were made for a place at secondary schools in England, the highest number ever recorded. Of these applications, 16% did not secure their first-choice school*.
With the window for applications for the 2023 school term closing on 31st October, Mike Pemberton, a Partner and a specialist in education law at Stephensons offers his advice for parents making an application this year:
Results, reputation, locality, and transport logistics are all important factors for parents to consider. Whilst your child will be keen to go where their friends are hoping to go, what the sports or music departments have to offer and perhaps even how the uniform looks can also be a factor for you and your child
You have a right to express a preference about which school you wish your child to go to. When making your decision, it is important to carefully research schools – there will be lots of accessible information on school websites and through your local authority
You can ask for your child to be considered for a place at more than one school – check the policy in your local area. Some for instance ask for three schools in total.
It is worth noting, that if you only put forward one preference and you are not offered a place, your child will be allocated a place at another school where there is space – not necessarily a school close to your home address
When completing your application, it is important that you carefully consider the admissions criteria for the prospective schools and determine how your child meets them – do they already have a sibling at the school? Do they have any additional needs or an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) that you need to make the admissions team aware of?
If you are applying to a Church / Voluntary Aided school, you also need to make sure that any supplementary forms and evidence are completed and submitted on time – this will allow the Governors to consider your application appropriately
Be sure to include such points in your application for consideration and most importantly make sure your application is submitted in time. The closing date for applications is 31st October 2022. Any applications received after this date will be classed as late.
National Offer Day for secondary schools is on Wednesday 1st March 2023.
Should you not be successful in securing a place at your preferred (or any of your preferred) schools, you are able to appeal. This should be done within 20 school days of the National Offer Day - school admission appeals.