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All you need to know about applying for a Primary School place

Updated: Sep 9, 2022

Your little one is approaching the end of pre-school, and you find yourself wondering, “how has this come around so fast!?”

This can be a bit daunting but don’t worry, here’s all you need to know.

The first thing you need to know is: children born between 1st September 2017 and 31st August 2018 have from September 2021 until 15th January 2022 to apply for a space at a Primary School.

If your application is late, there is a chance you won’t be offered a place at the Primary School/s you picked out so be sure to send it on time.

Starting primary school is a huge step for any child. It’s important to help them adjust to this transition. You can do this in a range of ways – you can find some ideas and handy tips by reading our School Readiness blog post.

So, let’s have a look at when and how to apply for a Primary School place.

First, though, how do you even find out about your local Primary Schools?

The best way to find your best local primary schools is to head on over to the government search function (click here). There you’ll be able to find all registered schools alongside their contact info, OFSTED status/reports and overall test scores.

OFSTED reports are a good way to determine the quality of the school through their inspections and incident reports.

Most primary schools will also have their own websites, some may even print brochures. This is a good start to get a feel of what the school is like, as well as their ethos and teaching methods.

But how do you choose the right one?

When having a look for a Primary School, test results aren’t everything! This may sound a little odd but trust us.

It’s important to actually visit the school, have a look around and speak to the teachers.

Same as when you chose a nursery! If you feel the place is right for your little one, then it probably is!

In the end, it’s much more important for your little one to thrive in the learning environment rather than just be scoring good marks on a test.

When planning visits and looking at different Primary Schools, be sure to visit as many as you can! Sure, it takes time, but you won’t get the real feel of it till you’re there, in a classroom and speaking to the teachers.

And did you know most councils actually ask you to list 3-4 schools in order of preference? Make sure you do this as you may be offered a far away or undesirable school otherwise.

So, you’ve found 3 or 4 schools you like in your area, what’s next?

Applying of course!

If your little one is due to start primary school in September 2022, you will need to apply by the 15th of January 2022. Your child will be 3 or have just turned 4 when you apply.

To apply, you’ll need to head on over to your council’s website. You will be able to choose from an online or paper application form to complete.

Click here for the government guide for an ‘all you need to know’ about the application process (including info on which council website to apply on if you’re unsure).

Your child’s place should be confirmed on 19th April 2022 (these usually come through in the evening so don’t stress if you don’t hear back first thing).

Finally, it’s so important to remember you are not alone! It’s a huge transition and so many parents are going through the same thing.

You can speak to your nursery manager, key person, or the other parents at nursery if you have any questions, concerns or if you’re just a little lost and want to chat.



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