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Primary school admissions

Questions and Answers - starting Primary School

When can my child start school?

In Coventry children start infant and primary school the September following their fourth birthday. The law says all children must start school at the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday. If a child attends an infant school, they will transfer to a junior/primary school in the September following their seventh birthday.

What if I feel that my child is not ready to start school in September 2018?

Some parents do feel that their child is young for their age, or there may be other reasons for wanting to delay entry to school. In these cases you may be able to defer your child's entry or a child can attend part-time until the child reaches compulsory school age. However this should be discussed with the head teacher of your preferred school before submitting your application. Children must, by law, start school full time by the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday.

I am not sure which school I want my child to attend and would like to visit the school before making my choice.

You should contact the head teacher at the school you are interested in and they will arrange a date and time for you to visit.

When should I apply for a school place?

The first year of school is called Reception Year. You will need to apply for your child's school place in September of the year before your child starts school. The online application process starts from 1 September 2017 for children born between 01/09/13 and 31/08/14 who are starting school in September 2018. All applications must be made by 15 January 2018.

How do I apply?

An online application form is available at www.coventry.gov.uk/schoolplaces. Supplementary forms for Leigh, St John's Church of England Schools and Seva school can also be downloaded from the above website, but must be returned direct to the preferred school in the paper format. Help is available from the School Admissions in making your application. Alternatively they can provide a paper form for you to complete. If you apply using a paper application form this application will be acknowledged within 14 days.

It is your responsibility to contact us if you do not receive an acknowledgement.

I need to apply for a place for more than one child

You should complete a separate application for each of your children. If applying on line or via paper you should go through the same process for each child. You will then receive a separate acknowledgement for each submitted application. If you do not receive an acknowledgement for each child you must contact the School Admissions.

Can I write to support my application?

Yes. You have the legal right to explain your reasons for wanting a particular school, including philosophical or religious reasons. However, these reasons will only be taken into account if they are directly linked to the admissions criteria for the schools you have listed on your application.

What address should I use on my application form?

You should use your current permanent address where you are living at the time you fill in the application, and include the Council Tax Property Number for that address. Please make sure that the address and postcode you give us are correct because we may use them to see whether you qualify under a particular admission criterion. We regularly check addresses, including visits from the Children and Family First Workers, and if details are not correct we will withdraw the offer of a school place. For example, it is not valid to state the address of a childminder, grandparent or any other relation.

A pupil's home address is considered to be a residential property that is the child's only or main residence. At the time places are allocated, proof of permanent residence at the property concerned may be required. Where documentary evidence can substantiate to the satisfaction of the Local Authority that care is split equally between parents at two homes, parents must name the address to be used for the purpose of allocating a school place.

If I register my child at a school, does this guarantee them a place there?

No. You will only be considered for a place at a primary, infant or junior school if you apply for a school place online or if you complete a paper application form and return it to the School Admissions.

If my child currently attends a nursery class in one of my preferred schools, will they be guaranteed a place in the reception class?

No, the nursery your child attends does not affect the application you make for reception class. The law does not allow for this as some parents/carers decide not to send their children to nursery but are entitled to the same chance of sending them to a primary school that they want.

Also the policy of the city council is for nursery classes to service a wider area than a single school's catchment area. This means that the number of places in the nursery class is often greater than the number of places in the reception class in the same school.

Your application will be considered in the same way as those for children who do not attend the nursery, and it is vital that you make a new application to apply for a reception place either online or by completing the application form.

I want to apply for a place at a Faith School. Do I have to fill out different forms?

Leigh, St John's Church of England Schools and Seva School have an extra supplementary form for parents to complete if you want to receive higher priority on the basis of your faith. Further details about their admissions policies are in Appendix 1.

I want to apply for a place at a Catholic School. Do I need to attach any extra information?

Yes. If you apply to a Catholic school and your child is a baptised Catholic then you can receive a higher priority on the basis of your faith if you provide a copy of your child's Baptism certificate or a letter from your Minister confirming your child's Baptism. Appendix 1 gives details of the Catholic schools policies. You must also tick the box on the online or paper application form if your child is a Catholic and include details of where and when your child was baptised. Failure to do so could result in your child not being considered under the appropriate admissions criteria.

We went through the primary admissions process three years ago with our elder child. Has anything changed?

Yes. Some primary school's admissions numbers have been changed and there are also increasing demand for places in reception classes so it is even more important that you apply on time and put 3 choices on your application. Even if you already have a child at the school you need to apply for a place for your younger child.

I know which school I want my child to go to. Why should I request other schools?

If you only list one school you cannot be certain that your child will be offered a place there, and if you are unsuccessful we will not know what your second or third preference would have been. We then allocate the nearest school with a place available. This may not be your catchment area school. If other local schools have more applicants than they have places, you run the risk of being allocated a school some distance away. You are strongly recommended therefore to use all your preferences; doing so does not reduce your chance of getting your first preference school.

How do I find out whether there are any proposed plans to open further schools in the City?

If there are any proposals for any new schools information will be posted on this website.

How can I find out more about a particular primary, infant or junior school?

You will find some basic information in this booklet. You can also contact the school you are interested in to get a copy of their prospectus, which will give you more details about the school. You can also ask to visit the school and talk to the head teacher. If you have access to a computer linked to the internet, an increasing number of schools have their own website and details of OfSTED inspections can be found at www.ofsted.gov.uk.

School contact details can be found at www.coventry.gov.uk/schoolcontactdetails

I need a school with before and after school care. How do I know which schools provide this?

To find out whether schools provide breakfast clubs, after school clubs or other services contact the schools directly. Alternatively you can contact the Children's Information Service.

How do I find out how far away I live from my preferred school and which is my catchment area school?

You can find out details of your catchment area school (which is not always your nearest school) and the distance from an address to a school via www.coventry.gov.uk/catchmentareas or by contacting the School Admissions at primaryadmissions@coventry.gov.uk. You will need to provide a postcode and a house number.

How can I find out which secondary school a primary school feeds into?

The only “feeder” school arrangements which currently exist in Coventry are between Catholic schools. At the moment each Catholic primary school has a link to one of the Catholic secondary schools. You can find out more about these links from the "Secondary Education in Coventry 2018" booklet available from schools or via our website.

For Trust schools and Academies, the places at secondary schools are not determined in any way by which primary school a child attends.

What if I do not live in Coventry but want my child to go to a Coventry school?

You must apply to your own local authority using their application form.

However, you can include details of schools in Coventry and your local authority will pass details of your request to us.

I live in Coventry. Can I apply for a place at a primary school in another Local Authority area?

Yes. If you are a Coventry resident you can apply for a school place in another authority by completing Coventry's application and including preferences for schools outside the city.

However, if your 3 preferences of schools are all outside Coventry we would strongly advise that you include a Coventry school in your local area or your catchment area school as at least one of these preferences. This will give you a higher chance of receiving a suitable school place offer on 16 April 2018.

What if there are changes to the information I have submitted on my application form?

You are able to make changes to your online application, before the closing date. Please remember to re-submit your application. If you have submitted a paper application, you can make changes by emailing primaryadmissions@coventry.gov.uk 

What happens if I move after the deadline for receiving applications?

If you move after the deadline of 15 January 2018 it will not be possible to take your new address into account during the initial allocation.

What happens if I miss the 15 January 2018 deadline?

We will deal with applications for school places based on whether we receive them late or on time. However, if your application is late it will not be dealt with until after 16 April 2018. You will not receive a letter regarding the outcome of your application until May 2018 and it is very unlikely that you will get a place in any of the popular, oversubscribed schools.

Only applications which we receive by 15 January 2018 will be on time.

What can I do if I don't get the places I want?

Your allocation letter will explain the reasons why it was not possible to offer you a place at your preferred school and the process for appealing against this decision. Your child's name will also be included on a waiting list, which means that we will consider your child for any places that become available after the initial allocation on 16 April 2018. There is no guarantee however, that a place will become available or that you will get one if it does.

Being on a waiting list for one school does not prevent you from visiting others.

We would strongly recommend you visit any preferred school. You can decide to accept our offer of a place at another school and remain on waiting lists.

For all schools we will offer places that become available by applying the admissions rules to everyone on the waiting list.

You can appeal against all decisions. This means that you have a chance to put your case to an Independent Appeal Panel made up of people who have had no connection at all with the original decision.

How do I get onto the waiting list for a school?

You will automatically be placed on a waiting list after the first round of allocations and your application will remain on the list until the end of the 2018 Autumn Term. After this date parents will be required to register their interest in the preferred school with the School Admissions every term otherwise you will be deemed to have withdrawn your interest.

Can I find out where I am on the waiting list for a particular school?

Yes, by contacting the School Admissions. Staff will be able to inform you of the position you hold on the list. It is important to remember that you can move up or down this list depending on whether other children come onto or go off the list. For this reason we can only guarantee the position of your child on the list on the date of communication.

If places become available and there are more children on the waiting list than places, how are the available places allocated?

If there are more children on the list than there are places available we will allocate the places to those who best meet the admissions criteria. This will include any late applications. We will use the same criteria as in the initial allocation process.

How does the government's policy on Infant Class sizes affect my child's admission to school?

By law, no child at Key Stage l should be taught in classes of over 30 pupils. This may affect you. If there are more than 30 children wanting to go into a class, we will use the admissions rules (oversubscription criteria) to decide who gets a place.

If you do not get a place in any of your preferred schools, you can appeal against our decision to an Independent Appeals Panel. However your appeal will not normally be successful if it were to lead to a class of over 30. If your child is not offered a place at a voluntary aided school or academy, please contact the head teacher for details of their appeals procedure.

School contact details can be found at www.coventry.gov.uk/schoolcontactdetails

Does the Council offer help with the costs of uniform?

No, we do not operate uniform grants scheme. Individual schools may be able to offer support depending upon your financial circumstances or you can call the Citizens' Advice Bureau on 024 7622 3284.

Admissions and Benefits team - Primary

Monday to Thursday: 8.30am–5.00pm, Friday: 8.30am-4.30pm

Email: primaryadmissions@coventry.gov.uk

Tel: 024 7683 1613

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Coventry City Council

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