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 2023?
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.
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.
Where a parent of a summer born child wishes to defer entry until the following academic year, and wishes their child to start in reception this will mean the child would be taught out of their normal age group.
If you want to request a place in reception from September 2024 for a child who should be starting in reception in September 2023, please contact email@example.com and we will contact you to give further advice.
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 school you are interested in and see if they can arrange a date and time for you to visit or visit the school's website for information.
How do I apply?
Via the Coventry Education Services Portal. When you submit your application you will receive an acknowledgement email. Supplementary forms for Leigh and Seva School can also be downloaded, but must be returned direct to the school in the paper format. Advice is available from Admissions staff in making your application especially for late applicants on those schools which still have places available.
I need to apply for a place for more than one child
You should complete a separate application for each of your children. You will then receive a separate acknowledgement for each submitted application. If you do not receive an acknowledgement for each child you must contact Admissions staff.
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 Customer Reference 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 Support 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, please check the policies of the schools you are applying for to check how your address will be determined.
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 submit an application at www.coventry.gov.uk/schooladmissions and request that school on the form.
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 at the school of your choice.
I want to apply for a place at a Faith School. Do I have to fill out different forms?
Leigh 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.
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 directly to the school you are requesting. 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.
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 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 and to include your catchment area school; doing so does not reduce your chance of getting your first preference school.
How can I find out more about a particular primary, infant or junior school?
You will find some basic information in the Primary Admissions booklet. You can also ask to visit the school and talk to the head teacher. Details of OfSTED inspections.
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. You can find contact details in the individual school pages in Section 2 of the Primary Admissions booklet. Alternatively you can contact the Family Information Service on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or find further information on the Family Information Directory.
How do I find out how far away I live from my preferred school and which is my catchment area school?
Information regarding catchment areas (which is not always your nearest school). If you require details about the distance from your address to a school please email email@example.com
How can I find out which secondary school a primary school feeds into?
There is a feeder school link between the Catholic primary schools and the Catholic secondary schools in the city. Seva School and Sidney Stringer Primary Academy also have a link to their respective secondary schools giving priority for admission. You can find out more about which schools are linked by checking the individual schools' details in the Primary booklet or by checking the admissions policies for the schools.
For other 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?
We treat all applications equally, no matter where you live. However, you must complete an application to the Local Authority you pay your Council Tax to. Your Local Authority will then contact Coventry who will in turn inform them if they are able to meet your request. However if you do not qualify for a Coventry school, your Local Authority will be responsible for making sure your child has a school place. Please make sure you read the admissions policies of Coventry schools many have policies which include priorities based on catchment areas and distance.
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.
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(s), which means that we will consider your child for any places that become available but there is no guarantee that a place will become available or that you will get one if it does You can decide to accept our offer of a place at another school and still go on a waiting list for any school you have received a refusal for.
For all schools, places will be offered by applying the admissions criteria to everyone on the waiting list. For the September 2022 admissions process in Coventry, oversubscribed schools on average offered 2 places to those on waiting lists.
You have the right to appeal against all refusals in regards to primary school admissions. 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. Going through the appeals process does not guarantee you a place at the school you are appealing for and does not affect your position on any waiting lists for other schools.
How do I get onto the waiting list for a school?
If you are not offered a place at a school you placed as a higher preference to one you have been allocated, then you will automatically be placed on a waiting list for that school/those schools. This will continue until a place can be offered to you, or until the end of the December 2023. After this date parents will be required to submit a transfer application form to register their renewed interest in the preferred school otherwise you will be deemed to have withdrawn your interest and removed
from the waiting list.
Can I find out where I am on the waiting list for a particular 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.
How do I find out if I am eligible for help with transport?
The Local Authority can offer assistance for travelling to school, but only for those fitting the qualifying distance and other entitlement criteria. Pupils applying for assistance with travel must live within the Coventry boundary and be of statutory school age i.e. 5-16 years of age. Pupils may be eligible for free travel if the distance from their home address to their nearest primary school at which places are available is in excess of two miles in the case of a child aged 5-8 and more than three miles for a child aged eight years or over. In each case the distance measured is by the nearest available walking route between the home address and the school. Pupils aged 8-11 whose parents/carers are in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit or who are entitled to free school meals will qualify for free school transport if they live more than two miles from their nearest school with available places.
More information can be found in the Primary Admissions booklet in Section 4 or on our school bus passes webpage.
You can apply online for a travel pass.
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. Further information on the appeals process can be found in Section 6 of the Primary Admissions Booklet.
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.
Does the council offer help with the costs of uniform?
No, we do not operate a uniform grants scheme. Individual schools may be able to offer support depending upon your financial circumstances. Please also contact Citizens Advice Coventry or visit Kirkby House, Little Park Street, Coventry CV1 2JZ.
What do I do if I am a member of UK armed forces or a crown servant returning to the UK from a posting abroad?
The School Admissions Code requires that for families of UK armed forces or Crown servants returning from overseas to live in Coventry, admission authorities must allocate a school place in advance of the family arriving in the area, provided their application is accompanied by an official letter declaring a relocation date. Children of UK service personnel and other Crown Servants will be treated as meeting the residency criteria for a catchment area once proof of posting has been provided.
Can I refuse to accept a school offer if it's not one of the schools I wanted/selected?
Unfortunately, we are unable to remove a school your child has been offered unless we can offer an alternative school with places available. You can discuss availability with the school admissions team. There is no guarantee by requesting one of the alternative schools that a place will be offered as this will depend on how many other requests we receive for these spaces.
Can I have a friend ring on my behalf to talk about my application form?
Due to GDPR regulations, the Admissions team can only speak to the parent who made the application unless they provided details of an alternative contact within the application details.
Admissions team - Primary
Monday to Thursday: 8.30am – 5pm, Friday: 8.30am - 4.30pm Telephone line available until 3.30pm.