I didn't get my first choice primary school...

I didn't get my first choice primary school...

If you didn't get your first choice school...

Around the country today parents and children will be finding out which primary school their four and five year olds will be starting at in September.

Hopefully for most it will be a day of excitement and relief if they have been offered a place at their first choice, or even second choice, school. In fact around 90% of children were placed at their first preference school last year.

However if you have missed out on the place you were hoping for, or in some cases, your child wasn't allocated a place at all, here are some things that you can do.

Remain Calm

It is very important to make sure that you don’t let your child know your disappointment in case they still end up having to go the school they have been allocated. If a child senses there isn't something right with the school they are going to, it may make their transition to settling in harder.

Accept the Place

Accept the place that you have been offered in case you aren't allocated another. If you refuse the place you have been given you may end up at an even less desirable school.

Waiting Lists

All schools will have a waiting list. Call up your preferred school and ask to place your child on theirs. Remember to be patient as the school may be experiencing a high volume of phone calls around this time. Do not give up. Even if you are seemingly low down on the waiting list, a lot can happen between April and September. You can also be offered a place mid-year so it can be worth being on it no matter how far down.

How to Appeal

Firstly, get in touch with your L.A. (Local Authority) and let them know that you wish to appeal. You should be able to find out more information on their website under the schools and education section.

Secondly, work out if you have grounds for an appeal. Has there been a mistake in the admissions procedure? For example, has the distance between your home and the school been miscalculated? Do you feel a different school may be better equipped to deal with a social or medical need your child has? Start collecting any evidence that may support your case.

Visit Alternative Schools

Are there any other schools that you may not have visited that could be an option for your child? Keep an open mind and do some research into possible alternatives. Arrange to visit the schools and find out if you can speak to parents who already have children there.

To find out more about making an appeal contact the Advisory Centre for Education or call them on 0808 800 5793 and good luck.

Remember, our book The Tale of Starting School has been specifically designed to assist your child prepare and settle into their new school, wherever they end up attending.

Natalie Talisman
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