Tomorrow is results day for my four year old – the day he finds out what primary school he’s been allocated! There is a real chance he won’t get any of our three choices and even then, I’d only really be happy with two of them. So I’ve been looking into it and here’s what to do if you don’t get the primary school place you want.
Step one – don’t panic!
It can be easy to feel as if your world has come crashing down, especially if the news is unexpected but there is no need to start making calls the second you get the bad news. It is not dealt with on a first come first served basis, so take a deep breath and consider your options.
It is advisable to accept the offer you have been given to retain the place and keep your child in the system while you decide what you want to do.
The most direct option is to make an appeal to the local authority. Anyone is entitled to do this but it is important to bear in mind that less than 15% are successful. This is because you can only win if the school has not followed the process properly or if you have special circumstances.
Consider the allocated school
Don’t automatically discount the school place you have been given. Go and take a look around, talk to other parents and try to approach it with an open mind. It may not be what you had pictured but that doesn’t mean your child couldn’t settle and do well there.
Look at under-subscribed schools
There may be schools near you that still have places open. Your local authority will be able to tell you which these are. Don’t assume they are bad if they under-subscribed. They may just be in a less populous area, have a slow catchment year or be less well known.
Join the waiting lists
The next step for a chance of getting into your chosen schools is to put your child on the waiting list. These will open once all the offers have been either accepted or rejected. The waiting lists follow the same criteria as the original applications so you can still move down the list if someone more eligible joins it.
Delay school start
Your child does not legally need to be in full time education until the term after they turn 5. So as J’s birthday is in March, this would mean he doesn’t need to actually start school until the Summer term next year. This gives you extra time for a place to open up on a waiting list. However, this may mean you lose your place at the school you have been allocated by not attending.
Access free funding
All 3 and 4 year old are entitled to 15 hours funded hours a week and many will be entitled to 30 hours from September 2017. Your 4 year old is entitled to this whether they are due to start school or not. So, feasibly, you could use it to continue in their current nursery or preschool setting until they turn 5 and hope a place opens up
Homeschooling is not for everyone but you may want to consider it, even temporarily, if you do not think your child will function well at the available schools. There are many different styles of learning and a lot of support out there.
Whatever you decide to do, remember it can have a happy ending and although it seems like a big black hole now, you will find something that works for your family.