And so begins another Primary School Place Race….

The Times has previously reported that “ninety UK primary schools are refusing to accept pupils who live more than 300m away as Britain’s booming population pushes classrooms to crisis point.” The smallest catchment area is 92m, according to data from the online service FindASchool”.

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For us, four years ago was quite straightforward, considering we have twins. Although I must admit to waking on more than one occasion in a cold sweat thinking, I shouldn’t have been so bolshie only putting one option on the form. But it all worked out ok in the end.

We did, however, receive lots of emails in the four months that followed, still, do in fact asking us to clarify what we knew about this mystical and stressful thing called the Primary School Place Race. So here it is!

All Greenwich schools have a single point of entry and admit children in September. If your child was born between 1 September 2014 and 31 August 2015, he or she would qualify for a place in a reception class in September 2019.

Key Dates are as follows;

Reception admissions process for entry in September 2019
Application period starts September 2018
Closing date for applications January 2019
Outcomes of applications  April 2019
Deadline for accepting  April 2019
Appeal hearings June and July 2019

The online eAdmissions system for applications is ready to go from September 2018, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Before you apply for a place take a look at the Greenwich Primary School Admissions Guide here

But what happens after you’ve entered the Primary School Place Race.

According to Royal Greenwich Council.

Priority will go to children with a statement of special educational needs (SSEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan naming the school. Although we know a family, who was still not placed by the October half term!

Remaining places are given in the following order:

1. Looked after children and previously looked after children who have been adopted or become subject to a residence or special guardianship order immediately after having been looked after. A looked after child is a child who is in the care of an English or Welsh local authority in accordance with section 22 (a) of the Children Act 1989. An adopted child must have been adopted under the Adoption and Children Act 2002, which came into force in December 2005.

2. Sibling means a full, half, step brother or sister, or a child living as part of the family unit. This does not include siblings who attend a school’s nursery provision. If the last child to be offered a place is a twin or sibling from multiple births, the twin or multiple birth siblings will also be offered a place(s) as an excepted pupil.

3. Children with an acute medical or social need for a particular school. This may also apply to an immediate family member. The application must be supported by a letter written by a hospital consultant, GP or social worker, setting out the reasons why the school is the only one that can meet the child’s needs and the implications for the child if they are not offered a place at the school.

Travel, work or childcare arrangements are not considered as being an acute medical or social need and will not be taken into account when deciding which applicants should be offered a place.

4. Other children based on home to school distance. The distance from home to school is measured as a straight line from the centre of the home address to the main entrance of the school. If two applicants live an equal distance from the school, the offer of a place will be decided by random allocation.

*I think this is most commonly known as a finger in the air method!

Your home address is considered to be where the child resides as their only or principal residence. Proof of liability for Council Tax will be required. If the child resides equally with both parents, the principal home address will be considered as being the address at which the child is registered while attending early years provision, with a GP and, if applicable, the address of the parent who receives Child Benefit or Child Tax Credits for the child.

For children who reside with a relative or carer other than a parent, a court order will be required. In establishing the principal home address Greenwich reserves the right to ask for further information (such as proof of the tenancy period) and to check records held within the Council and with external agencies. If a false address is given and an offer of a school place is made on the basis of that address, we reserve the right to withdraw the offer of a school place at any stage during the primary admissions process.

To complicate things further, there are five schools in Greenwich with split sites; Bannockburn School, Heronsgate School, Invicta School, James Wolfe School and Windrush.

Be careful to check which is used to measure the distance to your home, In the case of James Wolfe, it’s the main entrance to the former Greenwich Town Hall on Royal Hill.

With Faith-based schools having additional supplementary guidance notes.

But what happens if you don’t get your first choice?

In 2015, 80% of Royal Greenwich children received an offer of their first preference school on national offer day with 130 appeals lodged and only two successful appeals (1.5%)

You have the right to appeal against a decision not to offer your child a place and any appeals submitted after the deadline (April) will be heard within 30- 40 school days of the appeal being lodged.

Advice on school admissions appeals is available from the Coram Children’s Legal Centre. They have a great website full of information and its valuable resource for many parents.

Royal Greenwich also has an FAQ around appeals here.

So good luck and may the force be with you!

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