Primary Education in Essex 2015/2016 - Your guide to starting primary education or transferring from infant to junior school

 
Primary Education in Essex 2015/2016 - Your guide to starting primary education or transferring from infant to junior school
Primary Education
in Essex 2015/2016
Your guide to starting primary education
or transferring from infant to junior school

Closing date for applications 15 January 2015

Apply online at
www.essex.gov.uk/admissions
Page 2

Parents and carers who live in Essex               You will be able to make your application
can now apply for their child’s school             online from 10 November 2014.
place online using the Essex Online                The closing date for primary applications is
Admissions Service at:                             15 January 2015. This is the statutory national
                                                   closing date set by the Government.
www.essex.gov.uk/admissions                        Please note that it is not possible to apply for a
                                                   junior school or a mid-year place on line.
The online application system has a number
of benefits for parents and carers:

• the online system is open 24/7 during the
  application period;
• you can access related information through
  links on the website to find out more about
  individual schools, such as home to school
  transport or inspection reports;
• you will be sent an email to confirm that your
  application has been received;
• you will be told the outcome of your
  application by email on offer day.
Page 3

Contents
Online admissions                              2       Co-ordinated admission arrangements and         17
                                                       what they mean
Introduction                                   4
                                                       The application process explained               18
Timetable for primary school admissions        5
                                                       Appeals against admission decisions            19–20
Essential information for parents             6–16     • Making an appeal                               19
• Common Application Form (CAF)                 6      • Infant class size appeals                      19
• Supplementary Information Form (SIF)          6      • After you have lodged your appeal              19
• Applying to schools outside Essex             6      • At your hearing                                19
• Closing date for applications                 6      • Grouped appeal hearings                        20
• Year 2 to 3 applications                      7      • The decision                                   20
• When can my child start school?             7–8
• Nursery classes                               8      Special educational needs and Essex            21–22
• Pre-school education                          8      special schools
• Priority admission areas                      8      • Transport for children with statements        21
• Types of schools                              9         of special educational needs
• Using all your preferences                    9      • Special schools in Essex                      22
• School preference order                       9
• Changing preferences                         10      Home to school transport                       23–24
• Home address                                 10      • Mainstream primary schools                     23
• Shared parental responsibility               10      • Points to remember                             23
• Address checking                             10      • Sustainable modes of transport scheme          24
• Fraudulent/misleading applications           10      • Spare seat scheme                              24
• Moving house                                 11
• Distance tie breaker                         11      Financial assistance for parents and            25
• Siblings                                   11–12     students
• Will my child’s brothers and sisters be      12      • Uniform grants                                25
   able to go to the same school?                      • Free school meals                             25
• Twins, triplets etc.                        12       School term dates                               26
• Children who are cared for by a             12
   local authority (Looked After Children)             School governors                                26
• Medical circumstances                       12
                                                       Primary schools in Essex                        27
• Admission of children from overseas         13
• How decisions are made                      13       School information explained                    28
• Withdrawal of offers                        13
• No application for a school place is        13       A guide to information sources                  29
   submitted
                                                       Useful addresses and telephone                 30–31
• Late applications                           14
                                                       numbers
• None of your preferences can be met         14
• Infant class size legislation               14
• If you are not offered a place              14       Pull-out centre section –
• Waiting lists                               15       The Essex Common Application Form,
• I’ve decided I would prefer a lower         15       notes of guidance and application checklist.
   preference school
• Continued interest in a school after the    15
   end of the autumn term
• I want to change primary schools            16
• Fair Access Protocol                        17

The information contained in the booklet is correct as at the time of printing. Policies may change in the
light of decisions made by the Schools’ Adjudicator or any changes in the law. An addendum will be
available on the website and on request.
Page 4

Introduction
Welcome to Primary Education in Essex                  The LA’s School Admissions team provides help to
2015/2016. This booklet is for parents and carers      parents applying for primary or secondary places
living in Essex whose children will be starting        in Essex and is responsible for the co-ordination
primary education or transferring from infant          of admissions to all Essex maintained schools and
to junior school in Essex in the school year that      Academies. If you require any assistance with your
begins in September 2015.                              application, School Admissions will do its very
                                                       best to help you.
Please take the time to read this booklet carefully
as it will help you through the application process.   I hope that your child has an enjoyable and fruitful
It gives you the information you need to help you      primary education, and I wish them every success
make an informed application for your child’s          for the future.
primary education. It also explains how places are
allocated and how to appeal if you are refused a
place at your preferred school(s). Vital information
is included to help you through the co-ordinated
admissions process. Please make use of all your
preferences.

We have an online applications system through          Councillor Ray Gooding
which over 90% of applications were submitted          Cabinet Member for Education
last year. Applying online allows you to complete      and Lifelong Learning.
the process quickly and easily over the internet.
Alternatively an application form can be found on
our website or you can request a paper form if you
would prefer to apply on paper. Please do not
do both.

The Local Authority (LA) is the part of Essex County
Council which has responsibility for the provision
of school places across the county.

Key Points to Remember
•   APPLY ON TIME - deadline 15 January 2015.
•   Use all 4 preferences.
•   Tell us immediately in writing (email or post)
    about any address change.
Page 5

Timetable for primary school admissions 2015/2016
Keeping track of your application
As deadlines are a critical part of the process of applying for a child’s primary school place, a step by
step timetable is here to assist parents. You can use it to check that you have done what you need to and
received the necessary information and correspondence. The Local Authority sends all correspondence
“in good faith” that it will be received on time. If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your
application, including the offer letter or email then please contact School Admissions immediately.

DATE                    PROCEDURE                                                                    ACTION BY

Week commencing           Application information sent to all parents                                 LA
3 November 2014           of eligible Essex resident children registered with an Essex GP when
                          the data was received from the Health Authority. The Primary Education in Essex
                          2015/2016 booklet is on the ECC website.
10 November 2014          Online applications facility opens.                                         LA/Parents
October 2014 –            Visit the admissions website and read through this booklet, find out       Parents
15 January 2015           about and visit schools. It is important to consider how your child
                          will get to school.
15 January 2015           LAST DAY FOR RECEIPT OF COMMON APPLICATION FORM                            Parents
                          EITHER PAPER OR ONLINE.
                          Applications received after this date will generally be treated as late.
                          The online admissions system will not accept applications after this
                          date.
January – April 2015      Admission policies for schools are applied to relevant applications        Schools and LA
                          – see page 18 for an explanation of the process.
6 February 2015           The last date that evidence of changes of address can definitely be        Parents/LA
                          accepted to be included in the first round of offers on 16 April 2015.

February – March 2015     Information exchanged with other authorities and preferences sorted to     LA
                          identify the highest that can be met – see examples on page 17.

16 April 2015             NATIONAL OFFER DATE. Offer letter sent to all Essex resident applicants.   Parents/LA
                          An email will also be sent to those who applied online and
                          who asked for it, confirming the outcome of their application.
                          If you DO NOT receive a letter by 25 April 2015 then please contact
                          School Admissions.
April – 29 August         Waiting lists are maintained for all oversubscribed schools and any        LA
2015                      places that become available are filled.
15 May 2015               The latest date to lodge an appeal against a refusal of a place            Parents
                          if you want it to be heard before the end of the summer term.
June – July 2015          Appeals held.                                                              Schools and LA
4 September 2015          LA ceases to maintain waiting lists for foundation, voluntary LA
                          aided schools and Academies.
Page 6

Essential information for parents
This booklet contains the arrangements for                        you can contact the school directly to find out if a
admissions to schools as carried out by Essex                     SIF is needed.
County Council in accordance with statutory
regulations and guidance from the Department for                  Please remember that completing a SIF on its own
Education and the statutory instruments.                          is not an application – you must complete the
                                                                  Common Application Form and send it to us.
Common Application Forms (CAFs) and                               Parents seeking information should note that the
Supplementary Information Forms (SIFs)                            LA will only discuss specific details about your
Parents1 living in Essex2 must apply to Essex                     child’
County Council for their preferred primary or infant
schools. The Essex Common Application Form                        Applying to schools outside Essex
(CAF) is the only way you can apply for a primary                 Primary school admissions are fully co-ordinated
or infant school place for your child. The CAF can                across the country. This means that if you are
either be completed and submitted online at                       resident in Essex you only need to fill out one
www.essex.gov.uk/admissions or you can                            form, the CAF, even if some or all of your preferred
complete and return the form in the centre of this                primary schools are outside Essex. Please apply
booklet. Please do not do both. If more than one                  online at www.essex.gov.uk/admissions or
application is received the authority will process                complete and return a paper application form.
the last one to be submitted. You must submit your                Please do not do both.
CAF by 15 January 2015.
                                                                  Closing date for applications
Your online application will be acknowledged
                                                                  The statutory national closing date for all
by email only. Paper applications will be
                                                                  applications whether online or paper is 15 January
acknowledged within 10 working days by letter
                                                                  2015. It is vital that you apply on time.
only. Please contact School Admissions if you do
not receive an acknowledgement.                                   Applications received after this date will normally
                                                                  be treated as late and will receive a lower priority.
Some schools will need extra information to
rank your application against their admission
criteria. These schools will ask you to complete
a Supplementary Information Form (SIF). Most
schools of a religious character will ask you to
complete a SIF.
Where a SIF is required, this is made clear in the
school’s admission policy which you can find on
our website. You will need to look online at www.
essex.gov.uk/admissions and find the relevant
school to see if it has a SIF (it will be displayed
under the Admission Policy for 2015/16 if a SIF is
required). You can also view a copy of the Schools
Admission Policies Directory for your area on the
website to find out if a SIF is required. Alternatively

1
    Parents include guardians and carers or any person who has parental responsibility or care of the child.
2
    If you live in Essex your council tax will be payable to one of the following District Councils: Basildon, Braintree,
    Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Colchester, Epping Forest, Harlow, Maldon, Rochford, Tendring or Uttlesford.
Page 7

Essential information for parents
continued
Year 2 to Year 3 applications                            When can my child start school?
If your child currently attends an infant school         As required by law, all infant and primary schools
you will have to make an application to transfer         provide full-time admission for all children offered
to the partner junior school. Children who attend        a place in the reception year group from the
most infant schools in Essex are now guaranteed          September following their fourth birthday. This
a place at their partner junior school, provided an      means that you have the right to a full time place
application for that place is made by the closing        at the school your child is offered from September
date, and the child is still in attendance at the        2015. Research has shown that outcomes are
school at the time applications are determined.          better for reception children who start school in
For parents who wish their child to only transfer        September.
to the partner junior school, the application will
simply involve registering at the junior school.         The law does not require a child to start school
Parents who wish to apply for a Year 3 place at          until the start of the term following their fifth
schools other than the partner junior school, or         birthday. Compulsory school age is reached at that
for other schools at a higher preference than the        point. Parents can request that the date their child
partner junior school, will need to complete an          is admitted to school is deferred until later in the
application form.                                        school year or until the child reaches compulsory
                                                         school age in the school year. Where entry is
There are a small number of junior schools               deferred, the school will hold the place for that
where children from local infant schools are not         child and not offer it to another child. The parent
guaranteed a place and parents applying to those         would not however be able to defer entry beyond
schools will have to complete an application             the beginning of the term after the child’s fifth
form. Full details of how to register for your child’s   birthday, nor beyond the academic year for which
partner junior school or to apply for other Year         the original application was accepted.
3 places, together with an application form for
those who need one, will be provided to parents of       Parents can also request that their child attends
known children in Year 2 of Essex infant schools in      part-time until the child reaches compulsory
November 2014.                                           school age. You would need to check with the
                                                         individual school(s) what the part-time provision
Year 2 children moving into an area, who are             would be.
admitted to an infant school where a guaranteed
place in the partner junior school is normally           Where parents choose to defer entry, the school
available, will not be guaranteed a place if             may reasonably expect that the child would start at
evidence of their new address is received after          the beginning of a new school term/half term.
6 February 2015.                                         However, where the parent of a ‘summer-born’
Where parents of children in Year 2 of an infant         child (13 April – 31 August) wishes their child to
school apply, in the normal admission round, for a       start school in the autumn term following their fifth
place in Year 3 of a primary school (which does not      birthday, they will need to apply for a place at the
have a Published Admission Number for normal             correct time for the normal admission round for
admission at that time) that preference will be          the following academic year. Supporting evidence
treated as a casual admission. A decision will not       from relevant professionals working with the child
be made until after the summer half term break           and family stating why the child must be placed
when there is likely to be a clearer indication of       outside their normal age appropriate cohort must
potential places at the school in September.             be submitted. The LA/admission authority will
                                                         decide whether the application for a Reception
                                                         place will be accepted or whether it will be treated
Page 8

Essential information for parents
continued
as an application for a Year 1 place, the child’s       Priority admission areas
normal age appropriate cohort. If the application       Although schools no longer guarantee places to
for a Reception place is not accepted this does not     children living in their priority admission area,
constitute a refusal of a place and there is no right   many include living in the priority admission
to an independent statutory appeal.                     area as one of their oversubscription criteria. We
                                                        recommend that you consider listing your local/
Nursery classes
                                                        priority admission (catchment) area school, if you
Nursery education, for children from the age of         have one, as one of your preferences to give you a
three years old, is available in some schools.          better chance of getting a place at a local school.
Those with nursery classes are identified in            If you do not include your local/priority admission
the Schools’ Admission Policies Directory for           area school and you are not offered a place at any
your area, which you can view on our website            of your preferred schools, it is possible that your
or which is available from School Admissions.           child could be offered a place several miles away
The admission of children to a nursery class in         from your home address.
a school is the responsibility of the school’s
governing body.                                         Confirmation of your priority admission area
                                                        school is available by using our ‘Catchment Area
The information in the Schools’ Admission               Finder’ tool on our website www.essex.gov.uk/
Policies Directory, about admission numbers and         admissions.
policies, only applies to children being admitted to
reception classes and generally to admissions to        Attendance at a priority admission area
other year groups in schools.                           (catchment) school does not guarantee
                                                        entitlement to free home to school transport (see
Attendance at a nursery attached to a school or a       page 23).
co-located children’s centre, does not guarantee
admission to the school. Parents of children who
are attending such nursery provision must apply         After the first round of offers are made on 16
for a place at the school if they want their child      April 2015, some schools may apply mid-year
to attend the reception class. The application will     admissions protocols to admit children moving
be considered against the published admission           into their area where there is no other school with
criteria for the school. There is no guarantee that a   space within a reasonable distance.
place will be offered.

Pre-school education
There are a range of options open to parents
for ‘early years’ education for their child. For
information and advice on early years education
and registered childcare. Please contact the Essex
Family Information Service on 0800 055 6874
or email them at fis@essex.gov.uk. The Family
Information Service can also provide information
about childminders, nursery education, pre-
schools, day nurseries, playgroups, crèches,
breakfast/after school clubs and holiday schemes
for all children from the ages of 0 to 14 years.
Page 9

Essential information for parents
continued
Types of schools
All schools in Essex (except independent fee                  have been dealt with. This could mean your child
paying schools) are known as maintained schools               being allocated a school several miles away
or Academies. There are several types of school               from your home address. Your local school must
outlined below. The list of schools in the Schools’           be one of your preferences in order for it to be
Admission Policy Directories show which type of               considered; this will not be done automatically.
school each one is. The differences relating to
                                                              Applying for more than one school does not in
pupil admissions are:
                                                              any way reduce your chances of being offered
•   community schools – the Local Authority (LA)              your highest preference so please do aim to use
    is the admission authority3;                              all of your preferences.
•   voluntary controlled schools (VC) – these
                                                              School preference order
    schools often have a religious character,
    normally Church of England. The LA is the                 You should put your preferences in the order
    admission authority3;                                     you really want them. If parents differ as to
                                                              the preferences they wish to express for their
•   foundation schools - the school’s governing               child, they should resolve that difference
    body is the admission authority3;                         before making an application, as the LA will
•   voluntary aided schools (VA) – these schools              only process one application for each child and
    have a religious character often Church of                cannot get involved in any dispute on the matter.
    England, Roman Catholic or Jewish. The
    school’s governing body is the admission                  The rank order of your preferences is confidential
    authority3;                                               to the LA and will only be shared with schools
                                                              in the event of appeals. In accordance with the
•   Academies – these are independent schools                 statutory School Admissions Code, schools must
    in the maintained sector. The Academy’s                   not use admissions criteria that requires you
    admission policy and arrangements must be                 to put them as first preference to gain a higher
    consistent with admissions law and the School             priority. No Essex schools use such criteria.
    Admissions Code and the Academy Trust is the              If your preferred schools are not in Essex you
    admission authority3;                                     should check their admissions criteria carefully.
•   Free Schools – these are Academy schools                  Contact details for local authorities bordering
    set up in response to parental demand. The                Essex can be found on page 31.
    Academy Trust is the admission authority3.
                                                              It is important that, when selecting your
                                                              preferences for school admission, you take
Using all your preferences                                    into account how you will transport your child
We recommend that you use all of your                         to school. The following website may give you
preferences and consider including your local/                useful information about alternatives if your child
priority admission (catchment) area school as one             will not qualify for home to school transport:
of your preferences. If you express a preference for          www.essex.gov.uk/publictransport or www.
a school and a place cannot be offered, you will              travelinesoutheast.org.uk. See pages 23-24 for
be allocated a place at the nearest school to the             more details.
home address with a place available, after all the
other on time applications

An admission authority is responsible for all aspects of pupil admissions and appeals.
3
Page 10

Essential information for parents
continued
Changing preferences                                   Shared parental responsibility
You can change your preferences on your online         Where both parents share parental responsibility
application by logging into and amending your          and live at different addresses and they cannot
existing application and resubmitting it, as long      agree on the application for a school place, (and
as this change is made by the closing date. If you     this is apparent to the Council), the applications
applied on paper you will need to write to School      will be held in abeyance until either agreement is
Admissions before the closing date so your letter      reached, demonstrated by both parents confirming
is received by 15 January 2015.                        this in writing, or a court order is obtained
                                                       confirming which parent’s application carries
After the closing date, a change request will not      precedence. Failure to secure an agreement before
be accepted, unless this is for an address change.     the published offer date could prejudice your
Any requests must be submitted to School               child’s chances of gaining a place in a preferred
Admissions in writing, whether you applied online      school.
or by paper. You can email admissions@essex.
gov.uk                                                 Address checking
Home address                                           The LA may ask a random sample of applicants to
                                                       provide proof of their home address. This must be
Applications will normally be processed on the         a copy of one of the following:
basis of the home address for the child at the
time of application and determination (when            •   UK driving licence;
decisions are made about places offered). The          •   council tax notification;
home address is considered to be the address at
which the child resides on a permanent basis or is     •   two utility bills dated within the last six
‘ordinarily resident’. This is generally the address       months (gas, electricity, water or landline
of the parent/carer. In some cases, children may           phone).
be ‘ordinarily resident’ for the majority of the       Fraudulent/Misleading applications
school week, including overnight, with another
                                                       Regrettably, on occasion some parents give false
relative or carer, such as a grandparent. Where
                                                       information about their home address to get a
this is the case, the application may be processed
                                                       place at a particular school. This is completely
on the basis of that address and proof of address
                                                       unacceptable and can have the effect of denying
and residence arrangement will be required with
                                                       a place to a child with a more genuine claim. The
the application. The child must be living with the
                                                       County Council expects that all applications are
relative or carer 24 hours per day, for the majority
                                                       made in good faith giving the correct information.
of the school week.
                                                       Where there is reasonable doubt as to the validity
Arrangements where parents can leave and collect
                                                       of a home address, the LA reserves the right to
children from another relative or carer on a daily
                                                       take additional checking measures including,
basis will be regarded as childcare arrangements,
                                                       in some cases, unannounced home visits. If a
and the child will not be deemed to be ‘ordinarily
                                                       school place is secured through false information
resident’ with that person. In all cases we expect
                                                       regarding a home address, the LA, in consultation
that the adult with whom the child is ‘ordinarily
                                                       with the admission authority, has the right to
resident’ receives the child benefit for the child.
                                                       withdraw the place and will exercise that right in
Some foundation, VA schools and Academies have         relevant cases.
different rules on home address. You should check
each school’s policy.
Page 11

Essential information for parents
continued
Moving house/changing address details                   Distance tie-breaker
If you move address either within Essex or into         Most schools use distance to prioritise their
Essex during the admissions process, you must           applications, both within each individual criterion
notify School Admissions immediately by e-mail          and as a final criterion. Straight line distance is
or letter. You should provide (proof of exchange of     commonly used; however, a small number of
contracts if you have purchased your new home,          schools measure by the shortest walking route.
or tenancy agreement if you are renting). If there
are changes to your plans you must let School           All straight line distances are calculated
Admissions know immediately or your child’s offer       electronically by the LA using data provided jointly
of a place could be withdrawn.                          by the Post Office and Ordnance Survey. The data
                                                        is used to plot the co-ordinates of each individual
If you know you are moving to Essex before the          property and school and provides the address
closing date for applications but are not able to       points between which the straight line distance is
provide evidence by that date, you must apply for       measured. Distances are reported in miles to three
Essex schools via your home authority.                  decimal places in the first instance. In the unlikely
If you make an online application and you have          event of two applicants with an identical distance
moved house it is not sufficient only to change         competing for a single place at a school the place
your address on your online application. You must       will be offered to one applicant on the basis of
inform School Admissions in writing by e-mail           lots drawn by an officer of the County Council not
or letter, and provide evidence of your move as         involved in admissions, with the exception of
described above.                                        twins, triplets etc.

If this evidence is received after 6 February 2015,     Siblings
we cannot guarantee that your application will be       For all community and VC schools, and for some
processed using your new address. If your child         foundation, VA schools and Academies (indicated
is subsequently placed on a waiting list where          by ‡ in the school’s admission policy) the
the position is influenced by home address,             following definition applies:
your new address will be used to determine your
position. Please note that if you are applying for      A relevant sibling is a child who has a brother,
a place at schools outside Essex there may be           sister, adopted brother or sister or stepbrother
different dates after which a new address can           or stepsister living in the same family unit, in
be considered. If you are in doubt please contact       the same family household and address, who
School Admissions.                                      attends the preferred school in any year group
                                                        excluding the final year. Biological siblings who
If you own a property in Essex but are not living       attend the preferred school in any year group
in it, but intend to take up residency at the Essex     excluding the final year will also be treated as
home before the start of the autumn term, then          siblings, irrespective of place of residence.
evidence of this address must be provided for the       Children residing in the same household as part
application. Any offer of a school place will then be   of an extended family, such as cousins, will not be
conditional upon receipt of evidence of you taking      treated as siblings.
up residency at that property in Essex.
                                                        For mid-year applications, the only variation to the
                                                        definition above is the child should be attending
                                                        or has been offered a place, at the preferred school
                                                        at the time of application and determination and
                                                        with a reasonable expectation that the sibling will
Page 12

Essential information for parents
continued
be attending at the time of admission. Biological        Children who are cared for by a local
siblings who attend the preferred school will be         authority (Looked After Children)
treated as siblings irrespective of their place of
                                                         A ‘looked after child’ or a child who was previously
residence.
                                                         looked after but immediately after being looked
Foundation and VA schools and Academies may              after became subject to an adoption, residence
have different definitions of a sibling. If you are in   or special guardianship order will be given first
any doubt please contact the school.                     priority in oversubscription criteria, ahead of all
                                                         other applicants, in accordance with the School
Will my child’s brothers and sisters                     Admissions Code 2012. A looked after child is a
be able to go to the same school?                        child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or
You should check the priority given to siblings in       (b) being provided with accommodation by a local
each school’s admissions criteria to assess the          authority in the exercise of their social services
chances of this. There is no automatic guarantee         functions (as defined in Section 22(1) of the
that siblings can go to the same school. Your            Children Act 1989).
chances will be reduced if you do not apply on
time.
                                                         Medical circumstances
                                                         Some schools may give priority based on medical
Twins, triplets etc.                                     circumstances. You should check the school’s
For community and voluntary controlled schools in        admission policy and send any supporting
the normal admission round, if the last child to be      evidence to the school directly. If the school is
offered a place is a twin and their sibling cannot       in another local authority, check with the school
be offered initially, the LA will ensure both twins      where to send any evidence.
are offered a place. In the case of triplets or other
multiple births, if the majority of children can be
                                                         Admission of children from overseas
offered a place initially, the LA will offer places      All children of compulsory school age (5 to
to the remaining child(ren). For example if two          16 years) in the UK have a right of access to
triplets can be offered a place, the remaining child     education. However, where the child is in the UK
will also receive an offer of a place.                   for a short period only, for example less than half a
                                                         term, it may be reasonable to refuse admission to
For mid-year applications, where a family moves          a school.
into an area necessitating a change of school for
their twins (or triplets etc.) and the majority can be   Children who hold full British Citizen passports
offered a place then a place will be offered for the     (not British Dependent Territories or British
remaining child(ren). However, where the family          Overseas passports), have a passport endorsed
does not move but wishes to transfer the children        to show a right of abode in the UK or are
to another local school where there are insufficient     European Economic Area nationals normally have
places for all of them, then places would not            unrestricted entry to the UK. An application for a
normally be offered to all.                              school place will be accepted for such children
                                                         even though they may not be resident in the UK
For foundation and VA schools and Academies the          at the time of application. The application may
decision will be made by the governing body or           however be processed on the basis of the overseas
Academy Trust.                                           address.
                                                         If an applicant meeting the above criteria owns a
                                                         property in Essex but is not living in it, but intends
                                                         to take up residency at the Essex home before the
Page 13

Essential information for parents
continued
start of the relevant term, then evidence of this         If you do not intend to apply because you will be
address must be provided for the application. Any         sending your child to an independent school (fee-
offer of a school place will then be conditional          paying), or other reason, please inform School
upon receipt of evidence of taking up residency at        Admissions.
that property in Essex.
                                                          Late applications
Other children from overseas do not generally have        Applications received after the closing date of 15
automatic right of entry to the UK. An application        January 2015 will be treated as late. This means
for a school place will not therefore be accepted         your application will be dealt with after all on time
until they are resident in the UK. Proof of residency     applications have been processed, unless there
such as endorsed passport or entry visa will be           is evidence, or you provide evidence, to show that
required with the application.                            the application could not reasonably have been
How decisions are made                                    made on time. A new on time preference will not
                                                          be accepted after the closing date unless the
Each school has a Published Admission Number              circumstances are deemed to be exceptional.
(PAN) which is the maximum number of children
the school can admit each year. If there are more         All late applications will be considered by
applications than the PAN then the school’s               LA officers to determine whether there are
oversubscription criteria will be applied. This           exceptional circumstances. Where that is deemed
is a set of rules against which applications are          to be the case, the application will be treated as
prioritised, for example by siblings or distance.         ‘on time’4.
The admission policy for each school is available
to view on our website by selecting the individual        None of your preferences can be met
school or in the Schools’ Admission Policies              In the unlikely event of none of your preferences
Directory for your area (also viewable on line or as      being met because other applicants meet the
a paper copy on request). It sets out a summary           admission criteria better, if you are an Essex
of the oversubscription criteria. The directory           resident you will be offered a place at the nearest
also includes information on the number of                school to your home address with a space
applications received and the last admission              available. Remember to use all your preferences.
criterion reached last year for primary and infant        For September 2014 2.89% of Essex parents
schools. This information can help you assess the         could not be offered any of their preferences
chances of your application being successful.             whilst 93.55% were offered their first or second
Withdrawal of an offer                                    preference of primary school.
If a school place has been secured through false
information or has been offered in error, the offer
of the place may be withdrawn.

No application for a school place is
submitted
It is the responsibility of the parent or carer to
ensure that the application is received by School
Admissions by 15 January 2015. If you fail to
submit an application you will not be offered a
school place.

It is not possible to treat any application received after 6 February 2015 as on time. In addition, any
4

applications or change requests received after 6 February 2015 will be held and not considered until after
the first round of offers on 16 April 2015.
Page 14

Essential information for parents
continued
Infant class size legislation                          Panels have to weigh the disruption and difficulty to
The law requires all primary and infant schools        the school and the quality of education it delivers,
to ensure that there are no more than 30 pupils        (referred to as ‘prejudice’) as a result of having an
in an infant class with one school teacher. This       additional pupil, against the predjudice to the child
requirement has led to schools removing their          if they did not attend that school.
guarantee of a place for priority admission            Some parents express concern that their appeal
area children. This legislation restricts the          has been ‘a waste of time’. An appeal is never a
circumstances under which appeal panels can            waste of time but you should carefully consider
uphold an appeal for an infant place.                  your reasons for your child attending the school,
                                                       particularly where the infant class size limit of 30
If you are not offered a place
                                                       pupils is concerned.
If you are not offered a place at a preferred school
the law requires that you be given the right to        From figures available at the time of preparing this
appeal to an independent appeal panel.                 booklet, for Year R admissions in the academic
                                                       year 2014/2015, there have been 415 appeals
Legislation has restricted the power of appeal         for places where the infant class size limit was
panels where the refusal of a place has been           involved, of which 15 (3.6%) were successful.
based on the infant class size limit of 30 pupils.     There were 32 further appeals not involving the
Please see page 19 for more information.               infant class size limit of which 11 (34.4%) were
When the refusal of the place is not based on the      successful.
infant class size limit, you must give your reasons    This information is intended to help parents decide
why as to you want your child to attend that           whether it is worthwhile pursuing an appeal in the
school. Independent appeal panels can grant            event that their application is unsuccessful.
a place at a school even when the admission
authority has demonstrated that the process has
been carried out properly, and all the available
places have been filled.
Page 15

Essential information for parents
continued
Waiting lists                                              Continued interest in a school after the
After 16 April 2015, all unsuccessful applications         end of the autumn term
that are a higher preference than the school               Waiting lists are not automatically maintained
offered will be held on a waiting list, according to       after the end of the autumn term for community
the admissions criteria for the school. This applies       and voluntary controlled schools. This means
to both on time and late applications.                     that if you have been refused in the normal
                                                           admissions round but still want a place, you will
School Admissions will hold waiting lists for all
                                                           have to contact us to put your child’s name on a
Essex oversubscribed schools until the end of
                                                           continued interest list. For reception applicants
August 2015. Applicants will be ranked in priority
                                                           the registration form is available from November.
order, according to the school’s admission
                                                           It should be completed and returned before the
criteria. After this date Essex LA will continue
                                                           end of December to ensure your child is on the list
to maintain the waiting lists for oversubscribed
                                                           from January.
community and voluntary controlled schools until
the end of the autumn term 2015. Oversubscribed            If a place becomes available those on the list will
foundation and voluntary aided schools and                 be ranked along with any other applications that
Academies are required to maintain their own               have been received for a place at the school.
waiting lists as a minimum, until the end of the
autumn term. Waiting list positions can change,            When there are more live applications, on the
for example, as a result of an offer of a place being      same day, than the number of places available,
made or as new applications for the school are             the school’s admission criteria will be used to
received. It is possible, therefore, that a child’s        determine any offers that can be made.
position on a waiting list could move down as well         This situation may be different if you are applying
as up.                                                     for a place at a foundation or voluntary aided
If you are in any doubt, please check with the             school or Academy. You will need to contact the
relevant admission authority.5                             school to see how they handle your continued
                                                           interest in a place.5
I’ve decided I would prefer a lower
preference school than the one I have
been offered
Although you will be given the right of appeal for
any preference for which you were not offered a
place, you will only be automatically held on a
waiting list for any Essex preferences higher than
the one offered. If, having received your offer, you
decide you would rather your child attends one
of your lower preference schools, please put this
request in writing to School Admissions. Your
application to that school will then be reactivated
and, if there are no places available, added to the
appropriate place on the waiting list.

 5
  If you have applied for a non-Essex school and have not been offered a place, it is your responsibility as the
 parent or carer to find out how waiting lists for schools in other LA areas are operated. This includes what
 happens if an offer is made from a waiting list.
Page 16

Essential information for parents
continued
I want to change primary schools                           Fair Access Protocol
(mid-year)                                                 The Local Authority has a Fair Access Protocol to
If you wish your child to transfer from one primary        ensure that schools and the LA work together to
school to another, you should contact School               ensure that access to education is secured swiftly
Admissions. The opportunity to transfer depends            for children that have no school place.
on places being available at the preferred school.
                                                           The aim of the protocol is to encourage close
If a place can be offered, it is usually made
                                                           co-operation between schools, when allocating
available at the start of the following term. If
                                                           places for pupils who are ‘ hard to place’ (for
no places are available your application will be
                                                           example children with challenging behaviour) that
refused and you will be given the right of appeal.
                                                           balances the needs of parents, children
Applications for transfer will not ordinarily
                                                           and schools.
be determined until the half term prior to the
requested admission date.                                  In addition, under the protocol the LA can, in
                                                           exceptional cases, approach schools and ask
Changing schools is a serious step to take.                them to admit children over their admission
Before applying please discuss the reasons                 number where, for example, a child has moved
for your request with your child’s current                 into an area and there are no schools within a
headteacher. You should not remove your child              reasonable distance of the child’s home with a
from their current school before securing a                place available.
place at another school. A school may admit a              Children considered for admission under the Fair
child over the admission number and outside                Access Protocol will take precedence over children
the admission criteria mid-year where they have            on a waiting list who are attending another school.
been excluded from another school or are being
placed as a move supported by all agencies.                If, having applied for a place, your child is still left
                                                           with no school place at all please contact School
                                                           Admissions for more advice.
If, having applied for a place, your child is still left
with no school place at all please contact School
Admissions for more advice.

The LA has a ‘Fair Access’ officer who can offer
advice and assistance where no schools in the
vicinity have vacancies.
Page 17

Co-ordinated admission arrangements
and what they mean
The law requires a Local Authority (LA) to co-ordinate admissions to all primary schools (except
independent (fee-paying) or special schools) in their area. Primary schools includes infant schools.
Essex parents must apply for primary school places by completing the Common Application Form. This
can either be completed online at www.essex.gov.uk/admissions, or you can use a paper application
form. Please do not do both. Parents can express preferences for up to four schools both in and out of
Essex, in the order in which they would like them considered.
On 16 April 2015, parents will be sent one offer of a place at the highest preference school that can be
met. If none of the preferences can be met, a place will be offered at the nearest school to the child’s
home address with a space available. Here are some examples of this process:

Example 1 – Parent has applied for four schools and the first preference can be met:
Preference 1 – Offered
Preference 2 – Not offered – right to appeal given*
Preference 3 – Not offered – right to appeal given*
Preference 4 – Not offered – right to appeal given*

Example 2 – Parent has applied for four schools and the second preference can be met:
Preference 1 – Not offered – on waiting list and right to appeal given
Preference 2 – Offered
Preference 3 – Not offered – right to appeal given*
Preference 4 – Not offered – right to appeal given*

Example 3 – Parent has applied to four schools and no preference can be met:
Preference 1 – Not offered – on waiting list and right to appeal given*
Preference 2 – Not offered – on waiting list and right to appeal given*
Preference 3 – Not offered – on waiting list and right to appeal given*
Preference 4 – Not offered – on waiting list and right to appeal given*
Child will then be offered a place at the nearest school to the home address with a space available.
* You will note from examples 1 and 2 that children are only held on waiting lists for preferences higher
than the one that can be met.

On 16 April 2015 (National Offer Day) parents will be sent a letter containing the result of their
application. An email will also be sent to parents who have applied online and who have asked for it,
confirming the outcome of their application.
Page 18

The application process explained
                                                            Stage 1
Paper               Application form                   Details entered onto          Application acknowledged
Application            received.                          LA database.                by letter within 10 days.
    OR

Online          Application made using          Application acknowledged              Details will be transferred
Application                                                                                      onto
                    online facility.                     by email.                          LA database.

                       CLOSING DATE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS IS 15 JANUARY 2015

                                                            Stage 2

                  Schools’ admission                                                   LA database is updated
                                                  Results are collated by
                  policies are applied                                                    and information is
                                                   School Admissions.
                  to all applications.                                                exchanged with other LAs.

                                                            Stage 3

                                                                                       The highest preference
                Preferences that can be           Information from other
                                                                                       offer is decided and the
                 offered are identified.          LAs added to database.
                                                                                        pupil record updated.

                                                            Stage 4
                                         16 APRIL 2015 – NATIONAL OFFER DAY

                     An offer letter will be sent to all parents giving the results of their application.
              Email sent to online applicants who have requested it, giving the result of their application.

            Pupils will be held on a waiting list for any schools of higher preference than that offered unless
          parents inform School Admissions that they no longer wish to be considered for a place. Waiting lists
                         will be maintained by the LA for all schools until the end of August 2015.

                           If a place becomes
                                                                              Parents are given the right
                        available then the child
                                                                                 to appeal against all
                      at the top of the waiting list
                                                                               preferences not offered.
                       will be offered the place.

                                    If none of your preferences can be met you will be
                                        offered a place at the nearest school to the
                                           home address with a space available.
Page 19

Appeals against admission decisions
Making an appeal                                      After you have made your appeal
If your child has not been offered a place at your    You will be advised in advance of the date of your
preferred school you have the statutory right to      meeting called a ‘hearing’. Wherever possible the
appeal to an independent appeal panel against         appeal hearings will take place in the area local to
the decision not to admit your child. If you decide   the school for which you are appealing.
to appeal, you have 20 school days from the date
of your refusal letter to make your appeal. This is   You are encouraged to attend your appeal in
to ensure that it is heard along with all others.     person. If you do not attend, and do not inform
                                                      the clerk, the panel may consider your appeal in
Detailed information about how to appeal will be      your absence. You should remember that if your
sent to you with your offer pack.                     appeal is heard in your absence, the panel will be
                                                      unable to ask further questions about any details
Infant class appeals (Key Stage 1 appeals)            of your case, which they may wish to clarify, before
Legislation has been introduced to enable schools     reaching a decision. Your appeal will usually be
to meet the requirement that there will be no more    heard in private and as informally as possible.
than 30 pupils in an infant class with one school     If you wish, you may bring a friend, relative or
teacher6. This legislation restricts appeals panels   representative. Normally at least five days before
to only allow successful appeals on one of three      the hearing you will be sent a written summary of
grounds where admission would exceed the class        the admission authority’s case for not being able
size limit, either:                                   to offer your child a place at the preferred school.
•   it finds that the admission of additional         At your hearing
    children would not breach the infant class size   There will be three panel members who will be
    limit; or                                         introduced to you. A clerk will also be present to
•   it finds that the admission arrangements          record the panel’s decisions and advise on the law
    did not comply with admissions law or were        and procedure. A representative of the admission
    not correctly and impartially applied and the     authority will present the case for not meeting your
    child would have been offered a place if the      preference.
    arrangements had complied or had been
    correctly or impartially applied; or              The panel will have copies of your appeal (plus
                                                      any letters or additional information you may
•   it decides that the decision to refuse            have sent in support of the appeal) together with
    admission was not one which a reasonable          information on why your preference has not been
    admission authority would have made in the        met. If you attend, the hearing will usually follow
    circumstances of the case.                        this pattern:
    This means that an appeal for a place in
    the reception year, year one or year two,         •   the case for not meeting your preference will
    has limited grounds for success where the             be presented;
    admission authority’s grounds for refusal is      •   you, or your representative, may ask
    based on infant class sizes of 30.                    questions;
It is advisable that you consider carefully whether   •   you, or your representative, will present your
to submit an appeal in such a case to avoid               case;
unnecessary disappointment.                           •   you may be asked questions;
                                                      •   the reasons for not meeting your preference
                                                          will be summarised;
                                                      •   you, or your representative, will be given the
                                                          opportunity to summarise your case.

Defined by Section 122 of the Education Act 2002 and the Education (School Teachers’ Prescribed
6

Qualifications etc.) order 2003 which was made under that section.
Page 20

Essential information for parents
continued
Grouped appeal hearings                                  Essex LA’s policy, which applies to community
When there are a large number of appeals for             and voluntary controlled schools, where a
one school they may be heard using the ‘grouped          parent’s appeal is not successful, is that we will
appeal’ system. There are normally two stages            not consider another application for the same
to this process. At the first stage, the admission       school in the same academic year unless there
authority will present its case to all parents (and      have been significant and material changes in the
any representatives) at the same time, in the form       circumstances of the parent, child or school, which
of an evening presentation. For a small number of        could warrant a new application. These changes
appeals, the presentation will take place on the         have to relate to the new application and not be
morning of the appeal. When there is an evening          connected with the result of the first application.
presentation, notes of the meeting will be sent          The Local Government Ombudsman can
to all appellants before the second stage. At            investigate complaints of maladministration. For
the second stage, the appeals of the individual          Academies, the Education Funding Agency can
parents will be held in private as described earlier,    investigate such complaints.
and no decisions will be made until all appeals,
received on time, for the school have been heard.

The decision
In non-infant class size cases, the panel will,
firstly, decide whether the school or LA has
demonstrated why it cannot admit any more
children. If the panel is satisfied that the
admission authority has proven this, it will go
on to consider all the points you have made. The
second part of the hearing is based on balancing
the need of the individual child against the effect
on the school of admitting another child. The clerk
to the panel will write to you, usually within seven
days of the hearing, telling you of the appeal panel
decision and the reasons for it. The decision is
binding on both parties.
If your appeal is against refusal on infant class size
the appeal panel can only uphold the appeal on
the grounds shown on page 20. The clerk to the
panel will write to you, usually within seven days
of the hearing, telling you of the appeal panel’s
decision and the reasons for it. The decision is
binding on both parties.
Page 21

Special educational needs and Essex special schools
Essex County Council has additional                      will have the opportunity to express preferences
responsibilities for children assessed as having         for your preferred schools you should do this
special educational needs. An assessment of              as part of the discussions before the proposed
these needs may lead to a statement of special           statement is issued. You should not return the
educational needs or Education, Health and Care          Common Application Form in this booklet or make
Plan (EHCP) being issued. Most children with a           an application using the online facility. If an
statement or EHCP are educated at their local            application is received for a child with a statement
mainstream school, with additional support if            of special educational needs a place will not be
appropriate. Some children who have a statement          allocated as part of the co-ordinated admissions
or EHCP and have significant special educational         process detailed on pages 17 and 18.
needs attend a special school or a mainstream
school with additional special provision. For            SEN transport arrangements
further details about the statutory assessment           Arrangements for free home to school transport
procedures or special education in Essex please          can be found online at www.essex.gov.uk/
ring the Parent Partnership Helpline 01245               schooltransport.
436036.
                                                         In line with statutory duty Essex provides
The list opposite gives details of the special           free home to school transport to the nearest
schools in Essex and an indication of the type of        appropriate school with space if the pupil resides:
difficulty catered for by each school.
                                                         •   2 miles or more from the school for pupils up
A child is only placed in a special school if they are       to the age of 8 (end of Year 3);
the subject of a statement of special educational        •   3 or more miles from the school and is over the
needs or EHCP and the school is named in that                age of 8 (Year 4 and above).
document. For most children a mainstream school
                                                         All routes are measured using the shortest
will be able to meet their needs.
                                                         available walking route.
Children with statements of special educational
                                                         If a child lives under the statutory distance criteria,
needs or EHCP that name a school are required to
                                                         transport cannot be provided unless there is clear
be admitted to that school.
                                                         evidence that the child’s special educational
If your child has, or is currently being assessed        needs are such that the parent/carer cannot get
for, a statement of special educational needs or         him/her to school.
EHCP you will have discussed the most suitable
                                                         The provision of an escort on the vehicle is not
school and the range of options available with the
                                                         automatic and is based on the child’s individual
Statutory Assessment Service (SAS). If you think
                                                         needs at the time of assessment.
your child may have special educational needs
you should first speak to the headteacher of your        Where a school is or can be named in a child’s
child’s present school.                                  statement or EHCP as it is the nearest appropriate
                                                         school but as a result of parental preference
Most special schools take pupils from a wide area
                                                         they choose an alternative school further away,
of the County.
                                                         transport will not usually be provided to the
Please note:                                             alternative school. Parents will be required to
                                                         make their own arrangements to get their child to
If your child already has a statement of special         and from school in this instance.
educational needs or EHCP they will be allocated a
primary school place by SAS as part of the process
for a child with a statement of special educational
needs starting at a primary school. Whilst you
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