Entry years deadlines – impact on relocating families

Entry years deadlines – impact on relocating families

Whether you are moving around or into England with children needing a place in a State school, the usual process is to make an in-year application through the council in the area you are moving to. These can be made at any time of year and are processed on receipt, meaning an outcome is usually known within about 20 school days.

However, if your child is due to start a new phase of schooling, normally starting Primary school age 4 turning 5 or Secondary school age 11 turning 12, the situation is very different. These are called entry years and due to the volume of families making applications they are processed in a very different way.

So how does it work, and what do relocating families need to know?

The entry year application process is co-ordinated across the whole country to make it as fair as possible and ensure no child misses out on a school place. As you can imagine this takes a long time to process and so there are set deadlines for making on time applications – October 31st of the academic year before starting Secondary school and 15th January of the academic year before starting Primary school.

All applications made by these deadlines are classified ‘on time’ and will be processed through the councils’ co-ordinated scheme before any ‘late’ applications made after the deadlines are considered. This often means the most popular schools have already allocated the places they have available, known as the PAN (Planned Admission Number), and are therefore full so any subsequent applications will result in the child’s name being added to the waiting list and another school being offered.

This can be a bewildering situation, say in April, for a family moving into or around the UK, to face. Their child needs a school place for the following September, but all the ‘good’ school places are gone!

This is where the advice and support of an Education Consultant from Bowker Consulting can make all the difference.

The Consultant will carry out specific research into how school places were allocated in previous years, and also liaise with schools and the councils regarding current availability and waiting list situations. Using their extensive knowledge and experience, the family are then guided towards areas where they stand a good chance of securing a place at a great school even though they are late to the process.

There is always movement in the school population between when the first allocations are made and when the children actually start at the school in September. Ideally, a relocating family will want to make strategic decisions about where to live, to ensure that their child is near to the top of their preferred school’s waiting list whilst still receiving an offer for a place at a great fall-back option.

All this can be achieved with the right advice and support.

Click here to contact Bowker Consulting today, and find out more about how we can help you!

Article written by Debbie Bowker October 2019

© Bowker Consulting Ltd. October 2019 All rights reserved.