Expert advice at primary school admissions fair

An admissions fair will take place on Tuesday, 1 December 2015 from 4-8pm at Ealing Town Hall. Parents and carers do not need to book and can drop in at any time to talk to the council’s admissions team who can give expert, one-to-one advice on how to complete the primary school application form.

Admissions officers will also be available for individual advice sessions which will take place in Perceval House, next to Ealing Town Hall on the 9, 10, 11 December from 10am until 4pm. People wishing to attend a session must book in advance by calling 020 8825 5522 or by emailing mainroundadmissions@ealing.gov.uk.

Following a public consultation in 2014, the rules on how places are allocated for community primary schools have recently changed and will come into effect for the first time for parents and carers of children due to start school in September 2016. Faith schools, foundation schools, free schools and academies have their own admission criteria and parents should read them carefully.

The changes include giving priority to siblings of children already at the school. This change was introduced because under the old system, growing demand meant that some families were unable to secure a place for a younger child at their older sibling’s school.

Schools no longer have priority areas, more commonly known as catchments. Instead applications will be assessed on straight-line distances from schools. This removes the anomaly where families sometimes could not secure a place at a school they live close to, because of where the catchment boundary fell.

In addition, the criterion of exceptional medical and social circumstances has been removed but this will not affect applications from children with a special educational needs statement or education, health and care plan. Appeal panels will still consider exceptional medical and social needs as part of the appeals process.

The deadline for primary school applications is Friday, 15 January 2016 and the easiest way to apply is online at http://www.eadmissions.org.uk/. All children who applied on time last year were offered a place at an Ealing primary school and more than 94% were offered a place at one of their top three primary schools.

Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children and young people said: “After listening to parents faced with having to do multiple school drops every day, it made sense to change the admissions criteria to keep siblings at the same schools and get rid of catchment areas which sometimes meant that children were unable to attend a nearby school because they lived outside the catchment boundary.

“We believe that the changes that have been made to the primary admissions system will make it fairer for local families. We would, however, encourage people to come to our events so that they can get expert advice on applying for primary school and avoid errors such as making unrealistic choices, returning the forms late or only applying for one school.”

For more information on Ealing’s school admissions process, go to www.ealing.gov.uk/admissions or call 020 8825 5522 to talk to the admissions team.