Deadline for primary school applications approaches

Children born between 1, September 2012 and 31, August 2013 should start primary school in September 2017.

People who return their applications after the deadline greatly decrease their chances of being offered a place at their preferred school. 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.

The easiest way to apply is online at http://www.eadmissions.org.uk/. Paper application forms are also available from Ealing primary schools or by contacting Ealing Council’s admissions service.

As a member of the pan-London Admissions Scheme, Ealing Council will then co-ordinate its offers with other London boroughs, ensuring that no one is offered more than one place. There will be a single, national offer day on Monday, 17 April when parents across the country will find out where their child has been offered a school place.

Changes to rules on how places are allocated for community primary schools came into effect for the first time in 2015. Following a public consultation held in 2014 priority is now given to siblings of children already at the school. This change was introduced because previously, 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.

Faith schools, foundation schools, free schools and academies have their own admission criteria and parents should read them carefully.

Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Missing the applications deadline reduces the chances of your child being offered a place at their preferred school and I would urge parents to ensure they apply by 15 January.

“Our admissions team also advises parents to avoid only listing your first choice of school because many schools do not have places for everyone who applies to them. We therefore need to know where else you might like your child to attend.”

Help and advice is available from the council’s admissions service on 020 8825 5511 (9am-12noon) or by going to www.ealing.gov.uk/admissions