PARENTS in Wiltshire will be among those across the country who will find out today whether their child has been given a place at one of their preferred choices of primary school.
All children born between September 1, 2012, and August 31, 2013, are eligible for a September school place but The Good Schools Guide predicts that many parents will miss out on their schools of choice.
The Good Schools Guide’s state school expert Elizabeth Coatman urges parents not to panic if they aren’t happy with their allocated school and to think very carefully before appealing.
She said: “Many children will be placed in schools that parents feel are unacceptable but it is important to know the chances of successfully appealing are incredibly slim and over-sized classes, bad Ofsted reports, siblings at other schools and distance from home are not considered grounds for an appeal.”
The Good Schools Guide recommends those who don’t get their preferred choice of school to accept the place offered, otherwise run the risk of their child having no school to go to in September.
After that, parents are advised to get on the waiting lists for other schools and check out the place that has been allocated as it might not be as bad as feared.
Parents are asked to think carefully before planning an appeal which only has a slim chance of success.
Each school will require a separate appeal and the bar for success is very high.
ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads • Instead take a moment to check out the school in greater detail. It might be better than you fear. Even if the local reputation of the school is bad, this could be based on out-of-date information which is no longer relevant. Look at its most recent Ofsted report and if it only scores a 3 or ‘requires improvement’, read the Section 8 monitoring visit report to see if the problems are now being addressed.
Speak to parents at the school gate. Find out how young the teaching staff are: having a core of long-serving, older teachers may tell you something about how the staff are treated and how experience is valued.
• Don’t let on to your child if you think the allotted school is a disaster zone. If you bad-mouth the school but then fail to get into another one, your child will start at the new school conscious of the black mark you have already given it.
• If you do end up appealing, remember, you can only appeal to the schools to which you applied. Each school will require a separate appeal. The grounds for a legitimate appeal will be published on your local authority website: the bar for success is very high.
You’ll need to prove a mistake was made when the admissions process was carried out, that the admissions policy is unlawful or that no reasonable person would come to that admissions decision – ‘reasonable’ being used in the legal sense.
• If you still need advice and guidance The Good Schools Guide offers a telephone consultation with a school appeals expert who will listen to your particular circumstances, suggest ways of approaching your appeal, give advice on dos and don’ts and tell you what your chances of success are.