So far only about 55 percent of the 1900 children eligible to begin school next September have applied for a place, and the council is concerned that parents leaving the application too late may not be able to get any of their preferred schools.
Education for children reaching five years of age between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014 is available through school-based reception classes. However, places in schools are not automatically allocated to children: parents and carers have to complete an application form stating which school they would prefer their child to go to. Every year in September, the council writes to the parents of every child eligible for a school place the following year.
Andrew Blackman, admissions and transport manager, said “Usually by this time of year we have had around 70 percent apply for a school place, but this year this number is down. Many parents don’t realise that they have to apply for a place, even if their child is already attending a nursery on or attached to a school site. They also have to apply if their chosen school is an Academy or Voluntary Aided or Trust School because the council still manages the admissions process.
“We understand that some families may move house between now and next September and their choice of school might change, but we still need to plan ahead and make sure we draw down funding for their child’s education, so I would urge all parents/carers who have not yet applied to do so.”
Applications need to be returned to the council by 15 January 2013. Application forms not received by this date will be considered after those received on time, which means parents may not receive an offer of a place at any of the preferences indicated on their application form - even if they have other children already in that school.
Letters notifying parents of the school allocated to their child will be sent out on 16 April 2013.
Parents who have not received an application form are advised to contact the admissions office on 01432 260926/271574.