YLV Blog images (3)

Choosing and applying for schools

November 1, 2022

If your child is starting primary school or moving up to secondary school, you may have some questions about choosing and applying for schools.

Katie, a qualified teacher from Katie’s Classroom answers some common questions.

What are some misconceptions about school admissions?

  • If you live in a certain area, you will automatically be assigned to a school without submitting an application – WRONG
  • For secondary schools, if your child attends a primary school that ‘feeds’ the secondary school, you don’t need to apply – WRONG
  • Applying early gives you a better chance of getting in – WRONG

So what are the admissions criteria?

If a school is over-subscribed, then a child is offered a place using the admissions criteria, which can differ from school to school. Common factors such as distance from home to school, resident of specific council or parishes, siblings already at the school and looked after/adopted children are taken into account. These factors are ranked in different orders of priority from school to school, so along with reading the school OFSTED report, check what their admissions criteria is on their website to see how you might fare.

How about a good fit for your child?

You understandably will want a really good school with great teaching and facilities to match. But when picking a school, also think about what motivates your child, what their needs are, and if possible what their learning style is. A ‘not very sporty’ child could hate a school where most praise comes to those who are selected for the team or help to win trophies. They may be more comfortable with a traditional approach, or something more relaxed and less competitive.

Is it important to visit the schools?

Absolutely! Choosing a school is a process of elimination and it is vital that you see several schools so that you can compare them. Although it might not be a true reflection of day-to-day school life on that one day, it will certainly give you a flavour of what is happening.

What should you consider?

  • How and where do you want your child to end up?
  • Your gut reaction! The atmosphere should be tangible and excite you. If the school doesn’t feel right, often it isn’t right!
  • The head. Is he/she impressive? A head can really make or break a school. Try and do some digging.
  • Staff impressions – how do they interact with you and your child?
  • The pupils – can you see your own child fitting in and sitting amongst them?
  • The bigger picture – it is so easy to judge a school exclusively by certain factors but try to look at the end product and the bigger picture.

What if they don’t get into their school of choice?

If things don’t go your way, then you have a legal right to appeal to any other school named on your preference form when you applied. However, if you do get offered a school that wasn’t your number one choice, don’t rule it out. A bad reputation can linger even after a school has improved under a new head or senior leadership team. Do have a backup plan though and if the appeal doesn’t work, then accept the place and get on the waiting list for other preferred schools, you never know when peoples’ circumstances can change and a place becomes available.

Posted in: ,

Leave a Comment