5 Top Tips On Finding The Right School

Published on 27 August, 2015

With demand in high achieving schools across the UK on the rise, finding and getting your children placed in the right school can be a difficult process. 

This is also evidently difficult when looking for a new home, with often strict catchment areas in place. 

Fear not however, as we've compiled 5 top tips with valuable resources to simplify the admission process.  

1. Do your research

Before choosing which school to apply for, take some time to first check with your local authority to fully understand the application process, along with the criteria to apply for each school. 

Many local authorities will normally send a booklet, which will further outline the process, and your options. The Gov.UK website also has some helpful information on the school admission process. 

Remember when applying that you'll be asked to choose at least 3 schools, therefore, we would recommend remaining open-minded, and research each school.  

2. Will we get in where we live?

This is a common question, which is made more difficult when looking for a new home with students required to reside within strict catchment areas. 

Fortunately, there are resources available that act a useful indicator of the likelihood of admission for a chosen school. Take the Rightmove School Checker, for instance. The School Checker which uses an innovative heat map to showcase where pupils in a certain catchment area are attending school. Also available is catchment area and academic inspection report data for around 30,000 schools. 

All schools als adhere to the following admission criteria. For example, priority may be given to children who;

  • Who have a brother or sister at the school already
  • who live close to the school
  • from a particular religion (for faith schools)
  • who do well in an entrance exam (for selective schools, eg grammar schools or stage schools)
  • who went to a particular primary school (a ‘feeder school’)
  • in care or being looked after (all schools must have this as a top priority)

3. What does the Ofsted report say?

Naturally a positive inspection report is widely regarded as a must-have for many parents when selecting a school.

When reading Ofsted reports remember to consider how long ago it was published, as some reports can be up to seven years old.

It's beneficial to take a closer look at the school's website too, this will help you to further understand their learning policy, and provide a further insight about their curriculum. 

We recommend taking a look at SchoolGuide.co.uk which is a fantastic resource for researching local primary and secondary schools throughout the UK. 

4. Completing the local authority application form

Please be advised that applications are open on different days in each local council area, which is usually at the start of the autumn term, you can also check this online

With most local authorities, you can simply apply online by entering your postcode for a primary school place, and a secondary school place

5. Receiving results and making an appeal

You'll normally receive a letter with a decision about your child's future school in the post. Local councils will traditionally send confirmations for primary schools on 16 April, and secondary schools on 1 March. 

For primary schools and 5 to 7-year-olds, the class size is limited to 30 children. Therefore, your application could be turnt down naturally if the class is already full.

More information on appealing schools admissions can be found here



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