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Parents up and down the country will learn this week how they have performed in the annual school places lottery and find out where their child will be attending primary school in September this year. 

All children born between 1st September 2012 and 31st August 2013 are eligible for a school place but The Good Schools Guide predicts that many parents will miss out on their schools of choice.  

Receiving an offer for a place at the wrong school can be incredibly stressful and worrying for parents but although success with primary school appeals is very unusual - unlike secondary school appeals - The Good Schools Guide does recommend the following suggestions.

  • Firstly, accept the place your child has been offered. The Good Schools Guide | School Entrance SignHowever determined you are to find an alternative, if the initial offer is not accepted, you run the risk of your child having no school to go to in September. 
  • Once you have accepted the place, get on the waiting lists for other schools you would prefer – even schools not on your initial application. All kinds of things can happen between now and the start of the new academic year which could result in places being freed up.
  • If your child has been given a place at a primary school you are not keen on, think carefully and take advice before planning an appeal – you only have a very slim chance of success.  
  • 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 Even if the local reputation of the school is bad, this could be based on out-of-date information which is no longer relevant.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 all else fails, speak to The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants. Our experts provide tailor-made and comprehensive advice on state, independent, day and boarding schools, tutors, special needs, appeals and much more. Whether you would like assistance in planning a child’s whole education, lightning fast crisis management when something goes wrong or just help understanding the UK system, contact us. Click here to read more about The Good Schools Guide Education Consultants or call 0203 286 6824 from the UK or +44 203 286 6824 from overseas or send email to consultants@goodschoolsguide.co.uk to get in touch.

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