School children have had it hard the last two years, with the COVID-19 pandemic interfering with their education and schooling. Hopefully for new children entering Reception in September, however, the situation will improve as the country slowly but surely recovers from the unprecedented public health situation. Hundreds of thousands of families will be eagerly anticipating finding out where their child will begin their education journey, on what is commonly known as National Offer Day. Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, said many families applying for places for September 2021 will have been unable to visit the school in person.
Mr Whiteman said: “It is vital that no child going through the primary admissions process this year should be disadvantaged.
“Support must be in place for families to navigate what can be a daunting process.
“For those families not getting their first choice of school, the appeals process will be going ahead, albeit virtually.
“This process must be as robust as ever and be made clear to parents through effective communication and advocacy where required.”
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When will you find out if your child has their school place?
Parents awaiting a decision on a primary school for their children should receive a decision letter on Friday, April 16.
The letter will inform you whether your child’s place has been accepted at any of the schools you applied for.
You have to accept the offer by the deadline given to you in the correspondence, otherwise, the place could be withdrawn and handed to someone else.
If your child isn’t offered a place at any of the schools you applied for, the local council has to provide you with another option.
Contact the school or your local council if you want your child’s name added to a waiting list.
Even if your child has been offered a place at another school, you can add their name to a waiting list.
If your child is on a waiting list and is then offered a place by the school, the admission authority will send you a formal offer letter.
You can still accept the offer at your chosen school even if your son or daughter has been given a place somewhere else.
Mr Whiteman added: “This can be an anxious time for families, and choosing the right school and securing a place there is a huge moment in a child’s life.”
Official data shows that last year, 90.2 percent of pupils were offered their first choice of primary schools. This was down slightly from 90.6 percent in 2019.
Last year, the Department for Education changes the rules so that parents unhappy with their school place wouldn’t have to appeal in person amid the pandemic.
This temporary change has been extended to the end of September 2021 due to ongoing restrictions.
Appeal panel hearings will take place “either in person, by telephone, video conference or through a paper-based appeal”.