STAFFORDSHIRE parents with children looking to attend a secondary school in September 2016 can now apply for places.
Last year, nine out of 10 parents were allocated their first choice secondary school, with 98 per cent allocated one of their top three preferred schools.
Now, parents can apply online for next year’s secondary admissions atwww.staffordshire.gov.uk/admissions, and have until 31 October to get their preferences in.
To help parents, the county council has released its five top tips for making the most of the admissions process.
County Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills said: “Our admissions team deal with thousands of applications for secondary schools every year. Despite increasing pressure on school places, we still manage to offer the majority of parents their first-choice secondary school.
“We know the admissions process can be quite daunting for a lot of parents, so we do as much as we can to make the process as easy as possible. Even so, there are a few things parents can do when applying to ensure they have the best chance of being allocated one of their secondary school choices.”
The five tips are:
- The most important thing is for parents to make sure they apply for at least three schools. Just putting down one school in the hope it will be allocated doesn’t always work, and parents may end up getting a school they would not normally have chosen.
- Ensure one of the schools chosen is the catchment area school. Parents are more likely to be allocated their catchment school especially if there is increased demand for school places
- Make sure you understand the admission criteria for your chosen schools, as this will give you an idea of the likely outcome of your preference
- Visit your preferred school – talk to the headteacher and other teachers so you can be sure it is the right one for your child. Open evenings will be held within the next few weeks
- Visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/doyourhomework for the latest performance data on schools in your area
Ben continued: “Recently, there has been talk nationally of amending the admissions criteria to ensure siblings are given priority. In Staffordshire, we amended our admissions criteria a few years ago to give a higher priority to children who had siblings at the school they were applying for. This was to reduce cases where siblings were attending different schools, putting extra pressure on parents. All schools in Staffordshire that fall under the local authority give preference to sibling applications.”
More information about local schools can be access through the county council’s Do Your Homework website. www.staffordshire.gov.uk/doyourhomework gives parents tips on choosing the right school for their child, and general information on school performance.