In April each year, parents of 3- and 4-year-olds get to find out which primary school has been offered to their child for the academic year they leave nursery/preschool. Starting school is a huge milestone for both child and parent and many parents will be anxious to secure their first choice. Today, we take a closer look at Primary School Offer Day. We’ll look to see how it works, what the likelihood of securing your first school choice is, and what to do if the school offer is disappointing.
When do Children in England Start School?
Although the compulsory school age in England is no later than the school term following their fifth birthday, most children in England begin Primary School at the start of the academic year following their fourth. That means a September start for most, with those children reaching the age of five during their first school year.
What is Primary School Offer Day?
Primary School Offer Day is the day that parents get to find out which primary school has offered their child a place for the next academic year.
When is Primary School Offer Day?
Primary school offer day normally occurs in England around mid-April (circa the 16th) each year. For 2023, it falls on Monday 17th April. The confirmation is announced by the family’s local council, by letter, email, or both. Some councils also allow parents access to an online admissions portal to view offers, sometimes a little earlier, although it varies from council to council.
How Likely Are You to Get Your First Choice of School?
Figures for 2023 are not available at the time of writing, but figures for 2022 suggest that over 92% of children were offered a place at their family’s first choice of school, and over 98% achieved an offer for one of their top 3 choices.
How Are Offers Decided?
Schools or local councils decide on offers for primary school places. Rules vary around the criteria they use for offers and these can be obtained from your local council. However, as a rule of thumb, the following are usually given priority:
- Children in care, or who have been in care;
- Children living close to the primary school in question;
- Those with a sibling already attending the school;
- Children with a specific religion if the school is a faith school;
- Children who are eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium (this is special funding aimed at improving outcomes for disadvantaged children);
- Children whose parents have worked for 2 years at the chosen school.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some schools are more popular than others, whether that’s because they have better reputations, are in more densely populated areas, or for any other reason. Some primary schools will therefore receive more applications than capacity allows, which will inevitably lead to some disappointed families. In such cases, the types of criteria above will steer the final choices for applicants. For those families that do not get an offer of a place with their first choice, local authorities must make an offer of a place at an alternative school.
Accepting or Declining Offers
Parents, or the child’s carer if applicable, must accept or decline the offer formally, by a specific deadline that will be confirmed with the offer along with details of any next steps.
What if You Don’t Like the Choice You Are Offered?
If you are a parent/carer and are not happy with the school choice being offered to your child, you have two options…
- Ask to be put on the waiting list for your preferred primary school choice.
- Appeal the decision in the hope that your original first choice becomes available after your case has been presented. An appeal would need to be submitted by contacting the school’s admission authority (find yours here). They would in turn provide an independent appeal panel, whose final decision would be binding on the authority. Learn more about the appeals process for parents here.
In both cases, you are advised to accept your initial offer first, so you have something to fall back on should your attempts to get your child into your preferred school prove unsuccessful. Accepting the original offer will not detrimentally affect an appeal or waiting list application in any way.
We hope that you have found this guide useful for when your child approaches the time to leave nursery or preschool and transition to primary school.
Nursery & Preschool Places in Edgbaston, Birmingham
If you have a baby, toddler, or child under 5 and are looking for a good nursery/preschool in Edgbaston, or near Birmingham, do get in touch with Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. We’d love to give you and your little one a guided tour and that’s by far the best way to see how well your child will fit in. All Government funded childcare schemes are supported. If you are interested in exploring the possibility of sending your child to Leaps & Bounds, please select an option below to get started and our childcare professionals will be delighted to show you around, answer any questions or indeed progress your application for a nursery/preschool place.
By the way, as well as being close to Edgbaston and Birmingham, we’re also located near families living in Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.