Today (Tuesday 16th April) sees the announcement of the primary school places for September 2019. Hopefully you will be thrilled at your offer – but what do you do if that is not the case? We caught up with Sophie Baber, Headteacher of Liphook’s Brookham School, to see what advice she had to offer parents…
First and foremost, don’t panic and don’t let your child see that you are upset, writes Sophie. The last thing you want is to transfer any stress or anxiety on to your child.
Once you have processed the offer and collected your thoughts, it is time to accept the school place you have been offered. While this may seem counter intuitive, it is important that your child has a school to go to in September. If you don’t, the chances are that you could lose your place and be offered an even less desirable option. Don’t worry, this will not affect your right to appeal.
After you have done this, I would advise phoning your preferred choice of school. If you think it’s brilliant, the chances are so will lots of other parents. As a result, the phones are likely to be busy and the waiting list may be long. However, there is always movement, places come up all the time and it’s not uncommon to be offered a place on the first day of the new school year.
Now your child’s name is securely on the waiting list, it is time to consider appealing. If you are to be successful, you need to have a solid case. Your reason could relate to a mistake in the admissions arrangements or the suitability of a school to meet your child’s needs. It is important to note that each local authority will have a slightly different process, so it is imperative to check out your local authority’s website.
Most will have an online form to complete and you will have to complete a new form for each school you wish to apply to. Don’t forget to have all your supporting evidence in a digital format, so that it can be uploaded and submitted all at the same time. You may want to consider employing a solicitor or a member of a schools appeals organisation to help.
Going to appeal can be extremely stressful and the chances of success are limited, but there is another option to consider. There are some truly outstanding independent schools. With nurturing smaller class sizes and an enviable breadth of curriculum, delivered by specialist teachers, this a brilliant back up plan. If you are in the fortunate position of being able to afford this option, you will find that many independent schools will be open for admissions all year round. If financially this seems an impossibility, it is worth picking up the phone and asking about the bursaries on offer.
With all of these options there is no magic wand, but if you don’t ask…
You can find out more about Brookham School at highfieldandbrookham.co.uk or by calling 01428 722 005.