Primary school offers in Kent released on Friday afternoon with 89% getting their first choice school says KCC
Parents in Kent will find out later today which primary school their child has been given for September.
Almost 18,000 families applied for a place at a primary school in the county, with offers due to be sent via email after 4pm this afternoon (Friday).
The process of selecting potential primary schools has been made considerably more difficult for both families and schools because of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent restrictions during the last year.
In the majority of cases parents had to watch video tours and attend virtual presentations with staff, rather than being able to walk through classrooms and see schools in action for themselves.
Kent County Council says 17,572 applications have been received for September places at primary schools in the county and of the 17,116 Kent applicants 16,718 - or 97.67% - will be given one of the three named schools chosen on their application.
The number of families who have been given their first choice of primary school is 15,262 or 89.1% this year.
There are 398 children who have not been given a place at any of the schools listed on their application and who have therefore been allocated a place by Kent County Council instead.
This is usually, says the authority, because families haven't made 'full use' of their three options or because they have selected a trio of schools that other children have a higher priority to attend.
This year, say education chiefs, nearly 50% of the families affected had named fewer than three schools, which limited the options KCC could consider before having to assign them an alternative.
What if you don't get your chosen school?
Families who don't get the school of their choice this afternoon are being advised to accept the place they have been given in order to guarantee their child a start at a primary school in September.
Following this parents are advised to then spend time speaking to the school they have been allocated to find out more about it, before choosing whether to appeal the decision if they think they meet the criteria of the school they would like their child to go to and/or join a school's waiting list in the hope that places become available as other families decline or accept places in the coming weeks.
Parents have until May 5 to accept or refuse their offer and request to join waiting lists and families should lodge requests for appeal with each school’s admission authority by Monday, May 17. KCC will reallocate places from schools’ waiting lists, sending out a second round of offers on Wednesday, June 9 before schools manage their own lists from June 10.
More details about the appeals process and what to do if you're disappointed with the decision is available here.
Christine McInnes, Kent County Council’s Director of Education, said: “I would like to reassure parents and carers whose child did not receive one of their preferences that this is only the first step in the admissions process. Please do speak to staff and arrange to safely visit the school where you have been offered a place, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for your child.
"If you are not happy with the allocated place, you can appeal or join a waiting list for any school named on your original application; there is likely to be considerable movement between now and September as families do not always accept places they are offered.”
Family and education specialist Graham Jones at law firm Whitehead Monkton said the pandemic had made the entire experience of selecting a school much harder this year.
With parents having to rely heavily on video tours and websites he feels those of first-born children found themselves at a particular disadvantage faced with selecting schools for the first time in a very different way. Mr Jones also expects this year's appeal process to look very different for those unhappy with the school their child has been given.
He said: "These used to be face to face and this has been changed by the pandemic. They aren't anymore. It's now a paper application."
Parents and carers who applied online will receive an email after 4pm today indicating which school they have been offered but the timing of the email will depend on the email service provider. Parents and carers can also log in after 5pm to view the offer online. Those who did not provide KCC with an email address will be sent notification by first class post.