The application process for children due to start school in September 2020 closes on Wednesday, January 15.
Although parents and carers cannot choose their child’s school, they can state a preference for up to three schools ahead of the application deadline.
Cllr Bob Standley, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education, said: “While there is no guarantee that a child will be allocated a place at their preferred school, in 2019 more than 96 per cent of children in the county were given a place at one of their preferred schools.
“With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas and new year period, it is likely many still have their applications to submit. I would urge parents and carers to double check that they have filled out all the necessary online forms before the deadline.”
Places are allocated based on the council’s admissions policy, or the policy adopted by the relevant academy, church, free school or neighbouring authority, which are available to all parents at the time of applying.
Children are not automatically given a place at their local school. If a school is oversubscribed and was not included in a child’s list of preferences, a place at a school some distance away could be offered instead.
Applications received after the deadline will still be considered but all on-time preferences will be allocated places first. This means that if an application is late, the child has a much lower chance of being offered a place at a preferred school, even if they live close to it or have siblings already attending there.
Anyone submitting an application after the deadline, unhappy with their allocated school can still appeal but class size legislation specifies that if an infant class already has 30 children allocated, an appeal will only be successful if the admission authority has made a mistake or acted perversely in not offering a place at the preferred school. This is very difficult to demonstrate and nationally less than one per cent of such appeals are successful.
Full details of how school places are decided, what to consider and how to apply can be found on www.eastsussex.gov.uk/admissions
Parents and carers will be notified of their child’s school place on Thursday, April 16.
Anyone unhappy with a school place decision has the right to appeal and present their case to an independent admissions panel. Details of how to appeal can be found at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/admissions or, for schools outside East Sussex, the website of the relevant local authority.