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Myths busted

Did you know that you must apply to the county council for a primary school place, even if you have put your name down at a school or your child has an older sibling at that school?

Every year, there are parents who do not put in an application form for their child as they believe they do not need to do so, having put their child's name down at their preferred school.

Others don't apply as they think that their child will be automatically admitted to the school their older brother and sister attends or to the school that the child's nursery or pre-school is linked to.

An application must be made to the county council for every child starting school in September 2015. Parents can apply online 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/startingprimary from November until midnight on January 15th or by completing a paper form which can be downloaded from the same site or requested from the county council's Admissions & Transfer Team on 01452 425407.

Full information on the admissions process and information about individual schools is available in School Admission Guidance and Primary School Information booklets online. These are also available from individual schools, libraries or from the Admissions & Transfers Team. It is important for parents to read this information before applying for a school place.

Parents are encouraged to list five preferred schools on their form as school places cannot be guaranteed - failing to include second, third, fourth and fifth preferences could lead to children being allocated school places parents would not have listed. Parents must apply online or return their form by January 15th, 2015.

Last year, 89% of children got their first preference primary school and 97.5% got one of their preferences. The secure online system was introduced in 2006 and each year its use has increased. Last year, 97% of parents applied for their child's primary place online. Each pupil has a unique reference number and by entering that number, the pupil's personal details will automatically come up on the screen.

You can also make changes to the form right up until the closing date. The system will check for errors and you will receive an email confirmation that the application has been received. There is no risk that applications can get lost in the post.

Parents will find out which school they have been allocated on April 16th and will need to return the reply form by April 30th. After May 15th, if parents have requested an alternative placement, or have made a late application, they will receive the result of the reconsideration of the school place application. Appeals will be held for admission to schools during June and July. 

If you have any questions about primary school admissions, contact Gloucestershire County Council's Admission and Transfer Team on 01452 425407 or go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/startingprimary

Other common primary admission myths

If you only put one preference, you will be allocated that school

No. You could disadvantage yourself by not using all your preferences. If you only name one, you will only be considered for that school and if you don't get in, you could be allocated a school far away.

If you name the same school in all five preferences, you are considered five times for that school

No, this is the same as only naming one school.

Schools will only look at those children who have named them as first preference

No, schools do not know in which order they have been named. An equal ranking system is used to allocate places.

A child who has been baptised is guaranteed a place at a faith school

This is not always the case, some faith schools may also require proof of church attendance.

If I think my preferred school will be oversubscribed, there is no point applying

You should list your real preferences in your preferred order as demand for places changes every year.

I am guaranteed a place at my local school even if I don't name it as a preference

No, you must name your local school if you want to be considered for a place there. If we cannot offer any of your preferences and you have not applied for your local school, it is unlikely you will be offered a place there.

Attendance at pre-school

Attendance at any pre-school group does not give a child a higher priority for admission to a particular school.

Catchment areas

Generally, there are no catchment areas for primary schools. However, for Voluntary Aided, Academy or Foundation schools, you should check their individual admissions criteria in the Primary Information booklet.

The earlier I apply, the greater chance I have of getting my first preference

No, all applications are treated equally, regardless of when they are received as long as they are received by 15th January 2015.