Primary school admissions 2018 UK: Here's what to do if your child does not get their first choice place

Parents across the UK will today discover if their child has been given a place at their first choice primary school.

On what has become known as National Offer Day, about half a million families will receive emails confirming their child’s allotted primary school.

But thousands are likely to face disappointment due to the high demand on schools in some areas of the country, particularly in London. Last year, just 86 per cent of children in the capital got into their first choice school.

But unhappy parents can appeal the decision.

Here’s everything you need to know about National Offer Day and the appeals process.

What is National Offer Day?

National Offer Day is the day in which parents in the UK receive confirmation of their child’s allotted primary school – and crucially whether they’ve got in to their first choice.

Three months earlier, parents listed at least three preferred schools to their local admissions authority.

Not all parents receive their first choice school due to pressure on places.

How are school places allotted?

If a school receives too many applications it has to use its admission rules to decide who gets a place.

Priority is usually given to those who already have an older sibling at the school, or live within close proximity.

Children with special education needs or disabilities who have had a specific school chosen for them must be accepted by that school.

If a school is undersubscribed, it must offer a place to every parent that applies, with the exception of designated selective schools.

How do you appeal?

Parents who miss out on their first choice can appeal within 20 days of receiving their confirmation letter. Details of how to appeal should be included with the letter.

The appeal will be heard within 40 school days by an appeals hearing, where a panel of three will make a decision based on the school admission appeals code.

Their decision can only be overturned by a court.

What has the Government said?

The Department for Education has hailed the creation of 825,000 new school places since 2010, as well as rising academic standards.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “This morning, thousands of pupils and their parents will find out which primary school they will be going to this September. Thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, academic standards in our primary schools are rising across the country. Our young readers are among the best in the world, the proportion of primary school pupils reaching the expected standards in reading, writing and maths standards went up 8 percentage points last year and the attainment gap between children from wealthier and poorer backgrounds has narrowed by 10.5 per cent since 2011.

“A good primary school education lays the foundations for success at secondary school and beyond, so it is right that we help make sure every child reaches their potential from the moment they start their education. That’s why we’re investing £5.8 billion to create even more good schools and good school places – building on the 825,000 we’ve created since 2010 – resulting in 9 out of 10 pupils securing one of their top three choices of schools.”

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