When will you hear if your child has got into their first-choice school in Suffolk?
- Credit: PA
Thousands of parents across Suffolk are waiting to find out whether their child will be able to attend their first-choice school.
So when will you hear the decisions for both primary and secondary schools, and what can you do if you are not happy with the place your child is offered?
Is it too late to apply for a place?
Secondary schools - The closing date for applications for the 2020-21 school year has now passed.
Primary schools - The closing date for applications for the 2020-21 school year has also passed. However, you may still be able to apply by February 7 if you have a very good reason for the late application.
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The council says on its website: "If you were unable to apply by the closing date of January 15, 2020, and we agree that there are very exceptional reasons for an application being late, we will consider it as on time if it is received by February 7 2020 and evidence is provided with your application."
When will I hear which school has offered my child a place?
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Secondary schools - This year's National Offer Day is on Monday, March 2, when parents will find out which high school has offered a place to their children aged 10 to 11.
Primary schools - The National Offer Day for primary school children is a little later than for secondary school students, and this year will be on Thursday, April 16.
This is the offer day for children aged three to four who will be starting infants school for the first time, and also for junior and middle schools.
How will I find out?
If you applied online, you will be able to see the outcome of your school place offer by logging into the council's school admissions portal that you used to make your application, via Suffolk County Council's website. You will also receive an email with details of your offer.
If you used a paper application form, the council will post a letter to you by second class post with details of your offer. The letter will arrive AFTER your Offer Day.
For secondary school applications, you will receive the letter as long as you applied before October 31, 2019, or if the council received your application with evidence before January 3, 2020, and agreed there were exceptional reasons for your application being late.
For primary school applications, a letter will be sent to you provided you applied before the closing date of January 15 or if your application with supporting evidence is received by February 7, and the council agrees there is an exceptional reason for your application being late.
How likely is my child to get their first choice?
Figures do vary from year to year, but, last year, 90% of parents applying for secondary school places in Suffolk were given a place at their top-choice school.
For primary school applications, 93.8% of parents got a place at their first-choice school, with 98.6% receiving an offer from one of their top three choices.
What can I do if I'm not happy with the place offered?
If your child has not been offered a place at your preferred school, there are three main options which you can take.
Joining a waiting list
If your child has not been offered a place at any of your preferred schools, their name will automatically be added to the waiting list for the school or schools.
Names are placed on the waiting list in a priority order, which is set out in the school's admissions oversubscription criteria.
The order of the waiting list can change when a new child's name is added or the circumstances of a child already on the list changes.
The waiting lists will close on December 31, 2020 for community and voluntary controlled schools, foundation, voluntary aided schools and academies who have agreed to operate the same policy as Suffolk County Council.
You can find out when the waiting lists close for voluntary aided, free schools and academies who do not follow the same policy as Suffolk County Council by contacting the schools directly.
Appealing against the decision
It is possible for parents and carers to appeal if their child is refused a place at any of their preferred schools.
For secondary schools, if you applied on time, appeal forms need to be submitted by March 30 to be heard by June 17.
For primary schools, if you applied on time, appeal forms need to be submitted by May 18 to be heard by July 20.
Applying for a different school
Another option if you are unhappy with your offer is to apply for a different school - at this stage, you will need to do this using a paper form.
The new application will replace your previous application, so you will need to include schools from your previous application above your new preferences if you still want to remain on the waiting list or to appeal.
For full details of school applications and offers, visit the county council website.