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How are places allocated?

Each school has an admission number to reflect the number of places that can be offered for new children joining the school. Sometimes schools receive more applications than there are places available. Where this happens, it is important that we are fair and consistent in the decisions we make about who should be offered a place. To make these decisions the over-subscription criteria are applied to each application.

The over-subscription criteria are not the same for all schools. Parents/carers are advised to check the relevant admission criteria for the school(s) concerned. The over-subscription criteria for community and voluntary controlled schools are determined by the council and are set out below. The over-subscription criteria for voluntary aided schools and academies are determined by the governing body of the individual school and are set out in the Admission to voluntary aided primary schools and academies section.

Over-subscription criteria for community and voluntary controlled schools in South Gloucestershire

By law the council is required to have clear and published rules about how school places will be allocated when the number of applications exceeds the places available.

In South Gloucestershire, priority for admission to community and voluntary controlled schools is as follows. Parents/carers should also refer to the notes to the over-subscription criteria provided in this section.

  1. Children in public care and previously in public care
  2. Local siblings (see definition)
  3. Geographical considerations (including reference to Areas of Prime Responsibility where appropriate)
  4. Tie breaker

Notes to the over-subscription criteria for community and voluntary controlled schools:

1. Children in public care* are those who are in the care of a local authority or being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (as defined in Section 22 of the Children Act 1989) at the time of making an application to a school.  In South Gloucestershire, these children are referred to as children in public care.

Children previously in public care* are those who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted1 (or became subject to a residence order2 or special guardianship order3).

*     Documentation will need to be provided to South Gloucestershire Council as proof of care status.

  1. Under the terms of the Adoption Act 1976 and the Adoption and Children’s Act 2002.
  2. Under the terms of the Children Act 1989 and Children and Families Act 2014.
  3. Section 14A of the Children Act 1989.

2. Local siblings: In South Gloucestershire children are defined as local siblings if:

  • they live within the APR; or,
  • where there is no APR, local siblings will be deemed to be those living up to a maximum of two miles from school by straight line measurement; or,
  • where the distance is over two miles but the school is still the nearest school

AND

  • they are full or half brother or sister; or
  • they are adoptive brother or sister; or
  • they are children of the same household

AND

  • the older sibling is already in attendance at the preferred school and will be in attendance in September 2018 (statutory school age only)

For the purposes of the local sibling criterion, a paired infant and junior school will be treated as one school.

Please note that the offer of a place at any particular school does not guarantee an offer of a place for a sibling at a later date. Different authorities will vary in the priority that they give to siblings. You will need to consult the relevant admission authority for further advice.

3. Geographical considerations: Where there are more applications for children living within an Area of Prime Responsibility than places available, priority will be given to applications from within the defined area who live closest to the preferred school. After places have been allocated from within the Area of Prime Responsibility, any remaining places will be allocated to those children living closest to the school. Distances from home to school are measured in a straight line between the address point of the child’s home and a central point within the main school building using the local authority’s computerised mapping system.

In the case of South Gloucestershire infant and primary schools which do not have Areas of Prime Responsibility, places will be allocated to those children living closest to the school. Distances from home to school are measured in a straight line between the address point of the child’s home and a central point within the main school building using the local authority’s computerised mapping system.

Please note: In determining which applicants live closest to school, distances from home to school will be measured in a straight line between the address point of the child’s home and a central point within the main school building. Applications for assistance with transport will be assessed using the nearest available walking route.

4. Tie breaker: Where it does not prove possible to resolve allocations to an over-subscribed school by the application of criteria 1-3, any remaining places will be allocated by drawing lots. Lots will be drawn by a senior officer of South Gloucestershire Council who is independent of the school admissions process.

Home address

The home address is considered to be where the child lives most of the time with his or her parent(s) or carer(s). South Gloucestershire Council cannot accept an address of a business, relative, friend, childminder, a temporary address or an address of a house it is intended to move to. The only exceptions are for children of UK service personnel for whom special arrangements apply. South Gloucestershire Council reserves the right to seek documentary evidence to support a claim of residence. Where the child spends time with each parent/carer equally at two different addresses, South Gloucestershire Council will ask for proof of the arrangements and will determine the appropriate address to be used in allocating a school place. In reaching this decision, evidence may be requested to show the address to which any Child Benefit is paid and from which the child is registered with a medical GP. Any other evidence provided by parents/carers will also be considered in reaching a decision on the home address for admissions purposes.

Admission to all year groups during the school year 2018/19

All other applications for places for South Gloucestershire community and voluntary controlled primary schools during the year 2018/19, including those to other year groups, will be considered using the criteria set out at the beginning of this section in accordance with the in-year admission arrangements.

Children of multiple births

Where a child(ren) whose twin or sibling from a multiple birth is admitted, otherwise than as an excepted pupil, the other child(ren) will be considered under the admission criteria as exceptions to the infant class size regulations where relevant.

Primary schools in South Gloucestershire with resource bases

Placement at special resource bases is decided centrally by the Department for Children, Adults and Health on the basis of a statutory assessment leading to a Statement of SEN or an EHC Plan. Children placed at a resource base will be offered a place within the admission number. The aim of the department is for inclusion in mainstream activities wherever possible.

Watermore Primary School

Watermore Primary School is on two sites. In the event that any year group is over-subscribed and distance to school is relevant in determining the allocation of a place; the distance will be measured to the appropriate site for the age of the child concerned.

St John’s Mead CE Primary School

St John’s Mead CE Primary School is formally designated as the base school for children living at Beanwood Park fairground site, although this is not a guarantee of a place at the school.

Children of UK service personnel (UK Armed Forces)

South Gloucestershire Council recognises the particular needs of children of UK service personnel (UK Armed Forces). The local authority ensures that the needs of these children are taken into account by:

  • allocating a school place in advance, if the application is accompanied by an official Government letter which declares a relocation date and a unit postal address or quartering address
  • accepting a unit postal address, or, if appropriate, a quartering area address (the address of the closest house in the relevant quartering area), for applications from service personnel in the absence of a new home postal address. A quartering address will be used only where the housing authorities confirm in writing that a house will be offered in the area
  • accepting a late application from UK service personnel as ‘on time’ where a notification of posting has been received after the closing date and before the date of exchange of information with other admission authorities
  • considering an application on the criterion of ‘local sibling’ where another child in the family has been offered a place at the preferred school and the unit postal address or quartering address is within the Area of Prime Responsibility for the preferred school
  • where an application is received for a community or voluntary controlled secondary school, children of UK service personnel will be offered a place at the preferred local school but taking into account the admission number for the school

Admission of children with a statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan (EHC Plan) which names the school

Children with Statements of SEN or an EHC Plan are placed in a school through the arrangements set out in the SEN Code of Practice and not the general school admission arrangements.  Admission authorities are required by the Education Act 1996 to admit a child that names the school.  Parents/carers of children with a Statement of SEN or an EHC Plan should contact their child’s casework officer for further information.