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How to Secure a New School Place When Moving House

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
2nd May 2017

Finding the right school for your child when moving house can be a tricky ordeal, with plenty of jumping through hoops and ducking red tape.

Ensuring everything goes smoothly with your move is one thing, but the added stress of securing a school place in your new area can take its toll.

While can help take care of moving day for you, having a wealth of tools and knowledge at your disposal will come in handy for securing that school.

Planning ahead will make everything a lot easier, although there are plenty of things that can be done before and after your move to secure that place.

This article will cover the following points

Finding the Right School How to Apply What if My Application is Denied?

Finding the Right School

Well before you have moved house, create a shortlist of schools in your area that you would be happy to send your child or children to. It is advised to keep your child enrolled in his or her current school at this point, in case anything happens to push back moving day.

A good place to start school scouting is the Ofsted website, which allows you to search for schools within a certain proximity to your new home. From there you will be able to read all reports published in regards to each individual school’s performance.

Equally, the Department of Education website will help you compare schools in the area in terms of academic results, attendance, finance and school characteristics (such as number of pupils enrolled and ratio of boys to girls).

Once you have shortlisted a number of schools, contact their administration office to find out subscriptions and popularity to gauge how successful your application will be. If the school is oversubscribed, it is unlikely your application will be accepted, although you can always appeal which we will come to a little later in the article.

While finding the right school for your child is extremely important, it is useful to remember that eight out of ten schools are rated as good or above by Ofsted. Schools play a big part in your child’s development, but it is debatably more beneficial to create a positive and supportive home for them to learn in.

How to Apply

You will need to have proof of your new address before applying for a new school.

Each local authority is different, but they will generally ask for evidence of your address, which can be a solicitor’s letter confirming the move in date, a formal lease agreement from an approved letting agent, or a utility bill if you have already moved in.

If you are moving back to the UK from abroad to a property you already own, the council may ask for third party evidence, such as a statement from a doctor.

For security, it is worth applying for a number of schools to ensure your child will have somewhere to go once you have moved house.

You will need to apply at least six weeks before your child is set to start at the new school.

The actual application process is largely contingent on where you choose to live. Depending on the council, you will either have to apply directly to the school or via the local authority. To find out your local council, visit the website and type in your new postcode.

Due to oversubscription to schools in a lot of areas, admissions offices will have certain criteria to be taken into account during your application. This may include proximity to the school, previous academic record, and welfare of the child.

Securing a place will also depend on the time of year you are moving. Some councils, such as Buckinghamshire County Council, will have a guide written up for people moving house midway through the school year.

Councils will usually have different contact details if your child has special educational needs. This will take into account your situation and will be able to give you information that is more suited to you and your child.

What if My Application is Denied?

Your application will most likely be denied if the school is oversubscribed, or you are outside the catchment area.

If this is the case, you have every right to appeal the admission office’s verdict. Your appeal will most likely go to a different board of people (depending on the council) who will look at applications on a case by case basis.

Every school has a statutory obligation to not exceed 30 children per classroom with one teacher. However, this can be stretched in certain circumstances during the appeal process which will look at your child’s welfare.

You will need to prove that your child will be better off at the school you are appealing for, with evidence pointing towards travel times to other schools, and how your child may adapt to this school over others.

As mentioned, eight out of ten schools are rated as good or above by Ofsted, meaning your child should be in safe hands whatever the outcome.

In the scenario that your application and appeal is denied, you can then ask to be placed on the school’s continuing interest list. This list is a first come first serve list of interested parties who will be accepted into the school once a vacancy becomes available.

This list only lasts one academic year, so you will need to reapply come September if you are sure you would like your child to go to a certain school.

Finding a school that matches your child’s needs is an extremely important part of moving your family. A lot of focus should be put into making your home a great place to learn as well.

While there is a lot of red tape to get through when it comes to getting a school placement for your child, good planning and research will help make things less stressful.

It is important to open a dialogue with your child to find out what he or she would want. Take them with you to have a look at some schools and see where they would feel happy. You may find a school that wasn’t on the top of your own list, but where they feel they will fit in with a lot more ease.

In the scenario that your application and appeal are denied, keep calm and set out a plan of action for the foreseeable future. You will be guaranteed a school place by your council, and so it is worth taking into account whether your child is better off settled in a school which wasn’t shortlisted, or moving your child to your desired school once a vacancy opens.

Last updated on Monday 13th November 2017