Why apply for a school place?
All schools have a limited number of places available in each year group. So that you know where your child will attend and the schools themselves know who will be attending, every parent must apply for a place.
It isn’t possible for parents to choose their child’s school but you can express a preference and say where you would like your child to attend. In most cases, those preferences will be met – in Devon in 2013-14 over 98.6% of parents were successful in getting a place at one of their preferences for reception admission and 98.4% for secondary transfer. We cannot, however, guarantee a place for any applicant at a particular school. For in-year admissions, many schools will already have been filled and a lower percentage will be offered a place at the preferred school.
In Devon we try to plan sufficient places for children to attend their local (‘designated’ or ‘catchment’) school. However, if there is a bulge year with a particularly large number of local children, that may not always be possible. It could be that additional children cannot be admitted to the local primary or infant school because that would mean a Key Stage One class would exceed the legal limit of 30 children in a class with a single teacher. Or it could be that the classes at the school and the school in general would be overcrowded.
When planning places, the local authority does not plan for the wishes of every parent from further afield who possibly could apply for a place. If there are enough places after local children have been admitted, vacancies will be offered to other children until the school is full.
Your child must be in full-time education at the beginning of the term following his or her fifth birthday. This would be at a school unless you decide to educate at home, in which case you should contact us on 0345 155 1019 for further advice.
The consequences of a child of statutory school age not being in full-time education can include a referral to the Education Welfare Service.