Completing an application form for an in-year school place

Who should apply?

The person applying should be the person with parental responsibility for the child. www.gov.uk provides more information on who has parental responsibility. If you are unsure of your status you should submit your application with a covering letter explaining your situation.

The address to use

The address on the form must be the child's current permanent place of residence. This will usually be the parents' address; if they don't live together, the address must be of the parent the child spends most time with – usually the parent receiving child benefit (where applicable). If there is equal shared custody of the child, it is left to the parents to decide which address to use.

You should not use a business, relative or carer/childminder's address. We will not accept a temporary address if the main carer of the child still owns a property that has previously been used as a home address, nor if we believe it has been used solely or mainly to obtain a school place when an alternative address is still available to that child.

An application can only be made from one address and only one application per child can be made. We will need proof of where you live and a list of accepted documentation is contained within the In-Year application form.

We will check the address on your application against the records we hold for your child's current school and we may also check council tax records or write to ask you to provide further proof of your address (if we cannot verify your address).

Any offer of a school place based on where your child lives is conditional on your child living at that address on the date the offer is made.

We will investigate any applications where there is doubt about the address being given. Use of false information may lead us to withdraw an offer of a place, even after a child has started at a school. More information on how we will investigate applications is available in our Address of Convenience Assessment Protocol and if you wish to make a referral please use the Address of Convenience Referral Form.

Change of address after applying

If you move after applying but before you are offered a place you must inform us immediately and provide evidence of your new address, for example, a copy of your signed tenancy agreement or confirmation of exchange of contracts with the date of completion. A new address can only be considered once a house move has taken place and we reserve the right to seek further verification from applicants.

If you do not inform us about a move, or about a declared house move that has failed to take place we may withdraw any offer of a school place we have made.

Looked after and previously looked after children

Children who are looked after or previously looked after by a local authority, receive top priority for a school place.

  • Looked after children are those who are registered as being in the care of a local authority or provided with accommodation by a local authority in accordance with section 22 of the Children Act 1989(a) at the time an application for a school is made, for example, children who are fostered or living in a children's home.
  • Previously looked after children are those who have previously been in the care of a local authority in accordance with section 22 of the Children Act 1989(a) and who have left that care through adoption, a child arrangement order (in accordance with section 8 of the Children Act 1989 and as amended by the Children and Families Act 2014) or special guardianship order (in accordance with section 14A of the Children Act 1989).

If the child is currently looked after by a local authority, you in consultation with the social worker should complete the In-Year application form and attach with it a letter from social services stating that they support the school application.

If the child was previously in care but left through adoption, a child arrangement order or special guardianship order, you must indicate this on your application form and provide supporting evidence from their social worker.

Applying under exceptional social or medical criteria

Occasionally there will be a very small number of children for whom exceptional social or medical circumstances apply which will warrant a placement at a particular school. The exceptional social or medical circumstances must relate to the child. Supporting evidence from a professional is required such as a doctor and/or consultant for medical cases or a social worker, health visitor, housing officer, the police or probation officer for other social circumstances. This evidence must confirm the circumstances of the case and must set out why the child should attend a particular school and why no other school could meet the child’s needs. Supporting evidence must be provided at the time of application.

Providing evidence does not guarantee that a child will be given priority at a particular school and in each case a decision will be made based on the merits of the case and whether the evidence demonstrates that a placement should be made at one particular school above any other.

Common medical conditions and allergies can usually be supported in all mainstream schools; therefore priority under a school's exceptional medical criterion would not normally be given for these. Some mainstream schools have units attached which provide specialist provision for children with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan which names the school. The facilities in these units are not normally available to children in the mainstream school and as such priority under a school’s exceptional social or medical criterion would not normally be agreed for a mainstream place on the basis of a specialist unit being attached to the school.

In addition, routine child minding arrangements will not be considered to be an exceptional social reason for placement at a particular school.

We reserve the right to refer medical evidence to a medical professional within the Local Authority, where necessary, to assist the panel in making a decision about medical priority for a school place.

Consideration will be given to each submission by a panel of Local Authority officers consisting of:

  • 2 Senior Admissions Officers
  • 2 Special Educational Needs Officers
  • 1 Learning Support Manager
  • A representative from the school if the application is not for a community school 

Siblings

If you believe your child is eligible for sibling priority at one of your preferred schools, you must include their details on your application.

A sibling will be considered to be:

A brother or sister (that is, another child of the same parents, whether living at the same address or not), a half-brother or half-sister or a step-brother or step-sister or an adoptive or foster sibling, living as part of the same family unit at the same address.

Your 'reasons for preference'

The application form has space for you to give a reason for naming a school as a preference but you do not have to complete this. We will consider any information included but reasons given will not usually affect how places are prioritised.

Fair access admissions

Our Fair Access Protocol ensures that unplaced children are offered a place at a school as quickly as possible. The Fair Access Protocol will also ensure that all schools in Havering admit their fair share of children with challenging behaviour. A child’s previous school is asked to complete information regarding your child honestly and accurately to ensure that qualifying children can be offered a place at a school quickly.

Supporting evidence

Please don't forget to include any supporting evidence, for example: proof of address, medical evidence that we need to see. 

After you submit your form

Once you have submitted your application we will contact your child’s current school (unless you are new to the country) for some further information.

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