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School Admissions Guide

A Parental Guide to School Admissions in the Vale 2017–2018

 

The School Admissions Guide is available in large print and other formats upon request.

 

This guidance is published by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and contains the information the Council is required to publish under the School Information (Wales) Regulations 2011. Although the information is correct at the time of publication, the Authority reserves the right to make any adjustments where this is necessary to enable it to comply with changes in policy and/or legislation.

 

  •  Applying for a School Place

    The entry of children into schools is controlled and administered by an ‘Admissions Authority’. The admission authority for the Vale of Glamorgan’s Community and Voluntary controlled schools is the Council and this is managed by our School Access Team at Provincial House, Kendrick Road Barry.

     

    In the case of Voluntary Aided and Foundation Schools the admission authority is the Governing Body of the school. Please view the schools website for further information in this case.

     

    Within the council each school has an area known as a catchment area. Pupils living within the catchment area are prioritised higher than those residing outside of the catchment area as detailed in the oversubscription criteria. For further information and details concerning your catchment school, please refer to the “In your neighbourhood” postcode checker on the home page of the Vale of Glamorgan website.

     

    All parents are required to express a preference for a school they wish their child to attend, which must be done by completing an application form, either by using one of our paper application forms or by applying online. In the majority of cases, parents or carers are happy to choose their local school but it is necessary for the school to be named on an application form supplied by parents before a place can be allocated. When applying for a place in reception or transfer to secondary School, this is managed by an annual admission round and your application must be completed by the advertised closing date given in our some important dates section to give your child the best chance of gaining a place in your chosen school. No place can be allocated to pupils to attend their catchment school, or any other school, unless a formal application is made.

     

    Those parents who do express a preference by the closing date will be considered first with late applications only being looked at once the first round of allocations has been completed. Please be aware that if you do not  apply by the closing date, you may find that your chosen school is already full and your child could be denied a place at their local school.

     

    Please note that only the Council’s School Access Team can allocate a place for your child at a maintained school. Any letter received from a school (unless they are the admitting authority) stating that your child has a place reserved for them, should not be taken as an indication that a place has been allocated.

  •  School Admissions Code

    The Council will adhere to the requirements of the new School Admissions Code July 2013 and all relevant legislation.  A summary of the main changes is provided below:

     

     - a requirement that admission authority’s oversubscription criteria includes alongside looked after children, ‘previously looked after children’ as the first criterion in all instances;

     

     - the setting of Common Offer dates on which decision letters must be issued. Please refer to the Admissions timetable on page 5 of this document for further detail.

     

     - a requirement that waiting lists are maintained until 30 September, as a minimum, where schools are oversubscribed

     

     - guidance on additional exceptions to the class size legislation. These additional exceptions assist with the admission of all children of multiple births when the 30th child is from a multiple birth. Previously parents would have to decide if they wanted to take the place for one child when there was no space for the other(s). The changes also allow admission authorities to admit armed forces pupils to their local school should they move into the area outside of the admission round.

     

    - more opportunities to vary existing admission arrangements without seeking approval from Welsh Ministers (Admission Code 2.21).

  •  Important Dates
    You will find below some important dates relating to the application process, including the closing date and when we will inform you of the outcome of your application. All admission authorities, including schools managing their own admissions are required to adhere to these dates

     

    School Admissions

    TIMETABLE

    APPLICATION FOR

    APPLICATION FOR

    APPLICATION FOR

    TRANSFER TO SECONDARYSCHOOL

    ACADEMIC YEAR 2017/18

    RECEPTION

    ACADEMIC YEAR 2017/18

    NURSERY PLACE ACADEMIC YEAR 2017/18

    Admissions Information sent to parents/ schools & On Line application Service opens

    28 September 2016

    10 November 2016

    20 January 2017

    Closing date for receipt of preference forms

    28 November 2016

    9 January 2017

    24 March 2017

    Voluntary Aided Schools notify Council of results of applications

    3 February 2017

    7 April 2017

    5 May 2017

    Notification of results posted to parents of

    applications to Community, Voluntary

    Aided and Foundation Schools.

    1 March 2017

    18 April 2017

    (note, during school holidays)

    19 May 2017*

    1st ROUND APPEALS TO BE HEARD IN LINE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SCHOOL APPEAL CODE AND BEFORE THE START OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR

     

    *Decision letters for pupils who will be three before the 31 August 2017 will be sent on this date, letters will be sent toparents of pupils three between 1 September and 31 December 2017 in October 2017 and pupils three between 1st January 2017 and 31st March 2017 will receive their notification in January 2017.

  •  Late Applications 

    Only applications received by the closing date for reception and transfer to secondary school can be considered in the first round of admissions so please note these dates in order to ensure that your application is received in time to be considered alongside all other parents applying on time. Late applications will be dealt with only after the first round of applications has been completed. This may affect your child’s chances of gaining a place in the school of your choice if for example sufficient applications are received prior to the closing date for the council to admit up to the admission number. This would mean, for example, that applicants who live outside of the catchment area who apply on time are offered places instead of pupils who live within the catchment area whose parents did not apply by the closing date.

     

    The arrangements for late applications are slightly different for nursery due to the termly allocation process. Once the closing date has passed and the initial round of allocations made for those pupils eligible for a September start date, any late applications are added to the allocation waiting lists for younger pupils due to start in January or April in order of the over subscription criteria.

     

    In all cases, once the first round of allocations has been made and/or all available places have been offered, any late applications join the waiting list or termly nursery allocation lists as prioritised by the oversubscription criteria. If any places are subsequently offered at the school then they will be offered as ranked by this criteria. In this case, late catchment applications for example would have priority over “on time” applications categorised in lower criteria who were refused a place in the first round.

  •  Online School Admissions

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council operated an online admissions process. This makes it easier for parents to apply for Vale of Glamorgan school places. The benefits of the system are:

     

    it is quick and easy to use;

    - you can apply from home 24 hours a day, seven days a week;

    - there is no risk your application will be lost in the post;

    - you will receive an email confirming that your application has been submitted and received by the council;

    - it is secure and has a series of security features that will prevent others from seeing your information.

     

    Details of the process and how to apply online is available on the council’s website and is also included in a letter sent to parents of eligible Vale of Glamorgan pupils who are known to the school access team in the autumn term on the launch of the admission round for this academic year. For more details please view our web pages or email admissions@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk
  •  Applying by Post
    The traditional paper-based process is still available and requires parents to fill in a paper application form and send it to the council. An acknowledgement will be sent by post. 
  •  Admission Number/Infant Class Size Limits

    Each school has an admission number which indicates the number of pupils a school is able to admit to a ‘relevant age group'. An admission cannot be refused to any school in a normal year of entry until its admission number has been reached. The admission number reflects a school's capacity to accommodate pupils in terms of the size of the accommodation available. Once an admission number has been reached an admission can be refused. The admission number for each Vale of Glamorgan school is provided in Appendix 1.

     

    In addition to Admission numbers, Government legislation determines that no child aged 5, 6 or 7 years will be in a class of more than 30 pupils as outlined in the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998. This regulation places a statutory duty upon local authorities and school governing bodies to limit to 30 the size of all infant classes. The Council will adhere to its requirements with relation to admission numbers and Infant class size limits whilst ensuring, wherever possible, that every pupil is offered a place in a primary school within reasonable distance of home. Parents should note however that Councils and governing bodies are not required to comply with parents’ preferences where the admission of a pupil to a class would be incompatible with the duty to meet infant class size limits, provided the schools admission number had also been met. 

  • Early Years Funding 

    Parents may apply for early years funding with a provider approved by Vale of Glamorgan Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership.

     

    If your child is three years old between:

     

    1 April – 31 August (inclusive). - your child may be eligible for funding during the following Autumn Term

     

    1 September – 31 December (inclusive) – your child may be eligible for funding during the following Spring Term

     

    1 January – 31 March (inclusive) - your child may be eligible for funding during the following Summer Term

     

    How is funding provided?

     

    Application forms are available from registered childcare providers who have an agreement with the council to provide early years education. Pupils must be resident in the Vale of Glamorgan, and you will be required to provide a copy of your child’s birth certificate. You will also be required to provide a Council Tax Statement and a recent utility bill as proof of residence.

  • Admission to Early Years Education/ nursery

    Details of nursery units and schools within the Vale of Glamorgan are listed in appendix 1.  Children are entitled to a part-time place of five half day educational sessions from the start of the term following their third birthday. It is the Headteacher’s decision whether a morning or afternoon place will be offered. This provision may be either at a nursery school, nursery unit of a school or an education provider registered with the Vale of Glamorgan. Please refer to the list of registered education providers within the Vale of Glamorgan which can be found in appendix 3.

     

    Attendance at a Nursery Class does not automatically entitle a child to a reception class place in the same school. A separate application will need to be made and will be considered in line with the published criteria.

     

    Nursery Schools & Classes - Qualifying dates for children to obtain a part time place

     

    If your child is three years old between:

     

    1 April – 31 August (inclusive). Your child may be accepted during the Autumn Term

     

    1 September – 31 December (inclusive) your child may be accepted during the Spring Term

     

    1 January – 31 March (inclusive) your child may be accepted during the Summer Term

     

    If you would like information on play schemes, childcare and breakfast clubs etc., please refer to the section Family Information Service (FIS) or contact individual schools.

  • Statutory School Age

    The Council’s policy allows all children who have attained their fourth birthday on or before the 31st August to attend full time school that September. This, however, is not a legal requirement. Some parents may choose not to send their children to school until later in the year or when they reach five years old and are of statutory school age. This will be a matter for parental decision however when considering this, please ensure that you are aware of the significant implications of this decision. The School Access Team would be able to provide you with advice as will individual schools if you are considering this course of action.  

     

    For information purposes, compulsory school age is defined as the start of the term following a child’s fifth birthday. If your child is five on or before:

    - 1 September

    - 1 January or

    - 1 April

    then they must be enrolled at school at the beginning of that term. For example, a child who became five on 31 August would be of compulsory school age for the September term; a child who became five on 1 September would not be of compulsory school age until the start of the January term.

     
  • Voluntary Aided Schools 
    The appropriate admission authority for this category of schools is the governing body to which all applications should be made. The Council and other admission authorities within its geographical area must however agree common offer dates in order to assist parents. Voluntary Aided Schools have their own published oversubscription criteria. These can be found in appendix 6. Contact details for each school are given in the school list in appendix 1. The school website is also a useful source of information.
  • Welsh Medium Schools

    The Council is the admission authority for all of our Welsh Medium schools. Additional Welsh medium provision has been established in recent years in the Barry and Llantwit Major area to meet an increase in demand for Welsh Medium school places. As a result of the establishment of two additional primary schools and the creation of catchment areas, the council will be applying transitional admission arrangements and oversubscription criteria, as detailed below, for admission to Welsh Medium primary schools. These arrangements will enable children who have an older sibling attending school to be able to attend the same school as their older sibling if requested by parents. These transitional arrangements will cease prior to the allocation of places for the 2020/21 academic year when new arrangements will be in place following appropriate consultation. 
  • Primary School Admissions  

    The Council is the admission authority for all maintained Community and Voluntary Controlled Infant, Junior and Primary Schools in the Vale of Glamorgan. In the case of a voluntary aided school the appropriate admissions authority is the governing body to which all applications for admission should be made. The Council will ensure, as far as possible, that every pupil is guaranteed a place in a primary school within reasonable distance of home.

     

    All parents are required to express a preference by applying for the school they wish their child to attend/transfer to, even if it is a catchment area school. In the autumn term parents of eligible Vale of Glamorgan pupils known to the admissions authority will be invited to apply for their preferred primary school for the following September. Parents will be notified of decisions in line with the timetable provided in this guide. Attendance at a nursery class does not entitle a child to a reception class place in the same school. A separate application must be made. No guarantee can be given that a parents preference can be met in every case as requests for places in certain schools may exceed the number of places available.

     

    All Primary schools are listed in appendix 1 of this document. Primary schools are categorised as “Community Schools”, “Church in Wales Voluntary Controlled Schools” and “Voluntary Aided Schools” (which can either be Church in Wales or Catholic).

  • Welsh Medium Primary Education Transitional Admission Arrangements
  • Primary Education Oversubscription 
  • Admission to Reception Classes - Some Questions Answered

  • Moving from Primary to Secondary School
    The Secondary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan are listed in appendix 1 of this booklet. Admission is based on a system of feeder primary schools. (See appendix 2). Secondary schools are classified as Community, Foundation or Aided Schools. The Council is responsible for the admission arrangements for Community Schools, whilst individual school governing bodies are responsible for the Foundation and Aided sector.

     

    Children normally transfer to secondary school in the September following their eleventh birthday. In the autumn term Parents of Year 6 pupils are invited to apply for their preferred secondary school for the following September. In deciding upon admissions the Council will consider each individual application received by the published closing date. No guarantee can be given that parents` preference can be met in every case as requests for places in certain schools may exceed the number of places available. The Council will  meet parental preference wherever possible provided there are spaces available and a school’s admission number will not been exceeded. However where the number of applications for admission to a school exceeds the number of places available, places will be allocated applying the admission criteria, in the order of priority, set out below. 

  • Secondary School oversubscription criteria

  • Transfer from Primary to Secondary Education 

 

  • Transferring to a different School/ moving into the area

    Parents can ask to change schools at any stage of a child’s education. They may of course be forced to do this because they are moving house, but in other cases it is generally considered to not normally be in the best interests of the pupil. A change of school mid-year or after year 7 can seriously disrupt the continuity of a child’s education and cause difficulties over curriculum compatibility, examination arrangements etc. If your child is in years 10 or 11, the range of subject options chosen may also be a factor. If parents feel that a problem at school is so serious as to necessitate a change, you are urged to take all reasonable steps to resolve the issue with the school first, and then to seek advice from the Council if necessary, before applying formally for a transfer.

     

    Applications to transfer to a different school are normally completed ten school days from their receipt by the School Access Team. Where more applications are received than there are places available, the relevant oversubscription criteria will apply. In all cases the request and the reasons for the request may be shared with Headteacher of both the current and prospective schools. Parents should not remove children from a school until an Admission to an alternative school has been agreed. Where a need has been identified, advice may be sought from the School Inclusion Service.

     

    As applications to transfer schools are normally completed in ten school days, the Council would not normally process an application to transfer (outside the annual admission round for Reception and transfer to Secondary Education) more than six weeks before the places are required. For September places this process would begin around mid-June in order to finalise prior to start of the summer break in July. Applications received in school holidays would not normally be able to be finalised until schools reopenin the new term.

     
  • Admissions to Sixth Forms 

    The Governing Body of Community Schools are responsible for the determination of admission arrangements to sixth forms. Application should therefore be made directly to the school.

  • Admissions to Denominational Education/Foundation Schools
  • Statutory Appeals
  • Waiting Lists 

    Where an application is refused, the pupil will be placed on a waiting list until the 30 September following their application. This waiting list is ranked in the order of the relevant oversubscription criteria and therefore their position on the list is subject to change if, for example additional applications qualifying under higher criteria are received. No account is taken of the length of time the pupil has been on a waiting list, the particular infant or primary school the child is attending in the meantime or to the length of time the school has been aware of the parental intention to apply for a place at the school.

     

    If a parent wishes their child to remain on the waiting list after 30 September in any academic year, they will need to contact the School Access Team to arrange this.

  • Multiple Births

    When only one place is available and a parent of multiple Birth Children (i.e. twins, triplets etc.) apply, the admission authority can normally only offer the number of places available at the school. It will be for the parents to determine if they wish to take the place available for one of their children.

     

    In these exceptional cases, advice should be sought from the School Access team as in some cases in Key Stage one, permitted exceptions apply.

  • Definition of Siblings 

    This includes all children living within the same household with one or more parent who has full parental responsibility. This includes a brother/sister; or step brother/step sister; or half brother/ half sister adopted or fostered permanently resident at the same address Evidence of parental responsibility may be required.

     

    In these circumstances, advice should be sought from the School Access team.

  • Fraudulent/ Misleading applications

    Where a parent provides fraudulent, false or intentionally misleading information to obtain the advantage of a particular school for their child, to which they would not otherwise be entitled, the Council will withdraw the offer of a place. An example of this would be a false claim to live at an address within a catchment area which would effectively deny a place being offered to another child.

     

    In these cases, the council can withdraw the place, even if the child has started at the school. Where a place is withdrawn on the basis of misleading information, the application must be considered afresh, and a right of appeal offered if a place is refused.

  • Applications for children of UK Service personnel and other Crown Servants 

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council has a long history of welcoming children of UK service personnel to our schools. The council is aware that Service families often have to move quickly and proof of residency is not always available and this is taken into consideration when dealing with applications from UK Service families. Due regard to welsh government advice and statutory guidance in the case of exceptions to Infant class size limits on this matter is given.

     

    The council will:

    - Ensure that the needs of the children of UK Service families are taken into account;

    - allocate a school place in advance of a move if the application would meet the criteria when they move to their destination;

    - invite a service representative to join the admissions forum;

    - accept a unit postal address for applications from service personnel in the absence of a new home postal address.

     

    The council will not:

    - reserve places for blocks of these children, or

    - refuse a place to a child of a UK service family because the family does not currently live in the area.

     
  • Provision for Children who have Additional Learning Needs

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council, in accordance with the 1996 Education Act, recognises that an estimated 20% of the school population have Additional Learning Needs at some time during their school life. The Council is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities and duties towards these children and has adopted a staged approach to identify and assess each child’s Special Educational Needs in line with the four stages of the Code of Practice.

     

    The Inclusion Service is established to meet the Council’s statutory duties and works closely in partnership with schools, parents and other agencies. Details of the provision available are given in appendix 5. Most children’s needs can be met in local mainstream schools, with outside specialist help if required. For children with more significant learning difficulties a Statutory Assessment may be necessary which may result in a Statement of Special Educational Needs being issued which will detail the child’s needs and the provision to meet those needs. On occasion, a school may be named in this statement. Where this decision has been made prior to the allocation of places, children with a statement of SEN that names a school will be placed before other applications are assessed against the oversubscription criteria.

     

    The Council acknowledges that there is a continuum of Additional Learning Needs and this is reflected by a continuum of provision. This comprises full inclusion in mainstream classes, special units/classes in mainstream schools and special schools with expertise in teaching children with particular learning difficulties.

     

    If you are concerned that your child may have Additional Learning Needs please discuss this in the first instance with your child’s Headteacher. You may also contact the School Inclusion Service at the address shown in Appendix 5.

 

  • Transport

    Councils have a statutory duty to provide pupils with free transport to the nearest available school if they reside beyond ‘walking distance’ to that school. The law relating to ‘walking distance’ is defined as two miles for Primary age and three miles for secondary age, measured by the nearest available  walking route.

     

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council provides transport as follows:

    - for primary age pupils residing over 2 miles from their nearest or designated catchment area primary school and;

    - for secondary age pupils residing over 3 miles from their nearest or designated catchment area secondary school;

    - The council uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) software package to measure the “walking distance”.

     

    The above distance criteria will apply to both denominational, English and Welsh medium education provision. However, where pupils attend, as a result of parental preference, a school other than the nearest or designated catchment area school, it must be understood that parents accept full responsibility for transport costs and arrangements. If a child qualifies for free transport, a place will normally be provided on a special contract vehicle if there is one serving the particular area.

     

    Pupils who do not qualify for free transport are sometimes permitted to travel on special contract vehicles on payment of a fare but only where spare space exists. It must be understood that the provision of this facility does not represent an obligation on the Council, and dependent on the capacity of the vehicle used, may result in the withdrawal of the facility at relatively short notice.

     

    Certain schools are also served by a fare paying bus service which conveys non-qualifying pupils who pay fares to the driver.

     

    In cases where a pupil qualifies for free school transport but no contract buses are provided parents may apply for travelling expenses.

     

    In respect of Welsh Medium Primary Schools, free transport will be provided to Ysgol Iolo Morganwg from the greater Llantwit Major area to meet parents preference only if there is an existing sibling connection at the school (in reception to Year 5 at the time of making the application)

     

    Further information regarding school transport can be found on the webpage:

     

    School Transport

     
  •  Free School Meals

    Eligibility for free school meal entitlement is provided for parents who are in receipt of certain support payments. The relevant support payments are:

     

    - Income Support (IS)

    - Employment Support Allowance (Income Related) (ESA (IR)).

    - Income Based Job seekers Allowance (IBJSA)

    - Support under Part VI of the immigration and Asylum Act 1999

    - Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) with an annual income not exceeding £16,190, but who are NOT entitled to Working Tax Credit

    - Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

    - Children who receive IS or IBJSA in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals

     

    If you think your child or children might qualify for free school meals, then you will need to complete an application form available from:

     

    Benefits Department

    Civic Offices

    Holton Road, Barry

    CF63 4RU

     

    Tel: 01446 709244 or email: benefits@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

     
  • School Uniform Assistance Scheme

    The Welsh Government has introduced a Uniform Financial Assistance Scheme. This grant is available only for those pupils who are transferring from primary to secondary school, and will not be available for any child already in attendance at a secondary school. Eligibility for a uniform grant entitlement is provided for parents who are in receipt of certain support payments. The scheme provides a payment of £105 to each pupil entering year 7 of secondary school or attending a special school at aged 11 at the start of the school year who is eligible for free school meals. Children of families in receipt of the following may also be eligible:

     

    - Income Support (IS)

    - Employment Support Allowance (Income Related) (ESA (IR)).

    - Income Based Job seekers Allowance (IBJSA)

    - Support under Part VI of the immigration and Asylum Act 1999

    - Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) with an annual income not exceeding £16,190, but who are NOT entitled to Working Tax Credit

    - Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

     

    If you think your child or children might qualify for a uniform grant, then you will need to complete an application form available from admissions@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk or your local school. Application forms are obtainable during the second half of the summer term for transfer to secondary school in the following September

     
  • Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

    The Education Maintenance Allowance provides financial support for 16-18 year olds who are continuing with their education at schools or further education institutions. It is means tested and to be eligible you will need to be:

     

    - Aged 16 to 18

    - Living in the UK

    - In Full Time Study

    - Studying eligible course

     

    If you think you may be eligible please contact your school directly. Further information is available at www.studentfinancewales.co.uk

  • Public Examinations

    The Vale of Glamorgan Council adheres to the advice, guidance and legislation provided by Welsh Government with regard to entrance for public examinations. Further information on school policy can be gained from the school direct, along with details of public examination results.

     

    All pupils are entitled to be entered for public examinations at the appropriate level for the subjects they study. Examination fees are normally paid by the school, subject to terms and conditions. 

  • Charging arrangements for School Trips/Visits
    A charge is normally required for accommodation and food for children taking part in activities involving an overnight stay and schools often request voluntary contributions for activities and day trips. Support is available for some families dependent on circumstances. For more information on what can be provided free and what you will need to pay for, please contact your school.
  • Proof of Address/ more than one address
  •  Compelling Medical and Social Needs

    In certain rare cases, the particular circumstances of a child will allow for their application to be considered under this criterion. For this to take place, disclosure of the facts of the case should be provided confidentially by no later than the closing date.

     

    This evidence should be from a medical professional or social services and will need to specify that the pupil can only attend the school in question and the specific reasons for this. In these rare cases, advice should be sought as soon as possible from the School Access Team in advance of the closing date. Without this evidence the application will not be able to be considered under this criterion.

     

    Due to the high number of applications being processed, the School Access Team will not contact the parents to request this information if it is missing. It is the responsibility of the parent to provide it.

 

 

 

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Learning and Skills Directorate

Civic Offices

Holton Road

Barry

CF63 4RU