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(Infant and Primary schools)

The primary Co-ordinated Scheme has been written in accordance with the requirements of the Admissions Code and applies to all schools in Portsmouth, including voluntary aided schools and academies.

This Scheme sets out the key actions and general principles. The detail will be provided in the Local Authority’s (LAs) booklet ‘Information for Parents 2022-23 Admission to Primary and Secondary Schools ’.

Application forms and Information for Parents

Portsmouth residents applying for a Portsmouth School

1. Parents* of pupils who are starting school (year R) will receive an application letter which will be sent directly to those pupils attending pre-schools and nurseries where the LA has received information on a pupil up until the end of the autumn term (preceding year of entry), advising them about the application process, how to apply and the closing date.

2. The LA also advertises the starting school application process. Parents who are not contacted directly (as above) but have children starting school (year R) can also request an application form from their local school or Local Authority or apply on line via the Council’s website.

3. The Portsmouth Admission Common Application Form (for Portsmouth residents) will give parents the opportunity to apply for any school in or outside of the Portsmouth area. Parents will be given the opportunity to apply for six preferences. Supplementary forms will be provided in order to gain specific information for the Voluntary Aided and Voluntary Controlled schools in accordance with their admissions policies. Applications should be made online or by submitting a paper application.

4. For pupils starting school in Year R, parents should apply online or return the Portsmouth application form to their preferred school or to Portsmouth Admissions Service by 15 January 2022.

5. Applications from parents who live outside of the Portsmouth area applying for schools within the Portsmouth area

Applications must be made on the relevant admissions application form issued by the home authority. Parents should return their application to their home authority Admissions Service by 15 January 2022 who will then exchange data with the Portsmouth Admissions.

6. The Admissions Team will carry out checks to verify the child’s permanent address using Council tax and other records. Proof of address may be requested once the application form has been received.

Allocation process

7. Portsmouth will be operating an equal preference Scheme.

Parents can express up to 6 preferences for starting school applications applying online or by paper form.

Each preference expressed by a parent is considered equally against each school taking no account of the ranked order. If the school is oversubscribed in relation to the total number of applications, the criteria in the school’s admission policy will be used to allocate places. If the school is under subscribed places are allocated to all applicants.

If the process results in more than one preference being allocated to a pupil, the LA will then use the parent’s ranked order to make the highest possible offer of a place.

8. Example of an allocation in an Equal Preference Scheme

Step 1. All preferences are put in to each school’s pot

Step 2. All preferences are ranked against the criteria of the admissions policies of each preferred school Your preference order is not used at this stage.

The admissions policies with the criteria are on pages 22-62, as well as information regarding the pattern of applications the previous year on pages 71-77.

Step 3. Once ranked against the criteria in the admission policies, provisional offers are made for each school up to the number of school places available (PAN). Again your preference order is not used at this stage.

For example: you may be a regular worshipping Catholic applying for a Catholic school and be offered that school, you may also have applied for your catchment school and be offered that school, you may have applied for an undersubscribed school where you have no criteria and be offered, ending up with three potential offers at this stage.

Step 4. At this stage, some applicants may end up with more than one school provisionally offered. Now your preference order is used. By law we must offer your highest possible preference. Any school places no longer needed (the lower preference schools) are returned to the school’s not to be further allocated to other applicants.

Example A: You have not been offered preference 1 but have been provisionally offered preference 2 and preference 3. The LA must discard preference 3, offer (allocate) preference 2 and invite you to join the waiting list for preference 1 for which you have been unsuccessful.

Example B: You have been provisionally offere all three preferences. The LA must discard preferences 2 and 3 and offer (allocate) preference 1.

Allocation address

9. The address used will be the child’s permanent residence on the application closing date. Any changes of address after closing date and before the allocation date will be used to update an application as long as the evidence of the change of address is received no later than Friday 4th March 2022. Any address changes confirmed by council tax records will also be updated prior to allocation and applicants will be advised In the case of split families the child’s permanent residence will be based on the address agreed by parents but in the event of a dispute it will be based on the address at which child benefit is paid. In the absence of child benefit being paid other evidence supplied will be used to determine the child’s allocation address. The LA will have the final decision.

Parental Agreement on applications

10. Where both parents/carers have parental responsibility for a child (regardless of with whom the child is residing), before submitting an application form, parents will need to discuss and agree which preference schools they wish to put on the application form and in which order. The parent/carer completing the application form on behalf of the child, must have parental responsibility for the child in question and ensure that all those with parental responsibility are in agreement with the submission. The applicant will be required to tick a box on the online application form to this effect, or to sign a declaration on the paper application form.

Portsmouth City Council is unable to resolve or take sides in disputes between parents/carers who both have parental responsibility. If the Admissions Team receive 2 different applications and/or are aware of a parental dispute, the application(s) will not be able to be processed until agreement is reached between the parents/carers. If parents/carers are unable to resolve this, they will need to seek a resolution through the courts.

Allocation Date

11. Notification of allocation will be sent by email on Tuesday 19th April 2022 (national offer day) to those applicants who applied online or by letter posted on Tuesday 19th April 2022 to those who submitted a paper application. Under no circumstances may governors, staff or LA staff offer places or give indication of offers before the official offer date. No offers will be advised over the telephone.

Late applications

12. All applications received by the closing date will be considered first. Late applications will only be considered after all those applications received on time have been considered and allocated places.

Up until Friday 4th March 2022, late applications can be considered along with on-time applications if significant and exceptional circumstances apply at parent’s request. Changes of preference will not be accepted after closing date but can be considered of significant and exceptional circumstances apply at parent’s request by Friday 4th March 2022. Applications from service families being posted into area will be considered on time up until this date.

Late applications will continue to be administered as part of the transfer group up to 31st August 2022.

Appeals

13. If a parent is unsuccessful with any of their preferences they will have the right of appeal to an independent appeal panel and will be provided with the relevant documentation and advice by the Admissions Team or by the school if the appeal is in relation to a Voluntary Aided, Foundation, Trust or Academy school unless they have delegated this function to the LA.

Waiting lists

14. Waiting lists for all types of schools/academies are the responsibility of the admission authority who must maintain them for each oversubscribed school for at least the first term of the academic year. Portsmouth intends to maintain waiting lists for the whole academic year for Portsmouth community and voluntary controlled schools.

All parents who have been refused a place at a preferred school will have the option to indicate their wish to remain on the waiting list – via a tick box on the allocation response form online or on a paper reply slip.

Portsmouth LA will maintain waiting lists strictly in accordance with the Schools Admission Code. Children will be held on the waiting list by order of the criteria in the Admissions Policy. No account can be taken of the length of time a pupil is on the list. A pupil’s position can change on the list as new applicants join or other applicants come off the waiting list.

Children will remain on a waiting list only until the end of the academic year August 2023, if parents want their children to be on the waiting list for the following academic year 2023/24, they must reapply.

Voluntary Aided and Academies will operate their own waiting lists
unless they delegate this function to the LA.

Withdrawing offers of places

15. If it is reasonably established that false or misleading information has been used in order to gain a place at a school, the Local Authority reserve the right to withdraw any school place offered, even if the child has started at the school. The Admissions Code also permits a place to be withdrawn if it was offered in error or a parent has not responded in a reasonable time to the offer which is specified in the offer letter/email.

Pupils with a statutory education, health and care plan (EHCP)

16. Admission of pupils who have been issued with an EHCP is through a different process. Pupils with a statutory plan naming a particular school are taken account of and given priority in the allocation process.

Fair Access Protocol

17. The Local Authority operates a Fair Access Protocol which prioritises admissions for certain categories of primary school age children. This protocol relates to admission applications throughout the year the protocol will take priority above the school’s admission policy for those on a school’s waiting list and the LA may require schools to admit above their published admission number.

Home to School Transport

18. Information on the Home to School Transport Policy will be on the council’s website.

Delaying Entry (into Year R)

19. The statutory position is that parents do not have to send their child to school until the term following their child’s fifth birthday.

However, Portsmouth infant and primary schools admit year R pupils on to the school roll before the end of September, in the school year in which the child has his/her fifth birthday through a carefully managed induction programme which starts in the summer term and includes a home visit. The length and content of induction programmes will vary from school to school.

20. Parents who are allocated a place can discuss deferring entry of their child to later in the school year or go part time but not beyond the point at which they reach statutory school age or for children born between 1 April and 31 August (“Summer borns”), not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year for which the offer was made. For parents wishing to delay the whole of year for a summer born child only they must follow the procedure set out in para 21 below.

Parents should note that Portsmouth schools not only have managed induction programmes to introduce children into school but have set up the whole of the Reception year as fun and gentle introduction to formal Year 1. The children follow the foundation curriculum which is part of the Nursery curriculum so those children who attend pre-school nurseries will find similar learning activities and routines. The Reception year groups also have access to more staff support. Parents are encouraged to discuss any concerns with school staff as there are many benefits for children to start school alongside their peers.

Note – the parental right to delay entry/defer is likely to be subject to statutory change.

Admission out of chronological year group (Delaying the whole of year R for summer borns)

21. Parents can make the decision to not start their summer born child until statutory school age and request that their summer-born child starts school in the following academic year in Year R rather than Year 1. Parent/carers must still apply for the correct academic year and complete a request form with any supporting evidence/ information to demonstrate why it would be in their child’s best interests to delay entry. Parents will need to visit and discuss their request with their preference schools prior to making their request. Requests must be submitted by the closing date for applications, 15 January 2022.

The LA will then co-ordinate this request with the preferred schools and will issue a decision.

If agreed in principle, the current application will be withdrawn and parents will then have to reapply for the following academic year as places cannot be reserved.

If the request is not agreed, the application will continue to be processed for the academic year originally applied for and a place will be allocated. If parents decide to refuse the allocated place for Year R, they will need to reapply for a Year 1 place in a school before the child reaches statutory school age.

Parent is defined by S 576 of Education Act 1996 and includes a carer (a person looking after a child living with them).