On March 1st each year, thousands of parents woke up anxious and nervous after a sleepless night. Why?
After spending days and weeks studying school leaflets and admission criteria, gathering information and documentation, filling out application forms to meet the deadline application last October, the big day had finally come: on March 1st, they found out in which secondary state school their children will go to from September.
National Offer Day
Every year in England, two National Offer Days take place: one is for the secondary transfer and is on 1st March, the other one is for Primary admissions and will be this year on 18th April.
Application deadlines for state schools
Any parent wishing their children to be state educated must complete an online national admission process opened from September to January for the Reception Admissions (children aged 4 to 5), and from September to October only for entry into secondary (Year 7, children aged 11-12).
The application process allows families to list several state school choices, in order of preference.
Preparing for the secondary state school applications
For the secondary transfer, because the time frame for admissions is so tight, parents should make their search one or two years ahead to make sure they understand their local school offer, understand the tricky admission criteria (distance, faith, ability, siblings) and have time to visit the different schools.
It is really a full time and stressful job for busy mums or dads with lots of emotional pressure at stake.
The chances of getting into a first choice state secondary school
In 2016, 84 % of families got their first school choice for transition to Year 7.
Even though this figure seems to be reasonable at first sight, according to the Department for Education, 80 out of 151 local councils (53%) saw a drop in the proportion of children given their first choice of secondary school compared with the year 2015.
Once again, most years, the best state secondary schools in London are oversubscribed, like Holland Park School, with 1715 applications for 240 places, The Grey Coat Hospital school in Westminster with 1203 applications for 167 places.
According to our experience, what this means is that when parents do their research properly and apply according to the school criteria, there is still a good hope to get a place in the top 3 preferred schools.