Frequently asked questions

 

School admissions - frequently asked questions

Who can make an application for a child to be admitted to school or to transfer between schools?

The application must be made by an adult with parental responsibility for the child and the person completing the application will be required to make a declaration to this effect as part of the application process. For any advice on completing your application you should contact the school admissions team via school.admissions@newport.gov.uk or 01633 656656.

Is my child entitled to a nursery place?

Your child is entitled to a free part-time nursery place in the term after their third birthday. This place can be in a school or in a non-maintained setting, which may be a playgroup or a private day nursery. Admission to community nursery schools and classes is offered for a half-day session, either morning or afternoon, 5 days per week and the allocation of sessions is the responsibility of the relevant Headteacher. Schools prefer children attending the nursery to take up all the sessions available to them, if you would prefer your child not to attend 5 sessions each week you may wish to look for a place at a non-maintained setting that can offer more flexible arrangements. Visit www.newport.gov.uk/nurseryplaces for more information.

When do I need to apply for a school place for my child?

Children start school in the Reception Class in the September following their fourth birthday. You will need to make an application for their school place in the previous autumn term even if your child already attends the nursery class within the school. Attending a nursery class does not guarantee a place at any primary or infant school as a separate application is required, and priority is not given to those children attending any specific nursery setting.

Children transfer from primary to secondary school in the September of the year in which they will reach their twelfth birthday. You will need to make an application regardless of where your child currently attends primary school. Priority is not given to children any specific primary school.

Will I be contacted and asked to make an application when the time comes?

The admissions timetable is published at www.newport.gov.uk/schooladmissions and notices are displayed in Newport’s schools, libraries, community and leisure centres and the Council’s newsletter, Newport Matters, which is delivered to every household in Newport. Deadlines are also flagged via the Council’s social media sites on Twitter and Facebook. It is your responsibility as the parent to look out for these notices and make an application at the appropriate time. Children transferring from primary to secondary school will however receive a letter via the school outlining the admissions process.

Can I register my child’s name at a particular school to obtain priority?

No. All applications received by the School Admissions Team by the relevant closing date are considered together. Priority is not given on a first come, first served basis and there is no benefit over others to putting your child’s name down with a school. Headteachers take no part in the decision-making process, have no influence over the outcome of an application and therefore are actively discouraged from maintaining an interest list.

Can I delay my child’s admission to school?

Yes. The legal requirements confirm that parents are able to delay the admission of their child until the term following their fifth birthday, and such a request will not prejudice an application in any way. It is the Council’s expectation however that on starting school the child will continue to follow their chronological year group unless exceptional circumstances apply. Where a parent exercises their right to defer their child’s entry into Reception until later in the same school year, the effect is that the place is held for the child and is not available to be offered to another child. The parents would not however be able to defer entry beyond the beginning of the term after the child’s fifth birthday, nor beyond the school year for which the application was made.

Do I need to apply even if I live in the catchment area?

Yes, all children requiring a mainstream school place must make an application. There is no guarantee of a place for your child at any particular school, even if it is your catchment school, although they will be given priority. The order of priority is detailed in the Parents Information Handbook. Find out what your catchment school is here.

Do I need to apply even though I have an older child at the school?

Yes, all children requiring a mainstream school place must make an application. There is no guarantee of a place for your child at any particular school, even if you already have other children attending, although they will be given priority (not applicable to nursery applications). The order of priority is detailed in the Parents Information Handbook.

How do I apply for a school place in Newport?

Your application for school can be made online at www.newport.gov.uk/schooladmissions in accordance with the published timetable. Late applications cannot be submitted online but an application pack can be requested from the City Contact Centre on 01633 656656. It is important to submit your application before the closing date because any late applications will only be processed after places have been allocated for on-time applications and this may increase the possibility of not achieving a place at your preferred school. For any advice on completing your application you should contact the school admissions team via school.admissions@newport.gov.uk or 01633 656656. Assistance with your online application may also be provided at Newport Information Station

How do I apply for a place in the sixth form?

Applications for sixth form should be made directly to the preferred school for determination. You will find school contact details on the Council’s website or in the Parents Information Handbook.

How do I decide which school to apply for?

You should read the Parents Information Handbook which lists all of the schools in Newport and you can visit www.newport.gov.uk/schooladmissions to find out what your catchment school is. You will also need to consider how your child will travel to school as they will not necessarily be eligible for school transport. To find out how the schools are performing you can visit www.estyn.gov.uk and view each school’s latest inspection report.

What is my catchment area?

The catchment area is the term used to describe the geographical area served by a school. Catchment maps can be viewed on the Council website. For further information visit www.newport.gov.uk/schooladmissions   

What if I would like my child to receive a faith-based education?

In Newport faith-based education is provided through Church in Wales and Roman Catholic schools. Applications for admission to Malpas Church in Wales Infant or Junior Schools are dealt with by the Council; applications for admission to all other faith-based schools are the responsibility of the relevant Governing Body and therefore applications should be directed to the Headteacher of each school in the first instance. A list of the faith-based schools in Newport is provided in the Parents Information Handbook.

What if I would like my child to be educated in a Welsh-medium school?

There are three Welsh-medium primary schools in Newport, all with nursery classes. Each of these schools has a defined catchment area which can be viewed on the Council website. Please check your catchment before making an application for school as you may not necessarily be eligible for home to school transport assistance.

  • Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd, located in Ringland,
  • Ysgol Gymraeg Ifor Hael, located in Bettws, and;
  • Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon, located in Brynglas. 

Newport has a new Welsh-medium secondary school at Duffryn Way for Year 7 pupils commencing September 2016 – applications should be made to Newport City Council. For all other year groups Newport remains within the catchment area for Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, the Welsh-medium secondary school in Pontypool, Torfaen – applications should be made directly to Torfaen County Borough Council.

Should I apply for more than one school?

Making an application does not guarantee admission, even if it is your catchment school. It is recommended that you name at least three different schools to increase your chances of securing a place that is acceptable to you. Expressing a preference will give your child priority over children whose parents have not expressed a preference for that school.

Am I guaranteed a place at the school that I choose?

No, there is no guarantee of a place at any particular school, even if it is your catchment school. For that reason, when making your application it is important to name at least three different schools to increase your chances of securing a place that is acceptable to you. It is also important that you do not encourage your child to believe that a place will be available to them at any particular school before you have received your decision.

What evidence do I need to provide in support of my application?

In making your application you will be asked to submit supporting evidence. Proof of residency is required in support of all applications and all cases, except where a child is transferring from one school to another; proof of the child’s date of birth is required.  Any application that is submitted without the relevant evidence cannot be processed and this may delay your decision.

Full details of the evidence you will need to provide is detailed in the Parents Information Handbook and throughout the online application process.

My child lives at a different address during the week, which address should I put on the application form?

The Council will consider your child’s home address to be the place where the child permanently resides for the majority of the school week at the relevant closing date. This would normally be at the same address as the person who has parental responsibility for the child and is the main carer and does not mean the address at which your child is cared for by relatives or others. Where the child spends equal time with both parents at separate addresses, or the home address is in dispute, the place of residence of the person who receives Child Benefit will be considered the child’s home.

What if I move house during the application process?

It is your responsibility to advise the School Admissions Team of any changes in circumstances including a change of address following submission of your application. This is to ensure that your correspondence is sent to the correct address and will not affect the outcome of your application if this is after the closing date. Any new address can only be taken into consideration when determining the outcome of your application if you live there on the closing date and provide satisfactory evidence to substantiate this.

What happens when I submit my application?

Parents making an on-line application will receive automatic email confirmation as soon as the application is submitted. Paper applications can only be acknowledged if you provide a valid email address or enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your application.  If you do not receive this confirmation you will need to contact the School Admissions Team as soon as possible to check whether your application has been successfully submitted. The Council cannot accept responsibility for any applications or evidence lost in the postal system.

How long will it take to get a decision?

Your application will be assessed with all others that are submitted by the closing date. In most cases the number of applications received is over one thousand and each one of these has to go through a number of checks. For this reason the admissions timetable sets out that the closing date is many months before the offer date, (which is the date your decision will be issued). For example, in the 2015 admissions round:

Closing date for applications:  1 December 2014

Offer date:  2 March 2015

During the admissions round you will be able to view the admissions timetable at www.newport.gov.uk/schooladmissions.

How will the decision be made?

In making a decision on all applications the Council will consider how many places are available in each school (admission number) and how many pupils have applied to attend that school. Where the number of applications is equal to or less than the number of places available, all pupils will be admitted. However, where the number of applications is more than the number of places available the Council will apply a set of criteria to identify which pupils should be prioritised for a place. This is known as oversubscription criteria, the full details of which can be found in the Parents Information Handbook.

For example if a school is able to accommodate 30 children but the Council receives 36 applications, all 36 applicants will be considered together against the oversubscription criteria and 30 places will be allocated. The remaining 6 applications will be refused.

What pupils are given priority?

Children with a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Children holding a statement of SEN whose statement specifies a named school will automatically be admitted to that school. If no school is named in a statement it is considered that the needs of the child can be accommodated in any mainstream school and thus no specific priority is afforded and the application will be assessed in accordance with the agreed oversubscription criteria.

If you would like to receive further information regarding additional educational needs and /or the provision available within Newport please contact:

  • Special Educational Needs Section, Newport City Council, Education Inclusion, Civic Centre, Newport, NP20 4UR
  • Telephone: 01633 656656
  • e-mail: inclusion.enquiries@newport.gov.uk

Looked After and previously Looked After Children

Applications for Looked After Children (children in public care) are given priority if they are supported by a statement from the child’s Social Worker outlining the benefits of the school placement. This priority can also be given to previously Looked After Children although the person making the application must provide evidence to confirm the previous care status, such as an Adoption Certificate.

Children living within the school catchment area

Children confirmed as living within the school catchment area are given priority over those living outside the catchment area when places are available.

Children with medical circumstances

Applications on medical grounds are prioritised if they are supported by a medical consultant's report, obtained by parents specifying the medical advantage of the child attending the preferred school. Reports from family doctors or other health professionals are not accepted for this purpose. Please note that priority is only given if places are available.

Children with siblings

Children with siblings may be given priority if places remain available. Brothers and sisters, whether half, full, step or foster, will be considered relevant where living in the same household and where they will still be registered at the school when the applicant is eligible to attend.

Are school places held back for children moving into the area?

No, the Council must admit pupils up to the admission number and is not permitted to reserve or hold back places in case families move in to the area or for any particular group of people. It is not possible to remove children from a school if a child with higher priority under the oversubscription criteria subsequently requires a place.

If you are moving into or within Newport please do not assume that your child will be allocated a place at the local school. There is no guarantee of a place at any school, even it is your catchment, and if the school is already full in your child’s year group your application will be refused.

What happens if I’m refused a place at my preference school or schools?

Where the Council is unable to offer a place at your preferred school (or schools) as a result of applying the published over-subscription criteria, and you are ordinarily resident in Newport, you will be offered an alternative place at your catchment, or nearest school, provided that spaces are still available. Please note that for nursery applications an alternative place will only be offered at the catchment school if available. A nursery place at an alternative school is only considered at the direct request of the parent.

Where a school preference has been unsuccessful the parent will be offered the right of appeal against this decision. This right of appeal is not extended to nursery admissions.

Where a place at the preference school is refused your child’s name will remain on a waiting list for this school. If additional places become available, they will be allocated to children on the waiting list on the basis of the published oversubscription criteria. Waiting lists do not give priority to children based on the date the application was added to the list. The length of time your child will remain on this waiting list is confirmed in your decision letter.

Can I find out where my child is on the waiting list?

The Council does not rank or order the waiting list until a place becomes available in the relevant year group. It is unlikely therefore that you will be able to find out your child’s current position on this list.

I want to transfer my child to an alternative school, what should I do?

Changing schools is an issue that needs to be given serious consideration as it is not always the answer and can have a detrimental effect on your child’s education. If you are thinking of applying to transfer your child to another school, you should discuss your options with your child’s current school in the first instance. There may be strong educational reasons why a transfer should not take place, which you will need to consider. Before deciding to apply for a place at another school, you will need to consider carefully how your child will travel to the school, as you will not necessarily be eligible for transport assistance, even if you have previously qualified. Where possible, you should not remove your child from their current school until a suitable alternative place can be found. Non-attendance will be recorded as unauthorised absence and could be reported to the Education Welfare Officer. A school transfer will not disrupt any action already being pursued by the Education Welfare Service.

Parents of pupils in either Year 10 or Year 11 should note that the Council actively discourages requests for transfer at this stage of a child’s education as it may not be possible to accommodate your child’s GCSE subject options in the school to which you are applying and this is likely to have a significant, detrimental effect on their learning outcomes.

If you wish to change schools because you are moving into or within Newport please do not assume that your child will be allocated a place at the local school. There is no guarantee of a place at any school, even it is your catchment, and if the school is already full in your child’s year group your application will be refused.

Should you need to make an application to transfer schools, call 01633 656656 to request an application form or download it from www.newport.gov.uk/schooladmissions

I want to go on an extended holiday for more than four weeks, will my child’s space in school be withdrawn?

You need to speak to your child’s Headteacher if you are planning a holiday during term-time as each Governing Body has an agreed protocol on this. If an extended holiday absence is approved and your child does not return to school by the agreed date they will be at risk of losing their school place. Failure to return on the date agreed will prompt welfare concerns; a child or young person who goes missing from education may be considered to be at risk of significant harm. Any such concerns will immediately be referred to the statutory authorities for consideration.

Can my child be moved up or down a year?

It is the Council’s expectation that children are taught in their chronological year group, unless exceptional circumstances apply. Generally these exceptional circumstances relate to children with additional learning needs or those who have experienced problems or missed part of a year, often due to ill health. Where there are exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to a parent’s request for admission outside the normal age group. However there is no right of appeal if a place is offered but not in the desired year group. Please note that your child will not be admitted to any year group outside of their chronological age simply because their correct year group is full.

Can I educate my child at home?

This is commonly referred to as elective home education and parents have a right to educate their children at home providing that they fulfil the requirements of section 7 of the Education Act 1996. This places a duty on the parents of every child of compulsory age to cause him/her to receive efficient full-time education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs that they may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. If your child is currently attending school and you decide to electively home educate them, you should write to the school requesting that your child be removed from the school roll. Note that parents will not receive resources or guidance on teaching and curriculum from the Council once the decision to withdraw from school has been made.

How does the appeals process operate?

Where your school preference has been unsuccessful you will be offered the right of appeal against this decision (please be aware that does not apply in respect of applications for admission to nursery schools or classes for which there is no right of appeal). An appeal proforma will be enclosed with your decision letter and you should return this to the Head of Law & Regulation by the date stipulated in order to lodge your intention to appeal. Following this you will be advised of the date and time of your appeal hearing. This is normally held at the Civic Centre and you will be invited to attend to hear the Council’s case for refusal which will be presented to an independent panel of three people not connected to the school concerned or the LA. The appeal hearing will be as informal as possible but if you feel you need some advice on how to present your case you should seek independent advice. This is purely a matter for each individual but many parents do not consider this necessary. Officers cannot discuss the merit of a parent’s case, as this is a matter entirely for the panel.

In submitting an appeal you are making a case for your child to attend a specific school, and therefore the case should be based upon why your child should attend that specific school. If you wish to elect an alternative preference school to the one which has been allocated to your child, you should contact the School Admissions Team.

In all cases of school admission appeals, the decision of the panel is final and binding on all parties. The Public Services Ombudsman can investigate written complaints about maladministration on the part of an admission appeal panel. Maladministration covers issues such as a failure to act independently and fairly, rather than complaints where a person simply feels that the decision taken is wrong. An appeal panel’s decision can only be overturned by the courts where the appellants or admission authority are successful in applying for Judicial Review of that decision.

Who is eligible for home to school transport?

Free home to school transport is provided to primary aged pupils who live 2 miles or more from their catchment school or nearest available school and secondary aged pupils who live 3 miles or more from their catchment school or nearest available school. This includes Welsh-medium and faith schools. In addition the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure states that a child is eligible for free home to school transport to an alternative school if this is nearer than the catchment school and provided that the qualifying distance is met.

Each school has a designated catchment area but in accordance with the Council’s School Admissions policy, parents can express a preference for any school they want their child to attend. If you choose to send your child to a school that is not your catchment school, you will be responsible for all transport costs and arrangements. If an application to your preference school is unsuccessful, you will only be eligible for transport assistance if your child attends either the catchment school as an alternative or the next nearest available school, as determined by School Admissions, and if the distance criterion is met. Should you elect an alternative preference that is not your catchment school or the nearest available you will be responsible for all transport costs and arrangements.