Frequently asked questions
Filton Hill Primary School
Frequently Asked Questions: Admission
If you have any queries at all after reading this information please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. I completely understand that every family’s circumstances are unique, and it may be that you want a personal conversation with me for some individual advice. If so, please e-mail me with the details, or with your telephone number and the best time to contact you, and I will be in touch.
- How many places are available in Reception in September?
Filton Hill has a Planned Admission Number (PAN) of one class of 30.
- How far does the ‘catchment area’ stretch?
We have a consortium Area of Prime Responsibility (APR) or 'catchment area', shared with Charborough Road Primary School and Shield Road Primary School. The APR was created in 2015 and you can see a map of the boundaries at the end of this document.
However, just living within that APR may not guarantee a place. All applications are ranked according to the published over-subscription criteria (see question 3 below). Geography forms the basis of the 3rd category and the furthest distance successfully allocated each year depends on the number of families applying and where they live. Full details of the numbers of applications to Reception and the furthest distances in the last couple of years can be found in the table below.
Please don’t rely on Google Maps or any other site such as gov.uk to work out your home’s distance from the school, as they may give misleading information. The only distance which will be used to rank your application and the waiting lists is the one provided by the Local Authority (LA) software. This tool maps the distance from the ‘address point’ at Filton Hill School to the ‘address point’ where the child lives, to 3 decimal places, and it is used consistently for every application, to ensure fairness to all.
- What are your over-subscription criteria?
Before any allocations into Reception are made, places are reserved for any children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) whose Plan names the school: this is a legal requirement. If your child does have an EHCP then please speak to the Local Authority 0-25 team who will explain how school placements work.
If there are then fewer applications than the number of places left to allocate, everyone who applies will be offered a place. But where there are more applications received than places available the following criteria are used to rank the applications:
- Children in Public Care or previously in Public Care
- Children living in the school’s APR with a sibling already at the school who will still be on roll at the date of admission
- All other children living within the APR, closest first
- Children living outside the APR with a sibling already at the school who will still be on roll at the date of admission
- All other children
- Tie breaker
More detail on all of these criteria can be found in our Admissions Policy on the school website.
- What address should I use to apply from?
Please be honest about the address where your child lives! Under our Policy, we cannot accept the address of a business, relative, friend, or childminder. We also cannot accept a temporary address, or the address of a house it is intended to move to, or where parents have acquired or leased a property purely to use the address on the application form without any intention of taking up permanent residence.
If your child lives at more than one address, the address on the application should be the residential address at which the child lives and sleeps (with a parent) for more than 50% of their time during term time.
If there appears to be a discrepancy in the address on the application, we may request evidence of the child’s living arrangements, in the interests of fairness to everyone who wants a place. Where we do find that an inappropriate address has been used we can withdraw the offer, and this can even happen when a child has already started at the school, up to the end of term 2 (Christmas). We do not want your child put in that position.
- Do I have to think ‘strategically’ when I choose the order of my preferences?
No. There is an ‘equal weighting’ system in place, meaning that a child who has Filton Hill as their 2nd or 3rd preference will be allocated a place before someone who has it as their 1st preference, if they are ranked higher under our published over-subscription criteria. What is important is that you put the schools in the order that you really prefer them. The LA will then offer you the highest preference they can, based on the ranking of your application against all the others. If you are unsuccessful in getting a place at your first preference school, your second preference will not be treated any less favourably just because you placed school 2 as your second preference. If your child qualifies for a place at more than one school, your highest ranked school with a place available will be offered. However, please bear in mind that putting preferences for 3 over-subscribed schools, if you don’t live very close/in the APR for any of them, is a very risky strategy.
- Do you have any ‘feeder’ pre-schools, and do children attending a pre-school on or near an Olympus primary school get priority?
None of the schools in the Trust currently have ‘feeder’ pre-schools or nurseries. All applicants are ranked against the over-subscription criteria listed in question 3 above.
- I don’t live in South Gloucestershire but I want to apply for a place at Filton Hill, what should I do?
You can name a South Gloucestershire school as one of your preferences, but you have to apply via your home authority. We would also strongly recommend that you name at least one school in your own educational area.
- I am moving house after the deadline for applications, what should I do?
You must put the address where the child is actually living as at the closing date of 15th January. If you move after that date please let the SG admissions team know, but they will use the 15th January address for the initial round of allocations in April, and the new address for the 2nd round in late May.
- What about twins?
Where one twin is offered a place, if necessary we will breach our PAN of 30 mainstream places so that the other can be offered a place too.
- My ex-partner and I share responsibility for our child, who should apply?
The LA can only accept and process 1 application per child. You need to decide together which schools to apply for. Neither the LA nor Olympus can intervene in parental disputes. If you cannot come to an agreement by the deadline, the application may be treated as late.
- My child has Special Educational Needs, how will their needs be met?
If your child already has, or is undergoing assessment for, an EHCP you don’t need to apply via the standard route. The 0-25 team in your home LA is responsible for consulting with schools to see if they can meet your child’s needs. When a school is decided on, it will be named in your child’s Plan. However, if you want to discuss any educational need, whether your child has an EHCP or not, please contact us for a conversation.
- Can my child have free transport to school?
As a general rule, it is your responsibility as a parent/carer to get your child to and from school, so please think carefully about the distance from home to school and what travel options are available. The majority of children are not eligible for free travel assistance to and from school. If you do want to make an application for help with transport you need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What are the deadlines?
Admissions and Appeals Timeline
September 2021 intake
Deadline to apply for a place
15th January 2021
Notification of allocation by Local Authority
16th April 2021
Deadline to respond to Local Authority
30th April 2021
Deadline to lodge letter of appeal with the school
21st May 2021
2nd round of allocations
Late May 2021
- What if I don’t get the school I want?
Firstly, please don’t panic. After the initial allocation in April, parents have 2 weeks to let the LA know what they want to do. At this point, some families’ circumstances have changed and they reject the place they have been offered, which frees up some places. People will also have moved in and out of the area. So there is a 2nd round of allocations at the end of May, which takes all of those changes into account, and some children who were not offered a place in April can be offered a place in May. Changes can continue to happen all the way through to the end of August.
In the meantime, you can go on the waiting list, you can ask the LA which schools do still have places available in case you want to put in a late preference for an under-subscribed school, and you can appeal to an independent panel. This independent panel will hear your appeal, hopefully in July, and if they feel your child really needs a place at Filton Hill they will direct the school to offer a place even though all the places are allocated.
It is important to be aware, though, of Government INFANT CLASS SIZE legislation, which means that classes in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 with one teacher cannot contain more than 30 pupils.
If we already have a full mainstream class of 30 children allocated, the independent appeal panel can only look at:
- Whether the admission arrangements were lawful
- Whether the admission arrangements were incorrectly applied and your child should have been offered a place
- Whether it was unreasonable to refuse your preference. The appeal panel would need to be satisfied that the decision was so completely absurd or outrageous that no reasonable person, with the same facts, would have made that decision.
Given the extremely limited grounds on which an appeal may be upheld, Infant Class Size Appeals are rarely successful. Parents/carers can find it frustrating when they realise how very limited the powers of the Appeal Panel are in these cases, and so I wanted to draw it this to your attention now, so you can make an informed choice about whether you wish to appeal or not.
Even if you refuse the place offered in April, it will be held for your child until/unless another school can be offered, as the LA has a responsibility to ensure that every child has a school place. No child will start September without a school place, even if it is not the school you preferred.
- How does the waiting list work?
Please don’t ask about the waiting list in April, as it will not yet exist. The LA does not start to form the list until after all parents have responded to their offers. From about mid-May, if you want to check your child’s place on the list, please contact me. The list remains very fluid all the way through to the end of term, as circumstances change and people move in and out of the area. Please be aware that your child can move down as well as up.
If you have still not been allocated a place at your preferred school by September, we continue to hold waiting lists. You can contact me to check your position as often as you like. At the end of term 2, I check who wants to remain on the list. No-one is removed from the list without checking with parents/carers, so it is important that you let me know of any changes in your contact details.
- How do appeals work?
The first stage is where we as a school explain to all the parents who are appealing, and to an independent panel of (usually) 3 people, why we could not offer places to everyone who applied. Assuming that the panel accepts that the reasons are valid, the process moves on to stage 2. Here, every family has their own, private, individual hearing where they have the opportunity to explain to the same panel why they feel their child needs a place. The panel hears all of the cases before making any decisions. Each child’s case is balanced against the school’s case, and not against the other children’s cases. When the panel makes a decision, it is binding on the school and on the family. Primary appeals generally take place in July.
- Does my child have to start in September or can they start later in the year?
Legally, children do not have to be in full time education until the term following their fifth birthday: this is known as compulsory school age (CSA).
If your child is below CSA you can request that they don’t start until later in the academic year or until the term in which they reach CSA, or that they attend part-time until they reach CSA, or a combination of the above. However, children are normally admitted to school in the September following their fourth birthday. Because of the friendships that are formed and the assessment that we do in the first few weeks of school, we would not recommend that you defer the start date unless there are some real concerns and then we would urge you to discuss them with us.
Child’s fifth birthday
Can defer until
If I defer which class will my child join
1 September – 31 December
1 January – 31 March
1 April – 31 August
The next September
Can I apply for my child to start a whole year late, if they are summer-born?
Some parents feel that their child is not yet ready to start school, particularly if they are very young in the year group. You have the right to request an application to Reception a year late, but as the law stands you don’t have the right to insist on it.
If you decide to apply for a delayed entry, please contact me and I will provide you with the relevant form. A panel of Olympus Trustees will then consider each request on its own merits. They make decisions on the basis of the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned, and they will always take into account:
- the parent’s views;
- the views of the head teacher at the school(s) applied to;
- information about the child’s academic, social and emotional development;
- any relevant, medical history and the views of a medical professional;
- whether they have previously been educated out of their normal age group; and
- whether they may have fallen into a lower age group were they not born prematurely.
I would strongly recommend, even if you are thinking of requesting to be allowed to make a delayed application, that you apply in the correct calendar year anyway, to make sure that a school place is allocated, just in case the request is refused.
If the Trustees do agree to your request, you can then let your school offer lapse, but you will then need to make an application on time next year. Your application will be processed with all the other on-time applications, applying the usual over-subscription criteria.
To avoid any doubt, if Olympus is willing to allow you to make an application to Reception a year late, this will not guarantee a place at the school, as a new application will be have to be made the following year, and it will go in the mix with all the applications from the other children applying that year.
It is up to every admissions authority whether to agree to allow a delayed application, so if you are applying to any non-Olympus schools, you will need to contact them too to make the same request.
SOME IMPORTANT DOS AND DON’TS:
- Put down three preferences. You can change your mind up to the closing date but you must remember to re-submit your application if you change your mind after that date. If the LA cannot offer any of your preferences, they will allocate your child to the nearest available school with places.
- Use the address where your child lives most of the time.
- Consider naming one of your local schools. It is a very risky strategy to put schools whose APR does not cover your home address.
- Miss the deadline. If you do, your child will not be allocated a place until late May and most popular schools will be full by then.
- Name a school if you don’t want a place there.
- Assume that there is automatic priority for siblings. It depends on whether you live in the APR and which year group the sibling will be in when your next child starts.
- Assume that you will be offered a place at your closest school.
Here is the link to the application page on the South Gloucestershire website:
And here is the link to our published admission arrangements:
Finally, good luck with your application!
The Olympus Academy Trust
Shared Area of Responsibility: 1. Charborough Road, 2. Shield Road, 3. Filton Hill