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Manchester High School for Girls

The Race for a Primary School Place

Mrs Helen Mortimer, Head of the Preparatory Department, gives parents advice ahead of National Primary School Offer Day on Thursday 16th April.

On 16th April, parents across the country discover whether their child has a place at their first choice of state primary school. This is an unsettling and nerve-wracking time for parents, but the good news is that, last year, 91% of children nationwide gained a place at their first choice school. That said, the system is fragmented and for some families securing a school place can feel like a battle.

What do you do if you end up missing out on the school you wanted?

  1. Keep calm and positive. Don’t show your feelings to your child – starting school should remain an exciting and special time for them.
  2. Accept the place you’ve been offered as a safety net while you explore other options. Research and visit your allocated school – you may be surprised!
  3. Add your child’s name to the waiting list at your preferred school as places can become available.
  4. Consider appealing - your local authority’s website should have information on how to do this. One in four appeals are accepted but remember, the length of your school run, siblings at other schools, super-size classes and poor OFSTED reports are not grounds for a successful appeal.
  5. If your child has a summer birthday you could defer school entry for a year. A more extreme route, certainly, but some families find it buys them time to move to a new catchment area. Do be aware, though, research into the impact that delaying a summer-born child’s entry to primary school has on their attainment is conflicting and head teachers’ unions are campaigning for clearer guidance on this matter.
  6. Keep an open mind about other types of schools and consider the independent school sector. Arrange to visit some of the independent schools in your area and talk to parents whose children go there.

In the Preparatory Department at Manchester High School for Girls we understand just how important it is to find a school that truly suits your child. Our doors are always open to families considering their options. Alongside our Open Events we also offer personalised tours and taster days which enable families to see what life is really like in our Prep Department that has recently been judged as ‘excellent’ in an ISI inspection.