Moving to Hampshire for the schools? There are a few key dates you need to be aware of to help the school admissions process go smoothly.
If your child is due to be starting Year R or Year 7 in September:
Primary school applications need to be in by mid-January for the following September’s enrolment. Secondary school applications must be in before the end of October the year before in order to be considered in the main round of admissions.
Most of the Hampshire schools have ‘in catchment’ high up on their admissions criteria - but you need to be able to provide proof of address at the time of making your application in order for this to be considered. Therefore, if you’re moving to the area for the schools (which so many families do), the ideal scenario is to be in your new home by the January or October before you wish to start year R or 7, to have the best chance of securing your preferred place. It’s important to plan ahead!
However, this timeframe is not always practical and often we find families moving to the area who need to make in-year applications, i.e. their children are in a school year other than R or 7, or they are not starting in September. In these situations, applications can only be made four weeks before you actually plan to start at the school (with the exception of a September enrolment, where applications can be made in mid-June, before the admissions team break up for the summer holidays).
In-year applications can be a particular worry for parents, as it all depends on what places are available at the time, who else is on the waiting list and how much of the admission criteria you can tick off to determine whether your child is allocated a place or not. This is where local knowledge comes in handy, as well as time spent making contact with all the schools to check out their availability. Although Hampshire County Council allocate the places, it’s worth getting the inside knowledge from the schools themselves, to understand the state of the waiting list and the likelihood of getting a place. Even then, as in-year applications can only be made at the last minute, it can be a gamble when you move, as to whether you are actually going to get a place at your preferred school or not.
However, if you’ve done your research and chosen the right location for your new home, you can be in with a good chance - and it is always possible to go on a waiting list whilst accepting a place at a different school. Fortunately for Winchester residents, virtually every school in the city has been awarded either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted - so even if you don’t get your first choice, there are no ‘bad options’ here.
As part of the ScoutBee service, we work on behalf of our clients to research the availability of school places and the admissions criteria of each potential school to give as much information as we can to make their application successful. As parents ourselves, we understand the stresses involved - and aim to minimise them as much as we can for our clients!