It’s that time of the year again – primary school offer day is just around the corner! ARGH! On April 17th, thousands of parents – and I include myself in that cohort – across the UK will find out which primary school their kids have been offered a place at for the upcoming school year.
If it feels like a big deal, of course it is! While many kids go to nursery for some, it will be the first step into independence and as a mum, I know you’ll want to feel reassured that you are handing your little beloved into the safest of hands.
So, what can you expect on offer day?
So the wait is finally over on the 17th. Your local authority will notify you via email or post (depending on your preference) about which school your child has been offered a place at. You may also be able to check your local authority portal and find the update quicker that way – there’s no specific time for the decision to be published and every LA differs. Naturally, this can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you have a particular school in mind that you really want your child to attend.
It’s completely normal to feel stressed and anxious in advance of the big day, but there are things you can do to manage these feelings. Even if you aren’t offered your first choice, try to stay positive and keep an open mind about the school your child has been offered a place at – do some more research, ask questions of other parents on local Facebook groups, and check out the school prospectus. Ofsted reports are a guide but they don’t give information about the feeling of a school and not every ‘Outstanding’ school will work for every child. Remember that all schools have their strengths and weaknesses, and your child can still receive a great education and early school experience.
Here’s a quick guide to appealing the process:
- Contact your local authority to find out how to appeal
- Submit your appeal in writing, stating your reasons for wanting your child to attend your preferred school
- Attend the appeal hearing and present your case to the independent panel
- Wait for the outcome – you will receive a decision in writing
Didn’t get the school you hoped for?
If you don’t get the place you hoped for, don’t panic! You have the right to appeal the decision and there is a chance that you could still get your child into your preferred school. The appeal process involves presenting your case to an independent panel who will review your application and the reasons why you want your child to attend the school. The likelihood of being accepted into your preferred school after appealing varies depending on various circumstances, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you feel strongly about it. If you are really concerned, you can call the Admissions Officer at the school, or Local Authority and ask them for guidance.
In the meantime, it’s important to talk to your child about their new school and help them prepare for the transition. Make sure they understand what’s happening and answer any questions they may have – it’s a big time for them too. There are some fantastic books about starting school on Amazon, and don’t forget to check out the Hug Button, which originated on The Motherload® for help with those starting school nerves! Encourage them to be excited about the new opportunities and friendships they will make – it’s an exciting time as they take their first steps into education.
Here are some top tips for managing your nerves:
- Take a deep breath and stay calm
- Talk to other parents who have been through the process before
- Remember that you’re not alone – thousands of parents are going through the same thing
- Treat yourself to something nice, like a cup of tea or a piece of cake
- Focus on the positives and try to keep an open mind
Remember, the most important thing is that your child is happy at their new school and enjoys learning. Stay positive, be supportive, and don’t forget to celebrate this milestone moment with your little one – it’s a big one for both of you!