Virtual Schoolbag (VSB)

01 Oct 2018
Business managers, bursars and secretaries, governors, headteachers, teachers and teaching assistants of all primary, special, all-through schools
Priority / Mandatory
Action, Information
Children starting Primary School in September 2019

Arrangements for children starting school for the first time in September 2019 are set out below:- 

Arrangements for the primary admissions process for September 2019 are set out below and it would be helpful if the person at your school responsible for the administration of the process is made aware of the content of this circular. It would also be helpful if you could actively encourage parents to apply online rather than making a paper application. I would remind you that we no longer send booklets and application forms to parents. As advised last year we no longer print a paper booklet.

  1. Timetable

The primary transfer process operates under a co-ordinated scheme and I attach for your information a copy of the timetable [LINK]. You will recall the scheme was agreed following consultation with schools and a full copy is available on our website. The timetable has a column for 'Action required by schools' so you will be able to follow the actions necessary throughout the school year. 

  1. Children in the transfer group

The children in the age group will be identified using our early years data. We are able to identify the vast majority of parents through this data or through our publicity arrangements. However, if any parents contact you direct please advise them to apply online through our website before the closing date. We will send reminder letters and leaflets to those parents who fail to apply some time in December/January in an endeavour to capture as many children as possible. 

  1. The admission process   

The booklet "Apply for a school 2019-2020" are now available for parents to view or download from our website at where parents can also apply online. Parents who are unable to apply online and require an application form should ring this office on 0300 330 9472.

Under the co-ordinated arrangements, parents living outside East Sussex must make an application for a primary school place through their 'home authority', even if they require a place at an East Sussex school. Parents must therefore apply online through their local authority or obtain a copy of their home authorities' application form.

The closing date for primary school applications is 15 January 2019. Parents have been asked to return paper applications direct to us but if you do receive any they should be forwarded to the Admissions team as soon as they are received. Late applications will be accepted but we might not be able to consider these at the initial allocation stage. Furthermore, they might not secure a place at one of their preferred schools as by then all available places may have been allocated. If you are aware of any of your families [if you have nursery or siblings in the school] who have failed to apply please do contact them prior to the closing date to encourage an application be made.    

Parents' right to request a deferred transfer - Parents of summer born children who are due to start in reception can request that their child starts on a part-time basis or joins Reception later during the school year.

However, parents can also request that their child starts in Reception in the September following their fifth birthday (i.e. when they would normally be starting Year 1). Parents making such a request should do so during the normal admission round. We are encouraging parents to make contact with the schools they are interested in and we would like the Headteachers to meet with the parents to discuss their request for deferred entry. We will also be providing a proforma for parents and Headteachers to complete, this will enable us to obtain as much information as possible prior to determining the parent's request. Please feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss any particular case or issues surrounding this area. You may also wish to visit our website to gain further information about deferred summer born children. 

If parents need help in completing their application they can contact the school admissions team for help and advice.

  1. School Access Module [SAM]

SAM gives you direct access to the admissions database where primary schools can view applications and, for those schools responsible for their own admissions, process their applications by assigning criteria and ranking at the appropriate time.

It is of course possible that some parents may approach you to ask whether it is likely that their child will be allocated a place at the school of their first preference. In these circumstances, headteachers are advised to ensure that nothing is said to parents that could be construed as a guarantee that a place will be offered at a particular school. Please also encourage parents to enter three different preferences to maximise their chances of obtaining a school of preference.

  1. Offer of places

Emails will be released to parents on the National Allocation Day which this year is 16 April 2019. In previous years any allocation letters will be sent to the school for despatch but as this will fall in the Easter holidays we will post these.

Schools will be able to view their allocations through SAM and be able to record acceptance of places via SAM before importing this data into the SIMs system at the appropriate time.

David Taylor
Guy Thorndyke
Senior Admissions and Transport Officer

Phone: 0300 3309472