Choosing the right school for your child
The Good Schools Guide says: “It’s a nerve-wracking time, deciding where you would like your child to take his or her first steps into school. A good state primary school will not only launch your child into a happy and fulfilling education journey, but also engage you in the local community. The friends you and your child make there are likely to be long-standing ones.”
The Good Schools Guide advises: “Taking that first step into primary education is crucial for you and your child, but how should you go about making that all important decision as to which [first] school is the one?
Paying a visit to Christ Church
There are many ways to get to know our school. Click here to find out more.
Respecting the distinctive Christian character and ethos of Christ Church
All parents/carers applying for places for their children at Christ Church C of E First School are expected to respect the distinctive Christian character and ethos of the school.
The admissions process
When your child is due to start school, you will be contacted by Somerset County Council (CC) (the LA) to make your choice of school. You will be notified of the school at which your child has been allocated a place. Somerset CC take due regard of the necessary arrangements required for the admission of pupils with disabilities.
Christ Church C of E First School currently has a planned Admission Number of 48. If the number of children wanting places at the school is lower than this limit, places are offered to all children. However, if there are more applications than places available, the oversubscription criteria are used to decide which children will be offered places. (See below for details.)
These admission arrangements apply to all applications for admissions to Christ Church C of E First School for Reception entry in September and any in-year applications thereafter.
Somerset CC is the admissions authority for Christ Church C of E First School (and all other Voluntary Controlled (VC) and County schools located within Somerset). The admission arrangements set out in this policy should be read in conjunction with the 2019 Co-ordinated Primary Admission Scheme.
The Published Admission Number (PAN)
Christ Church C of E First School Governing Body has set an Admission Number of 48 for the year of entry.
Applications to start school for the first time
These should be submitted to the home LA. If this is Somerset, applications can be made online at www.somerset.gov.uk/admissions
It is the parent’s responsibility to keep online contact details up to date. Paper applications are available to download from the Somerset CC website at www.somerset.gov.uk/admissions, or upon request by telephoning Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224. Any supporting information must be received by the exemption period deadline using the appropriate Supplementary Information Form (SIF).
Visit and “like” the Somerset School Admissions Facebook page to receive updates and deadline reminders: https://www.facebook.com/Somersetschooladmissions/
Applications and SIFs must be received by 23.59 hours on 15 January prior to the September start of the academic year applied for (e.g. 15.1.20 for a 1.9.20 start, 15.1.21 for a 1.9.21 start), otherwise the application will be recorded as late and cannot be considered until all on-time applications have been dealt with.
Decisions in connection with on-time applications will be sent out by email (for online applicants) or second class post sent out on 16 April (or next working day).
Admissions during the academic year
These must be submitted directly to the school using the LA in-year application form (hard copy only).
Applications will be processed in strict date order with a 4pm daily working day deadline for receipt of applications. A decision will be notified in writing by second class post to the applicant within ten school days. Where a place cannot be provided, the right of appeal will apply.
Proof of address may be required to be submitted with the application. This will be either the formal “exchange of contracts” letter from the solicitor for a house purchase, a recent utility bill or the signing of a minimum of a six month tenancy agreement. The LA reserve the right to seek further documentary evidence to support a claim of residence.
Where there are more applications than places available within a particular year group, applications will be considered against the published oversubscription criteria and allocated up to the Admission Number/Limit. (For Christ Church this is currently 48.)
Places will not be allocated more than six school weeks or half a term in advance of being required.
Places will be allocated strictly in accordance with the equal preference with ranking allocation method.
Christ Church C of E First School (as a VC school with a religious foundation) will be required to admit any child with a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) if the school is named, then:
Somerset CC in-year Fair Access Protocols
The agreed Fair Access Protocols (FAPs) exist in order to balance the needs of the child and those of the school. Key points:
For more information, refer to:
Important notes re oversubscription criteria
(i) A looked-after child is a child who is (a) in the care of an LA, or (b) being provided with accommodation by an LA in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989).
(ii) Criterion 2 enables schools to plan with SEN Officers for the school entry of children with physical, medical or sensory impairments. This includes children that are in receipt of Early Years School Action Plus funding at level 3 and/or where significant capital works (e.g. accessible toilets, changing space, access to classrooms) are required and/or children that are identified as requiring a place at a Resource Base attached to a mainstream school.
(iii) “Rural catchment” is defined as living in the catchment area of a school and where there is no alternative school within the statutory walking distance of the home address.
(iv) “Practising” is defined as at least once a month for at least six months prior to the application closing date attendance at church by at least one parent and/or child. This must be confirmed by a member of the clergy on a SIF.
(v) In the event of oversubscription within any of the oversubscription criteria listed above, preference will be given to applicants who live closest to the school, as measured in a straight line by a Geographical Information System (GIS) method from the address point of the school site to the address point for the pupil's home. Where two distances are equal and it is therefore not possible to differentiate between them, priority will be determined by drawing of lots supervised by someone independent of the school.
(vi) Criterion 9 – the Headteacher or Governing Body of the relevant school will be asked to verify point (b).
(vii) Criteria 4, 8 and 9 – children considered under sub-criterion (a) will have a priority over children considered under sub-criterion (b).
For the purpose of measuring home to school distance, all calculations will be measured using a straight-line measurement from the geocoded point of the home to the geocoded point of the school using the LA’s GIS mapping system.
Equal preference with ranking
The equal preference with ranking allocation system requires the admissions authority to consider all preferences received for a particular school (first, second, third, fourth and fifth) equally and, where the school is oversubscribed, apply the oversubscription criteria. Where more than one preference can be met, the LA will offer the highest ranking preference.
The home address is very important, as school places are allocated on the basis of the home address of each child. A child’s home address is considered to be where the child spends the majority of their time with parents or carers.
Documentary evidence of home ownership or suitable rental agreement may be required, together with proof of permanent residence at the property concerned. Places cannot be allocated on the basis of an intended future address, unless the house move can be confirmed through the formal “exchange of contracts” or the signing of a minimum of a six month formal tenancy agreement from a letting agency. Please note private letting agreements may not be accepted as proof of residence. An address change due to a move to live with family or friends will not be considered until the move has taken place and suitable proof of residency has been obtained. Proof that a move from the previous address has taken place may also be required, e.g. proof of exchange of contracts, a tenancy agreement showing the end date of the tenancy or a notice to quit from the landlord or a repossession notice. The LA reserve the right to seek further documentary evidence to support any claim of residence, which could include contacting the estate agent, solicitor, landlord or relevant professional. A representative of the LA may carry out a home visit(s) without prior notice to verify a pupil’s home address.
An address used for childcare arrangements cannot be used as a home address for the purpose of applying for a school place. Fraudulent claims relating to the home address of a particular child may lead to the withdrawal of any offer of a school place.
Proof of address will not be required for Traveller families where the address is confirmed by the Traveller Education Service. A foster carer will not be required to supply proof of address for a child placed with them by an LA.
The LA and/or admissions authority must be notified of any change of address during the admissions procedure.
These are natural parents, whether they are married or not, or any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person. Also, any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person (having care of a child or young person means that a person with whom the child lives and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child is considered to be a parent in education law).
A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth.
A father usually has parental responsibility if he’s:
For information on how to gain parental responsibility please click here.
The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 requires LAs to establish Relevant Area(s) for admission policy consultations. The Relevant Area is the area in which admissions authorities must consult with schools regarding their proposed admission arrangements before finalising them.
The Education Act 2002 requires the LA to consult on and review its Relevant Area every two years.
The relevant area for Somerset admissions authority is the geographical area for Somerset. The relevant area for VA, Foundation, Academies and Free Schools is the district in which the school is located (i.e. Mendip, South Somerset, Taunton Deane, West Somerset or Sedgemoor).
For the purpose of admissions, a sibling is defined as children living at the same permanent home address.
Supplementary Information Form
In order for applications to be considered against criterion 8, applicants will need to use the appropriate SIF to demonstrate their ability to meet the particular criterion. The SIF will need to be completed and signed by a member of the clergy and submitted along with the school place application. (See Appendices A, B and C of the Christ Church Admissions Statement.)
Applicants whose school place application is turned down have the legal right to appeal to an independent appeal panel against the decision to refuse admission. Details concerning how to appeal are explained in the decision letter sent out by email or post on the published dates. Information on the timetable for the appeals process is available on the LA website by 28 February each year.
The LA will maintain a waiting list for the entry year group for every oversubscribed Community and Voluntary Controlled school. This will be maintained until the end of the first term in the new academic year. The waiting list will hold the names of every child formally refused admission, in ranked order according to the oversubscription criteria. Waiting lists will be reordered in accordance with the oversubscription criteria whenever a child joins or leaves the waiting list. If a place becomes available within the Published Admission Number, this will be offered to the highest ranked child at that time.
Children who are the subject of a direction by an LA to admit or who are allocated to the school in accordance with the In-Year Fair Access Protocols, will take precedence over those children on a waiting list. Please note: the LA has delegated responsibility for waiting lists back to those schools who wish to keep a waiting list for further year groups or for longer periods of time. Please check the individual school’s website for further details.
Withdrawal of places
The LA will consider withdrawing the offer of a place at a Community or Voluntary Controlled school if:
Statement of Special Educational Needs/Education, Health and Care Plan
Children with a Statement of SEN or EHCP naming a Community or Voluntary Controlled school will be admitted to that school within the Published Admission Number before any other applications are considered.
Admission of children below compulsory school age
Parents are entitled to a part-time or full-time place at school for their child in the September following their fourth birthday. Where the parents wish, children may attend part-time until later in the school year but not beyond the point at which they reach compulsory school age. A child becomes of compulsory school age when they reach the age of five and, where a parent has elected to register their child at school, they must start school on a full-time basis in the term following their fifth birthday.
Parents offered a place for their child have a right to defer entry, or to take a place up
part-time, until the start of the term beginning immediately after their child has reached compulsory school age. However, places cannot be deferred until the next academic year.
Summer born children
Parents of summer born children may request that they are admitted into Reception rather than Year 1 when they become of compulsory school age. The parent is required to make an on-time application for the child’s normal age group but can submit a request for admission out of the normal age group at the same time. The LA will then ensure that the parent receives a response to the request before the primary national offer date.
If their request is agreed, their application for the normal age group may be withdrawn before a place is offered. If their request is refused, the parent must decide whether to accept the offer of a place for the normal age group, or to refuse it and make an in-year application for admission to Year 1 for the September following the child’s fifth birthday.
Where a parent’s request is agreed, they must make a new application as part of the main admissions round the following year.
One admissions authority cannot be required to honour a decision made by another admissions authority on admission out of the normal age group. Parents, therefore, should consider whether to request admission out of the normal year group at all their preference schools, rather than just their first preference school.
For advice from the DfE on the admission of summer born children, click here.
Retained or accelerated entry
The LA will consider applications for retained or accelerated entry (a year group other than the child’s chronological age) to a Community or Voluntary Controlled school on a case by case basis. The reasons for the request should be fully explained on an application form, to be submitted at the same time as the school place application. The LA will make decisions on the basis of the circumstances of each case and in the best interests of the child concerned. The LA will set out clearly the reasons for their decision.
The process for requesting such an admission is as follows:
To help children settle smoothly into school, some schools operate different start dates for children entering Reception classes. This is known as “Phased or Staggered Entry”.
Issues relating to shared residency arrangements
Where shared residence arrangements are in place and parents/carers of the child submit two separate applications for different schools, the LA requires parents to resolve matters between themselves, taking legal advice if necessary, and inform the LA which application should be processed. The LA will not become involved in private disputes. If more than one offer of a school place is made, the LA would expect one of the places to be withdrawn by the parent. If this is not the case, when the child starts school, the alternative school place will be withdrawn by the LA.
Each parent may be required to write to the LA and inform them of the number of days each week the child spends with them. Where the child spends equal time with both parents, the LA may ask for additional information including evidence of which parent/carer is in receipt of child benefit and/or the name of the GP surgery at which the child is registered.
Multiple birth applications (e.g. twins)
Where the last place within the Published Admission Number is allocated to a multiple birth application, a place(s) will be allocated to any siblings above the Published Admission Number at the point of allocation. This will ensure that multiple birth siblings can be allocated places at the same school (sibling definition still applies).
This includes situations whereby admitting multiple birth siblings would breach the infant class size legislation of a statutory limit of 30 infants (Key Stage 1 children) per qualified teacher.
Children from outside the UK
The LA will process applications for children who are citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) if proof of the Somerset address and the expected date of arrival in the UK are provided by 15 January for primary phase applications and 31 October for secondary phase applications. The application can then be considered on this address. If proof of the Somerset address is not available by the dates above, the application will be considered on the current address. For a list of the countries in the EEA, click here.
The LA will also process applications for UK citizens living in any other country if proof of the Somerset address and the expected date of arrival back in the UK are provided by 15 January for primary phase applications and 31 October for secondary phase applications. The application can then be considered on this address. If proof of the Somerset address is not available by the dates above, the application will be considered on the current address. The only exceptions are children of UK service personnel and other Crown servants (including diplomats) returning to the area.
The LA will not allocate a place to any non-EEA citizen moving into Somerset from outside the UK prior to their arrival in the country. The LA will require copies of the passports, appropriately endorsed visas and proof of residency – see home address definition (8, above).
Children of UK service personnel
The admissions authority endeavours to ensure that their admission arrangements support the Government’s commitment to removing disadvantage for service children. In-year applications are usually considered for admission up to a maximum of half a term in advance of the place being taken up. An exception is made for children of UK service personnel with a confirmed posting to the area and Crown servants returning from overseas to live in the area, where a place can be made available up to a year in advance of being required providing the appropriate documentation is provided as proof of posting (an official government letter (e.g. MOD, FCO or GCHQ) declaring a relocation date and intended posting).
Usually, a place may be allocated prior to actual residency only on receipt of exchange of contracts or a formal signed rental agreement. An exception is made for children of UK service personnel with a confirmed posting to the area and Crown servants returning from overseas to live in the area. This means that, providing the application is accompanied by an official government letter (e.g. MOD, FCO or GCHQ) declaring a relocation date and intended posting, the admissions authority will process the application. If proof of a home address is not available at this stage, the admissions authority will accept a unit postal address or quartering area address. If the parent/carer is moving to the area as a result of leaving the armed forces, then no special consideration will be given to the application under the grounds of the application being made by a service family.
For further information, please refer to the DfE explanatory note on Admission of Children of Crown Servants, click here.
Children Looked-After (CLA)
The LA will endeavour to secure a place for a CLA at the catchment or nearest school to the address at which they are placed. An LA has the power to direct the admissions authority for any maintained school (e.g. Voluntary Controlled, Community, Foundation and Voluntary Aided schools) in England to admit a child who is looked after by the LA, even when the school is full. The LA must not choose a school from which the child is permanently excluded but may choose a school whose infant classes are already at the maximum size. Before deciding to give a direction, the LA must consult the admissions authority of the school it proposes to direct. In the case of an academy an LA can request that the Secretary of State consider directing the admission of a CLA.