Secondary School

"Transferring to Secondary School is an important and exciting stage in a pupil’s school career"

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Secondary School

Transferring to secondary school is an important and exciting stage in a child’s school career. For parents it is often a difficult and worrying time.

Important decisions have to be made and parents are often uncertain about the necessary procedures and the choices available. An outline of the most relevant information is a useful guide, but to make sure you are aware of specific information - such as closing dates for applications – it is essential that you refer to the application procedures for your chosen schools.

There are 33 local education authorities (LEAS) in London. LEAS are responsible for running central services, such as school transport and facilities for children with special needs, as well as administering admissions for those schools that come directly under their control. Guidelines are produced annually by each LEA which give the admissions policy and details of each school for that year.

You do not have to choose a school in the borough in which you live. The right to apply to any school you choose is not the same as a right to a place.

Legally only your own borough has a duty to find a school place for your child. Otherwise it is up to you to find a school and persuade the relevant admissions authority that your child meets the admission criteria. These criteria must, the law states, be clear, objective, and published openly.

Since 2005, a London – wide admissions system has been implemented. To apply to most state secondary schools you need complete only the ‘Secondary Common Application Form’ (SCAF), even if you are applying for schools across borough boundaries or in nearby authorities (Dartford, for example). Some state schools, typically selective and voluntary – aided schools, also require the ‘Supplementary Information Form’ (SIF) to be submitted. SIF forms are available from the school or from the LEA within which the school is located. The SIF must be returned to the school or its LEA as appropriate.

A school can ask parents who wish to name it, or have named it, on their SCAF, to provide additional information on a SIF only where the additional information is required for the governing body to apply its oversubscription criteria to the application. Where a SIF is required it must be requested from the school or the LEA and returned to the school. All schools that use SIFs must include the proposed form in their consultation document and in their published administration arrangements.

The golden rule for completing the SCAF is that you should always put the schools in your real order of preference.

However, there are certain other crucial points to remember when completing the SCAF:

  1. All your preferences must be firmly rooted in reality. If you are desperate for your child to attend a grammar school 20 miles away, but the school has never allocated a place to a child living further than 6 miles away, there is no point in listing it on your SCAF.
  2. If you live 8 or 9 miles away from that same school, you can take a risk.
  3. If your child is taking the 11 plus, you must list all your preferred grammar schools above any other type of school. If your child fails to qualify, those schools will simply be “erased” and the first non-grammar school you have listed will become your new “first preference”.
  4. The further down your SCAF preferences you need to go, the more realistic you need to be about the chances of getting a place. Your last preference should always be a school that will be acceptable to you and your child and one at which your child is certain to get a place – the ultimate fallback if all else fails.
  5. If you do not obtain a place at any of your listed preferences, your home local authority will allocate you a place at one of their schools that is not yet full. The rules for doing this vary between local authorities, but should be published on their admissions website.

Refer to the application procedures for your chosen schools to make sure you comply. The closing date for SCAF and SIF applications is usually during the October of the year before planned entry to secondary school – ie October 2016 for September 2017.

Different application processes apply depending on your child's circumstances.

Parents / carers can apply to up to six state schools on the SCAF. If there are vacancies in one of your preferred state schools, you will usually be offered a place at one of them. This will be from the highest placed state school on your list, which has vacancies. Parents must apply directly to Independent Schools. These are not covered by the SCAF. Details of each school’s application procedure can be obtained from the school office, or its website.

Finding the right school for your child is not an easy task. It helps to begin by thinking about your child’s talents and interests, his or her social and emotional confidence, learning style and teaching needs. Visit as many schools as possible and make copious notes so that you can compare them later.

All schools are inspected regularly by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). Ofsted’s aim is to help improve the quality and standards of education and childcare through independent inspection. You can check the latest report on ant school by visiting Ofsted’s website, www.ofsted.gov.uk.

The main boroughs we deal with are Bexley, Bromley, other London boroughs and Kent.

Recently Bexley Borough began using CEM style assessment papers. Fortunately we at Young Education Services had always taught a variety of assessment styles to enable students to deal with any situation that arose.

CEM’s aim is to develop assessments that provide as standardised an environment as possible. The content of their tests assesses performance in verbal, numerical and non-verbal reasoning. Their interpretation of verbal reasoning is broad and includes comprehension and reading skills.

They strive to make the selection process fair for all candidates and the assessments are designed to enable all children to demonstrate their natural ability and achievement.

At Young Education Services your child receives regular tuition. We cover English, Maths, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning during our sessions. We also incorporate homework in our weekly planning. It is essential that parents/guardians support the children at home and use our homework comment sheet to enable us to see how children are doing in the home environment. We also recommend that all students are fluent in their knowledge of the times tables. In addition we advise that parents support their children in their knowledge of complex vocabulary.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@youngeducationservices.co.uk or by phone on 0208 858 9180 if you require any further help or information.