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Starting school for the first time

Apply for a reception place at a school in Christchurch for September 2019

Go to the BCP Council webpage to apply for a reception place at a school in Christchurch.

Apply for a reception place at a Dorset school 

The closing date for on-time applications for children starting school for the first time in September 2019 was the 15 January 2019. We sent outcomes for any application submitted by this date from 16 April 2019. 

Any application made after the 15 January but before the 15 April was classed as late. Outcomes for late applications were available from 17 May.

You can still apply for a reception place at a school to start in September 2019.

Applications sent during July or August

You may not get an outcome until after the summer holidays if you sent your school place application in July or August.

 Before you apply:

  • if you live in Dorset (not Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole), and pay your Council Tax to Dorset Council, apply to us for a Dorset school reception place. You can check your local council area
  • if you live in Dorset and pay your Council Tax to Dorset Council and you want to apply for a school place in another local authority area, you still need to apply to us at Dorset Council
  • read our parents' guide for information about the different types of schools and how to apply
  • find schools in your catchment area - you'll need your postcode
  • read the admissions policies for schools you're interested in; you can find these on a school's website
  • check Dorset's Local Offer for information on support for children with special educational needs and disabilities

You may have to complete an additional form if you want to apply to religious schools. This is an extra form which should be sent to the schools themselves, unless stated differently, and is not instead of an application form.

For other year groups you should make an in year application.

Apply for a school place

List up to 3 schools in order of preference. One of these schools should be your catchment school, if there is one. You'll receive a confirmation email once you've submitted your application.

Make sure you've sent any required medical evidence to our school’s admissions team. We can only consider your application based on the evidence you've submitted by the relevant closing date.

If you can't apply online

If you can't apply online, fill in and return a paper application form, this should be posted by the closing date, make sure you include proof of posting:

Summer born children

Children usually start school in the September after they turn 4, but if your child was born between 1 April and 31 August, also known as summer-born children, you can ask to delay entry to reception for a year.

This means your child starts school the September after they turn 5. At this point they have to attend school full time, when some 4 year olds could be attending part time.

If you want to apply for a school place for the following year, you must have a discussion with all the schools you put on your school admissions form as your preferred schools. You still have to apply for a school place for the September your child turns 4, even if you want to delay entry. 

If you've reached an agreement with the head teacher, complete the application for delayed entry to a reception class form for each school you're considering as a preference. You have to do this for each school you've put as a preference on your school admission form.

Read our guidance on the placement of a pupil outside their year group policy

If the school accepts your request, they will withdraw your application to start school in the September after your child's fourth birthday. You will need to make a new application for them to start in the September after their fifth birthday.

Changing your mind after 15 January

If you delay entry to reception and then decide after 15 January (closing date for the next academic year applications) that you want to be considered under summer-born protocol for the next academic year, we will withdraw the place you have. You'll then have to make a new application which we will consider in the late round. There's no guarantee that you'll be offered a place at the same school.

Changing your mind after 16 April

If you decide to delay your child's entry under the summer-born protocol after 16 April, National Offer Day for primary school, we will withdraw any place offered. You'll then have to make an application for the following year. There's no guarantee that the next offer of a place will be the same as your original offer.

How we tell you about an offer of a school place

We send out offers for all on-time applications for children starting school for the first time by email if you have applied online or by first class post on 16 April.

We will:

  • tell you about your transport entitlement by letter or email only, not over the phone 
  • get the information to you by email if you applied online
  • only discuss the information with the people listed on the application
  • let you know your outcome, unless your application is late 
  • send late application offers by email or first class post on 17 May

We can't discuss available places at school as the number changes frequently.

What to do when you have a school place offer

We automatically assume acceptance, but we do ask parents and carers to respond to the school place offer by the 30 April for on time applications and 31 May for late applications. We only ask you to respond if you wish to either:

  • decline the place offered, you must give us the reason why
  • ask for your child to go on a waiting list

You can only request for your child to be added to a particular school's waiting list if you've already applied for this school and been refused a place at it.

Find out more about school waiting lists.

Make changes to your submitted application

If you want to make changes to your submitted application, you need to complete a change of preference form:

We process applications based on the information you give in your application. This means if you change your address after 15 January, we'll process your application using the address you were living at on the closing date.

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