School places – When to apply?

IT is a busy time for parents with the start of the new term, but Essex County Council is encouraging parents to start thinking about the application process for school places for September 2012.

Application dates have now been set and parents and carers must apply between September 3 and October 31, 2011 for year seven places in secondary schools.

Applications can be made via the website at The site enables parents to search for school information, read Ofsted reports, check admissions criteria and submit applications.

County councillor Stephen Castle, cabinet member for education, said: “Applying for the right schools for your child is an important decision and I would urge parents to use the tools available on the website to ensure they make an informed application.

“Although we are able to provide most families with their preferred school, schools can become oversubscribed so it is very important for parents to select more than one preference.”

Early application is encouraged to avoid disappointment and it is advised to indicate more than one preference and to include the priority admission area (or catchment) schools as a preference.

Last year, more than 90 per cent of Essex parents were offered their first or second preference of primary or secondary school.