7.6% of Primary School Applications Were Submitted Late Last Year
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Primary School Application Deadline is Approaching
It’s that time of year again! Parents whose children are due to enter reception class in the coming September will be all too aware that the deadline for school applications is 15th January 2019 in England (with various dates throughout January depending upon council in Wales).
Submit late, and you risk your application only being considered once those submitted on time are allocated. This could leave you less likely to get your preferred choice.
But how many parents DO submit late?
Late Primary School Applications Statistics
We submitted a Freedom of Information request to over 200 councils at the beginning of December 2018 to find out:
- How many primary school applications they received in total last year (for children due to enter reception class in September 2018)
- How many were submitted late (after the official deadline had passed)
They didn’t all get back to us. We’re yet to hear from some, one council refused our request and several others told us they do not hold the information about the number submitted late.
But we did successfully hear back from 107 councils at the time of writing (outlined in more detail below).
From the 103 councils who completed our request for information, last year:
- They received a combined total of 417,248 applications
- 31,266 of those were received late
That means nationally (based on our sample of 107 councils) 7.6% of applications for primary school are received late.
The Best and Worst Areas for Late Applications
But it’s not consistent across the country. Some councils have hardly any or no late applications, while others have over a quarter of parents submitting late.
The worst offenders from the 107 councils who responded to our request:
- Merthyr Tydfil County Borough – 28% of applications received late last year
- Gwynedd County Council – 23% of applications received late last year
- Denbighshire County Council – 22% of all applications received late last year
- Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council – 21.04% of all applications received late last year
- Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council – 16% of all applications received late last year
At the other end of the scale:
- London City Council: 0% of its applications were received late last year (though the council only processed 34 in total)
- Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council: 0.2% of its applications were received late last year
- Middlesbrough Borough Council: 0.3% of its applications were received late last year
- Wokingham Borough Council: 0.4% of its applications were received late last year
- London Borough of Islington: 0.4% of its applications were received late last year
How your council performed
Want to know how your council area performed? All the data we received before publication on 9th January is summarised below and you can download a raw data spreadsheet with information about responses statuses of all councils from here.
If your council was one of the 107 who responded, you’ll find their late primary school application statistics in the table below:
Why are there so many late applications in some councils?
It’s impossible to say why so many parents in some council areas submit their applications late. Though one theory we’d suggest is s lack of advice in terms of how to go about it.
Stacey MacNaught’s son is due to start school in Oldham in September 2019. Last year, her council saw 16% of its applications received late.
We asked why she feels this might be the case and she comments:
“We are obviously acutely aware of the fact our son is due to go into Primary School this September. My husband and I have been talking about schools since before he was born and we looked up all the information about the application process ourselves.
We’ve received nothing at all from the council – nothing to say our son is in this year’s cohort, nothing to say the application should be direct to the council rather than the schools and nothing advising us about how to go about visiting prospective schools. And, crucially, nothing telling us when applications open and close. We’ve had absolutely no word from the council at all. And I’ve got friends in the area in a similar situation, so I don’t think we are the only people experiencing that.
It’s perfectly feasible that some parents aren’t even aware their child starts this September. After all, we talk about compulsory education from 5, but children just starting reception are actually 4. So I imagine it’s absolutely realistic for some parents to just assume it must be the September after.
And for others, the fact the process is all online and all direct to the council might be overwhelming.”
Should I Be Applying?
If your child was born between 1st September 2014 and 31st August 2015, you should be applying for a Primary School place.
Late Primary School Application Statistics – Does it Matter?
It could matter, yes. In many cases, those who submit their application after the deadline will not be considered until those who have submitted on time have been allocated a place.
This ultimately leaves you less likely in most parts of the country to get your first choice of school.