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Placing requests and admissions to school

There are 8 secondary schools, 41 primary schools, and 2 special schools managed by South Ayrshire Council.

To apply for a school place it is important that you know your catchment school. A list of other educational establishments used by Educational Services is also available.

South Ayrshire Council provides free transport for all primary pupils who live more than two miles from their catchment school (by the recognised shortest safe walking route) and to secondary pupils who live more than three miles from their catchment school (by the recognised shortest safe walking route). The authority does not provide transport for those pupils who attend a school other than their catchment school as the result of a successful placing request.

The responsibility for decisions on a placing request lies with Educational Services and not with schools.

Placing requests can be made to any mainstream school, special school or learning support base managed by South Ayrshire Council.

Placing requests can only be made to independent special schools by residents of South Ayrshire.

Starting Primary 1

Primary registration week 2016

Your child will automatically be accepted for primary education in August if their fifth birthday falls between 1 March of the same year and the last day of February the following year. You can, however, make a request for early entry to school for a child whose fifth birthday falls after the above period.

Entry to primary school in South Ayrshire is on a once a year basis at the start of the new session in August each year. Normally, your child will attend their catchment primary school. If your child is due to start in August, they should be registered in your catchment primary school before the end of the preceding January. Adverts will be placed in local newspapers during December informing parents of the arrangements for registering their child at school. Where there are sufficient places available, and you have not submitted a placing request for another school, your child will automatically be enrolled. Where there are not enough spaces available for catchment pupils the Council will determine which children should be enrolled and you will be notified of the procedures for doing this in advance of any decision being made.

Denominational schools within South Ayrshire Council serve a defined area. You can choose to enrol your child at either the catchment denominational or non-denominational primary school. Once this choice has been made, any future move within the primary sector will require a placing request to be submitted.

Placing requests at the start of primary 1

Your child will normally attend their catchment primary school. However, as a parent/carer, you have the right to make a placing request for your child to attend a school of your choice. If you choose to make a placing request you should remember that your child will no longer automatically be considered for a place at their catchment school.

Starting secondary school

Primary schools are usually associated with a single secondary school. All primary 7 pupils will have an automatic right to transfer to their catchment secondary school. Your primary school will be able to tell you the name of your catchment secondary school.

All parents/carers will have a choice at P7/S1 transfer stage of choosing their denominational or non-denominational catchment secondary school. Once this choice has been made, any future move within the secondary sector will require a placing request to be submitted.

In some cases there is a choice of more than two catchment schools. Once the choice has been made to attend a particular school any future changes will require a placing request to be submitted.

Placing requests at the start of S1

Your child will normally attend their catchment secondary school. However, as a parent/carer, you have the right to make a placing request for your child to attend a school of your choice. If you choose to make a placing request you should remember that your child will no longer automatically be considered for a place at their catchment school.

If a pupil is attending a primary school as a result of a successful placing request you must make a further placing request for your child to attend the associated secondary school. However, if your child already resides within the catchment area of the secondary school no placing request is required.

How decisions are made for placing requests at the start of primary or secondary school

The responsibility for decisions on placing requests lies with Educational Services. Parents/carers will be informed of the outcome of a placing request by 30 April. Where there are more requests than there are places available Educational Services will use the following criteria:

  1. those cases where the medical needs of the child or young person can only be met in the school requested;
  2. those children who do not live in the delineated area of a secondary school but attend an associated primary school;
  3. the presence of older brothers or sisters in the school requested.
  4. allocation by ballot

In relation to (i) – (iii) above, if there are more applications being considered than there are spaces available as each stage of priority criteria is being applied, a ballot will be held to determine the successful applications.

In applying (iv) priority will be given to placing requests for children and young people who reside within South Ayrshire, after which any remaining spaces will be allocated by a further ballot.

When a ballot is required it will be carried out by the Educational Services Directorate.

Placing requests made other than at the start of primary or secondary school

There are times when parents/carers may wish their child to move schools during their primary or secondary education. There are sound educational reasons for trying to ensure these moves take place at the start of a new school session i.e. August. However, at times parents/carers may wish to submit a mid-session placing request.

If you wish your child to move schools in August you should submit a placing request no later than 10 June, as any applications received after this date may not be considered until schools return at the beginning of the new session. Your child must return to their current school until you receive a decision on your placing request application.

When a placing request is received during a child or young person’s primary or secondary education Educational Services will contact the requested school and the current school for further information to allow them to consider the impact a move of school will have on the child/young person.

A number of factors will be considered when determining whether to accept or refuse a placing request:

  • Does the child/young person have Additional Support Needs and provision is being made for these in the current school?
  • Does the child/young person have poor attendance which is being managed by the current school using Educational Services guidelines on managing pupil attendance and absence?
  • Has the child/young person previously attended more than one school as the result of a successful placing request?

Normally you will be advised of the outcome of your placing request within 2 months of submission. However, placing requests received after the 10 June may not be considered until schools return in August.

If following a successful placing request you wish your child to return to their catchment school you need to complete a placing request application form.

Why placing requests are sometimes not granted

There are a number of reasons why Educational Services may not grant a placing request. These are summarised below, where granting the request would:

  • Make it necessary for the Council to take additional teaching staff into employment;
  • Give rise to significant expenditure in extending or altering the school's accommodation or facilities;
  • Be seriously detrimental to the continuity of the child's education;
  • Be likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school;
  • Be likely to be seriously detrimental to the educational well being of pupils attending the school;
  • Require the formation of an additional class or appointment of an additional teacher at a future stage of the child's education at primary school;
  • Have the consequence that the capacity of the school would be exceeded in terms of pupil numbers;
  • Mean that the education is not suited to the child;
  • The authority had already decided that the child should no longer attend the school;
  • In the case of special schools, the child does not have additional support needs requiring the education or facilities available;
  • Prevent the authority from reserving places for pupils moving in to the catchment area;
  • In the case of mainstream schools, the education provided would not be suited to the child or would cause unreasonable expenditure.

What to do if your placing request is refused

You may lodge an appeal and your appeal will be heard by the independent Education Appeal Committee. The Committee will decide whether the Council have applied the priorities for granting placing requests for the particular school correctly. If you are not provided with a decision on your placing request by 30 April, (or within 2 months for requests made at other times of the year), you may also appeal. However if you decide to appeal you will not be able to make another placing request until the appeal is heard or you withdraw your appeal.

Further Information on how to appeal will be contained in your letter informing you of the decision.

Placing request form

Download the placing request form and send the completed form to:

Educational Services

Children and Young People’s Services
County Buildings
Wellington Square
Ayr
KA7 1DR

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Last updated: 20 June 2016

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