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Secondary Transfer Q&A

Full Merton School Admissions Guidance

BG presentation on transition to secondary school

BISHOP GILPIN Questions and Answers:

How do I apply?

All Parents and Carers who wish their child to attend a Secondary School must make an application through their home local authority before midnight on the 31st October.  To do this, please visit the Merton website at merton.gov.uk/admissions. 

If you are unable to access the information and application online please call 0208 274 4906 and request a paper copy of the Secondary Schools guidance booklet and application form.

Do all state schools have the same admission criteria?

No, most secondary schools are now academies: look at the websites for latest admission criteria, which have changed at many establishments this year. Some require supplementary forms to be completed. Some schools do not count 6th form children as siblings for example.

What are supplementary forms?

Some schools (e.g. faith schools) will require an additional (supplementary) form that must be returned as instructed by the school.  Failure to send this form as instructed  will in all likelihood mean a failed application for that school. 

What if my application is late?

Your application will only be considered after all the other applications have been processed and places allocated.  It is very important to meet the deadlines advertised by your borough.

What if I am not offered a school?

If you make an on time application you will receive an offer on offer day. If you do not receive an offer of a school that you listed as a preference and have been allocated a school by your local authority – this will be because none of your schools were able to offer you a place and you will be on a waiting list for all of them.   In this case, you will be allocated the nearest school to your address that has a space available.  

What do I do if I get an offer for a place at a state school that is not my first choice?

You will need to decide within 2 weeks if you would like to accept or decline the offer.   You will remain on the waiting list for higher preference schools on your common application form and you will be informed if a place becomes available.  Declining a place offered means that you are taking responsibility for educating your child or finding another school place for September.

Accepting or declining a place will have no impact on your position on other schools' waiting lists. For example if you are offered a school in position 3 on your common application form and you accept it, you will remain on the waiting list for schools 1 and 2.  If you move up the waiting list at school 1 you will be offered the place whether or not you accepted school 3.  If on the other hand, you decline the place at school 3 and are not offered a place at school 1 or 2 later on, you may not be able to ask for the declined place back later on.

Is there a lot of movement on waiting lists after the initial offers?

This is dependent on the school.  Some schools, have a lot of movement, others don't.  This can change from year to year.

What happens if I am in the process of changing address?

If you change address and the move is not completed move by 31st October, contact the borough applied to at the earliest opportunity to explain.  Most boroughs should consider changing address of application until 9th December approximately 10 months prior to your child's start in September.  After 7th December, at which point places will be allocated on those addresses provided.  New addresses provided after the December cut off will be taken into account, but only after 1st March and the first round of allocations. This may affect you place on waiting lists. 

The address must be a "permanent" address. Check Merton website for more information. 

Am I limited in the number of schools I can apply to?

You may apply for a maximum of six state schools on the common application form.  You may apply individually to as many independent schools as you choose. However, please bear in mind the potential impact on the well being of your child when deciding how many selective schools to apply for.  Families and children in particular might suffer a great deal of stress during each application process.

What about testing at independent schools?

Dates, times and tests vary by school. Consider how many tests it is reasonable to put your child through.  At Bishop Gilpin we have seen adverse effects on children.

How do I find out whether/where my child is on a waiting list?

Contact the school and keep checking to ensure you stay on the waiting list.