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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:25 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:21 pm
Posts: 361
Dear all:

I've spent most of today on the phone and hopefully without outing myself I want to assure all parents who might be informed by their schools to the contrary in the coming days - that the deadline for Birmingham LEA applications is 31 October 2013.

For reasons that totally escape me Birmingham LEA took it upon themselves to instruct local schools to issue a deadline of 1st October 2013 and publish this in their newsletters.

They will of course accept applications from any point - but I stress again the FINAL DEADLINE FOR BIRMINGHAM LEA APPLICATIONS is 31 OCT 2013.

Birmingham LEA can be contacted on 303 1888.

Please join me in expressing your anger at this sudden change of goal posts and a totally unnecessary complication for parents trying to navigate this process.

I hope those at Birmingham LEA can work toward improving the guidance to parents for secondary admissions and I hope that those involved with KEGS will be pressuring Birmingham LEA to do better. If the October 31st deadline is not working surely you can all meet to rearrange the system.

Off the top of my head:

Why not have Y5 pupils make a pre-selection of secondary schools and those sitting the 11+ can alter their selection upon receipt of scores? This gives the LEA more time to deal with admissions, if that is the issue?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:44 am
Posts: 269
The deadlines and offer days are set nationally. LAs do not have any power or discretion to change them (although some will 'advise' that it is best to submit applications with a few days to spare just in case of problems or postage delays).

If Birmingham find that things are a bit tight then frankly that is tough luck.
The Admissions Code 2012 (which has the full force of law and must be obeyed by each council) sets October 31st as the deadline for the whole country for secondary school applications. No regional variation is allowed.

As of 2014 there will be a national deadline for primary applications too - it will be January 15th. Again no regional variations allowed.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:34 pm 

Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
Posts: 2239
Location: Birmingham
It is worrying and confusing. And it's jolly difficult to find that contact number on the web so thank you for it.

Funnily enough I was about the email them to complain as I called yesterday (via the mainline number and an awful lot of automated messages) to clarify whether I needed to send proof of address or not as the 'letter' I received ( a scrap of badly printed paper with wonky lettering) seemed to indicate that if my dd didn't attend a Birmingham Primary then I should send this in (although it didn't tell me what to send, or where to send it).

The person I spoke to did not seem to have any idea but gave me a lecture on how I must fill in my form soon. When I said I was waiting for the 11 Plus results she became vague. She left the phone for a while to ask someone else, came back, and said, without any conviction at all, that I didn't need to send proof of address.
As we are hoping to move house at some point this year, I asked what I should do if I moved before March. She again wasn't sure (this question seemed to throw her a lot and clearly had never been asked before :roll: ) but vaguely said I should give them a call.

Now I'm sorry but after this almost bizarre phonecall, I don't feel any great confidence in the LA to sort out this admissions process effectively, and I am very concerned that I'm going to get stung by not having done the right thing at the right time :(

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:44 am
Posts: 269
If the council persist in telling parents that forms must be submitted by October 1st (as opposed to them unofficially trying to hurry people up) then you should refer the matter to the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman)

As I said, this is not a grey area. The date is set by the government and is written into law. Birmingham cannot tinker with it no matter how inconvenient they find the arrangements.

The relevant legislation is the Admissions Code 2012 which has a section of definitions and defines the normal admissions round (anything outside this is a late or in year admission):
Normal Admissions Round
The period during which parents are invited to express a minimum of three preferences for a place at any state-funded school, in rank order on the common application form provided by their home local authority. This period usually follows publication of the local authority composite prospectus on 12 September, with the deadlines for parental applications of 31 October (for secondary places) and 15 January (for primary places), and subsequent offers made to parents on National Offer Day as defined above.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:51 pm
Posts: 2337
Birmingham have always done this.

When they had the final say, the closing date was indeed 1st October but for the last few years the date has been 31st Oct. However, Birmingham has persisted in saying you had to return forms by 1st October while in the (very) small print it was clear that they would accept forms up to 31st October, as they are obliged to do.

I've drawn attention to it on the forum in previous years. If you read the paperwork very, very carefully you might possibly find a statement that the actual closing date is 31st October. You will definitely NOT find any statement that forms received between 1st and 31st October are treated any differently (e.g. as late applications) because they can't do that.

In the past (and I assume again this year) they've weaselled round it by saying that the closing date for returning forms via primary schools (as opposed to direct to the LEA) was 1st October, and if your primary is anything like ours was (or rather became under the then new head) your child will be harangued on a daily basis to return their form to school.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:26 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:05 pm
Posts: 19
I have the "Dear Parent" letter from the Birmingham City Council, dated July 2013, in front of me. It says:

"...If you live in Birmingham you should apply online at http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/schooladmissions between 1st September and 31st October 2013 for your child's secondary school place. All applicants who apply on line will receive an email confirming which school or academy your child has been offered, which should arrive by 3.30pm on 3rd March 2014, one day ahead of postal notification....
...If you wish to complete a paper application instead, your child's primary school or the School Admissions and Pupil Placements Service will be able to provide a form for you to complete...."


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