PARENTS and carers are being reminded to apply now for primary school places for new starters.

The application process for children due to start school in September 2022 closes on Saturday, January 15.

Although parents and carers cannot choose their child’s school, they can state a preference for up to three schools ahead of the application deadline.

A new mapping system available on the East Sussex County Council website enables parents to search for schools in their community area, making it easier for families to find their local schools.

Cllr Bob Standley, the county council’s lead member for education and inclusion, special educational needs and disability, said: “While there is no guarantee that a child will be allocated a place at their first choice school, over 88 per cent of places allocated to those who applied on time last year were to the family’s first choice.

“With the continued pressures everyone is facing due to the coronavirus pandemic, there may be families who have not yet submitted their applications, and those who apply late are less likely to get their first choice of school.

“I would urge parents and carers to double check that they have filled out all the necessary online forms before the deadline.”

Places are allocated based on the council’s admissions policy, or the policy adopted by the relevant academy, church, free school or neighbouring authority, which are available to all parents at the time of applying.

Children are not automatically given a place at their local school. If a school is oversubscribed and was not included in a child’s list of preferences, a place at a school some distance away could be offered instead.

Parents are also reminded to include three school preferences on the application form.  When only one school is selected and there is no space available, the applicant will be allocated the first school with an available place.

Applications received after the deadline will still be considered but all on-time preferences will be allocated places first. This means that if an application is late, the child has a much lower chance of being offered a place at a preferred school, even if they live close to it or have siblings already attending there.

Full details of how school places are decided, what to consider and how to apply can be found on www.eastsussex.gov.uk/admissions.

Families can get help to complete their child’s application form at an East Sussex library, or by emailing admissions@eastsussex.gov.uk or calling 0300 3309472. Lines are open from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Parents and carers will be notified of their child’s school place on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.