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 2024 closes later this month, on Monday, 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 mapping system on the council’s website enables parents to search for schools in their community area, making it easier for families to find their local schools.

Cllr Bob Standley, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education, said: “While there is no guarantee that a child will be allocated a place at their preferred school, last year over 92 per cent of children in the county were given a place at their first preference school.

“With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas and new year period, it is likely many still have their applications to complete. I would urge parents and carers to double check that they have filled out and submitted 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 that 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. If 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.

Cllr Standley continued: “It is really important parents and carers submit their application on time.

“Every year there are families whose children would have secured a place at their preferred school, if it were not for the fact that their application missed the deadline.”

Anyone needing help with their application can visit their local library, email or call 0300 3309472 between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday.

Parents and carers will be notified of their child’s school place on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.