PARENTS and carers have just one week left to apply for primary school places for new starters.

The application process for children due to start school in September 2021 closes on Friday, 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.

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, in 2020 over 97 per cent of children in the county were given a place at one of their preferred schools.

“With the additional pressures placed on families this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, there may be parents who have not yet submitted their applications. 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.

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

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