If you are reading this article, it may mean that it is now your turn to undergo the annual hubbub that is the secondary school application process. This guide will aim to quell some burning questions that you may have and allow you to be as prepared as possible for the exciting transition! Moving from primary school to secondary school can seem to be a daunting process, for students and parents alike. To students, the fear, or perhaps excitement, is focused around building new friendships and getting accustomed to a brand-new environment. It is definitely understandable why many students may choose to spend some time selecting their secondary school. Attending open days and researching about what each has to offer is vitally important.
To answer the question: yes, secondary school admissions will require a proof of address for 11+ to year 7 applicants. Additionally, if you wish to transfer schools during the academic year, you will still be required to provide proof of address. If it is found that the information provided is fraudulent or questionable, the school has the right to withdraw the offer to the student and start an investigation.
The above contains a brief summary to your question, however, keep reading this article to find out more about secondary school admissions to ensure that you are well-prepared for your (or your child’s) application process.
How Do You Provide Your Proof of Address in the Application Form?
There are many different aspects when it comes to providing your ‘proof of address’ and therefore it is important to understand what each of these categories mean and require.
In the application form, you will be required to provide some of the following, which are the acceptable forms of proof of address:
- Current year’s council tax bill
- Recent utility bill
- Recent child benefit or child tax credit letter
- Letter confirming entitlement to benefits
- Tenancy agreement from a registered lettings agency
- Letter from social services or a housing department
The address that you should hand should be the one that you spend the most time at, for example if your parents are separated and you live at both houses equally, then both addresses can be provided.
Whilst we are used to having many ‘unnecessary fields’ on application forms that we fill out, addresses for schools is not one of them. The school does not turn a blind eye to the address and can run it through the system to ensure that the correct information has been provided.
Even once you are given an offer, if they find that you have provided inaccurate information then the school can withdraw the offer, regardless of whether you have already started school or not.
If you do move house during the application process, it is important to notify the application team and school- this is if the deadline for application preferences to be edited has passed.
When Should You Make Your Secondary School Application?
The closing date for the applications is the 31st of October and therefore any modifications made must be done before this deadline. Therefore, before this time, it is always a good idea to have a clear plan of what schools interest you the most so when the time comes to applying, it will be a lot less stressful.
To avoid last minute panics, try and attend as many open days as possible to allow you to gage the broadest scope of possibilities available, thus increasing the chance of more offers. When it comes to deciding on a secondary school, there are many aspects to consider.
These may include checking Ofsted reports and county league tables, as well as simply speaking to other students and parents to get an insider’s viewpoint on different schools. Knowing what you definitely want in a school is a good place to start, for instance a specific focus on sports or arts if they are your interests.
Open days are a great way of experiencing a glimpse of the school atmosphere, as well as being able to speak to the staff and meet other students.
When you manage to create a shortlist of possible schools, it is important to consider the entrance requirements, as some secondary schools do not accept all applicants. For example, grammar schools look at the score for the 11+ exam, which is an aptitude test required to be sat by all applicants to even be considered as a possible candidate for the school.
Private or independent schools may have their own set of entrance exams which can include Maths, English and the Sciences, so it is important to take a look on their school website to book the dates.
Are There Different Admissions Processes for Different Schools?
You may be wondering if there is a universal admissions process, common for all schools. The answer is no! There is not one process for all schools, however it is common across state-run schools which happens to be the majority. Despite this, if you know that there is a possible chance that you may choose to attend a private school, then being aware of the different admissions is important.
To begin filling out the applications, you need to devise a list of secondary schools that appeal to you. The admissions processes vary slightly depending on the type of schools that you are applying for, therefore it will be useful to outline the differences and what they may mean to you.
The first type of school we discuss are grammar schools. It is highly likely that you have heard of these before; they are schools which place high importance on the ability of the candidate and therefore selection is based upon entrance exam scores such as the eleven plus exam, which is an exam used to test the academic capability of the students.
Aptitude and talent schools are similar to grammar schools in the sense that they undertake a selective process. However, this isn’t merely based on academics and takes other aspects into account such as sports and musical abilities, which can appeal to those interested in those areas of academia.
Private schools or independent schools may have a different structure to their application process, such as separate entrance exams and opportunities for scholarships, and therefore it is not covered on any of the local council websites or sources and can be obtained directly from the school itself. Read this student article that discusses if its worth going to a Private school.
Community schools are schools which are also known as ‘local authority maintained’ schools and these schools do not have a highly selective admissions process, making them almost a must-have on every applicant’s potential list.
To compare, community schools and grammar schools will have very similar fields to fill out in the application form, however the latter also requires a test to determine academic ability.
Despite these differences, the applications form will specify the same pieces of information, with regards to addresses, that you need to provide to complete the application, one of which is your home address.
How Do You Make an Application?
Once you have decided upon the school, or list of schools that you are interested in, you will need to consider the application process. If you are applying for a state secondary school, the application can easily be done through the local council, even if the secondary school that you are applying for is in a different area.
The way in which this is carried out is through essentially an ‘applications portal’ which can be located on the local council website. Despite this, the general recommendation is that you apply for at least one school in your catchment area, even if it is your lowest preference because this will guarantee you a place if you weren’t to be accepted into the other schools that you applied for.
There are several pieces of information which are compulsory in the application. These are some forms of identification, including the proof of a passport and birth certificate, as well as the student’s medical card.
You will need to provide the proof of address as part of the application, as this allows schools to deem whether the candidate is within the catchment area, as well as for personal security reasons.
How Do You Apply to Move Schools Once You’ve Already Started?
Some students may choose to move schools once the academic school year has already begun. This is due to a number of reasons, such as moving house, academic progress and simply the fact that the school may not be the ‘best fit’ for that specific student. You may want to know when GCSEs start to ensure if you decide to move school it doesn’t interfere with your exams, click here to find out more.
Regardless of this, the student will still need to complete an application form for the new school that they wish to move to.
The application required for students who wish to move during the school year constitutes the same categories as those required for the original applications carried out in year 6.