Robert Buckland MP is advising parents of children who will be going to primary, junior or secondary school for the first time in September 2017 that they can now apply for a school place for their child.
Swindon Borough Council is also taking application for places in Year 10 at the University Technical College for September 2017.
This year, the council was able to give 90.8% of applicants their first preference for primary schools, and 94.8% for secondary schools.
However, it is urging parents to make sure they put down a second and third preference of school when they apply, in case their first school is oversubscribed.
The closing date for secondary school and UTC applications is 31 October 2016 while the deadline for primary school applications is 15 January 2017.
The applications must be with the council’s admissions team by these dates. All applications received up to the deadline dates will be considered together using the same criteria – they are not dealt with on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
Applications received after the deadline may significantly increase the risk of the council being unable to offer places for any of the preferred schools.
Councillor Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “We have an excellent track record in providing school places and meeting parents’ preferences for where they would like their children to be educated.
“This year, we were the fourth most successful council in the South-west, and the fifteenth nationally, at meeting the first preferences for secondary school applicants.
“It is important that parents give us their second and third preferences, because it gives them the best possible chance of getting their children into a school that is the most acceptable to them if their first preference can’t accommodate all the applicants.”
Information about the entire process, including how to apply, and the application and oversubscription criteria, is available on the council’s website at www.swindon.gov.uk/schoolplaces.
Alternatively, parents or carers can contact schools directly, visit the council’s One Stop Shop (Swindon Direct) in Beckhampton Street, Swindon, or contact the council’s School Admissions Team either by phone on (01793) 445500 or by e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Admissions Team will also be holding drop in sessions where parents can come to ask questions about the admissions process.
They sessions will be at North Swindon Library at the Orbital Centre, Thamesdown Drive, Swindon on Thursday 22 September 2016 between 2pm and 5pm and then in Committee Room 2 at the Council’s Civic Offices in Euclid Street, Swindon, on Thursday 6 October from 2pm to 5pm.
Applying online has the added benefit of providing applicants with a reply e-mail proving that the application has been received. Alternatively, parents can apply for a school place using a hard copy application form. These are available from schools, Swindon Direct or the council’s Schools Admissions Team.
Letters will be sent to parents and carers detailing the offer of a school place for their children on 18 April 2017 for primary and junior places, and on 1 March 2017 for secondary places and for the UTC.