Admission to schools in Pembrokeshire - Information for Parents
Part 2 - Policies and law
i) At what age does my child legally have to attend school?
Parents of children between the ages of 5 and 16 must ensure that their children receive suitable full time education. A child reaches statutory school age at the beginning of the term following his or her fifth birthday. Conversely, all young people are required to remain in education until they cease to be of compulsory school age; the school leaving date is the last Friday in June in the school year in which a child reaches the age of 16.
ii) Can my child be educated in a different year group?
The Local Authority has a Guide to Good Practice on Educating Young People Out of Their Chronological Year Group. This document outlines the procedures that have to be followed when consideration needs to be given to advancing or holding back a young person in education. Parents need to approach their school setting for discussions around this subject.
Further information regarding Educating Young People out of their chronological age can be found on the Pembrokeshire Inclusion Service Website
iii) How does the County Council meet my parental preference?
The County Council is required by law to make arrangements for parents to express their preference for the school where they wish their child to be educated, and provide an opportunity to give reasons for their preference before any places are offered. The Admission Authority must meet your preference if it can, but certain factors may prevent this.
- the efficient use of resources and accommodation
- the efficient provision of education
- statutory class size limits
All schools have an Admission Number, which is used as a guide in deciding whether any year group within a school is full or has places available. If there are more applications than places available then the oversubscription criteria in Part 1viii are applied. The Admission Number for each school is shown in the School list - Pembrokeshire
Parents may express a preference for their child’s education at:
- Age 3 – early years (Nursery) classes/units attached to infant or primary schools (where these are available). Three year olds attend part time only
- Age 4-5 – Infants schools or infant departments of primary schools (Reception classes)
- Age 11 – Secondary Education
iv) Are there class size limits in schools?
Yes. The law says that, apart from some very limited exceptions, no infant class (Foundation Phase) may contain more than 30 pupils being taught by one teacher. The Welsh Government has also set a target that no junior class should exceed 30 pupils.
v) Why do you need to know about parental responsibility for my child?
The Authority needs to know who has 'parental responsibility' for each child and the person making an application needs to confirm their status accordingly. This is to ensure that proper authority is given when the school needs parental permission. It will also make sure that people with parental responsibility who do not live with a child can be provided with school reports and given an opportunity to take part in the child’s education, as they are entitled to receive this information unless there is a specific court order preventing this.
Where more than one person has parental responsibility for a child, the person completing the application for a school place must take all reasonable steps to discuss and agree the application with others with parental responsibility, where their whereabouts are known. If the whereabouts of others with parental responsibility are unknown, this should be stated in writing. The place may be lawfully withdrawn if the information given is fraudulent or misleading, including parental responsibility disputes.
Who has parental responsibility for the child?
- Mothers always have parental responsibility (unless a court order is in place that states she will no longer have the responsibility e.g. in adoption cases).
- Fathers who were married to the mother prior to 2003 have parental responsibility.
- Fathers also have parental responsibility for a child if the child was born after 2003 and their name is on the child’s birth certificate.
Unmarried fathers, step-parents, relatives and other person can obtain parental responsibility but they do not have it automatically.
Parents are asked to co-operate with the Admissions Officer by providing details of those people with parental responsibility for a pupil. Your child’s school should be informed of any changes in the arrangements for parental responsibility or in the day to day care of your child. Any reference to parents within this booklet includes anyone having legal parental responsibility.
The County Council may request proof of parental responsibility and/or the child’s birth certificate, if it considers it necessary to do so.
vi) Legal / known name of child
The legal name of your child is that which is shown on his/her birth certificate. Please ensure that this is given on all admission and transfer application forms. Should your child be known by another name, then this should also be included on the relevant forms. There are specific procedures to be followed for changing a child’s legal name, and this can be undertaken by Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration. Please take legal advice before considering this and ensure that your child’s school is made aware of any subsequent changes to the child’s legal name by providing a copy of the relevant documentation.
vii) What provision do you make for UK Service personnel?
Families of UK Service personnel and other Crown Servants are subject to frequent movement within the UK and from abroad, often at relatively short notice. As a result, applications for school places for the approaching school year will be considered if accompanied by an official Ministry of Defence or Foreign and Commonwealth Office letter declaring a return date. School places will then be allocated in advance if the applicant would meet the criteria when they move to their destination. Unit postal addresses for applications from service personnel will also be accepted, in the absence of a new home postal address.
viii) What provision do you make for Gypsy & Traveller families?
Admission applications made in respect of Gypsy and Traveller children to a Pembrokeshire school, whether residing permanently or temporarily in the area, will be dealt with as quickly as possible, to allocate the nearest available and appropriate school.
ix) What provision do you make for Elective Home Education?
Parents may also choose to educate their children at home. This is known as Elective Home Education. The decision to home educate requires careful thought, as it represents a considerable undertaking in terms of commitment, time and cost. Parents considering this option are advised to contact the LA, and seek guidance from the Elective Home Education Officer on 01437 764551. Further information is available on the Elective Home Education section of the Council website.
x) What are the rights of children from overseas?
Children from overseas, whether they are accompanied or unaccompanied by parents, have the same rights to education as British Citizen children. As a result, the County Council will treat such applications for admission to schools in the same way. The Local Authority should ensure that there are no unreasonable delays in securing the admission of asylum seeking and refugee pupils and admission practice must be commensurate with that applied to all other pupils.
xi) What are my rights of appeal?
Appeals can be submitted for applications for a Reception place and above. Appeals can be made by e–form or in writing to the Director for Education, setting out the grounds on which it is made. Appeals must be submitted within 14 days (10 working days) of notification of your application for a school place being unsuccessful. There is an appeals form available on the Pembrokeshire County Council website along with further information on the appeal process.
Once received, your Appeal will be considered by the Admissions Authority and if a place is not given then your Appeal will be referred to Legal Services (who act as the Clerk to the appeal panel). Please note that the Admissions Authority may contact your child’s current and applied for schools to corroborate any information mentioned in the Appeal form.
Appeals will be heard and considered by the Independent Appeals Panel within 30 school days of the specified closing date for the receipt of appeals, or within 30 school days of the appeal being received in writing if the appeal is made outside the timetabled admissions process. Appeals received during the summer holidays will be heard within 30 working days. You will have the right to present your case to the Panel in person. The Panel may allow you to be accompanied by a friend or to be represented; in addition, children are permitted to give evidence where they wish to do so. The decision of the Appeals Panel is binding on the County Council and on schools’ governing bodies. However, there is no right of appeal for nursery admissions.
If you are refused a place at a voluntary aided school, the school concerned will advise you of its appeals procedure.
xii) What financial assistance might I be eligible for?
If your child stays on at school after statutory school leaving age, he or she may be eligible for a Welsh Government Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). The allowance is means tested and you will need to provide details of your income. Application forms are available from the secondary school your child attends or from the Student Finance Wales Website
During primary education and the first three years of secondary education all schools offer a broad and balanced programme, which includes all the National Curriculum subjects. The aim is to ensure a sound platform of basic skills, knowledge and understanding and to promote the personal development of all pupils.
The Welsh Assembly Government publishes booklets for parents of primary and secondary pupils that explain the national curriculum in Wales and how a pupil’s progress is measured. These are available from your child‘s school or on the Welsh Government website.
xiv) What public examinations will my child take?
All public examinations arranged for your child comply with legal requirements and are approved by the Qualifications in Wales, the regulator of non-degree qualifications and the qualifications system in Wales. Approved qualifications are posted on the Qualifications in Wales website
The decision to enter your child for public examinations is taken by the school. There is a fee to be paid for each examination and the school meets the cost of this fee when your child is entered for the first time. If your child misses an examination without a valid medical reason then you will be liable for the fee. Similarly, you may be liable for the payment of fees for examination re-sits. However, the school will be able to provide you with further details on these matters.
All schools will provide you with details of their public examination results if you ask them.
In addition to the above, and as part of the Wales Government’s drive to improve standards of literacy and numeracy, all learners in years 2 to 9 (7-14 year olds) will be required to be assessed annually using national reading and numeracy tests.
xv) What charges might I have to pay?
During your child’s time at school, the majority of the activities offered by schools are free of charge. However, there are occasions when you will be asked to make a contribution towards costs. Information regarding a school's policy for charges and remissions for school activities can be obtained from the headteacher of the school concerned.
xvi) What safeguarding arrangements are in place?
The care and wellbeing of pupils is a principal concern of all schools. All school staff adhere to the Wales Safeguarding Procedures in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Every school has a safeguarding policy and will have a named Designated Senior Person (DSP) who is responsible for safeguarding matters and for dealing with individual allegations of abuse.
Schools have a statutory duty to act in the best interests of the child and therefore have a duty to make a safeguarding referral to the Child Care Assessment Team (CCAT) within the Social Services Department if there are concerns about a child’s welfare or if there is an allegation of abuse. Consent for a referral will normally be sought from a parent, however, in order to protect a child it will sometimes be necessary to make a referral without informing the parents. This is a sensitive area of work and the support of parents is important when schools implement safeguarding protocols. Please be assured that school staff are working with the wellbeing of your child firmly in mind. Pembrokeshire schools operate a Preventing Extremism and Radicalisation Policy, which is intended to provide a framework for dealing with issues relating to vulnerability, radicalisation and exposure to extreme views.
All Pembrokeshire schools take part in initiatives with Dyfed-Powys Police called Operation Encompass and Operation Endeavour. Operation Encompass is the reporting to schools when a child or young person has been named in any reported domestic incident. Operation Endeavour is the reporting to schools whenever a child has been reported to the police as missing, this will also include when the the pupil has been found.
The Head and DSP are fully sighted as to how to use the information about both initiatives to ensure that a child and/or their families are adequately supported when they have been involved in, or exposed to, a domestic abuse incident or a missing child incident.