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Primary school admissions criteria

Admissions criteria are the rules by which applications are ranked for each school. It is important you understand the admissions criteria for the schools you will name on your application. The criteria will vary depending on the type of school you are applying for, and these criteria will dictate how likely to it that you will be offered a place.

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Community school admissions criteria

Please note that the criteria below apply to Merton community schools only. Academies, free and voluntary aided (Church affiliated) schools and schools in other boroughs apply their own criteria to applications and these are available either from the schools or by contacting the Admissions Team for the borough concerned.

With the exception of Dundonald, Poplar, Wimbledon Chase and Wimbledon Park Primary Schools, applications for entry in 2018/2019 will be ranked against the following factors:

  1. Looked after children or previously looked after children (see notes on looked after children below)
  2. Where there are professionally supported medical reasons or exceptional social reasons why a child should attend a particular school (see notes on medical and social reasons below)
  3. Where a sibling is already in the main school at the time of admission (see notes on siblings below)
  4. Straight line distance between the child’s home address and the main school (see notes on distance below)

For Wimbledon Chase and Dundonald Primary Schools only:

  1. Looked after children or previously looked after children (see notes on looked after children below)
  2. Where there are professionally supported medical reasons or exceptional social reasons why a child should attend a particular school (see notes on medical and social reasons below)
  3. Where a sibling is already in the main school at the time of admission, and lives within the admissions priority area. This includes protected families with siblings, or linked siblings, attending the school prior to 1 September 2016. (see notes on siblings below)
  4. Children living inside the admissions priority area in order of nearness of home to the school by straight line distance. (see details of admissions priority areas and distance below)
  5. Where a sibling is already in the main school at the time of admission, and lives outside the admissions priority area (see notes on siblings below)
  6. Children living outside of the priority area in order of nearness of home to the school by straight line distance (see notes on distance below)

For Wimbledon Park and Poplar Primary Schools only:

  1. Looked after children or previously looked after children (see notes on looked after children below)
  2. Where there are professionally supported medical reasons or exceptional social reasons why a child should attend a particular school (see notes on medical and social reasons below)
  3. Where a sibling is already in the main school at the time of admission (see notes on siblings below)
  4. Straight line distance between the child’s home address and the main school to a maximum of 60 places (see notes on distance below)
  5. Up to 30 places to children living inside the priority area in order of nearness of home to the school by straight line distance. If less than 30 eligible offers are made from the priority area, remaining places will be allocated under criterion 4. (see details of admissions priority areas and distance below)

Looked After Children

A looked after child is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see definition in section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989). A previously looked after child is a child who was adopted, or subject to a residence order, or special guardianship order, immediately following having been looked after.

Medical or Social reasons

Applicants wishing to be considered under this criterion must supply professional evidence supporting their case at the time of application. Providing evidence does not guarantee priority under this criterion; the School Admissions Team will consider if the evidence provided demonstrates that the child must attend a particular school and cannot reasonably attend an alternative school. Please note that your child’s current (or most recently attended) school may be contacted for further information and may be sent a copy of your request. The information you provide may also be shared with an independent appeals panel should this be necessary. Applicants will not be individually advised if their application has been prioritised under this criterion.

Please note that letters cannot be accepted from yourself or from other members of your family, nor from your health visitor. Merton does not consider childminding or parents' working arrangements as evidence of social need.

Siblings

Sibling refers to brother or sister, half brother or sister, adopted brother or sister, step brother or sister, or the child of the parent/carer’s partner, and in every case, who is living as part of the same family unit at the same address, Monday to Friday.

For Wimbledon Chase and Dundonald Primary Schools, where the older sibling was offered a place prior to 1 September 2016, they will be considered under priority 3 for Reception. This also applies to any linked sibling i.e. where a sibling has qualified on this basis, future siblings will also receive the same priority providing the parent/carer specifies this at the time of application

The following will not qualify under the sibling criterion:

  • Siblings in Year 6 at the time of an application to start Reception in September 2018
  • Siblings in a school nursery

Admissions Priority Areas

Further information on the Admissions Priority Areas for Poplar, Wimbledon Chase and Wimbledon Park can be found here:

Poplar Admissions Priority Area

Wimbledon Chase and Dundonald Admissions Priority Area

Wimbledon Park Admissions Priority Area

Distance measurement

All distances will be measured by the computerised Geographical Information System maintained by Merton Admissions team. It should be noted that the computerised system measures from a start point plotted within the property at which the applicant lives to the main school reception entrance and calculates this measurement.

The child’s home address excludes any business, relative’s or childminder’s address and must be the applicant’s normal place of residence. If there is a genuine equal share custody arrangement between the two parents, the address that will be used will normally be the address of the parent who is claiming Child Benefit for the child, however all available evidence will be considered.

The address to be used for the initial allocation of places to Primary School (Reception) will be the child’s address at the closing date for application. Changes of address up to 8 February 2018 may be considered if there are exceptional reasons behind the change, such as if a family has just moved to the area, or has returned from abroad. Any offer is conditional upon the child living at the appropriate address on the relevant date. Parents have a responsibility to notify the Local Authority of any change of address.

Please note:

  • Applicants in short term rented accommodation may be asked to provide evidence of their current and former housing arrangements.
  • Where an applicant has ownership of a property, that address should be used for the purposes of school admission. The applicant must provide evidence and reasons for the use of any other address.
  • Where an applicant rents a property and has ownership of an alternative property, the rented property will only be used for admission purposes if the child has been resident away from the owned property for a period of 3 years or more at the closing date for applications.
  • Any applicant who moves from a rented or temporary address in advance of their child taking up their school place may have their place withdrawn if it is found the family have returned to an address already in their ownership.
  • The authority will investigate whether the place should be withdrawn if the pupil is not resident at the application address at the time of the September entry point.
  • The authority will always investigate a case where the application address has previously been used to gain a school place fraudulently.
  • Where it is found an address has been used for the purposes of admission where the child is not ordinarily resident, the application and any place offered will be withdrawn.
  • An offer found to have been gained fraudulently will be withdrawn. This may also be the case where the child has started the school.
  • In some cases, places may not be withdrawn once a child has been attending the school for a term or more. In these circumstances future sibling applications will not be given sibling priority for places and will be considered under the next appropriate criterion.
  • Where more than one applicant has the same straight line distance measurement and distance is the determining factor, rank order will be determined by random allocation.
  • Applicants wishing to query a distance from home to school should contact the School Admissions Team at admissions@merton.gov.uk.
  • In cases where a distance calculation is disputed applicants should write to the School Admissions Manager, London Borough of Merton,10th Floor, Civic Centre, Morden SM4 5DX. All disputes will be investigated. Where it is agreed that the basis of the calculation was incorrect the measurement will be recalculated. The calculation will be re-run for both the applicant in question and any other applicant shown to be affected by the issue.

Applications relating to twins, triplets or other multiple births

Where a parent applies for entry into the same year group for more than one child and the final offered place falls between these children, the school will consider if they have capacity to offer to the additional children.

If it is not possible to offer a place to all of them, rank order will be determined by random allocation. The names of the children who were unsuccessful will be added to the waiting list in accordance with the published admissions criteria, in the same way as for other children. The parent can then determine whether to accept or reject those places on an individual basis.

Admissions criteria for Merton’s voluntary aided schools, academies and free schools

The following Merton schools have their own admissions criteria and you should contact them directly to obtain a copy of these criteria. If you are applying for a faith based place, you will need to contact the school for its supplementary form. You must still complete the Merton Common Application Form naming the school or your application will not be considered. Church of England schools in Merton offer a proportion of places which are faith based and a proportion of open places for the local community. Catholic schools give priority to those of that faith before any non-Catholic children.

Supplementary form for foundation places only
All Saints' CofE Primary School
Bishop Gilpin CofE Primary School
Holy Trinity CofE Primary School
St Matthew's CofE Primary School
The Priory CofE Primary School

All applicants complete a supplementary form
Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School
St John Fisher RC Primary School
St Mary's Catholic Primary School
SS Peter & Paul Catholic Primary School
St Teresa's Catholic Primary School
St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School

No supplementary form required
Benedict Primary School
Harris Primary Academy Merton
Park Community School

If a school requires a supplementary form to consider whether you meet the faith requirement under its policy and you do not complete one, you will be ranked in their lowest category within its oversubscribed criteria.

If you are applying for schools outside Merton, you are advised to contact the schools directly to confirm their admissions criteria and to confirm whether you are required to complete a supplementary form.

Supplementary forms should be returned directly to the school.

Primary school application process

  1. When to apply and important dates
  2. Choosing which schools to apply for
  3. Admissions criteria
  4. Guide to applying
  5. Apply for a place
  6. Offers and waiting lists

This page was last updated on Wednesday 15 February 2017

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