Posted: Thu 11th Apr 2024

Parents Urged to Apply Early for School Places in Blaenau Gwent /

PARENTS need to ensure they apply for school places in good time so that their children can attend their first choice school in Blaenau Gwent.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday, April 10 councillors received a revised draft of the council’s schools and nursery school admissions policy for 2025/2026.
This follows a consultation that took place from February 6 to 29.
A decision on the document is needed before it is published on Monday, April 15.
Council leader Cllr Steve Thomas who went through the report explained that the main changes in the policy are: “revised consultation details, admission numbers based on the annual capacity review, updates on application deadlines, adjustments for applicants from neighbouring authorities and specific allocations for Brynmawr Foundation school.”
Cllr Thomas said: “The policy is a comprehensive framework designed to ensure fair and transparent schools admissions.”
Cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, Cllr John Morgan said:  “I think a lot of parents let these deadlines go by as they think they can turn up on the first day (of term) with their children.”
Cllr Morgan asked if there was a way primary schools could warn parents that the deadlines “do exist” and they need to apply in time.
Cllr Morgan said that this is because: “There is a chance their children will not get accepted into their first choice school because they’re oversubscribed,”
Interim director of education Luisa Munro-Morris said: “It’s a problem when people don’t realise, they need to complete the forms, especially if they are in a 3-16 learning community (all through primary and secondary school) when there’s an assumption that it’s automatic.
“Our primary schools are already really proactive and do send out messages and a number offer support to parents to complete the forms especially those that are not as digitally confident and would find it quite stressful to apply online.”
She added that the council is still seeing a “small number “of late applications and that there is also support for parents to go through the appeals process.
Cllr Morgan said that from the schools point of view it was a “nice position” to know that they are filling their places.
Cabinet member for social services Cllr Haydn Trollope said that he had “concerns” when children from outside Blaenau Gwent transferred into a school in the county borough without the paperwork following them in a timely manner.
Cllr Trollope said: “That sometimes causes major problems for the incoming school.”
He believed that all local authorities in Wales face this problem.
Dr Munro-Morris said: “I know from my time as a headteacher it was incredibly frustrating when you are constantly chasing schools for information.
“It’s a difficult problem because you are relying on the school sometimes the local authority the pupil is coming from to share that information.
“We can only support our schools to chase that information.”
Cabinet members unanimously supported the updated policy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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