At last night’s regular Parent Council dad and PC member Colin Henderson shared a document he recently put together which greatly simplifies and explains the inner workings of how East Lothian Council’s education team go about placing kids into schools across the county.
In an effort to help parents better understand this process we are reproducing the guidance Colin put together along with his helpful diagram.
Pupil Placement and Classroom Organisation
The following information has been put together by the Pencaitland Parent Council as a brief overview for parents. It seeks to outline the ELC pupil placement process as a simplified guide and does not replace or supersede any of the councils existing processes.
The process of allocating pupil placements and setting class organisation is started early in the school year in preparation for the following year. Several factors are taken into consideration and each school has a responsibility to provide an accurate update to the Education Department, who then have to consider other potential demands on places in the school, such as new housing, families moving into the area, school capacities. All this information informs how many places will be available in primary and secondary schools for that year. A brief overview is shown in the diagram.
The ELC website has specific information on placements outlined the process for enrollment and placements. In addition, they have produced a helpful leaflet entitled “Placing in schools” which outlines how to enrol your child into a school, placing requests and what happens when you make a placing request. The leaflet also has advises on further reference information with regards to legislation around this area.
The total number of available places agreed for some primary and secondary schools and the number of places the be held in reserve for families moving into school catchment areas are then presented to the Education Committee for approval. These reports are in the public domain and are available here by looking up the school and academic year in question. After the reports have been agreed, any out of catchment requests are taken into consideration and if the requests for a place in school cannot be accommodated parents will be informed that they can appeal the decision.
Out of Catchment applications
Consideration also has to be given to families who may be moving into the county and have a need for placement at their local school. In most instances, the council will request that some spaces are held in reserve for this scenario, so that those moving into East Lothian are not disadvantaged.
In addition, some parents may also wish to opt for their child to attend a school out of catchment. It should be noted that this is at the discretion of the Council and there is a guide to the criteria for these requests outlined on the ELC web pages. If the council are able to grant parent requests this may free up places in other schools for those parents making out of catchment requests.
There is no guarantee that places can be reserved and the situation may change on a year by year basis, depending on factors such as housing, thus population increases which would place more demand on catchment placements.
Finally, the Scottish Government has published an information guide, called “Choosing a School: a guide for parents”, which provides useful information on making requests for places in schools.