A NEW school year has only just begun, but parents and carers are already being urged to apply for their children's school places for September 2022.

Applications for primary school starters or children transferring to their next school in 12 months' time need to be made through Somerset County Council’s website - www.somerset.gov.uk/admissions.

For secondary school places, applications open today (Monday, September 13) and must be submitted by Sunday, October 31. This applies to all children moving from primary to secondary school, or middle to upper school, in September 2022.

For primary school places, applications must be submitted between Monday, September 27 and Saturday, January 15. This applies to all children starting school for the first time in September 2022, as well as those moving between infant and junior or first and middle school.

Shortly before the deadlines, reminder e-mails and/or letters will be sent to parents on the council’s database who have not yet applied, but the responsibility for getting applications in on time lies with parents and guardians.

Cllr Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for education and public health, said: “I urge parents and carers to check schools’ websites or social media for further information about virtual and face-to-face events and open days. This can help them decide where they would like to attend next year and which three schools they will include in their application.

“It’s an important decision and I would urge everyone to submit three preferences, including their local school as one of those preferences. In recent years, some applications have only included one preference for a non-local school.

“If demand is high for that single school, it can mean that students and parents must wait longer for a confirmed placement at a different school, making the experience all together more stressful.

"Once you have chosen your three schools, it is essential that applications are submitted before the deadline to avoid risking missing out on a preferred place.

“I’d encourage all students, parents and guardians to start looking at what is involved and which schools they are interested in now.”

All schools have been reminded of the application deadlines and asked to send information to parents within newsletters.

As well as linking to an online application form, the webpage has related information including a directory of schools, catchment areas and admissions policy.

Last year’s school admissions figures show that 98.5 per cent of the 5,365 Somerset children who entered primary school were offered one of their top three choices; 94.58 per cent received their first choice; 97.65 per cent of the 4,654 Somerset children going to secondary school were offered one of their top three choices; 91.87 per cent received their first choice.